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Tibetan Terrier

The Tibertan Terrier breed profile is sponsored by visit PetWear to custom design your Tibetan's next designer dog collar, leash or more and then let PetWear hand make it and then ship for free!

Originally from the Lost Valley of Tibet, they were considered bearers of good luck.  As such they were never sold since someone would not sell their luck!  Sensitive, devoted, intelligent and loyal with family and friends, may be hesitant around strangers.

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General Information
Group(s): Non-Sporting Height: 15-16 inches
Weight: 18-30 pounds Longevity: at least into the teens
Colors: all colors and variations are allowed with no preference Coat type: long, thick and draping , double coat with a natural shag
Recognized Registries: AKC and others
Overall Appearance: Notable profuse coat that does not reach to the floor, happy and agile.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: moderate to high
General Nature: happy, active, lively, intelligent, agile
  with Children: good if properly introduced, supervised with well behaved children
  with other pets: generally good
  with dogs: generally good
Socialization requirements: required to help address inclination to shyness to strangers
Ideal home characteristics: one devoted to regular grooming and care of the coat in addition to other needs
Temperament Notes: charming and loyal, sensitive and intelligent
Training requirement: dependent entirely on goals
Trainer notes: A joy to work with!  Keeping in mind their intelligent and sensitive nature, training kept interesting and positive will move quickly.  This is not a dog that will benefit from force of any form.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: ancient
Country of Origin: Tibet
Original Function: Companion
History: Thought to be developed by monks high in the hills of Tibet for hundreds of years as primarily companions. Possibly used occasionally for herding.
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard:
Health Notes: Canine Hip Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and Lens Luxation.
Health Testing: OFA, CERF
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for!

  • How long have you had Tibetan Terriers?
  • Why do you have Tibetan Terriers (show, performance, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Tibetan Terrier?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you send your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Tibetan Terrier?
  • How would you describe the ideal Tibetan Terrier home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Tibetan Terrier?
  • How do you assist or help Tibetan Terriers in need of rescue?
  • Web Sites: - Tibetan Terrier Club of America Rescue Information
    Other Resources
    Breed standard: Standard as per Tibetan Terrier Club of America

    The Tibetan Terrier evolved over many centuries, surviving in Tibet's extreme climate and difficult terrain. The breed developed a protective double coat, compact size, unique foot construction, and great agility. The Tibetan Terrier served as a steadfast, devoted companion in all of his owner's endeavors.

    General Appearance
    The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized dog, profusely coated, of powerful build, and square in proportion. A fall of hair covers the eyes and foreface. The well-feathered tail curls up and falls forward over the back. The feet are large, flat, and round in shape producing a snowshoe effect that provides traction. The Tibetan Terrier is well balanced and capable of both strong and efficient movement. The Tibetan Terrier is shown as naturally as possible.

    Skull--Medium length neither broad nor coarse. The length from the eye to the tip of the nose is equal to the length from eye to the occiput. The skull narrows slightly from ear to eye. It is not domed but not absolutely flat between the ears. The head is well furnished with long hair, falling forward over the eyes and foreface. The cheekbones are curved but not so overdeveloped as to bulge. Muzzle--The lower jaw has a small amount of beard. Stop--There is marked stop but not exaggerated. Nose--Black. Teeth--White, strong and evenly placed. There is a distinct curve in the jaws between the canines. A tight scissors bite, a tight reverse scissors bite or a level bite are equally acceptable. A slightly undershot bite is acceptable.

    Eyes-- Large, set fairly wide apart, dark brown and may appear black in color, neither prominent nor sunken. Eye rims are dark in color. Ears--Pendant, falling not too close to the head, heavily feathered with a "V" shaped leather proportionate to the head.

    Faults--Weak pointed muzzle. Any color other than a black nose. Overshot bite or a very undershot bite or a wry mouth. Long narrow head. Lack of fall over the eyes and foreface.

    Neck and Body
    Neck-- Length proportionate to the body and head. Body--Compact, square and strong, capable of both speed and endurance. Topline--The back is level in motion. Chest--Heavily furnished. The brisket extends downward to the top of the elbow in the mature Tibetan Terrier. Ribs--The body is well ribbed up and never cloddy or coarse. The rib cage is not too wide across the chest and narrows slightly to permit the forelegs to work free at the sides. Loin--Slightly arched. Tail--Medium length, heavily furnished, set on fairly high and falls forward over the back, may curl to either side. There may be a kink near the tip.

    Shoulders--Sloping, well muscled and well laid back. Legs--Straight and strong when viewed from the front. Heavily furnished. The vertical distance from the withers to the elbow equals the distance from the elbows to the ground. Feet--The feet of the Tibetan Terrier are unique in form among dogs. They are large, flat, and round in shape producing a snowshoe effect that provides traction. The pads are thick and strong. They are heavily furnished with hair between the toes and pads. Hair between the toes and pads may be trimmed level with the underside of the pads for health reasons. The dog should stand well down on its pads. Dewclaws--May be removed.

    Legs--Well furnished, with well bent stifles and the hind legs are slightly longer than the forelegs. Thighs--Relatively broad and well muscled. Hocks--Low set and turn neither in nor out. Feet--Same as forefeet. Dewclaws May be removed.

    Double coat. Undercoat is soft and woolly. Outer coat is profuse and fine but never silky or woolly. May be wavy or straight. Coat is long but should not hang to the ground. When standing on a hard surface an area of light should be seen under the dog. The coat of puppies is shorter, single and often has a softer texture than that of adults. A natural part is often present over the neck and back. Fault--Lack of double coat in adults. Sculpturing, scissoring, stripping or shaving are totally contrary to breed type and are serious faults.

    Any color or combination of colors including white are acceptable to the breed. There are no preferred colors or combinations of colors.

    The Tibetan Terrier has a free, effortless stride with good reach in front and flexibility in the rear allowing full extension. When gaiting the hind legs should go neither inside nor outside the front legs but should move on the same track approaching single tracking when the dog is moved at a fast trot. The dog with the correct foot and leg construction moves with elasticity and drive indicating that the dog is capable of great agility as well as endurance.

    Average weight is 20 to 24 pounds, but the weight range may be 18 to 30 pounds. Proportion of weight to height is far more important than specific weight and should reflect a well-balanced square dog. The average height in dogs is 15 to 16 inches, bitches slightly smaller. The length, measured from the point of shoulder to the root of tail, is equal to the height measured from the highest point of the withers to the ground. Faults--Any height above 17 inches or below 14 inches.

    The Tibetan Terrier is highly intelligent, sensitive, loyal, devoted and affectionate. The breed may be cautious or reserved. Fault--Extreme shyness.

    Approved March 10, 1987

    Breeder Ethics:

    Tibetan Terrier Club of America Guidelines for Ethical Breeders

    These guidelines are established in accordance with the objectives of the Tibetan Terrier Club of America, Inc. and are set forth to protect and advance the interest of our breed by maintaining high breeding standards. The TTCA endorses and encourages all breeders to follow them.


    1. Abides by the constitution and by-laws of the TTCA and the rules of the American Kennel Club.
    2. Maintains the best possible standards of canine health, cleanliness and veterinary care, and provides facilities for excellent pre-natal and post-natal care of the dam and puppies.
    3. Maintains accurate breeding records, registration papers and pedigrees, furnishing each purchaser with proper registration or transfer papers, unless written agreement is made at the time of sale that papers be withheld.
    4. Makes sure all services and sales arrangements are mutually agreed upon, stated in writing, and signed by all parties involved.
    5. Keeps all advertising honest and in no way intentionally misleading, fraudulent or misrepresentative.
    6. Learns and understands the AKC Standard of the breed, and breeds with the intention of conforming to it.
    7. Breeds only with the intention of improving the breed, and finding suitable, carefully screened, safe and loving homes for the puppies.
    8. Chooses only healthy, registered parents of excellent temperament and qualities, x-rayed and eye examined, resulting in eligibility for OFA and CERF certification, doing everything possible to prevent passing on devastating genetic defects.
    9. Breeds only mature bitches, preferably over two years of age, skipping a season between most litters.
    10. Refuses to breed a stud dog or brood bitch to any animal which is not registered or is markedly inferior physically or temperamentally.
    11. Does not sell or consign Tibetan Terriers to pet shops or other commercial dealers, nor does he breed his animals to their animals.
    12. Is as selective in breeding his stud dog as he is in breeding his brood bitch.
    13. Does not donate Tibetan Terriers for raffles or auctions.
    14. Honestly evaluates the quality of the Tibetan Terrier to be sold, and fairly represents that evaluation.
    15. Requires puppy purchasers to spay or neuter all pets which for any reason may not be qualified to be used for breeding.
    16. Acknowledges he is responsible for any dog he has bred for its entire lifetime and makes written arrangements for its return to him at any time the purchaser no longer wishes to keep it.
    17. Does not release puppies to new homes before they are at least eight weeks of age and have been properly socialized.
    18. Furnishes complete details on feeding, general care, medical inoculations, grooming, pedigree, etc.
    19. Insists in writing that the purchaser have the puppy checked by a veterinarian within 72 hours of sale, making clear that if the puppy is found to be unfit, it must be returned for either replacement or refund of purchase price.
    20. Tries to assist the serious novice in his understanding of the breed.
    21. Follows up on all puppies and adults after the sale to insure their continued care and to encourage the owners to become involved in pure-bred dog activities.
    22. Conducts himself at all times in such a manner as to reflect credit upon himself, the sport of pure-bred dogs, and his Tibetan Terrier in particular.

    Approved by vote of the Board of Directors of the Tibetan Terrier Club of America, Inc. 1987

    Approved by vote of the Membership of the Tibetan Terrier Club of America, Inc. 1988

    The Tibetan Terrier Club of America, Inc. makes no guarantee with respect to any Tibetan Terrier acquired from or though any of its members.

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