Tibetan Terrier

July 20, 2020 // 6 minute read

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Tibetan Terriers are small to medium-sized dogs bred to be companions and family dogs. The Tibetan Terrier has a beautiful, long coat that comes in various colors or color combinations. Colors should include white, gold, tricolor, brindle, silver, black, or white plus any other color. They also have dark, expressive eyes that are usually covered by their long hair.

Though they have terriers in their name, Tibetan dogs are not true Terriers. They are mild-mannered and friendly, making them adaptable to any home conditions. They also make great dogs for families with children, couples, or single. They are also a great dog choice for inexperienced owners.

Tibetan Terrier Breed

Tibetan Terrier Breed Statistics

Dog Breed GroupNon-Sporting
Breed SizeSmall to Medium
Height14-17 inches
Weight18-30 pounds (male); slightly smaller (female)
Lifespan15-16 years

Tibetan Terrier Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Tibetan Terrier History

Tibetan Terriers originated in the mountainous area of Tibet, also referred to as the roof of the world. These dogs were known to be prized companions of the Buddhist monks to which they were called, Holy Dog.

In Tibet, Tibetan Terriers are believed to bring luck. So, other than the Buddhist monks, nomadic herdsmen have them too, to guide their tents. And because these dogs are “good luck charms,” neither the monks nor herdsmen ever sold them. Instead, they are presented as gifts.

This dog breed may have remained kept from the whole world until a British Doctor received one as a gift for saving a Tibetan man’s wife. The doctor immediately fell in love with the dog that she received another Tibetan Terrier, which later bred a litter.

The dogs immediately became a hit with the British people. When they attached the name Terrier to the dogs, it stuck, although these dogs aren’t related to Terriers at any sort.

By 1930, the Kennel Club of India decided to write a breed standard, and seven years later, the Kennel Club of England recognized the breed.

It was only in 1956 when the first Tibetan Terrier was brought to the US. A year later, the Tibetan Terrier Club of America was formed, and by 1973, the American Kennel Club finally recognized the dog breed. Now, Tibetan Terriers rank 96th as the most popular dog breed in the US today.

Tibetan Terrier Temperament

The American Kennel Club describes the Tibetan Terriers as affectionate, loyal, and sensitive dogs. Although they have “terrier” on their name, these dogs are not true terriers. They are good-natured and act moderately in all respects.

As dogs with moderate temperaments, they are not too active nor too laid back. They adapt well to any living conditions or lifestyles.

These dogs are people and family-oriented. They love games, especially in participating in family activities. They are also dedicated and loving to family, but they also tend to act cautious or reserved towards strangers.

If you have little kids, Tibetan Terriers are not a danger to them at all. These dogs are known to be good with children and other pets. They make great playmates.

Tibetan Terriers will also make excellent watchdogs. Expect them to bark when someone suspicious enters your home, but once introduced, they will surely act friendly. Early socialization helps a lot in controlling any bad behavior towards anything new.

Training should also start early. They can be generally stubborn, so make sure you bring a lot of patience. Positive reinforcements will help a lot with your dog training. And in case you get irritated, don’t lash out in anger.

Tibetan Terrier Dog

Tibetan Terrier Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Tibetan Terriers are not picky eaters, but it’s essential to give them high-quality meals that will provide them the nutrients they need. It doesn’t matter if you give them home-cooked meals or dog food as long as they get the essential nutrients. Protein is an essential nutrient you must provide your Tibetan Terrier. You can get this from fresh animal meat such as chicken, lamb, or beef. Next is fat, which you may get from fish oils or chicken oils. Then, carbohydrates from whole grains and vitamins from fruits and vegetables. If you’re going to feed them with dog food, make sure to choose the premium quality ones. Proteins shouldn’t come from any by-products, and the dog food, in general, mustn’t contain fillers and additives that may be harmful to your dog.
  • Grooming: The Tibetan Terriers long coat sheds seasonally, but it requires a few times a week of brushing to maintain its beauty. You might also need to do this daily when shedding season comes. By brushing their coats, you can remove any dead hair, mats, and tangles. At the same time, you are also brushing out the dirt. This will also create a bonding moment between you and your Tibetan Terrier. Baths can be given once a month to keep it shiny and beautiful. Trimming is also recommended to keep your dog looking neat. Make sure to clean out the ears regularly to avoid infection. Nails should be kept short as long nails may cause pain and discomfort to your dog.
  • Exercise: Tibetan Terriers are not very active dogs, but they are also not couch potatoes. They will require a regular amount of activity, which might involve a few running in your backyard or daily walks. Some say breeders can match you with a Tibetan Terrier that fits your lifestyle. If you’re the type of person who loves outdoors, then find a Tibetan Terrier that loves it. If you like staying at home, then there’s a Tibetan Terrier for you too.
  • Health: Tibetan Terriers are generally healthy dogs with a long lifespan. However, they are still prone to some health conditions such as progressive retinal atrophy, lens luxation, and hip dysplasia. It’s essential to pay attention to your dog’s everyday behavior. If you observe any changes, take him to the vet for a check-up. This way, you’ll be able to detect any problems early.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Tibetan Terriers is 15-16 years.

Famous Tibetan Terriers

  • Bunti: The Tibetan Terrier given as a gift to the British doctor
  • Gremlin Cortina: The first Tibetan Terrier imported to the US

Tibetan Terrier

Fun Facts about Tibetan Terriers

  • Tibetan Terriers, as their name implies, are ancient dogs that originated from Tibet.
  • They are not true terriers; they are bred as companion dogs, not working dogs.
  • They are considered as “good luck charms” by the Tibetans.
  • They have flat, snowshoe-like feet.
  • Tibetans believed that mistreating a Tibetan Terrier will cause bad luck to the family and village.
  • They were introduced to the West by a British surgeon.
  • They love taking a bath.
  • They were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973.

Check Out Other Non-Sporting Dog Breeds:
American Eskimo Dog, Bichons Frises, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, Coton de Tulear, Dalmatian, Finnish Spitz, Keeshonden, Lhasa Apsos, Lowchen, Norwegian Lundehund, Schipperkes, Shiba Inu, Tibetan Spaniel, Xoloitzcuintli

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