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Tibetan Terrier Information


Description of the Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan terriers are squarely proportioned, medium sized, powerful dogs with a shaggy coat and look similar to a sheepdog.  The double coat of the Tibetan terrier protects the dog, including its widely spaced, large, dark eyes, by falling in front of them.  Their fine, long outer coat is wavy or straight while their undercoat is woolly and soft.  All colors except chocolate and liver are permissible and any color or combination, such as solid, brindle, piebald, tricolor, or particolor is fine.  Their eye rims are a dark color and their nose leather is always black. 

Temperament of the Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan terrier is a gentle, extremely intelligent, loving, sweet dog that is also fun, lively, and willful at times.  They love human companionship, so dislike being alone and are extremely dedicated to family, but usually reserved and cautious with people they do not know.  They make a wonderful pet for considerate, older, children that will not pester or tease this sensitive dog.  Tibetan terriers like to bark, so they make great watchdogs.


Grooming & Shedding of a Tibetan Terrier

The double, long coat of Tibetan terriers require regular maintenance, which includes brushing three, or four times a week to prevent tangles and removing loose hair.  Always mist their dry coats with water and conditioner before brushing to make grooming easier for both you and the dog.  They need extra attention given to their hindquarters, beard, and under the leg joints where matting occurs most often.  Tibetan terriers require regular baths a couple times monthly.  Clip the hair on their feet between the pads and remove excess hair inside their ears.  If they are not show dogs, clipping the Tibetan terrier short in the summer is acceptable.  The Tibetan terrier sheds very little or no hair when kept well groomed.  


History of the Tibetan Terrier Breed

The Tibetan terrier is an ancient breed of dog.  Bred in Lamaist monasteries in the Himalayas almost two thousand years ago, they became adapted to the harsh Tibetan climate.  Unlike most dog breeds that were workers, the Tibetan terriers were companion dogs and known as holy dogs or luck bringers.  Nobody every sold their ‘good luck’ Tibetan terriers because they feared tempting fate but they did give some dogs as gifts of gratitude.  An Indian physician, Dr. A. Greg received a Tibetan terrier as gratitude for medical treatment, obtained additional dogs, and started breeding them.  The Tibetan terriers became recognized in India and then in England.  In the 1950s, the Tibetan terrier arrived in American and the American Kennel Club registered them in 1973.

Health Issues for the Tibetan Terrier

  • Major Concerns: lens luxation, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), ceroid lipofuscinosis
  • Minor Concerns: canine hip dysplasia, cataracts, patellar luxation
  • Occasionally seen: distichiasis
  • Suggested tests: hip, eye


Characteristics of the Tibetan Terrier


14-17 inches (36-43 cm.)


18-30 pounds (8.2-13.6 kg.)


12-15 years







Young Children


Need exercise space

No – with regular walks

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