The Tibetan Terrier is a medium sized dog, with a generally square outline, carrying a beautiful long double coat, which comes in a wide range of colours. Any colour (or combination of colours) including white, but excluding chocolate, is acceptable in this breed. The double coat protects the entire dog, even falling in front of the dark, widely spaced eyes. The fine outer coat can be straight or wavy. The undercoat is soft and woolly. The coat should be long, but should not touch the ground. The Tibetan Terrier does not shed seasonally, but the female is likely to drop some hair if kept in full coat, especially after having puppies. If you intend showing your TT you should never use a scissors on him. See the American Kennel Club breed standard. This point is echoed in detail in the illustrated Standard of the Tibetan Terrier published by the Tibetan Terrier Association in 1995, Page 43, first paragraph. Some pet owners like to keep their companions in a 'puppy cut', and a good groomer will be only too happy to show pictures of the various cuts, and then groom to your specification.

The tail of medium length is heavily furnished, set fairly high and carried in a gay curl over the back. The heavily feathered ears hang pendant, falling not too close to the head. The nose and eye rims are black. The lower jaw is slightly bearded. The desirable mouth is a tight scissor bite, but a tight reverse scissor bite (the inner surface of the lower teeth touches the outer surface of the upper teeth) is also acceptable. The top line is level. This breed’s unique large flat feet, well furnished with hair, produce a snowshoe effect that provides traction and flotation in snow. The Tibetan Terrier has great agility as well as endurance. They are lively, intelligent and extremely loyal to their family, full of character and personality, and a devilish twinkle in their eye.

Height: 14 - 16 inches 36 - 41 cm

Weight: 20 to 24 lbs

Size: Small to medium


Showing: Irish Kennel Club and English Kennel Club - UTILITY Group.


Click here to view the English Kennel Club Breed Standard

Click here to view the American Kennel Club Breed Standard

Click here to view the Canadian Kennel Club Breed Standard

Click here to view the FCI Breed Standard

Click here to view the Illustrated Breed Standard



They originate from Tibet; "The Land of Snow", the majority of the area being 18,000 feet above sea level, containing the world’s highest mountains. People and animals alike, constantly battle against the elements; snow, severe frost, floods, dust storms, and arid conditions. The long coat and the unique large round flat foot play their part in helping this breed to survive such harsh conditions. Originally raised by the Tibetan monks in monasteries, this breed was highly thought of by the Tibetan people, and is an ancient contributor to many other Tibetan breeds. The breed was considered to be "lucky" and dogs were often given as gifts, but never sold.

They were introduced to England in 1926, by a female surgeon, Dr. A.R.H. Greig, who had been working in India. She was given several dogs, the first by a grateful patient, and then by the Dalai Lama himself. Her dedication to these dogs resulted in recognition by the Indian Kennel Club (1930) and the English Kennel Club (1931). The majority of the Tibetan Terriers we see today originate from the stock belonging to Dr. Greig and her mother, using the Lamleh and Ladkok affixes.


The long coat needs a lot of attention; so many owners who are not showing their dogs clip them, especially in summer. Bathe every 7 - 14 days. They can be flea sensitive. Brush every 2 - 3 days with a straight pin brush (not one with bobbles). Never brush a dry coat. Always mist with conditioner and water to ease brushing. Novice owners should be ready for the responsibility of grooming a coated breed! Since he is such a light shedder, the Tibetan Terrier is one of the better breeds for allergy sufferers. The Tibetan Terrier is a particularly good watchdog. Don't be fooled by the hair over the eyes; they never miss a trick.

They 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 Atrophy. The breed can also suffer from Hip Dysplasia a deformation of the hip socket. The incidence of these conditions can be reduced by all stock being examined for eye and hip status, before being used in a breeding programme. Testing can only be undertaken with dogs over twelve months of age. For those interested in breeding click HERE for an article on the downside of inbreeding.


These days, there are Tibetan Terriers throughout the world. In England, since 1992, there have been over 800 new dogs registered each year. Indeed in 2004 registrations were 1,304. Ireland has only now started to publish registrations, but the number of Tibetan Terriers registered here would be significantly smaller.



Sweet, gentle and loving. Lively and fun. Can be wilful, which is only to be expected from the breed that invented creative disobedience. Tibetan Terriers are devoted to the family, but sometimes wary of strangers. Some are good guard dogs, and take the order to mind the house very seriously. When told to do so, my Molly takes up position on top of a comfy armchair in the front window, as her predecessors did before her.

They offer loyalty and companionship. They enjoy being around people, and are a fun breed. They are as happy loafing on the couch as they are hill-walking, so long as they are with their beloved people.


CHILDREN: Good natured. Best with older, considerate children. Perhaps you would enjoy reading some little verses relating to puppies; if so please click here.

FRIENDLINESS: Extremely loving and loyal to the family. Can sometimes be a little reserved with strangers.

TRAINABILITY: Slightly difficult to train. Responds to firmness tempered with kindness. Bullying will get you nowhere, but they do love to please, and can usually turn a training exercise into fun a games. Click here to find out about housebreaking your puppy.

INDEPENDENCE: Moderately dependent on people.


OTHER PETS: Good with other pets if raised with them from puppy hood.

COMBATIVENESS: Friendly with other dogs.


GROOMING: Frequent and regular grooming needed. Click here for further information about grooming your Tibetan Terriers.

COAT: Long coat double coat, keeping them warm in winter, and comfortable in summer.

TRIMMING & STRIPPING: No trimming or stripping needed particularly if you want to show.

SHEDDING: Very light.

EXERCISE: Moderate exercise needed.

JOGGING: A pretty good jogging companion, and if you like hill walking, they will fall in with that.

INDOORS: Relatively inactive indoors, they love the comfort of your sofa.

APARTMENTS: Will be OK in an apartment if sufficiently exercised.

OUTDOOR SPACE: A small yard is sufficient.

CLIMATE: Does well in most climates.

OWNER: Good for novice owners, but I think you definitely need a sense of humour. Have you got a sense of humour? Find out when you try this link Sherpaboy.

LONGEVITY: Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years).

TALENTS: Loving Companion, Good Listener, Likes to help with the Gardening, Watchdog, Agility, and Competitive Obedience.

See Also


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