The Tibetan Terrier is a healthy and robust breed of dog, with an endearing nature and willingness to please.  They have few health problems.  Originating from Tibet where there are extremes of weather and terrain, they had to be a healthy breed to thrive.  In Tibet they worked as herding animals.  On narrow paths they would skip over the backs of the stock to gain the best position to carry out their work.  There are tales of them being used to retrieve dropped items from the mountain sides, showing their agility and intelligence.  They were also guard animals, they would raise the alarm, by barking, but would have to wait for the Tibetan Mastiff to arrive and carry through the threat.

They do have health issues like any pedigree,  cross-breed,  or multi breed  dog.  However, diligent and responsible breeding over the past 50 years in the UK have lead to these being minimal.  The founder club has kept health records since its inception.  Now the T.T.B.O.C.  along with the T.T.A. work very closely together to promote healthy dogs and sensible breeding practices.   The breed standard for the Tibetan Terrier has always stated that they should be without exaggeration and this can only support the breeding of healthy animals.

The breed clubs have been supporting the Animal Health Trust (A.H.T.) in its work to produce D.N.A. tests for hereditary conditions and congratulate them on the tests for Neuronal  Ceroid Lipofuscinosis  (N.C.L.) and Primary Lens Luxation (P.L.L.), two forms of Progressive retinal atrophy, these are classified as R.D.4 and PRA3,  currently available from the A.H.T. 

Breeders today are encouraged to test for all four of these conditions, except where the dog is already proved to be hereditarily clear of the condition.

We also hip score our breeding dogs for Hip Dysplasia via an x-ray at 12 months or over. Although there is believed to be some hereditary element to hip problems, there are other  issues that may influence hip development such as diet, exercise, and injury. Currently the breed average score is around 12 and it follows that the lower the score the  better the  hip joint.  The score ranges form 0-106.

All breeders should carry out annual eye testing  of their breeding Tibetan Terriers via the recognised B.V.A. scheme.

In addition breeders will look at inbreeding co-efficient and estimated breeding values when choosing mating pairs.

However, to put things into perspective of all the animals bred there are few reported incidents of clinically affected animals for any of the conditions mentioned and with careful breeding these numbers will reduce again.Like any living beings, Tibetan Terriers can suffer injury.  Together with the wear and tear of old age, other illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems and a few other conditions, have been presented but certainly in no exceptional numbers.

There are no laws in place governing the health tests that breeders carry out.   The T.T.B.O.C. would encourage you to purchase puppies from adults that have had a minimum of the scheduled tests for Tibetan Terriers under the K.C. Assured Breeders Scheme, whether or not they are members of the scheme.

The Kennel Club website has a wealth of information for those wishing to purchase a puppy of any breed, and also for breeders of dogs.

If you would like further information on any of the above please contact any committee member whose details are on the committee page.

Updated September 2020.

Joint Health Statement

It is with regret that we have to inform you that an inherited condition called Pituitary Dwarfism has been diagnosed in Tibetan Terriers. It is a very debilitating condition which affects very young pups causing them to fail to thrive shortly after birth or where they do survive, they fail to grow to normal size along with the possibility of major organ failure and premature death.

This condition has been identified in German Shepherd dogs with a simple recessive mode of inheritance which means that it is caused by a single mutation of a gene.  It is the same mode of inheritance as that of PLL, NCL, and PRA all of which we as a breed have dealt with in a very positive manner in order to produce healthier dogs and to reduce any suffering. It is hoped that we can embrace this new finding in the same manner for the benefit of the breed.

At present the test available for GSD’S is indicating the mutation is the same for TT’s. Of the TT’s tested so far affected dogs are showing two copies of the mutant gene and carriers are showing one.

We are strongly advising in these early days, whilst we become aware of the frequency and prevalence of the mutation that testing for Pituitary Dwarfism is done prior to any mating.

Tests can be ordered from  .  We have negotiated a price reduction its original price of £48 to £36 for a period of 3 months to support the breed at this stage.

Yet again this is a difficult time for breeders but we know that by supporting each other with care and compassion we will work to making our beloved breed a better and healthier one.

Pat Tempest TTA Chairman, Breed Health Coordinator

Philippa Gilbert TTBOC Chairman

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