The Tibetan Terrier

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Tibetan Terrier
Weight: 18 — 30 lbs
Height: 15” — 16”
AKC Rank 2008 #94
Lifespan: 12—15 yrs
Group Non Sporting
Origin Tibet

Dog Breed Info - The Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan, ready for play time!
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Breed Overview

Origin: Ancient times. Original function: Herding, Companion dog. Today: Companion dog.

Several thousand years ago, the Tibetan was probably bred in monasteries by Lamaist Monks in the Lost Valley of Tibet. The Lost Valley was created by an earthquake that closed off the valley. The dogs were guides for visitors and considered good luck, or, “luck-bringers” and were never sold for any reason, but were kept as guides and companions and sometimes given as gifts of gratitude. Nomads of Tibet kept the dogs to herd their flocks and as good luck. Around 1920,. A Dr. A. Grieg was presented with a Tibetan as payment for treatment of a patient. Dr. Grieg took an interest in the breed and got hold of a few more dogs and bred them. From this breeding, supposedly came the Tibetan Spaniel, Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu breeds, all of which made their way to England in the early 1900’s and to America in the 1950’s. The Tibetan Terrier made AKC recognition in 1973. This dog is not a terrier. It’s name comes from the fact that it is about the same SIZE of a common terrier which seems kind of silly to me.


Yes, fairly trainable. Not as stubborn as many we’ve dealt with. Wants to please her humans so tries hard. What works very well with stubborn dogs is clicker training and positive reinforcement training. It's so simple to do and dogs react very well.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Tibetan Terriar? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Some Tibetan Terriers can be difficult to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

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Tibetan Terriers are not actually terriers but they do lean toward alpha dogs and will try every way to control the household. The breed is known to be gentle, peaceful and friendly, but they do tend to suffer with separation anxiety which can be dealt with if you put a little time into the problem.

Since almost forever, they have been companion dogs. This works by the family dominating and the dog knowing it is the submissive member. This is a lively, agile, fun-filled, dependable pooch who is affectionate, loves a good time and wants lots of clean exercise. She’s a bit sensitive but always willing to please her people. The Tibetan Terrier loves to bark and it takes a strong leader to quiet her down and keep her under control. Some are prone to separation anxiety. A lot of how this dog reacts depends on how well it was socialized as a puppy.

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Somewhat. She will pick and choose her dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Maybe. Best of she is raised with other pets. She might blend in with existing cats and dogs if introduced gradually and on common ground.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Maybe—Can be wary of strangers but is not “un-friendly.”


Quite playful. Plenty of energy, a bit frisky, agile and likes to run around.


Yes, fairly affectionate.

Good with children?

Older, well-mannered children only. No tolerance for small, noisy, boisterous rambunctious kids.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Maybe. The Tibetan could be a good match for seniors. If the senior is into walking and maybe even some light jogging, this might be a good deal. The Tibetan Terrier is friendly, affectionate, devoted, loves to play and curl up on the couch so it sounds good.

Black and White Tibetan Terrier>
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Living environment

Apartment, house, farm okay as long as the dog gets out for some exercise several times a day.

Energy level

Moderate energy. On a scale, give the Tibetan Terrier 6 bars out of 10 for energy.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate . Several good walks or some running or jogging or playing a vigorous game of fetch in the yard. She likes to roam and explore new smells in the fields if possible.


Yes, Good. Has a loud and unique bark.

Guard dog

No. Falls short here. Not a guard dog.


Some in the spring.


Brush twice weekly. Use a medium bristle brush. Brush more often when shedding.


Suggested Reading For The Tibetan Terrier
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

  • 2nd book from the left is "A Dog Who's Always Welcome" and it teaches the way to take your Tibetan Terrier way beyond normal obedience training and into the world of THERAPY DOGS to become the worlds sweetest, most loved creature. Friends will look forward to his arrival for a visit

  • 3rd book on the left is "101 Dog Tricks" and the title says it all. There are so many things for the dog to learn in the book and it all stimulates and exercises the brain. It's healthy fun.

  • The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. Vol 2, 2008, includes a DVD.

Tibetan Terrier Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Tibetan Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Tibetan Terrier Breeders with puppies for sale.
You might want to go online and search for Tibetan Terrier Breeders or puppies, as there may be more breeders out there.

Tibetan Terrier Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Tibetan Terrier Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Tibetan Terrier RescueAt the time this is being typed, Petfinder is showing only 19 Tibe's available for adoption. That number is subject to change, but is an indicator. In the event you do adopt one, try to locate any dog health records and keep them for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you will likely need to surf the web for Tibetan Terrier Rescue groups or kennels to locate more to choose from.

Dog Health Issues For The Tibetan Terrier
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Tibetan by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the Tibetan Terrier and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking for the Tibetan Terrier. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. It’s most common in small and toy dogs. If your Tibetan Terrier has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar to humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

  • Ceroid lipofuscinosis—A recessive, heredity disease of the central nervous system found in many breeds of dogs for which there are no tests and no treatments. A waste (ceroid lipofuscin) accumulates in the Tibetan Terrier’s body causing destruction of brain cells which affect the central nervous system. Dogs are born with the condition and it takes 15 to 18 months before symptoms appear. The dog starts with aimless wandering and hyperactivity. The sessions of behavior change become more frequent and severe, including fear of familiar objects, snapping, biting and a general breakdown of the nervous patterns. Snapping and biting are probably the first signs you'll notice. Blindness will follow. Euthanasia is the only answer.

  • Lens luxation—Hereditary. Weak fibers holding the lens of the eye allow the lens to dislocate. The eye can not focus. This leads to painful, red eyes that tear a lot and can lead to Uveitis or Glaucoma if not treated right away. If detected early, surgery and medication might solve the problem.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive THYROID gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the Tibetan Terrier's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

Other health problems could occur with your Tibetan Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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