Tibetan Terrier - Origin, Character and Behavior

Tibetan Terrier: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. Although classified in the group of Terriers, the Tibetan Terrier...

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Although it is classified in the group of Terriers, the Tibetan Terrier or Tibetan Terrier differs greatly from its congeners, because it does not have the character or the characteristics typical of other breeds of terriers. They once accompanied Buddhist monks and nowadays they are excellent pets found in families all over the world. Characterized by an affectionate and playful personality as well as great intelligence, Tibetan Terriers are truly amazing dogs.

In this PlanèteAnimal file, we will see together the whole history of the Tibetan Terrier! Find out all about this magnificent breed of dog!


  • Asia
  • China

FCI Nomenclature

  • Group III

Physical Characteristics

  • Lying
  • Short legs
  • Long ears


  • Average


  • 35-45

Adult Weight

  • 3-10

Life expectancy

  • 12-14

Recommended physical activity

  • Average


  • Shy
  • Very loyal
  • Affectionate
  • Quiet

Ideal for

  • Children
  • House
  • Therapy

Recommended climate

  • Cold

Hair type

  • Long
  • Smooth

History and origin of the Tibetan Terrier

As its name suggests, the Tibetan Terrier originates from the region of Tibet, China. There, these dogs served in the monasteries as guard animals, as well as to accompany the monks and guide their herds. Due to its distant origins and the isolation of the area of origin, the breed has remained virtually unchanged over the years and is today one of the best preserved breeds.

The origins of the Tibetan Terrier go back more than 2,000 years and these dogs would have appeared when the Tibetans decided to separate the large dogs, from which the current Tibetan mastiffs descend, from the small dogs, the Tibetan terrier, which are the ancestors of breeds such as the Tibetan Water Dog or the Polish Lowland Shepherd.

The breed arrived in Europe in the 1920s, when a doctor, Agnes Grey, treated locals who had this breed as a pet. After receiving his medical care, they gave him one of the puppies that a dog had given birth to. This pup was part of a breeding program and then traveled with its guardian to England in 1922. In 1930 the breed was officially recognized by the Kennel Club of England (KCE), and its spread throughout the Europe was particularly sensitive in the 1940s. It finally arrived in the United States in 1956, where it was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1973.

" Formerly known as Tsang Apso woolly dog of Tsang province, it took the name terrier because foreign travelers found it similar to known terriers in Europe, which is why they named it named Tibetan terrier. Other names are Tibet Apso or Dokhi Apso."

Characteristics of the Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized dog, weighing between 8 and 12 kilograms and with a height at the withers of between 35 and 45 centimeters, females being slightly smaller than males. Their life expectancy is normally between 12 and 14 years, but some dogs can easily reach 17 years.

Some characteristics of the Tibetan Terrier breed are:

  • Its body is solid and compact: square in shape.
  • Its head is also square in shape: aligned at muzzle level, with a well-marked stop.
  • A notable feature of the breed standard is that the distance between the nose and the eyes should be the same as that between the eyes and the base of the head: their eyes are round, large and expressive, colored dark brown, lighter shades being accepted if the coat is very light in color.
  • " The ears of the Tibetan terrier are fringed: they are V-shaped and hang down the sides of the skull."
  • Its coat is dense, because it has a double coat: the outer coat is long and straight and the inner coat finer and woolly, which makes it an insulator against the bad weather of its region of origin.

The colors of the Tibetan Terrier breed

Tibetan Terrier coat colors can span the entire color spectrum except chocolate and liver.

Now that you know the characteristics of the Tibetan terrier, let's take a look at its character.

Tibetan Terrier character

Although it belongs to the category of terriers, the Tibetan terrier is distinguished from its congeners by a much softer and docile character. He likes to play and spend time with his peers, but is wary of strangers.If he is to live with children, we must accustom them both to coexisting and to behaving in a respectful manner towards each other. This is why we must educate our terrier from an early age and ensure that socialization is complete and well done.

They are tenacious and very brave, and if the situation calls for it, they will behave like real heroes. Many Tibetan Terriers work as therapy dogs.

They are sociable animals, which do not tolerate loneliness well, as they need constant affection and attention.

Caring for a Tibetan Terrier

  • Food: choose a balanced diet adapted to the needs of the breed in general as well as the specific characteristics of your dog (age, physical expenditure, he alth, etc.).
  • Exercise: As we mentioned in the Tibetan Terrier character section, they are playful and active dogs, so they will need at least an hour of daily exercise.Do not hesitate to teach him to do tricks and to play with him when you walk, because he will always be receptive.
  • Grooming: Due to his long, dense coat, our Tibetan Terrier will need our attention as we need to brush his coat frequently to keep it soft and shiny, avoiding tangles and knots. It is also recommended to give him a bath at least once a month to keep him clean and tidy. As they have a large amount of hair inside their ears, we must be attentive and, if necessary, remove this area, as complications may arise due to knots or the accumulation of dust or humidity.

Apart from this brushing, the Tibetan Terrier will need the same care as any other breed, such as brushing teeth several times a week, adequate time for physical activity, regular trimming nails or cleaning the ears with otic products suitable for dogs.

Training and education of the Tibetan Terrier

In general, Tibetan Terriers are easy to train, but we must be consistent and dedicated when training them as they are quite stubborn dogs.

One of the most important aspects of raising this breed is socialization, which should be done from an early age. Conversely, difficulties can arise in life with people and other animals. This happens due to his wary nature and watchdog qualities, but if we follow the guidelines and are patient and consistent, we will undoubtedly achieve our goal, as we are dealing with a friendly breed with abilities. surprising adaptations.

It will also be essential to teach him basic obedience commands.

Tibetan Terrier He alth

In general, the Tibetan Terrier can be said to be a very he althy breed, however, it can present certain hereditary diseases such as hip dysplasia, a condition that needs constant veterinary monitoring. , radiological examinations and the intake of supplements such as chondroprotectors, which help to maintain the joints in good condition.

The breed is also considered somewhat prone to progressive retinal atrophy and retinal dysplasia, which can lead to significant issues such as blindness. Cataracts and eye dislocation are also common pathologies.

That's why we have to carry out regular veterinary checks, every six to twelve months. It is also essential to identify the Tibetan Terrier with a chip and tag, as well as to follow the vaccination schedule and the deworming routine. In this way, we can prevent and detect various diseases at an early stage.

How to adopt a Tibetan terrier?

If the Tibetan terrier breed was not well known in France before the 1960s, the reality of the 21st century is very different. It is now much more widely distributed and canine enthusiasts are familiar with this breed originating from Tibet.It should be noted that, although obtaining a Tibetan Terrier dog is easy from the moment you buy it, at PlanèteAnimal we are against this practice and we support responsible adoption. For this reason, you can go to the refuges or SPAs closest to you.

Despite this, we would like to emphasize that what is important when adopting a dog is not the physical characteristics it has, but the possibility of offering it a better life with the best love and care.

Tibetan Terrier pictures

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