Tibetan Terrier

20-24 lbs
Luck Bringer, Dokhi Apso, Tsang Apso, Holy Dog of Tibet, Lhasa Terrier, Darjeeling Terrier

This breed originated in Tibet over 2000 years ago. The Tibetan Terriers were bred to be companions for the monastery monks of Tibet.  The Tibetan nomadic herdsmen also used them to herd sheep. They were believed to bring good luck to their owners; therefore, they were given as gifts and never sold. The Tibetan Terrier is a fun loving, medium size dog with a wonderful disposition. The breed makes an excellent companion and therapy dog. The energy level of the Tibetan is moderate to high.  Therefore, they enjoy daily walks and do well in agility training. They are a healthy and hardy breed with a soft, double coat that requires daily combing to help prevent matting. Occasional grooming of the long fur is necessary. Monthly bathing is recommended for the breed.

purpose Purpose
herding, companion
history Date of Origin
ancient times
ancestry Ancestry
lhasa apso, shih tzu, north kunlun mountain dog, inner mongolian dog

Tibetan Terrier Health

Sketch of Tibetan Terrier
Average Size
Male Tibetan Terrier size stats
Height: 15-16 inches Weight: 20-25 lbs
Female Tibetan Terrier size stats
Height: 14-16 inches Weight: 20-24 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Lens Luxation
  • Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Heart Murmur
Minor Concerns
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Allergies
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Blood Test
  • Heart
  • Thyroid Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination

Tibetan Terrier Breed History

The Tibetan Terrier originally came from the Himalayan country of Tibet. They were bred by the Buddhist monks of the area. The monks would keep them as companions and watch dogs. Nomadic herdsmen also used the Tibetan Terrier to help herd their flocks on the high plains.  The Tibetan Terriers were considered good luck charms and were called “The Holy Dogs of Tibet”.  They were given as gifts in return for favors or when someone assisted them. The Tibetans never sold the breed as they were afraid that they would sell away their luck. They also believed that selling or mistreating the dog would bring bad luck to the whole village. The breed is not a true Terrier; they were given their name by European travelers who believed the dog resembled a Terrier in size. Dr. Greig, a British medical missionary brought the first Tibetan Terrier to England in 1922. She had been gifted a female puppy (Bunti), after she had successfully operated on a Tibetan woman. She then was given a second, male puppy (Rajah).  Bunti and Rajah had their first litter in 1924, which were registered as Lhasa Terriers. The Tibetan Terrier breed standard was created by the Kennel Club of India in 1930. Dr. Greig established the Lamleh Kennel in England and convinced the English Kennel Club to recognize the Tibetan Terrier in 1937.  In 1956 two Tibetan Terriers from Dr. Greig’s Kennel were imported to the United States. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973. Downton Abbey actress Lesley Nicol owns a Tibetan Terrier named Bertie.  She describes Bertie as a show-off, entertaining but a bit dramatic.  The National Dog show non-sporting breed winner in 2016 was a beautiful Tibetan Terrier named Clue.

Tibetan Terrier Breed Appearance

The Tibetan Terrier is a medium sized dog, which has a thick double coat.  The undercoat is very thick and wooly, the outer coat is long and may be wavy or straight. The Tibetan Terrier’s hair parts down the middle of his back. They may be white, gold, tricolor, brindle, silver, or black or may have a variety of other colors and patterns. They have large, wide set eyes that are dark in color. The Tibetan Terrier have pendant ears and a black nose.  Their tail is feathered and is carried over the back. The Tibetan terrier has teeth that have a scissors or reverse scissor bite. The Tibetan Terrier’s muzzle is strong. The lower jaw is well-developed and has a small amount of beard.  They have flat feet that have a snowshoe-like look.

Appearance of Tibetan Terrier
Eye Color Possibilities
brown Tibetan Terrier eyes
Nose Color Possibilities
black Tibetan Terrier nose
Coat Color Possibilities
black Tibetan Terrier coat
white Tibetan Terrier coat
pied Tibetan Terrier coat
gray Tibetan Terrier coat
brindle Tibetan Terrier coat
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Tibetan Terrier wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Tibetan Terrier Breed Maintenance

The Tibetan Terrier needs to be brushed daily to help prevent tangles and matted hair. The coat must be misted with water prior to brushing; if it is not pre-misted the hair breaks off. Some Tibetan Terrier owners prefer that their dogs are given a puppy cut. Nails should be trimmed monthly. Their ears should be checked weekly for wax build-up.  A veterinarian can help recommend an ear wash.  Their teeth should be brushed once a week to aid in preventing tartar buildup. The Tibetan Terrier has moderate to high energy, requiring daily exercise such as walks and runs. The breed does well in agility training and advanced obedience classes. If they get daily exercise they can adapt to apartment living.

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Brushes for Tibetan Terrier
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Tibetan Terrier requires daily brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Tibetan Terrier Temperament

It is important to socialize Tibetan Terriers when they are puppies.  Tibetan Terriers not exposed to other people and animals at a young age tend to be shy and reserved.  The breed enjoys and thrives being a companion. Their love of people and sweet, gentle temperament makes them excellent therapy dogs.  Unfortunately, they do not like being left alone for extended amounts of time. They can develop separation anxiety, although they are not excessive barkers. Tibetan Terriers enjoy treats and treats can be used as positive reinforcement when being trained.  The breed matures a bit slower than other dogs.  Therefore, patience is required during the puppy stage. When the breed matures, they are steadfast, intelligent and loyal. However, their intelligence and cleverness can lead them to be a little stubborn.  Overall the Tibetan Terrier is a charmer.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
7 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
30 minutes
activity minutes

Tibetan Terrier Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
2.2 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.20 - $1.40
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$34.00 - $45.00
food bag monthly cost

Tibetan Terrier Height & Weight

6 Months
Sketch of Tibetan Terrier at six months
Male Tibetan Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 11.5 inches Weight: 12.0 lbs
Female Tibetan Terrier size stats at six months
Height: 10.5 inches Weight: 11.5 lbs
12 Months
Sketch of Tibetan Terrier at 12 months
Male Tibetan Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 17.5 lbs
Female Tibetan Terrier size stats at 12 months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 17.0 lbs
18 Months
Sketch of Tibetan Terrier at 18 months
Male Tibetan Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 15.5 inches Weight: 22.5 lbs
Female Tibetan Terrier size stats at 18 months
Height: 15.0 inches Weight: 22.0 lbs

Top Tibetan Terrier Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Tibetan Terrier breeders of 2022.
Top Tibetan Terrier breeder Tibetan Terrier Kennel
Tibetan Terrier Kennel
Catharpin, Virginia
Top Tibetan Terrier breeder Dzine Tibetan Terriers
Dzine Tibetan Terriers
Jerseyville, Illinois
Top Tibetan Terrier breeder RInchen Tibetan Terriers
RInchen Tibetan Terriers
Brighton, Colorado
Top Tibetan Terrier breeder Domani Tibetan Terriers
Domani Tibetan Terriers
Lorton, Virginia
Top Tibetan Terrier breeder TriSong Tibetan Terriers & Pumik
TriSong Tibetan Terriers & Pumik
Magnolia, Texas
Top Tibetan Terrier breeder Euphoria® Tibetans
Euphoria® Tibetans
Quakertown, Pennsylvania
Top Tibetan Terrier breeder Indira Tibetan Terriers
Indira Tibetan Terriers
Delphi, Indiana

Tibetan Terrier Owner Experiences

8 Years
2 People
Tibetans are eminently trainable --they love tricks. But they have minds of their own, and that includes what other dogs they will tolerate. Unfortunately, we live in a city, and we encounter literally hundreds of dogs over the course of a month. We have an older dog and a puppy come up on one year. The puppy is friends with everyone but the older dog is standoffish, and sometimes aggressive. Mostly he ignores other dogs or allows a sniff, but there are some that drive him bananas -- for no apparent reason. Walking him, therefore, is a challenge. Have worked with a lot of trainers on this. No luck. Now the puppy is picking up the older dog's bad habits re other dogs. Frankly, I'm at my wit's end. The two Tibetans also fight over resources -- treats, visitors, meals. We are scrupulously careful about keeping them separate when we think they may be tempted to fight, but we make mistakes, and they go crazy. No damage done yet, but it looks like it could get serious. We are working with a good trainer and hope for the best. Tibetans are the cutest puppies in the world and people constantly ask what kind of dogs ours are, because they're so adorable. I would ask breeders to please be totally honest about how hard Tibetans can be to train, and how uncomfortable they may be in a busy urban environment. Also we should never have introduced a male puppy into our household, but the breeder (a very good one) assured us it was the best way to get a second dog. I was looking for an adult female rescue but couldn't find one. When I saw her adorable male puppy, I lost all my good sense and took him. It was not the right decision. Both dogs get tons of exercise (at least five miles total walks per day) and we work at home so they have lots of company. We have had other dogs over the years but the Tibetans are by far the most challenging.
4 years, 11 months ago
6 Years
3 People
House & Yard
Watson is my 3rd Tibetan Terrier/Lhasa. We home them for their entire life. Cindy, our first she was 8 when we adopted her and lived to a ripe old age of about 14 years. Our second was also an adoption found hiding behind a laundromat. This was in late Nov. the maintenance lady asked if we could take him home with him. So we named him Gladstone. He was a loving, companion he chose me as his person. He continued to live with us about 12 years. Now we have Watson we adopted him from the Nashville TN ASPCA. He was 6 the week after we got him. He is by far the most affectionate, people loving, caring bundle of joy. Very intelligent. We are still using one word commands to find what he actually knows.
4 years, 10 months ago
Watson Reed
6 Years
3 People
House & Yard
Watson is out 3rd Lhasa. The other two, Cindy was adopted, Gladstone was a rescue and Watson is adopted from the Nashville TN ASPCA.
4 years, 10 months ago
4 Years
6 People
Play keep away
Dog Parks
He's a lovey boy who will climb on you when he wants attention.
4 years, 6 months ago
9 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Reese is the most loving, loyal, intelligent & beautiful boy. He is both active & docile, depending on the given activity level at home. He easily learns tasks/phrases. He is great with grooming. Loves his adopted 'whacky' terrier-mix brother from another mother, & his adopted feline sister. I have had dogs throughout my life & loved them dearly, but my TT Reese is human-like, which many people have said that to me...he is just amazing! He loves his special place to lay & keep an eye on the outside world, & has been our self-appointed guard dog from the day we brought him home! Everyone loves my beautiful Reese, but I truly would not take all the money in the world for him...he is a once-in-a-lifetime, loving companion that came into my life when I needed him most, & he stole my heart! 💙🐕💙
3 years, 5 months ago
1 Year
2 People
Tibetan terriers are excellent problemsolvers. Today mine learned how to climb on the counters to get to the cat food bowls on the fridge. She is cautious of strangers, and often barks at people she doesn't know. She hasa tendency to wander, and can't be let off leash. She is the most affectionate and loving dog I've ever had. You can't beat a Tibetan terrier for loyalty. She's been to puppy classes, and picks up new skills very quickly, but only followed commands if she sees a reason to (i.e. the treats are good enough.)
2 years, 10 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Other

I am letting my Tibetan terrier‘s coat grow long. I noticed that the picture on your website shows the hair/fall pulled back and clipped in place. Can you please tell me if there are clips that are specially made for dogs? I am concerned about my dog pulling it out and ingesting it..

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