Tibetan Terrier

tibetan terrier dog in the snow

Tibetan Terrier At a Glance

Country of Origin:

Tibet (China)

Breed Group:

AKC (Non-Sporting); ANKC (Non Sporting); CKC (Non-Sporting); FCI (Companion and Toy); KC (Utility); UKC (Companion)


Medium. Weight: 18–30 lbs Height: 14–16 inches


Has a thick double coat.


Any Color or Combination of Colors except Chocolate and Liver

Life Span:

12 to 16 years

Breed Profile

Affection Level
Barking Tendencies
Cat Friendly
Cold Weather Tolerance
Exercise Needs
General Health
Grooming Needs
Hot Weather Tolerance
Kid Friendly
Shedding Level
Social Needs
Watchdog Ability

Did You Know?

The Tibetan Terrier was once called the Holy Dog in Tibet.

Tibetan Terrier Overview

The Tibetan Terrier, really a herding breed rather than terrier, is one of the oldest breeds of dog from Tibet. It is thought that this breed is the ancestor of many other popular dogs such as the Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu. The Tibetan Terrier developed around the same time as another popular breed, this dog breed, and was used to alert the Mastiffs to intruders on the farm.


Tibetan Terrier Characteristics

The Tibetan Terrier sports a shaggy, fluffy coat, much like that of the Lhasa Apso. The breed looks much similar to other herding breeds such as Old English Sheepdogs, albeit much smaller. Coats can be kept in a short “puppy” trim for ease of care, or left in a longer, natural state. The combination of coat, beard and calm eyes give them an almost “Benji” like quality.


Tibetan Terrier Temperament

They easily adapt to their surroundings. They are easy going, but can also be great with active families. The dogs are friendly, though may be alert and reserved around strangers. This dog breed may also protect his family as a watchdog and can be territorial if not socialized well with other dogs. He was bred to alert humans to things, so can be very vocal as well.

Chinook Dog


Tibetan Terrier Care

Breed lifespan is on average 12 to 16 years, good for their small size. Some health concerns include neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinosis (inherited neurologic disease), cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, primary lens luxation, luxating patellas, hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism. Careful selection of parents combined with good veterinary care can help them live a long and healthy life.


Tibetan Terrier Coat

They should be brushed or combed frequently, especially on the face, to prevent mats and tangles. The feet should also be trimmed to keep them neat and clean. Most owners have their terriers trimmed professionally or kept in a shorter “puppy cut” to make grooming easier and prevent matting. However, show dogs may have a long natural coat.


Tibetan Terrier Training

Eager to please and a faster learner, they will quickly pick up on obedience and other training. However, he may have an independent and stubborn streak, refusing to learn unless he feels it is in his best interest. Positive reward based training can motivate them into wanting to be an active learner.


Tibetan Terrier Activity

The Tibetan Terrier is adaptable and will do well with as much or as little exercise as an owner provides. They do well in both calm and active families, and will happily tag along on outings or other physical activities. For less active owners, this dog breed will happily remain a house pet as long as he gets to play some games to keep him occupied.

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