Tibetan Terrier

Breed History

Tiebtan Terrier in the snow

Tibetan Terrier is a smaller medium size dog with a long double coat that covers the eyes and hang freely from the body. Found in a large variety of colors the Tibetan Terrier is known as a sweet and loving dog.

One of the three dogs to come from the Tibet area in the country of Himalayan. They have a religious background in their homeland where they holy dogs to the people who ran the monasteries.

Only real job they had was being a guardian while in India. Other than that, they were just pets and other positions that doesn’t denote working but more relationship based.

Bigger Tibetan dogs were in use as a guardian dog and the smaller Tibetan Terrier would accompany them by being faster and more agile driving away intruders.

Terrier is a part of their name, but no major kennel clubs acknowledge them as terriers and put them into a different category than the Terrier Group.

People who are not from the region gave them this name and they don’t have the temperament, characteristics, or job titles that all Terriers hold. Weight and height is the reason for the association.

Like other dogs in the Tibet area they were in isolation and were only breed with one another for a few thousand years before leaving this region to become pets all around the world.


In 1973, they would receive recognition from the American Kennel Club after finally leaving their homeland and becoming imports around the world. Been here in America since the 1950’s but it took two decades to get their parent kennel club set up with a few generations of dogs born.

Top 100 in popularity they will most likely stay middle of the pack for dog registrations every year. Many dogs in front of them are extremely popular especially the smaller lap dogs.

Non-Sporting Group for almost every major Kennel Club around the world and none of them recognize them as a Terrier at all. Here are the major Kennel Clubs and their breed standards for this breed.

Tibetan Terrier Size

Male Height: 14-17 inches

Female Height: 13-16 inches

Male Weight: 20-30 pounds

Female Weight: 15-25 pounds

Girl dogs are on record as being slightly smaller meaning that the males and females are very close in height and weight making it difficult to tell the difference.

Litter Size

6 puppies are the average litter size for a Tibetan Terrier. Breeders should be aware of how many puppies to expect to care for, for at least eight weeks of age. Mothers are known to deliver their puppies without any assistance needed from humans unless there is an emergency.


Tibetan Terrier trimmed
  • Black – white, white brindle, gold, brown
  • Brindle – golden brindle, white brindle, black, brown
  • Gold – white, black,
  • Sable
  • Fawn
  • Gray
  • Silver
  • Red
  • White
  • Markings – black, white, black mask, sable

There are many more colors that they have that are official colors.

Tibetan Terrier Price

$1,000-$2,500 is the price for this breed. Prices vary depending on multiple factors like location, age, bloodline, supply, demand and many other situations.

Dogs with papers will cost much more than dogs without papers. Registration will ensure that the dogs in the bloodline come from Tibet and are traced to America all the way to the time you got your puppy. Tedious process that commands a bigger price.

Without papers the dog can be crossbred multiple times without any documentation to prove otherwise. An important thing to think about is that if they don’t have papers it is probably because they can’t get them. Both parents must have papers in order to grant them to the puppy.


Start each grooming session off with a long run or walk, for at least one hour, to get the dog calm and remove extra energy. Beginning with this type of approach will set the dog and owner up for success every time and make sure you use a leash until the dog is fully under control.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Long double coats are some of the highest maintenance coats to maintain and requires a lot of work. Brushing every week multiple times will be the kind of work it takes to keep the coat healthy.

Due to the length of the coat you will need to comb the coat. Like brushing or combing you will need to start from the skin and work your way to the tips providing a full brush or combing.

Bathe after a long exercise session and you will experience a better grooming session. Wash every four to six week and if they are getting dirty closer to four weeks is ideal.

Ears can be prone to getting an infection when they are dirty in combination with the ears and long coat surrounding it. Cleaning the ears once per week will help prevent the infections.

Trimming the nails should be done during exercise, which we recommend. If you don’t exercise, which we don’t recommend, cut them with hair clippers.

Professional help is a recommendation for this breed.

Life Span

12-15 years is the average lifespan for the Tibetan Terrier. That’s a long time and a real commitment owners have to make to own a dog for possibly 15 years of their life. This dog is a perfect adoption dog at an adult age because you can still own them for a very long time.

Health Issues

Cardiac – heart issues arise with this breed according to their official kennel club statement and you should get them checked out as soon as possible and on an annual basis to determine if new issues have begun.

Eye Exam – examination of the eyes are important. Some conditions can be mild while others can lead to partial or complete blindness. Within 12 months of breeding you need to get the dog certified so that they don’t pass down this issue to the puppies.

Hip Dysplasia – parents should have certification of the hips showing that they don’t have hip dysplasia. It is something that passes from one generation to the next.

BAER Testing – 35 days old and older they will show an inability to hear if they can’t hear altogether. Getting the test done early is the best decision to make.

Breed Group

Proud member of the Non-Sporting Group which is a miscellaneous group of dogs. Diversity within the breed shows a striking difference in comparison to other dog groups. Some dogs hunt which the hound group and others is are the herding group that herd other animals on farms.

Lack of belonging with a certain group of dogs shows them being put into this group. Nonetheless you will see that there are many great dogs with huge popularity in the group.

Here are some of the dogs in the group.

Exercise Needs

Tibetan Terriers need exercise every day. Best indicator on the dog getting enough exercise is the way the dog chooses to behave daily. When the behavior is good you don’t need to change your exercise program, but when it isn’t good then you need to increase the workload.

Dogs that are digging, barking, chewing shoes, and other activities are telling you something loud and clear. They are completely bored and must do these activities to find fulfillment.

Instead of working against the grain the best decision to make is to go with the flow and start to exercise the dog the same way they would if they in the wild.

Every day the dog will walk for hours a day if you weren’t domesticating them inside of the house or backyard. Long walks and runs are the only way to balance the dog to remove excitement and high energy levels.

Here is a basic recommendation

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Afternoon: 30 min (run, walk or treadmill)

To lower high excitement and bad behavior quicker take them on more runs and in the worst cases try two runs per day.

Younger dogs have the most energy so they will need more runs and more two session days. Calming them down will take more effort but it will be worth it once they get a few years old.

3-5 years of age the dog will show you a decrease in energy. At this point you will instill the entire exercise and training program so there will be little to no corrections needed. A balance of runs and walks at this age.

Senior dogs will only need walks when they get older and start walking slower. Around the corner can be a far enough distance.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

I want to talk about homeless dog owners that don’t need a leash and the dog can be around other dogs and humans without any issues. How can a dog that gets little to no treats and probably no real training listen so well and walk off leash? Difference between you and the homeless owner is daily exercise. Taking advantage of this will help and we will do a simple math problem here. One hour of exercise every day is 365 hours a year and two sessions is over 700 hours of exercise in one year. Will that calm your dog down? I think so.

Commands are a smaller part of the training program and it is not going to calm the dog down or teach it to behave. Only walking and running will accomplish that. Building discipline is something that commands can do in addition to the exercise. Now you are training your dog. Check out our commands article for more insight.

Socialization of the dog should happen as soon as you start exercising them. Just like we discussed before grooming you want to exercise them and then let them meet family, friends, or other dogs. You will set your dog and yourself up for success.

Correcting a dog will happen verbally, on leash or off leash. Most of the work will happen verbally without any touching unless the dog gets tunnel vision and you need to get their attention. Other than that example you will use the two skills of timing and sitting or laying after the correction. Remember the timing of a correction prevents the entire act from happening or the timing was bad.

Are Tibetan Terriers a Good Family Dog?

Yes, they are excellent family dogs that are gentle with the kids and other dogs. Intelligence makes them a very trainable dog, but the owner should have caution. When you choose not to exercise for at least one hour per day and don’t set up any rules around the house the dog isn’t the problem in the situation.

Additional Resources