Despite its name, the Tibetan Terrier is not actually a member of the Terrier group. They are recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK within their Companion Dog Group. They are thought to have given rise to the Lhasa Apso, meaning they are a truly ancient dog.
Originating in Tibet, they were owned by monks and used as guard dogs for their monasteries. They were seen as ‘holy dogs’ and were thought to bring luck. As they had such a revered position in society, we can assume that they would have been well taken care of.
The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized but well-muscled dog that has an impressively shaggy coat. They have dark brown eyes, a black nose and a smiling face. Their body is compact and sturdier than on may assume. Interestingly, they are said to have uniquely flat feet, though these feet should not be splayed. Their tail is carried gaily above their back and has beautiful feathering.
The double coat of the Tibetan Terrier is thick and comes in a range of colours including white, cream and black. While solid coats are common, breed members may also have more than one coat colour.
Given their history as a guard dog, it is little wonder that this breed remains alert and loyal to their owner. Some are sensitive and do not take kindly to criticism. While they can get on well with most people, owners need to make an effort to socialise them during their puppy months.
Some people dislike the fact that these can be a ‘yappy’ dog, though others see this as a positive attribute, especially if they want a dog who will alert them of any strangers coming on to their property.
Tibetan Terrier fanciers appreciate the devotion that this breed shows their owner and they are not one to hold back on affection. Most are very content to sit in their owner’s laps and get stroked, licking their hand as a ‘thank you’ every now and again.