Tibetan Terriers
Tibetan Terriers

Any comment on Tibet refers to myths & legend with the inaccessibility of the country being the major factor in this. There is no doubt, however that the Tibetan Terrier has his origins in Tibet. Various texts & research refer to his allegiance to the monks who dwelt in the monasteries situated on the high reaches of the mountain where he was a companion and guard dog. He is also said to have worked with the nomadic tribes of the lower valleys as a guard and herding dog. With descriptions of this ilk it is difficult to understand why he was classified as a terrier and is a misnomer that still provides a puzzle for some. In the UK, the Kennel Club place all dogs into one of the seven groups and the Tibetan Terrier belongs to the utility group.

Working in the precipitous mountain sides and snow covered valleys it was essential he had suitable protection and the typical Tibetan Terrier coat is a double one. An undercoat of fine woolly hair is overlain with a profuse coat of somewhat harsher texture. The terrain also demanded a dog of great agility and balance. The answer to this was to develop large flat feet, a required breed feature.

We are grateful that a number of people have taken it on themselves to delve into the history of the breed and there seems little point in repeating their well-documented research. References to some of these texts can be found at the bottom of the page.

The UK breed standard calls for a sturdy, medium-sized dog, long-haired, with a generally square outline that should characteristically be a lively, good natured, loyal companion dog. He should have an outgoing, alert, intelligent temperament.

Life with a Tibetan Terrier is typically hectic and demanding due to their desire to please but what is gained in return cannot be quantified. His engaging personality and willingness to adapt to all life styles makes him an irrepressible breed to own. He excels as a family pet and will join in with everything, invited or otherwise! Thanks to responsible breeding programs, they suffer few health problems and will often reach ages of 15 or 16 years old.

As with all breeds however is not for everyone. His coat will need extensive grooming and ia a major consideration. He is not a dog that enjoys being left alone and can protest noisily. Their natural boisterous demeanour will defeat all but the experienced owner if left unchecked. It plays to buy from responsible breeders who carry out BVA Kennel club tests on eyes, hips & have years of experience in breeding for type and temperament. Such breeders will provide you with proper diets for your puppy and should give advice on training, inoculations and offer calming words during those early days of acclimatisation.


For information on the books (see below) written about the Tibetan Terrier, some of which we occasionally stock, contact our Merchandise Secretary. Our club Secretary, Philippa Gilbert, may be able to answer queries on health issues or refer you to someone who can. You can also get such information at the Kennel Club.

Recommended Texts:

'The Tibetan Terrier' by Angel Mulliner (1977).
'Dogs From The Lost Valley' by Tony Johnson (1984).
'Your Guide To The Tibetan Terrier' by Emmy Manual (1984).
'Tibetan Terriers' by Ann Keleman (1994).
'Tibetan Terrier' by Juliette Cuncliffe (1991).
'Grooming The Tibetan Terrier' by Lesley Cooper.
'The Little People' by Hanne Mathias (signed).
'The Tibetan Terrier' by Tony Johnson (article in Dogs Monthly July 2006).


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