Cute, friendly and of medium size, Tibetan terriers are fabulous pets which are good with children. They require regular grooming and plenty of exercise but are relatively easy to train. Ideal for life in the country or suburbia, these attractive and gregarious dogs have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Which breed group is the Tibetan terrier in?
Breed group: Utility
Tibetan terrier breed history
A hardy and robust dog which could handle the harsh conditions in the Himalayas, the Tibetan terrier boasts a long history. Legend has it that the dogs date back more than 2000 years and that their breeding line in Tibet has remained pure. Symbols of good fortune and known as the Holy Dogs of Tibet, the terriers were bred as companions, herders and watchdogs. Never sold but rather proffered as gifts by monks, Tibetan terriers were truly treasured.
In 1922, Dr. A.R.H Greig was gifted a Tibetan terrier after performing surgery on its owner in Tibet. She later acquired a second dog and bred the first litter to be born in Europe. The breed was first taken to the United States by Dr. Henry and Mrs Alice Murphy of Virginia. The Tibetan terrier was first recognised by the Kennel club in 1937 and by the American Kennel Club in 1973.
Tibetan terrier breed characteristics
A medium sized dog, the Tibetan is as long in the body as it is tall. These dogs boast a balanced appearance and are graced with a profuse coast which can be a variety of colours. Their large, dark brown eyes are nicely set apart and contribute to the terriers’ intelligent looks. Tibetans carry their heads proudly and they possess muscular necks. Their compact yet powerful bodies are complemented by strong back legs.
Tibetans carry their medium-length tails curled over their backs. Their impressive double coat features a woolly undercoat and profuse top coat which can be straight or wavy and a variety of colours.
Affectionate and playful dogs, Tibetans are rarely demanding and are good with other animals. However, their coat requires a copious amount of grooming and these dogs need a generous amount of exercise.
- Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Height: up to 41cm
- Weight: up to 14kg
- Powerfully built
- Large eyes
- Tails carried curled over the backs
- Double coat of various colours
- Straight or wavy coat
- Friendly nature
- Can be stubborn
- Need exercise and stimulation
Health issues with Tibetan terriers
This breed does suffer from several hereditary conditions. DNA tests are available for most of these and are worth considering when choosing a puppy, if test results are not made available by the breeder. The Tibetan terrier is prone to:
Progressive retinal atrophy
Primary lens luxation
Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia
Allergies - especially to fleas
What is the Tibetan terrier bred for?
In their native Tibet, these gorgeous terriers were bred as companions, herders and watchdogs. They were also used to retrieve items which had fallen down mountains. These days, the cheerful chappies are mostly bred as family pets and show dogs.
What sort of owners does the Tibetan terrier suit?
Friendly, affectionate and good with children, Tibetan terriers are excellent family pets. They are generally fun-loving dogs which can live happily in both the urban environment and the countryside. They are good watchdogs as they will bark at strangers but will not behave aggressively.
Intelligent and loyal, these dogs are relatively easy to train but possess a stubborn streak. They require regular grooming and lots of exercise and so are best suited to active owners with a generous amount of spare time. Tibetans can like the sound of their own voice a little too much and so barking should be addressed from an early age.
Tibetans are usually fine with other dogs but have a tendency to dominate their canine pals. They are good with cats which share their home but boast a high prey instinct which will cause them to chase other cats that they encounter.