About the Breed


The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized squarely proportioned dog. The head is medium in size with a moderate stop. The nose is black. The teeth meet in a scissors, reverse scissors or level bite. A reversed scissors bite is where the inner surface of the lower teeth touches the outer surface of the upper teeth. The dark brown eyes are large and wide-set. The V-shaped ears are pendant, hanging beside the head. The topline is level and the chest has a brisket that extends down to the top of the elbows. The tail is well-feathered, curling up over the back. The back legs are slightly longer than the front legs. Dewclaws are sometimes removed. The double coat has a soft, woolly undercoat with a long, straight to wavy fine, profuse outer coat. The coat comes in all colors and patterns.


A brave, intelligent, dedicated, medium-sized dog. Sweet, loving and gentle, the Tibetan Terrier is lively, mild, and fun, with great agility as well as endurance. Be sure you are this dog’s pack leader. Dogs who are allowed to run the show, believing they are alpha to humans will become willful and may begin to bark more than you wish them to, as they try and control things, telling you what THEY want YOU to do. This breed’s bark is deep like a rising siren. While they do make a good watch dog, Tibetans who bark a lot need to be told enough is enough. After they first alert you, to quiet down. You can handle things from here.

Height, Weight:

Height:  14-17 inches (36-43 cm.)
Height at the withers of over 17 inches or under 14 inches is considered a fault.
Weight: 18-30 pounds (8.2-13.6 kg.)

Health Problems:

As in other breeds some lines of Tibetans have eye problems,  Lens Luxation, Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.  A genetic test is available for Lens Luxation, Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Canine Renal Dysplasia. Breeding dogs should be examined by a Canine Ophthalmologist once a year. A genetic test for  Neuronal Ceroid Lipofucinosis  is also available.

Living Conditions:

The Tibetan Terrier will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and a small yard will be sufficient.

Life Expectancy:

About 12-15 years.


The Tibetan Terrier  and should be brushed  to remove loose hair and prevent tangles. Never brush a dry coat; mist it with conditioner and water to ease brushing. Pay extra attention beneath the leg joints, the beard, and the hindquarters. The dog should be given regular baths – once every week or two. Remove excess hair from the ear passages. Clip any build-up of hair between pads of the feet. If the dog is not going to be shown, it can be clipped short.  They are considered non-shedding. The Tibetan Terrier is good for allergy sufferers when their coats are kept very well groomed.


This is an ancient breed. The Tibetan Terrier is not actually a terrier at all. They were originally kept by Tibetan Monks almost 2,000 years ago and were considered good luck charms. The monks refused to sell them, but often gave them as gifts. In the 1920’s a Dr. A.R.H. Greig of England was working for Women’s Medical Service of India and was given two of these dogs, one by a patient for performing a successful operation and the other by the Dalai Lama himself. Dr. Greig bred the two dogs and brought three of them back home with her where she continued to breed them, establishing a Tibetan Terrier kennel in England. The dogs were originally registered as Lhasa Terriers. In 1930 the Indian Kennel Club changed the name of the breed to Tibetan Terrier. In 1956 Dr. Henry and Mrs. Alice Murphy of Great Falls, Virginia, imported the first Tibetan Terriers into the USA and later got them recognized with the AKC in 1973. Some of the Tibetan Terrier’s talents include: being a watchdog, agility and competitive obedience.