The Tibetan Terrier: A Guide To A Dog Breed That's Ready For Everything

The Tibetan Terrier: A Guide To A Dog Breed That's Ready For Everything
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Are you feeling down on your luck and in need of a friend who can help turn your fortunes around? The Tibetan Terrier is the perfect companion who will bring a big smile to your face and fill your life with plenty of joy.


Tibetan Terriers are not part of the terrier dog group, but they make excellent family pets who will be gentle with children and shower them with affection. Ancient Tibet monasteries believed this dog was a symbol of good luck. If you have been dealing with good luck recently, it may be because of your Tibetan Terrier!


If you recently obtained a Tibetan Terrier or are looking to adopt one, this guide will prepare you to provide the best loving home for your pet. Read on further to learn more about one of the most sought-after dog breeds in the pet community.



Tibetan Terrier Characteristics (Physical)

Tibetan Terriers belong to the non-sporting breed group, which contains dogs with different physical traits. Their long and elegant coat is immediately recognizable. Underneath all that hair lies the Tibetan Terrier's physical features that are praised by dog lovers everywhere.


One way to ensure you are adopting a purebred dog is by ensuring it meets the breed's physical standards established by the American Kennel Club (AKC). Learning about the Tibetan Terrier dog's features can help you determine if your mixed breed shares any of its physical traits also.


  • Head: Tibetan Terriers have black noses and eyes which are protected by their long eyelashes. Their jaws are even with a beard of hair. The top of the head has hair falling forward, which can be trimmed or accessorized with bows or hair clips.
  • Body: The dog's neck is proportioned with the head and the compact body. It has sprung ribs with a topline that is leveled.
  • Limbs: Its front legs are straight when viewed from the front side and well-muscled. The hind legs are also strong and slightly longer than the front legs. Tibetan Terriers have giant round-sized think paws that provide them with traction.
  • Tail: The tail is long and also feathered with hair. It rises above the back and slightly leans to either side.



sad terrier overlooking dead leaves



Tibetan Terrier Dog Breed Size

The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized dog that does not take up a lot of space, making it an ideal candidate for apartments. This dog breed can grow up to 14 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 20 to 24 pounds.


Male dogs are slightly bigger than female dogs. The Tibetan Terrier puppy's size depends on its parents' genetics, diet, and the amount of exercise they receive. Always be mindful of how much food and treats you provide your pet to prevent them from becoming overweight.



Tibetan Terrier Personality

People seek the rare Tibetan Terrier breed as a pet, not only because of its amazing appearance but because of its favorable temperament. Every dog can have a one-of-a-kind personality that develops from puppyhood up until it is a senior dog.


When you adopt a Tibetan Terrier from a rescue, it may act shy at first. It will begin to show more of its character as it grows more trust and confidence with its adopted family. Here are some of the character traits that are commonly seen in this breed.


Gentle and Kind

Tibetan Terriers have warm-hearted natures and enjoy spending as much time as possible with their families. They are benevolent pets who easily get along with children and senior people too!


These dogs enjoy being around their families so much that they can experience separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. If you are going on long trips, plan accordingly and hire a dog sitter or leave your canine at a dog daycare, so it does not become lonely. Tibetan Terriers are friendly and can get along with other dogs and pets as well.



Hundreds of years ago, groups of people traveling across the snowy plateau of Tibet relied on the Tibetan Terrier to watch their caravan while they slept. They still serve that role today at many homes. One of their favorite places to rest inside a home are areas with an overlook where it can stay observant.


These dogs can act aloof around strangers, so they are better watchdogs than guard dogs. They are not afraid to bark if they see and hear someone or something approaching their territory.


Playful and Adventurous

The Tibetan Terrier breed group is eager to please their families by being fun-loving. Tibetan Terrier dogs are active and are the perfect companion to take on walks or long hikes.


Since this dog can tolerate cold weather, he can play outside in the snow with the family. Playtime is also a great form of exercise for the Tibetan Terrier.



Tibetan Terrier Dog Breed Exercise

The more exercise your Tibetan Terrier receives, the happier it will be. Dogs that do not receive enough opportunities to expand their energy and stay mentally stimulated are more likely to display unwanted behavior.


Inactive Tibetan Terriers can chew up furniture and shoes to relieve themselves of boredom. According to a study by the British Veterinary Association, dogs that are not exercising enough are more prone to stress.


A couple of 15-minute walks or a combination of dog sports spread throughout the day will keep your Tibetan Terrier feeling satisfied with its physical activity needs. Dog treat puzzle games are an excellent way to keep your dog mentally stimulated.

Dog exercise is a fun activity that the whole family can participate in. Here are some activities to engage with your dog:


  • Walking
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Fetch
  • Tug-o-War
  • Dog Sports


Training is also another form of exercise that also helps increase the bond between dog and owner.



Tibetan Terrier Training

Training your Tibetan Terrier is necessary if you want a well-disciplined dog that can obey commands. Positive reinforcement is highly recommended. Dog treats are helpful and can be fed to your dog throughout training.


Tibetan Terriers are smart and are easier to train than other dog breeds. It is essential to be patient with your dog as you train it.


Dogs never stop learning, even as they get older. The more time and effort you put into your dog's training, the more well-behaved it will become.


Always establish yourself as the voice of authority in your Tibetan Terrier will not take your training sessions seriously. Never punish the dog physically or scream at it because your dog will end up afraid of you. Use body language and vocal cues to show your dog that certain behaviors will not be tolerated.



filthy terrier covered in mud




If you want your Tibetan Terrier to become even more people-friendly, then socialization training will help it feel more comfortable around guests, your kid's friends, and even delivery people. Socialization is essential for a puppy and an older Tibetan Terrier.


The vital time to train your puppy and slowly introduce it to new people and pets is between three weeks to five months. Tibetan Terrier puppies like exploring the world around them, so it is important to slowly introduce them to new sounds and sights to avoid overwhelming them.


One of the best ways to socialize your older Tibetan Terrier is through daily walks. With dog walks, you can work on lowering leash aggression and help your dog become exposed to new pets and people.


Related: How to Socialize a Dog No Matter the Age, Breed, or Aggression Level


Obedience Training

Without obedience training, most dogs will misbehave and feel like the alphas of their family. Teaching your Tibetan Terrier puppy simple commands like "sit" or "come" will benefit its behavior around family members and friends.


Once your dog has learned simple commands, you can train it to learn advanced commands like rolling over or shaking your hand with its paw. There is no such thing as a dog that is too old to learn new tricks. The senior Tibetan Terrier you adopted is also capable of learning commands as well.


Crate Training

Since Tibetan Terriers enjoy spending time indoors, crate training is important with potty training and provides your dog with a space of its own. A dog can feel at ease inside a crate when it becomes scared of loud noises like fireworks and thunderstorms.


Use positive association to help your puppy or senior dog feel calmer around the crate. Avoid leaving your Tibetan Terrier in a crate for the majority day since it will become anxious due to lack of exercise and human interaction.


Dog Competitions

Training your Tibetan Terrier for dog sports or dog pageant competitions is one of the best ways to exercise your dog and provide it with mental stimulation. If your dog had an easy time with obedience training, obedience competitions are a great way to show off and receive awards for your dog's skills.


Dog owners who take their Tibetan Terriers for runs, or long hikes can enroll in agility events to test their dog's running skills with other dog breeds. This dog breed has strong legs that enable it to jump twice its size. This can give it an edge in obstacle competitions.



Tibetan Terrier Dog Breed History

Tibetan Terriers can trace their origin 2000 years ago when Buddhist monks kept them in the remote monasteries of the Himalayas. The dog's purpose was to act as a watchdog, companion, and lucky charm. This breed group is referred to as the Holy dog of Tibet, thanks to its Tibetan roots.


These dogs are cherished as good luck charms; their owners would not sell them but instead gift them for a service or as an esteemed gift. Tibetan Terriers served their roles in this region for hundreds of years, where locals call it "Tsang Apso" or "Dokhi Apso."


Tibetan Terriers remain a rare dog breed and would have been even rarer if they were not introduced to the western world. In 1922, a British doctor received a white and gold coat-colored Tibetan Terrier from a Tibetan man after successfully operating on his wife. She then received another puppy and brought them to England, where she started her own Tibetan Terrier breeding operation.


A few years later, the doctor's first litter was born and registered as Lamleh Terriers. In 1930, the Kennel Club of India officially recognized and named this dog breed after terriers due to their size similarities. The United Kennel Club eventually recognized the breed in 1937.


Almost two decades later, Tibetan Terriers were introduced to the United States by a couple in Virginia who brought the dogs over from the doctor's kennel in England. The couple founded the Tibetan Terrier Club of America and helped the breed become recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973.


In the present day, Tibetan Terriers are a part of homes in most parts of the world and can sometimes be seen televised on dog shows or competitions.



Common Health Problems Found in the Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan Terriers have a life span of 12 to 15 years. One of the best ways to ensure your dog lives a long and healthy life is by becoming informed on common health problems found in this dog breed.


Because some health conditions are passed down genetically, always request the medical history of a Tibetan Terrier you are seeking to purchase or adopt. Yearly check-ups to a veterinarian can help you stay on top of any potential health risks your dog may have. Here are some common health issues in Tibetan Terriers:


Sight Issues

Despite only seeing color on a blue-yellow spectrum, dogs have an excellent vision that allows them to see the depth and during the nighttime. Some Tibetan Terriers are prone to a few health issues associated with vision.


Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a medical condition where the photoreceptor cells in a dog's retina deteriorate and eventually cause blindness. Lens Luxation is another vision condition that can cause blindness. A blind dog can still live a healthy life by relying on its other senses and with assistance from its owner.


Limited Movement

Tibetan Terriers have a high energy level and rely on movement to get around. Some Tibetan Terriers can develop hip dysplasia, which affects the bones connected to its hip socket.


Patellar Luxation is a condition where the knee cap becomes dislocated. Both of these defects can limit your dog's movement but can be addressed and treated with the help of a vet.


Skin Conditions

Tibetan Terriers have a long coat that becomes tangled and filled mats that are not easy to remove. Untangling your dog's hair can be an uncomfortable experience for them. Some dogs are prone to allergy which can trigger itchy skin.


Ticks, fleas, and mites can latch onto your dog's double coat and feed off its skin, causing unpleasant symptoms like dry skin, swelling, and redness. Keeping your dog groomed and bathed with an appropriate shampoo can help protect its skin.


Although these health conditions are more common than other issues, the chances of your Tibetan Terrier developing them throughout its life span are very low.



terrier running through snow



How to Care for a Tibetan Terrier

Tibetan Terriers provide non-stop love and affection, and in return, they should receive the best care possible. Make sure your dog has access to food, water, and a place to sleep. Dedicate time every week to groom it and make sure it is meeting its daily exercise needs to keep it happy and cared for.


This dog is known for being a great jumper so keep it from running away in a high fence. Tibetan Terriers prefer being inside where they can interact with their family. A Tibetan Terrier kept outside in an isolated setting will become unhappy.


Make sure your Tibetan Terrier is vaccinated to avoid health concerns. If, by some misfortune, your dog escapes your property, microchipping it is one great way to locate it right away.



Nutrition and Feeding for a Tibetan Terrier

The amount of food your Tibetan Terrier requires a day depends on its age, size, and metabolism. On average, you should feed your dog one and one-eighth to one and one-half of a cup of dry dog food split between two servings a day.


Provide your Tibetan Terrier with all-natural dog food that is rich in protein, nutrients, and vitamins that support their health. With so many dog food selections, avoid the dog food brands that contain low-quality ingredients like artificial flavors, mystery meat protein, and unsuitable preservatives.


Tibetan Terriers can also enjoy human food, but not all of it is safe. Common household food items like chocolate, garlic, and onions can cause gastrointestinal issues with your dog.


Use fruits, like blackberries and bananas, as an alternative for doggy treats. If you plan to provide a home-cooked meal to your Tibetan Terrier, consult with a professional veterinary nutritionist to develop a meal plan.


Choose the correctly sized ceramic bowl for food and water instead of plastic. Plastic bowls can be prone to bacteria, and some dogs might even chew up their plastic bowls. Always keep its water bowl full of fresh water instead of water from the sink, which might be contaminated with harmful minerals.



Coat Color And Grooming

The Tibetan Terrier has a double coat, popular in the dog community. Although it takes time and effort to keep it looking good, grooming your Tibetan Terrier is a must!


The coat is long, and the hair can be wavy or straight, but it should never reach the floor. This dog has a soft undercoat that aids in protecting it from snowy weather. Its fur is hypoallergenic, meaning it may not trigger allergies in people.


The coat of the Tibetan Terrier can come in white, black, tricolor, gold, silver, and more. The possibilities of different coat colors appear when a litter of Tibetan Terriers is born. Here are a few things to get your dog groomed properly.


  • Brushing and Bathing: The longer your dog's coat, the more frequent you should brush its coat to help remove old hair. On average, you might have to brush your Tibetan Terrier daily or a couple of times a week. Bathing your dog once a month is important in keeping its coat healthy and looking shiny.
  • Trimming: Overgrown nails and long hair can get in the way of your Tibetan Terrier's ability to play and move around. Check its nails once a month to keep them trimmed. You can trim your dog's hair or seek professional grooming services for your dog's haircut.
  • General Hygiene: Dogs with long hair sometimes get water stains around their eyes to mouths which can easily be wiped off. Use a soft cotton ball to remove any dirt and debris from its eyes and ears. Get your dog into the habit of having its teeth brushed to prevent dental issues later in its life span.



Children And Other Pets

If you live in a household with children and other pets, it should not be a problem for a Tibetan Terrier, which is friendly with kids and other animals. Socialization training plays a huge role in ensuring good behavior around friends and other pets.


If you have small children in your home, make sure they know how to properly handle a dog without accidentally hurting it or making it annoyed. Some people consider houseplants as pets. Some plants are mildly toxic to dogs, be sure to place your plants away from where your curious puppy can reach them.


Tibetan Terriers make good pets but for safety reasons, never leave your dog and small child alone without any supervision. If you are bringing a dog home for the first time, make sure to take turns playing with the dog to avoid it from feeling overwhelmed.



Tibetan Terrier Dog Rescue Groups

Tibetan Terrier dogs are rare, and some pet parents have an easier time adopting one from a rescue organization. You may find them in local city dog shelters. When looking to adopt, always seek a rescue group that can provide the documentation of your dog's behavior and health assessments.


One of the easiest ways to adopt a Tibetan Terrier is online. Websites like Petfinder and RescueMe are reputable sources when searching for Tibetan Terriers up for adoption.



Tibetan Terrier Dog Breed Organizations

The Tibetan Terrier puppy is one of the most adorable animals on the planet. If you seek a purebred, be ready to save and wait for the right one to become available.

One of the best ways to find a reputable breeder is through the Tibetan Terrier Club of America. This group has a breeder referral program through its websites that can help you find the perfect breed organization. Breeders associated with the program must meet the strict and transparent breeding guidelines established by the Tibetan Terrier Club.


Although there are plenty of professional breeders online, be mindful of groups with unethical business and breeding practices. Always seek the puppy's health assessments and certifications to ensure the puppy you are buying is a healthy dog.



More About the Tibetan Terrier

Being a dog owner is a huge responsibility, but it is also rewarding. Owning a Tibetan Terrier is one of the best decisions you can make because you are adopting a new family member that will provide you with plenty of happiness for years to come.


After reading this guide, you are more than ready to care for your Tibetan Terrier! You can always refer to this guide if there is something you might have forgotten about your Tibetan Terrier. If you want to know more about dogs in general, check out some of the other guides on HolistaPet!

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