Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan Terrier is considered to be one of the ancient dogs found through ancestry to be related to other Tibetan dogs dating back as early as 1100 BC. The studies have been conducted on the skeleton of dogs that were found in human settlements. However, confuses often arises when you are determining exactly which breed was crossed or how the evolution of these remote Tibetan dogs came to be.

As you may have already guessed, the Tibetan Terrier is not related to any type of terrier but derived the name from European travelers since the dog reminded them of the terriers from their home country.

The Tibetan Terrier has been seen as temple dogs, farm dogs, and of course non-sporting and companion dogs. In most instances throughout history, any of the Tibetan dogs including the Tibetan Terrier was a prized possession and were never sold but were given as gifts. The name for the Tibetan Terrier in his home country is Tsang Apso, which translates as close as can be translated into shaggy or bearded dog from the province of Tsang. However, others have called him the Dokhi Apso translated to mean outdoor Apso and Do Khyi Apso meaning bearded Tibetan Mastiff.


The Tibetan Terrier stands at 14 to 17 inches for both males and females and weigh around 18 to 30 pounds. Females are normally a bit smaller than the males. He is a medium sized dog with a double coat. The outer coat is abundant and fine whereas the undercoat is soft and wooly. The coat is found in either wavy or straight and should hang long but should not touch the ground. Any color coat is acceptable including white.

The eyes of the Tibetan Terrier are large, wide apart, and are dark brown, however, most people may believe they black. The eye rims should also be dark. The ears are pendant shaped and are feathered with a v shaped. The nose is always black while the teeth should meet in a level bite, a tight scissor bit, or a tight reverse scissor bite.

Their body is square, compact, and strong with a level back. The tail is heavily coated of medium length and is curled over their back falling to either side. Some have a small kink close to the tip.

The front legs are strong, straight, and have a heavy coat. The feet on both front and back are large, flat, and round that give them the same effect as wearing a snowshoe. The pads are also strong and thick with fur between the toes and pads. For health and safety reasons the hair between the toes should be trimmed even with the pads and the dewclaws can be removed if desired.


The Tibetan Terrier is a sweet, loving, gentle, active, and fun. He can be a bit wary of strangers but is very loyal to his owners. They tend to happy in every lifestyle whether city or country as long as they are given plenty of attention from their owners. They blend in with the lifestyle of their family and are quite content to lounge around the house or jog on the beach.

They are very intelligent and can be trained to do almost anything as long as the training is being done in a positive manner and consistent.

Most Tibetan Terriers do better with older children that treat them with respect instead of younger children that may tend to pull on their ears or try to drag them around.


Apartment life is not a problem with the Tibetan Terrier as long as he gets enough exercise. He might wish to lounge around on the couch with the rest of the family couch potatoes but it is not healthy for him or his master. Just running around a small yard will give him the right amount of exercise.

He will require quite a bit of grooming. You should brush his hair about every 2 to 3 days to prevent tangles and remove loose hair. When you give him a bath once every week not less than two weeks, do not brush his coat until it is completely dry or use a conditioner. After his bath, you should clip any excess hair from his ears and between the pads of his feet.


Unlike the Tibetan Spaniel that originated from the “Kitchen Midden Dog”, Professor Ludvic von Schulmuth studies show the Tibetan Terrier along with the Lhasa Apso and the Tibetan Mastiff come not from the Kitchen Midden Dog but from the Large Spitz Type dog that evolved into the “heavy headed dog that moved north”. One of the branches from this dog gave us the Owcharke which is still seen today in Russia and Central Asia known as the Ovcharka, from their the breed divided into the Inner Mongolian and Mongolian. From both of these branches we receive the North Funlun Mountain Dog and the South Funlun Mountain Dog and from those came the Tibetan Terrier and the Lhasa Apso.

Many believe that Tibetan monks were the first to breed the Tibetan Terrier and were regarded as lucky. This breed was introduced to the west by Dr. A.R.H. Grieg. She had been given several of these wonderful dogs as gifts from patients and one from the Dalai Lama. She established a Tibetan Terrier in England.

Today, the Tibetan Terrier is recognized by Fédération Cynologique Internationale – Group 9 Section 5 #209, American Kennel Club – Non-sporting, Australian National Kennel Council – Group 7 Non-Sporting Dogs, Canadian Kennel Club – Group 6 – Non-Sporting Dogs, The Kennel Club of the UK – Utility, New Zealand Kennel Club – Non-sporting, and the United Kennel Club – Companion Breeds.

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