Tibetan Terrier


History & Origin

As the name suggests, this dog breed comes from Tibet and it is one of the oldest in the world. Tibetan Terriers were purebred for centuries and perhaps even up to 2000 years. Buddhist monks kept them as companions. This is how they came by the name Holy Dog or Holy Dog of Tibet.

The monks believed Tibetan Terriers were lucky and that it was bad luck to harm the dogs. Owners gave Tibetan Terriers as gifts, in return for a favor or for services. The dogs could not be bought.

Tibetan Terriers also lived outside the monasteries. Nomadic herdsmen took them up into the mountains where they used to guard and herd goats.

Tibetan Terriers came to the West thanks to Dr. Agnes R.H. Greig. This doctor saved the wife of a Tibetan man, who gave her a Tibetan Terrier as thanks. The doctor found another male Tibetan Terrier and created a breeding program.

The dogs were called Lhasa Terriers at first (after the ancient capital of Tibet). But the Kennel Club of India later changed this to the Tibetan Terrier.

Despite their name, they are not real terriers. They only got the name because the dogs are about the same size as a terrier. But there is no terrier blood in the Tibetan Terrier.

The first Tibetan Terrier puppy came to America in 1956. The AKC recognized the dog breed in 1973.

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The Tibetan Terrier is a loyal, intelligent and very loving dog. Although it is called a terrier, it has none of the negative terrier traits. It has an even, gentle personality and likes to be around people.

Moreover, the Tibetan Terrier can be a one-person dog. While it fits into any family, these dogs tend to bond strongly with an owner. They are lovely with children but you may want to keep your eye on these dogs around small kids.

One of the best aspects of the Tibetan Terrier is that it can be kept in apartments. It is not a high-energy dog but will need a daily walk. Another key factor is that it does not like to be alone.

Tibetan Terriers are not dogs that want to be left to their own devices. Bored Tibetan Terriers may start barking too much and this can cause problems. On the other hand, these dogs are terrific guard dogs.

Keep in mind that Tibetan Terriers can be reserved around strangers. It is also advised that you socialize your Tibetan Terrier puppy with other animals. It will help if your dog gets to know other cats and dogs early on.

The dogs are lovable and sweet-tempered. They are used to close interaction with their owners and being a part of their lives. As such, they make great pets for elderly dog owners or anyone who likes dog companionship.

While Tibetan Terriers tolerate harsh weather conditions, they are not suitable for living outdoors.

tibetan terrier


nutrition and feeding


Your Tibetan Terrier puppy’s lifespan is between twelve to fifteen years if taken good care of. There are a few things to remember when caring for your Tibetan Terrier.


It is important to feed your Tibetan Terrier good food. There are many different products on the market and it can be confusing to choose one. If you decide to buy your dog food from a store, make sure that it is a properly balanced food.

You may ask yourself how you will know what the best food is. Always check the label – and the price. The cheaper foods are usually lower in quality. Rather buy a more expensive product and know your puppy is getting all his nutrients and minerals.

For your puppy to grow into an adult in peak physical shape, he needs to build strong bones and organs. This he will get from his food.  Many people think that humans and dogs can eat the same food. But this is completely wrong.

Dogs have a different digestive system to humans. Comparatively speaking, they need more protein and fewer carbohydrates. There are many studies about dog food and what diet is best for dogs.

Some people, for instance, think that a raw food diet is best for dogs. They believe that dogs are made to eat meat, like their ancestor, the wolf. But other experts say that eating grains are not unhealthy for dogs – but they need lots of protein too.

You can always check your dog’s stool to know if anything is wrong with his food. A dog should have firm poo. Your Tibetan Terrier should not be passing smelly gas. These are signs that his food is not right.


Young dogs don’t eat as much as older dogs. In the beginning, you will feed your Tibetan Terrier three to four times a day. It is a possible idea to start with a feeding schedule. Feed your puppy in the morning and at night.

You should give only a small amount of food at a time. The puppy’s stomach is very small and can’t process large amounts of food. The food is converted quickly to energy and within hours, he will be hungry again.

When your puppy is still growing, it will want to eat all the time. This is a sign of a healthy dog. Don’t feed your dog every time you think it is hungry; this is how weight problems develop. It is better to stick to set times for feeding.

If you want to change your puppy’s food, you need to change it slowly. Give a little bit of the normal food and gradually introduce the new food. Otherwise, the puppy could get an upset tummy.

You may think your dog is too thin. A rule of thumb is to feel the side if your dog. If you can just feel his ribs, your dog is the right weight. The ribs should not stick out. But if you can’t feel the ribs, then your dog may actually be overweight.

coat and grooming


Size and Coat

The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized dog. They weigh between 8 and 14kg and the female is usually smaller than the male.

The Tibetan Terrier looks more like a sheepdog because of its shaggy coat. It is one of its biggest attractions and gives the dog a friendly, cute look.

The coat is made up of a thick, double layer with a dense undercoat and a fine outer layer. This is because the Tibetan Terrier needed to withstand very cold conditions in Tibet.

The coat of the Tibetan Terrier should be long and wavy. The permitted colors are white, gold, tricolor, brindle, silver and black.

The hair of the coat is very soft. It is more like human hair than dog hair, some say!


The Tibetan Terrier needs to be brushed often, preferably daily. The long, beautiful coat needs to be kept clean and tangle-free. This is probably the biggest disadvantage of the breed.

Brushing the dog often is not only excellent for the coat, but for the skin too. It stimulates blood flow and removes dead hair, spreading natural oils.

Despite all that hair, Tibetan Terriers don’t shed much. If shedding is a problem, consider brushing your dog more. You could even spray the dog with a fine mist, to make brushing easier.

If you get into a routine of brushing your dog every day, your Tibetan Terrier will look the way it should. No stripping of the coat is necessary.

Other grooming aspects to keep in mind are the checking of ears and brushing of the teeth. The nails will need to be clipped every couple of weeks.



Exercise, Energy, and Activities

Your Tibetan Terrier is not the most energetic of dogs. But, having said that, it does need daily exercise. This could be a walk to the park or around the block.

They are perfectly happy indoors, spending time with you in the house. It would be a mistake, however, to expect this dog to be happy without getting his daily run.

For people who work all day, one suggestion is to take the dog outside soon after coming home. Younger dogs tend to have more energy and need the exercise. Dogs that don’t get out regularly, can display problem behavior.

In Tibetan Terriers, this can be barking too much or chewing on items like carpets, shoes, and clothing. When dogs start being naughty, it has to be considered if they are getting enough exercise. Often, it is simply a case of the dog not getting out enough.

The Tibetan Terrier has a quick mind and being by himself for long stretches can result in boredom. Dog experts often say there is no such thing as a bad dog – just a bad owner.

Training and Sleep/Rest

The Tibetan Terrier is a bright, little guy that likes to learn. They enjoy obedience training and can also do agility training.

Keep in mind that the Tibetan Terrier can be stubborn. More advanced training may, therefore, be a challenge.

Begin training your Tibetan Terrier when he is still small. Your dog should learn the word “no” and “good boy/girl”. You will use these words to reward them or to discourage them. Don’t yell at your puppy or use violence. Rather focus on being consistent in the way you treat him.

Housetraining may be the first lesson on the list. Getting your puppy to do his business outside will take some time. Take him outside soon after he has eaten or was drinking water. Always take him to the same spot and praise him when he has done a wee outside.

This process can take several weeks. It could even be months before he is properly housetrained. Admittedly, this is a frustrating time but be patient, eventually, all dogs get it.

Puppies are like babies; they need to sleep a lot. When they are a few weeks old, they can sleep for most of the day. Then, as they grow older, naptime will become shorter and shorter.

Where your Tibetan Terrier sleeps is also an issue. You could get them a bed and put it inside the house. Many people like sleeping with their dogs. Having your dog share your bed with you is a controversial topic.

Some people say it is wrong and others love to cuddle their dog in bed. Surprisingly, sleeping with your dog could have terrible consequences. Studies show that people who sleep with pets often don’t sleep well.

They complain their dog snores and that they need to take it out in the night. Many diseases are also transmitted from dogs to humans in this way.

For others, it is a hygienic thing. Dogs run around outside and then want to get into bed with you with giant, muddy paws.



Health Issues

A healthy Tibetan Terrier can have a lifespan of about 12 to 15 years.

The dog breed has no big issues but as with many purebred dogs, there are a few concerns. These tend to be in areas of the hips and eyes.

Watch out for hip dysplasia, luxating patella, progressive retinal atrophy, lens luxation, and cataracts.

Many Tibetan Terrier clubs advise people to buy the dogs only from reputable breeders. In this way, you can be sure that your puppy comes from a decent line of dogs. Tibetan Terrier breeders will test their dogs’ eyes and will have certificates to prove this.

The Canine Eye Registration Foundation and Orthopedic Foundation for Animals screens will pick up any potential eye trouble. If you know your puppy passed these tests, you will have peace of mind about its eyes in future.

Tibetan Terriers may also carry a disease called Batten disease in humans. This disease first shows up as night blindness and later dementia and sudden aggression can develop. There is not much you can do about it, but fortunately, this disease is rare.

To Sum Up

The Tibetan Terrier is a cheerful dog that brings a lot of joy to its owner. It is a relatively rare breed and buying a puppy can cost a bit of money.

However, many Tibetan Terrier owners will say that it is worth it. The dogs have such nice ways and playful natures that they end up becoming a part of the family. It is more than a dog; it is a friend for life.

No waiting then, there are puppies for all!

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