• Tibetan Terrier Dog
  • Tibetan Terrier Dog Breed
  • Tibetan Terriers in UK
  • Tibetan Terrier Dogs
  • Tibetan Terrier Breed information
  • Tibetan Terrier Breed
  • Tibetan Terriers
  • Tibetan Terrier
  • Tibetan Terrier Pet in the UK
  • Tibetan Terriers Pets in the UK
Exercise Level:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 36 - 43cm M | 36 - 43cm F
Weight: 8 - 14kg M | 8 - 14kg F
Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 Years

Thinking of buying or adopting a Tibetan Terrier?


The Tibetan terrier is an ancient dog breed originating from the landlocked country of Tibet. Lively, playful, and loving, the 'Holy Dog of Tibet' is a great family pet and canine companion for the elderly. It is adaptable in that it can live in a home with a garden or in an urban apartment. It can form a strong bond with its family and cannot bear being alone for long periods. Its shaggy coat requires daily brushing as it easily picks up dirt and debris.

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The Tibetan terrier comes from Tibet and has been regarded as a lucky charm in the region. As its country of origin is landlocked, this dog, called Tsang Apso locally, remained purebred for two thousand years. This robust canine has been used in herding livestock, guarding property, and accompanying travellers.

It earned the moniker 'Holy Dog of Tibet' as it is a highly valued pet amongst Tibetan monks and monasteries. The Tibetan terrier was so precious to Tibetan families and monks that mistreating it is a social taboo and that it never was sold off. Instead, it was given as a gift. The first Tibetan terriers to reach Western shores were in fact offspring of one.

An English physician, Dr A.R.H. Greig, was given a Tibetan terrier puppy she named Bunti. The dog was given by a merchant to thank her for a successful operation. The canine’s name was later modified to Bunty.

The doctor exhibited her pet at one of the dog shows in India, where she lived in the 1920s. The judges had never seen such a dog and encouraged her to start breeding it. Dr Greig then later acquired another Tibetan terrier named Rajah. In 1924, she got her first litter. The second came in the next year.

In 1926, Dr Greig brought three of her Tibetan terriers to the UK. She continued to breed the dog and later won dog shows with some of those she cared for. The breed was recoginsed by the Kennel Club in 1937.

In 1956, a Tibetan Terrier Club was established after Constance Downey set up the Luneville Kennel in the 1950s. It was only after Dr Greig passed away in the 1970s that the breed became popular in the UK. In 2007, a Tibetan terrier won Best in Show at the 2007 Crufts.

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Appearance and Grooming

Amongst the Tibetan breed in the Utility Group, this one is the tallest of them all. Standing at about 35–41 cm and weighing 8–14 kg, the Tibetan terrier’s size is a robust medium.

This dog breed’s name is a misnomer as it is actually not a terrier. What inspired the inaccurate labelling was its appearance, which was similar to those in the Terrier Group. The similarity is evident even in Tibetan terrier pictures.

This breed’s body has a well-balanced, squarish look with a strong muzzle, black nose, and large round eyes. It has a fairly long neck and muscular body. Its hindquarters are also muscular and are supported by strong hind legs.

All four of its broad, flat feet are covered in a heavy layer of fur, with tufting in between the toes. These paws act as snowshoes and allow this animal to trudge through snowy terrain with ease. Its furry tail is of medium length and curls over its back. It tends to have a kink at its tip, which is accepted as part of its standard.

Its long-haired coat is its most striking feature. Being a double-coated canine, its fur colours and patterns come in a wide range of varieties. However, the liver and chocolate colours are not accepted under the standards of the Kennel Club. As its coat easily picks up debris, it should be brushed daily to keep it clean and tangle-free. Baths should be done monthly.

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Temperament and Intelligence

The Tibetan terrier’s temperament is lively, alert, pleasant, gentle, and affectionate. Fun-loving, this canine is devoted and loyal to its family and makes an excellent watchdog. It is wary of strangers and tends to vocalise at anything suspicious, although it does not bark excessively. It is not aggressive toward strangers. Its capacity for forging strong bonds with its people makes it likely to develop separation anxiety.

As an intelligent, high-energy breed, the Tibetan terrier should be given sufficient mental stimulation or tasks daily. Training requires a firm hand as this dog has a stubborn streak. Although great as a family pet, it is best suited for families with older children. As it is an inquisitive pooch, it can lose sight of you as it explores. As such, it should be walked on a lead.

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Nutrition and Feeding

The Tibetan terrier needs a high-quality diet that will provide the balanced nutrition that he needs, whether it’s commercial dog food or a home-made diet. The first ingredient should always be protein; it should be natural meat and not by-products.

Vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, and fatty acids need to be added in his diet, as well as vegetables and whole fruits. His diet should be rich in antioxidants like taurine, which is great for the heart, DHA for brain development, and fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, for a shinier and healthier coat and skin.

The Tibetan terrier is a very active dog breed, so make sure to provide him with premium-quality dog food. Pick one that is specifically designed for his age, activity levels, breed, and size. This ensures that he will get the proper amount of nutrients and minerals that he needs.

Stay away from commercial dog food. It may be less costly, but it often has low nutritional value, which can lead to a deficiency of nutrients. Preservatives and additives are mostly found in these types of food, which can harm your Tibetan terrier’s health. Always have a bowl of fresh water ready for your dog to keep him hydrated.

Follow a set feeding schedule consistently and provide the same food to your pet to avoid tummy upsets. A Tibetan terrier puppy must be fed three to four times a day, whilst an adult one can be fed twice a day.

For a Tibetan terrier puppy that is two to six months old, feed 133–233 g of food daily, depending also on his size and activity level. For a puppy that is eight to ten months old, feed 119-201 g of food daily. When he turns twelve months, you can feed him with adult food.

An adult Tibetan terrier weighing 8–13 kg should be fed about 119–219 g of food daily, taking into consideration his activity level. For an adult Tibetan terrier that weighs 14 kg and above, the average daily portion ranges from 178 to 235 g.

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Health and Exercise

The average lifespan of a Tibetan terrier is twelve to fifteen years. The breed is robust and sturdy, but it is predisposed to a few hereditary health conditions, such as:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Primary lens luxation
  • Allergies
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

As this breed is energetic and smart, it should be physically and mentally stimulated daily. It should be exercised for at least sixty to eighty minutes per day. 

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Cost of Ownership

If you are interested in buying a Tibetan Terrier, you need to prepare £500-£600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. To ensure it stays healthy at whatever age, you will need to feed your dog high quality food and treats, which can set you back £20-£30 a month. You would also need to spend on dog accessories such as leads, collars, food bowls, crates, beds, and toys. The combined initial cost for these things is estimated at £200.

As to healthcare, you should be prepared in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. You can offset some medical bills if you get a pet insurance. The premium can range from £20 for a time-limited cover up to £42 for a lifetime one. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health, age, the type of cover you choose, and whether it has pre-existing conditions.

Other outgoings to consider are veterinary expenses that may not be included in a pet insurance coverage such as vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual boosters, which can have a combined cost of £800 annually. Overall, you will be budgeting £50-£80 a month for recurring expenses, depending on the type of insurance cover you choose for your dog.

Tibetan Terrier Breed Highlights

  • The Holy Dog of Tibet has a wonderful temperament and a lively, friendly nature.
  • This breed is suitable as a family pet and is good with other pets.
  • Its thick, furry coat needs daily grooming.
  • As an intelligent and high-energy dog, it learns quickly and must be mentally stimulated and exercised daily to keep it happy.
  • Early socialisation is important for this breed, so it becomes a well-balanced dog.
  • Its strong bond with its owners makes it unable to thrive being left alone for long periods.
Tibetan Terrier

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The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.

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