Tibetan Terrier History

All texts on the Tibetan Terrier refer to the part that Dr Greig had in introducing the breed to the world. She was a doctor who lived in India for a time and acquired a puppy from a patient she treated in 1922. Tibetan Terriers were never sold in those days but were given as gifts. The pup was called ‘Bunti’ which later become ‘Bunty’.

So much was Dr. Greig taken with the breed that she requested to show ‘Bunty’ at India’s Delhi Dog Show. As the judges had never seen a dog such as this before, they suggested that she obtained a mate and produce 3 generations to see if the dog bred true. After acquiring a male from Tibet called ‘Rajah’, her first litter of Tibetan Terriers were born on Christmas Day 1924 in India. A repeat mating saw a second litter born on July 25th.

In 1926 Dr. Greig returned home to England with three Tibetan Terriers, ‘Bunty’, ‘Chota Tuka’ (a bitch from the first litter) and ‘Ja-Haz’, a male from the second litter. In 1927, in England, ‘Bunty’ was mated to her son, ‘Ja-Haz’ and the first litter of Tibetan Terriers were born in England. Dr.Grieg returned to India and took with her a male pup from this litter called ‘Mr Binks’. He became the first TT World Champion winning 4 Challenge Certificates.

On one of her trips back to England Dr. Greig showed a Tibetan Terrier at the famous London based Crufts Dog Show. ‘Thoombay of Ladkok’ was a handsome white dog that had been born in a Tibetan Monastery. He eventually became the first Tibetan Terrier English Champion at the tender age of 10!

From the 1930’s Dr Greig, now back in England, developed the breed along with her mother under the affixes of Lamleh and Ladkok. They caused some controversy, some say, by sending much of their best stock abroad which, it is claimed, held back the Tibetan Terrier’s progress in the UK. Although she was instrumental in the gaining of Kennel Club recognition for the breed, she was at the same time vehemently opposed to the ‘glamour’ side of dog showing. Her idea of a Tibetan Terrier was that of a working dog with a short rugged coat in keeping with this profile and this is how she showed hers. Dr Greig died in 1972 and so missed the surge in popularity that the breed was about to make.

Following the Second World War, a Tibetan Terrier Club was formed in 1956 and a prominent breeder at the time was Constance Downey who founded the Luneville Kennel. The kennel prospered through the 50s and 60s but the breed’s popularity did not improve significantly until the 70s. Breeders such as Hedley and Sally Kerman and Paul and Janet Catania, whose kennels were Tsangpo and Ritashi respectively, began to get the breed noticed around this period.

Many recognise the next stage as being instigated by Terry Young and Paul Stanton who showed and presented their dogs in a new fashion mostly copied today. They showed a dog, Dokham Cavarodossi Of Tintavon, bred by Graham & Eleanor Newell and brought the breed much fame. The dog’s litter sister, Dokham La Calisto, owned and shown by Ken & Betty Rawlings of the Antartica Kennel, also achieved much success. The Tibetan Terrier was now a show dog capable of taking on his contemporaries and beating them.

Since those days the breed has been in mostly good hands. There are now two breed clubs in the UK who encourage the practice of only using breeding stock that carries Kennel Club/BVA approved eye and hip certificates. Both clubs have lists of approved breeders and hold seminars and activities to help educate and support those who have the best interests of the breed at heart. The incidences of PRA (Progressive Retina Atrophy) and PLL (Primary Lens Luxation) are negligible. In 2008, the Breed Mean Reading (BMR) BVA Hip Score for Tibetan Terriers in the UK was given as 12. Breeders in the UK deserve credit for their part in achieving this score which compares favourably with most breeds and is better than many. Those same breeders of course will be striving hard to improve on these readings.

Since those awakening days of the 70s, various kennels have come about to cater for the increased popularity of the breed and some still achieve success today. Anyone interested in such matters need only study results in shows, research catalogues or read previously referred to texts to get an idea of past and present successful kennels. At club events, members are free to study the club’s archives at their leisure. Another incredible resource is www.whosthattt.co.uk/.

It is contentious to produce a list of prominent dogs of the past as all lists vary but the list could include in addition to those previously mentioned, in no particular order and certainly not exhaustive, Ch Hardacre Black Bell, Ch Hardacre Auro, Ch Dolby of Alilah, Ch Alilah Konkeah of Araki, Ch Willowbrae Willow, Ch Hotang Heruka of Willowbrae, Ch Dokham Fasolt of Jemecs, Ch Araki Fressia Assets, Ch Acquisitor of Araki at Tuckles, Ch Veronys Super Trouper.

Perhaps the breed achieved the ultimate accolade in 2007 and firmly cemented it’s place in the dog world, if there was ever a doubt, when the Crufts BIS Winner was declared as Araki Fabulous Willy. From it’s humble beginnings in far off Tibet, The Tibetan Terrier has certainly come a long way. His undoubted charisma is guaranteed to make his journey last for some time to come.

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