Photo by Chris Doelle

Tibetan Terrier - Breed Profile:

Origin: Tibet
Size: Small
Type of Owner:
Exercise: Moderate
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
Dominance: Low
Noise: Likes to bark

Physical characteristics

The Tibetan Terrier is a profusely coated small size dog with a powerful build square in proportion. Viewed from the front, the strong legs are straight. This breed's unique large flat feet, well furnished with hair, produce a snowshoe effect that provides traction and flotation in the snow. The eyes and foreface are covered with a fall of hair. The head is neither broad nor coarse. There is a small beard on the lower jaw. The nose is black. The teeth meet in a scissor, level or slightly undershot bite. The large eyes are set wide apart; they are dark brown but may appear black. The V-shaped ears are well-proportioned to the head and pendent. The well-feathered tail curls up and falls forward over the back. The gait is free and effortless.
Tibetan Terriers weigh 20 to 24 pounds, their height is 14 to 16 inches.


The Tibetan Terrier has a sweet, loving, and gentle temperament. Devoted to its family. Can be cautious with strangers but always lively and friendly with those it knows. In some individuals, caution can develop into timidity or suspiciousness, so early socialization is important to ensure a confident, outgoing temperament. Good with children. Playful yet calm. This is a moderate dog in all respects and can adapt to any home, city or country, as long as it is given brisk daily walks and occasional romps in a safe enclosed area. The Tibetan Terrier especially enjoys playing in the snow. Most individuals are amicable with other animals, though may tend to be bossy. This breed can be very stubborn, so make sure to become an alpha dog from the very first day.

Coat and grooming

The Tibetan Terrier's double coat comes in any colour or colour combination. The undercoat is soft and woolly. The outer coat is profuse and fine, may be wavy or straight but never silky or woolly. In show dogs, the coat is long but should not hang to the ground. Grooming is required every 2-3 days. Never brush a dry coat: it is recommended to apply some conditioner and water to ease brushing. The dog should be given regular baths - every week or two. The Tibetan Terrier does not shed seasonally, but will drop some hair if kept in full coat. Clip the dog if you are not going to show it and if you have no time to take care of its long coat.
Clip the dog if you are not going to show it and if you have no time to take care of its long coat. Photo by Acid Pix.


Can be very flea sensitive. May be prone to progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and hip dysplasia.
The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Other interesting facts

The Tibetan Terrier is actually not a true terrier. It is terrier only size-wise. These dogs were bred and raised in monasteries by lamas almost 2 000 years ago. As the "Holy Dogs of Tibet", the breed was treasured by the lamas, who kept them as companions, good luck charms, mascots and watchdogs. They were also used for some herding and to retrieve articles that fell down the mountains.
The Tibetan Terrier has great agility and endurance.
Tibetan Terrier bloodlines in the United States vary in terms of height, coat and personality.
Since the Tibetan Terrier is a light shedder, this breed is good for allergy sufferers.