Tibetan Terrier

"Tibetan Monk's Companion"

Photo of Tibetan Terrier


Although the Tibetan Terrier can trace his history back thousands of years to when his ancestors served as companions to monks in Tibetan monasteries, the modern TT's history starts in 1922. That was the year that Dr. Agnes Grieg, a British surgeon working in northern India, was given a Tibetan Terrier by a grateful patient. Dr. Grieg found the dog intriguing and obtained a mate for the dog from Tibet. After successfully breeding for three generations, the Tibetan Terrier was recognized by the Indian kennel club and later by The Kennel Club in England. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1973. In 2006, the Tibetan Terrier ranked 95th among the 154 breeds registered to the AKC.


The Tibetan Terrier is an affable individual, especially to his family, to whom he becomes quite devoted. To strangers his attitude is more reserved – at least until he gets to know them. For all his affability, however, the Tibetan Terrier is no pushover. Devotees of the breed admit that their dogs train them as much as they train their dogs. They're flexible and willing to do just about anything as long as they're with their special people. Because they don't demand very much exercise, they're an ideal breed for relatively sedentary people.


The Tibetan Terrier is small to medium in size, standing 14 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing 18 to 30 pounds. As befits his origins in the harsh Tibetan climate, he has a long outer coat – which comes in a wide range of colors – and a woolly undercoat. Dogs intended for showing have long bangs that cover the eyes and luxuriant mustaches; pet owners who don't want to bother with daily brushing may have the coat clipped short.


The highly intelligent Tibetan Terrier requires consistent but positive training. Their enjoyment of working with their people makes them ideal for performance sports such as agility, competitive obedience, and rally obedience.

Grooming & Care

For all his hair, the Tibetan Terrier sheds surprisingly little. If the coat is kept long, daily brushing and combing are needed to prevent matting. Weekly ear cleanings and pedicures, plus baths as needed, are also important to keep them looking their best.

Health Concerns

Like all purebred dogs, the Tibetan Terrier has some genetic health issues. The most common are hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (dislocated kneecap), progressive retinal atrophy, lens luxation, cataracts, and hypothyroidism. Dogs intended for breeding should receive OFA and CERF clearances before they're bred.

Famous Tibetan Terrier

Considered holy, no Tibetan could harm a person who traveled with one.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 5
Home 44
Children 48
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 56
Exercise 61
Challenges Needs regular grooming
Height 14 to 17 inches
Weight 18 to 30 pounds
Life 13 to 15 years
Home Alone 82
With Kids 86
With Strangers 113
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.