Tibetan Terriers are a very healthy breed and can live to 15 + years. Breed followers recognise the existence of two eye conditions known to be inherited, Primary Lens Luxation and Generalised Progressive Retinal AtrophyNCL (neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis) is a neurological disorder which has been discovered can also affect Tibetan Terriers.   The breed can suffer from Hip Dysplasia a deformation of the hip socket. The incidence of these conditions can be reduced by all stock being examined for NCL, Eye and Hip status, before being used in a breeding programme.  The BVA eye and hip testing can only be undertaken with dogs over twelve months of age, but DNA screening for PLL and NCL is now  available through AHT in England and OFA in America, and samples can be submitted at any time and age after weaning.  

There are four DNA tests which reputable breeders do to ensure that they will not produce pups that will suffer from 3 eye conditions and a neurological disorder.  The results of these will be clear, carrier or affected.  It is essential that if carriers are bred they must only be mated to clears.  We have had DNA tests for up to five years now so there is no reason for any breeding dog not to have a known DNA status for each of these four conditions.

Breeders have been hip scoring for many decades the average score at present is around 11-12.  The lower the score the better the hip.  The higher the score the worse the hip.  We also have an EBV for each dog which gives an indication of the genetic component of the dogs hip structure.  An EBV of 0 is average - minus values are better than average, and plus values are worse than average.

It is also important to look at the puppy's coefficient of inbreeding.  This tells you what the risk is of the puppy inheriting two copies of a gene which may give rise to an inherited condition in the future.  The average COI is 7.6%.  Higher than this is a greater risk, lower than this reduces the risk.

Each parent should have an annual eye certificate which as its name suggests has to be renewed annually.

Prospective puppy purchasers should discuss these tests with the breeder and ask to see the certificates.  All these results are published by the Kennel and the prospective owner can find them on the KC web site under Health Test Results.  They will need the KC registered names of both parents to access these results.


health test results…/matesel…/test/Default.aspx


There are no laws in place governing the health tests that breeders carry out. However, I would encourage you to purchase puppies from adults that have had all appropriate health testing i.e. AHT Genetic Test for PLL,  AHT or OFA Genetic Test for NCL, Yearly BVA (KC) Certified Eye Examinations, and Certified  Hip-Scoring under the BVA (KC) Scheme.     DNA profiles are also available to breeders through the K C.

DNA tests are available through from 21st May, 2012 where cheek swab sampling kits can be ordered.

Wednesday 8th May 2013

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) In Tibetan Terriers

Geneticists at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust have discovered a mutation that causes a form of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in Tibetan Terriers. We are calling this form of the disease PRA3 to distinguish it from other, genetically distinct, forms of PRA that are caused by different mutations, including the previously reported RCD4 mutation that is also known to cause PRA in some Tibetan Terriers. Together the PRA3 and RCD4 mutations account for approximately half of Tibetan Terrier PRA cases that we investigated during our research, although the number of samples from dogs with PRA was small and these proportions might not be representative of the wider population. During the latter half of 2013 the AHT will collaborate with the Kennel Club (KC) to screen a random subset of KC registered Tibetan Terriers to determine the frequency of both mutations more accurately. The mutation(s) that cause PRA in the other affected Tibetan Terriers remain(s) unknown and cannot therefore be detected by any DNA test at present.

As for RCD4, the PRA3 mutation is recessive, meaning a dog needs to inherit two copies of the mutation to be clinically affected with PRA. PRA3 is a late-onset condition and clinical signs can usually be detected by an ophthalmologist from 4-7 years of age. The onset of RCD4 is variable, but is usually around 10 years of age. Any Tibetan terrier that has 2 copies of either the PRA-3 or RCD4 mutation will develop PRA, assuming it lives long enough to do so.

A DNA test for PRA3 will become available from the Animal Health Trust July 8th 2013

Full details will be made available on our website shortly:

3rd May 2013


from Cathryn Mellersh PhD
Head of Canine Genetics

New PRA DNA Test Available to Tibetan Terriers from 8th July, 2013

I am very pleased to be able to tell you that geneticists from the Kennel Club Genetics Centre at the Animal Health Trust have identified a mutation that causes progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) in the Tibetan Spaniel and Tibetan Terrier.

A DNA test based on this mutation will become available July 8th 2013.

The mutation was identified by Louise Downs, as part of her PhD studies, and represents the culmination of over a decade of investigation by Louise and other members of the research team into this condition.

There are many people I would like to thank for their contributions towards this success, including all the owners and ophthalmologists who have contributed DNA and information from their dogs & patients to the project and the PetPlan Charitable Trust, the Kennel Club Charitable Trust and all the Breed Clubs and individuals who have supported the research financially.



You've seen those ads on TV promising amazing results from all sorts of contraptions. Well, there's no need to invest in fancy equipment. If you have a dog, you have everything you need to get in shape now!!! The following exercises can be done anywhere, anytime.

Inner Thighs: Place the dog's favourite toy between thighs. Press tighter than the dog can pull. Do not attempt bare legged - dogs who favour shortcuts to success will just dig the toy out. You could be damaged.

Upper Body Strength: Lift the dog - off the couch, off the bed, out of the flower bed. Repeat, repeat, repeat. As the dog ages, this exercise is reversed - onto the couch, onto the bed, into the car and so on.

Balance and Coordination Exercise 1: Remove your puppy from unsuitable tight places. If they're too small for him, they're certainly too small for you. Do it anyway!

Balance and Coordination Exercise 2: Practice not falling when your dog bounds across the full length of the room, sails through the air, and slams both front paws into the back of your knees.

Balance and Coordination Exercise 3: (for use with multiple dogs) Remove all dogs from lap and answer the phone before it stops ringing.

Balance and Coordination Exercise 4: (alternate) For older dogs, attempt to cross a room without tripping over the dog. Get off your couch without crushing any part of a sleeping elderly dog.

Upper Arms: Throw the ball. Throw the squeaky toy. Throw the Frisbee. Repeat until nauseous.

Upper Arms: (alternate) Tug the rope. Tug the pull toy. Tug the sock. Repeat until your shoulder is dislocated or the dog gives up (we all know which comes first).

Hand Coordination: Remove foreign object from dog's locked jaw. This exercise is especially popular with puppy owners. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.  Remember, this is a timed exercise. Movements must be quick and precise (think concert pianist) to prevent trips to the vet, which only offer the minimal exercise benefit of jaw firming clenches.

Calves: After the dog has worn out the rest of your body, hang a circular toy on your ankle and let the dog tug while you tug back. WARNING: This is feasible only for those with strong bones and small dogs. Have you taken your calcium supplement today?

Calves: (alternate) Run after dog - pick any reason, there are plenty. Dogs of any size can be used for this exercise. Greyhounds are inadvisable.

Neck Muscles: Attempt to outmanoeuvre the canine tongue headed for your ear, mouth, or eyeball. This is a lifelong fitness program. A dog is never too old or too feeble to 'French Kiss' you when you least expect it.


© Siddhartha Tibetan Terriers Ireland