Tibetan Terrier

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20-24 lbs
Dhokhi apso
The history of the Tibetan Terrier is uncertain due to the territory of its origin. These dogs were bred in the Lamaist monasteries located in the remote sections of the Himalayas nearly 2000 years ago. It is the result of thousands of years of natural adaptation to the harsh Tibetan climate.
herder, good luck, companion
Date of Origin
ancient times
companion, herding

Tibetan Terrier Health

Average Size
Height: 15-16 inches Weight: 20-24 lbs
Height: 15-16 inches Weight: 20-24 lbs
Major Concerns
  • PRA
  • Lens Luxation
  • Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • CHD
  • Cataract
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip

Tibetan Terrier Breed History

In fact, this breed is not a terrier, but was only named that because of the similar size. Unlike many breeds, the Tibetan terrier was kept as a companion, not a worker, although it did occasionally help out with chores such as herding. It was known as “luck bringers” or “holy dogs.” Legend states that an earthquake destroys the major access route into the “Lost Valley”, so any visitors were given a good luck dog for their return trip. No one ever sold their good luck, afraid of tempting fate, however sometimes the dogs were presented as a gift of gratitude. In 1920, Dr. A. Grieg, an Indian physician, was given a good luck dog as thanks for medical treatment. He was very interested in the breed and went about obtaining additional dogs for the purpose of breeding and promoting them. It slowly became recognized first in India, then England, and finally in America in the 1950s. It gained AKC registration in 1973 and is still somewhat of a rarity in Western countries.

Tibetan Terrier Breed Appearance

This medium-sized breed has a square-shape with a powerful build. Its most notable feature is its thick double coat, which consists of a soft, wooly undercoat and a heavy outer coat of long fine hair that can be either straight or slightly wavy. Its coat completely masks the dog from harsh climates, falling over its forehead and underneath its feet. Its flat feet act as snowshoes to help with traction in the snow. It is a well-balanced breed with an effortless gait. The Tibetan terrier’s bark is unique in that as it barks, the pitch and volume increase continually.

Tibetan Terrier Breed Maintenance

Because the Tibetan terrier has a long double coat, it requires regular maintenance and special care. Use a metal comb several times a week to remove knots and keep the fur free of tangles, and bathe when needed. This breed sheds twice yearly. Its ears must be kept clean and free from excessive hair growth, and the hair around its eyes should also be trimmed. The Tibetan terrier requires daily walks or runs on a leash or time in a safe area to run and explore. It is capable of living outdoors in modestly cool climates, however it is happier as an inside dog with access to a yard. These terriers are easy to train if spoken to in a calm and even manner. They react to the tone of its owners voice rather than the volume of it.

Tibetan Terrier Breed Activity Requirements

The Tibetan terrier is extremely intelligent, gentle, and extremely devoted to its family. It is just as happy with an afternoon snooze as it is with a romp in the park. This breed can be cautious, especially around strangers, however it is lively and friendly with those it knows. The Tibetan terrier is good with children; however it can be sensitive, so adults should ensure that kids don’t pester it.