Tibetan Terriers are from Tibet, but they're not actually terriers. They're terrier-sized, but that's where the similarities end. These “Holy Dogs” were once considered bringers of luck by the Tibetan monks who bred and raised them. They also accompanied nomadic herders across frozen, high-altitude plateaus to protect their tents. Their broad, flat feet work similarly to snowshoes, helping these dogs navigate slippery, snowy terrain.
These days, though, Tibetan Terriers are more likely to be canine companions than tent guards. Some also work as therapy dogs.
Originally from Tibet, this medium-sized and medium-energy breed can grow to between 20-24 pounds and lives an average of 15-16 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Non-Sporting group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Herder, Companion
Breed Group: Non-Sporting
Average Lifespan: 15-16 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 91
FAMILY companion, herding
AREA OF ORIGIN Tibet
DATE OF ORIGIN ancient times
ORIGINAL FUNCTION herder, good luck, companion
TODAY'S FUNCTION companion
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 15-16 Weight: 20-24
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 15-16 Weight: 20-24
OTHER NAME Dhokhi apso
Energy level Medium energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Moderately playful
Affection level Very affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly
Friendliness toward other pets Friendly
Friendliness toward strangers Shy
Ease of training Moderately easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Not very protective
Grooming needs High maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A TIBETAN TERRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Affectionate Tibetan Terriers bond closely with their chosen people. They get along well with supervised children and will play well with other supervised dogs. This dog is very curious and occasionally mischievous; keep an eye out for her canine comedic stylings. This sensitive soul will be sympathetic toward her owners, but might be shy around strangers.
WHAT IS TIBETAN TERRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
This is a very active breed. Tibetan Terriers are agile and — as you might expect from a dog bred for guard work — very alert. Plan for brisk daily walks, energetic romps, and exploratory missions along local park paths. This breed will also joyfully keep you company on hikes or jogs.
Tibetan Terriers are often especially vocal; they'll be sure to let you know when they have something on their minds.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A TIBETAN TERRIER?
Tibetan Terriers are clever and somewhat stubborn dogs. Be patient and consistent while training this furry friend. Reward good behaviors with treats, play, and praise. This smarty-paws is easily bored, so keep training sessions short and fun; avoid repetition. Her wanderlust is real, though; be sure to restrict off-leash play to well-fenced, traffic-free areas.
If properly motivated, Tibetan Terriers excel in obedience, agility, and rally dog sports.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO TIBETAN TERRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Tibetan Terriers' distinctive, thick double coats are long and fine on the outside and woolly underneath. They are seasonal (though very infrequent) shedders who require weekly grooming. Plan to brush them regularly to prevent mats and tangles.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO TIBETAN TERRIERS HAVE?
As a breed, Tibetan Terriers are generally healthy. Some are prone to cancer, eye disease, deafness, slipping kneecaps, hip dysplasia, thyroid issues, and neurodegenerative disorders (that is, conditions caused by a progressive atrophy or death of the brain's nerve cells).
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE TIBETAN TERRIERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Tibetan Terriers among its breeds recommended for allergy sufferers.
You can reduce your furry friend's impact on your allergies with frequent baths and brushings to reduce loose hairs and aggravating proteins in your pet's dander. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your dog after you've been playing outside. Smaller dogs have less surface area, and so produce comparatively less dander than larger breeds — definitely something to keep in mind with a dog as small as a Tibetan Terrier! Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS A TIBETAN TERRIER'S BEST DAY?
Tibetan Terriers crave lots of playtime and lots of time with you. Find a well-fenced park to romp through and then take this devoted friend home with you for movies and cuddles.
SHOULD I ADOPT A TIBETAN TERRIER?
Tibetan Terriers are equally comfortable in warm and cool climates. For a dog with such luscious locks, their grooming requirements are consistent but perhaps less daunting than you might expect. They'll be happiest and healthiest in a home that provides plenty of exercise and lots of quality time with her people.
Have you decided that a Tibetan Terrier is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.