The Tibetan Terrier is an ancient breed said to have originated in the Lost Valley of Tibet some 2,000 years ago.

Breed information

The Tibetan Terrier is a unique and charming breed. They are hardy enough to withstand the extremes of weather they faced in their native land of Tibet, strongly constructed to surmount the difficulties of the harsh, mountainous terrain, and have a high level of intelligence.

It should be clearly understood they are not true terriers, they have none of the terrier temperament, nor do they go to ground after their prey.

Tibetan Terriers are very much individuals with their own personalities. Typically they have a highly developed sense of humour, and are happy and outgoing souls with a zest for life. They like being included in all the family activities and are not content to merely become part of the background.

The breed is normally good with children, particularly when the have been raised with them. When first introducing dogs and children it is important both are closely supervised. Wise and gentle guidance will help foster the very best of lasting relationships.

The Tibetan Terrier is a double coated breed, and while they do shed, accumulation of hair on the carpet and furniture is minimal. The soft undercoat sheds into the topcoat which forms mats, therefore regular grooming is essential.

The typical TT is a excellent sentinel and while they do bark, they are not usually yappy. Most will become quiet once the owner has taken control of a situation.

Activity Level

In general, the mature TTs are not boisterous. They tend to be dignified creatures, although they may indulge themselves by having a mad-cap half hour now and again, and they are usually ready to join in a rough and tumble game whenever the opportunity arises.

The youngsters on the other hand, are an entirely different proposition. They have boundless energy and no shortage of ideas as to how to use it. All TT puppies arrive in the world with their fair share of original sin. They can push, pull, chew, run and jump with the best.

If you look closely at the construction of a Tibetan Terrier you will see that his hind legs are noticeably longer than his front ones, although they are angulated in such a way that his back remains level. This particular build gives him a effective "spring" together with the strength needed to tackle his original work in the precipitous mountain regions of Tibet. He is, therefore an expert jumper and may choose to demonstrate his skill by bounding effortlessly onto surfaces many times his own height. Luckily he has a miraculous sense of balance (TTs who missed their footing above the sheer rock faces in Tibet rarely survived to perfect their technique), and will land nonchalantly on top of the television or whatever, although this can be disconcerting to his owner. In the matter of jumping, and in other ways too, TTs can be remarkably cat-like in their actions.

Given the right kind of guidance, TTs quickly learn where they may, and may not, jump and will do their best to comply with the rules. On the occasions where they fail it just has to be remembered that leaping, to them, is as natural a form of progression as walking is to us.

Training

The Tibetan Terrier is very trainable provided he can see some point in what he is being asked to do and if training is approached in an understanding manner. 

Remember that for many centuries he has carried out responsible work on his own initiative. He is a self-reliant dog with an independent turn of mind and needs to work with his owner toward a mutually satisfying end. Those who consider that "training" a dog is a matter of browbeating him into submission will have no success whatsoever with a Tibetan Terrier. Successful training is dependent on the establishment of a close understanding relationship between owner and pupil. Where there is love, kind firmness and mutual respect, a TT will give of his best.

Good-humoured consistency will be necessary throughout the early stages of training. Tibetan Terriers will not immediately accept a rule and obey it unquestioningly ever after. They will test their owner in the same way that a child will, to find out just how far they can deviate from what is decreed and, being lateral thinkers, they will approach the problem from unexpected directions an unexpected times to see if you really do mean what you say. (Think again of the background of the breed. In Tibet a TT had to be something of an opportunist to survive. He has not lost the ability to take advantage of any loopholes or shortcuts that circumstances may offer!) Once the Tibetan Terrier has explored, and has accepted, the family rules, he will abide by them, though he will retain his capacity to use his own initiative if the situation warrants it.

Are Tibetan Terriers Hypoallergenic?

Tibetan Terriers are not officially a hypoallergenic dog.

Many people with allergies to animals can tolerate living with a TT, while others cannot. It depends on the degree of allergy that one has. It also depends on the exact source of the allergy. Some people are allergic to fur, in which case a TT might be ok for them, as TTs have hair, not fur. In more cases it is the amount of dander shed which is the main culprit, especially for those who suffer from asthma. Another thing to keep in mind is that a Tibetan Terrier coat can pick up a lot of dust, grass and dirt while they are out walking or playing in the yard!

If you have allergies and are seriously interested in pursuing whether a Tibetan Terrier will be a suitable match, visit a breeder to see if you have a reaction to the dogs. Go directly to the breeder's house without visiting any other dogs en route. Stay at least 20 to 30 minutes unless you have an attack. After the visit if you don't have an attack, avoid exposure to any other allergy-triggering sources for several hours to eliminate the possibility of a delayed reaction.

If you have allergies and choose to get a Tibetan Terrier, there are things you can do to help manage the situation such as daily grooming and bathing your dog weekly.

Grooming Requirements

Your Tibetan Terrier's coat will be very easy to maintain at first. All you will need is a soft pin-brush, a steel-tooth comb and a spray bottle containing water with a little conditioner and of course some nail clippers. 

Lie your dog on his side on a grooming table. Working in small rows, gently mist the area you are about to groom then brush the coat upwards with the pin-brush. If you encounter a tangle, gently pull the mat apart with your fingers and brush again. When you have finished brushing, work in small rows again and comb thoroughly but gently downwards. When you have completed one side, let your dog stand up and shake, then lightly brush the coat back into place. Lie your puppy down again and groom the other side the same way.

When your puppy is anywhere from 6 to 18 months old, he will go through a coat change. During this time you will need to groom DAILY to keep the coat mat-free. Coat change can last anywhere from a few weeks to many months. Once you are through coat change, weekly grooming is usually sufficient.

Tibetan Terriers should be bathed about once a month. Dogs that dig or roll in the dirt may require more frequent bathing. Be sure to completely dry and groom the coat immediately after a bath.

As much as we love seeing a TT in their glamourous coat, if you find it too difficult to keep your dog mat-free, it is kinder to keep him in a tidy trim such as the dog in the photo.

Hint: Be watchful of burrs/leaves/twigs after you have walked your dog in the woods or in a park, or even let them run around the yard. Get them out immediately or mats will form around them and create a grooming nightmare!

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the breed or are interested in a puppy, please contact Terri at:

(604) 857-0571   |   kyeri1@telus.net

Preparing for your puppy