Tibetan Terrier

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Is the Tibetan Terrier right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Dhoki Apso; Tsang Apso

The basics:
The Tibetan Terrier's English name gets it half right. This shaggy dog was developed around 2,000 years ago by llamas in Tibet. Its Tibetan name Dhoki Apso, means "shaggy or bearded outdoor dog," and that's a far more fitting name, since it isn't a true terrier. This cutie is tougher than it looks, since it enjoys walking in the snow often found in its mountain home, but it doesn't demand the high intensity exercise and training required of the terriers. They can be very affectionate dogs, but socialize them with kindness to keep them from becoming timid or bossy. Because they can be sensitive, this breed might not be right for the first time dog owner.

Appearance / health:
The Tibetan Terrier is a powerful, medium sized dog of square proportions, with a shaggy coat. The head is moderate, with a strong muzzle of medium length. The skull is neither rounded nor flat. The eyes are large, dark, and set fairly far apart. The V-shaped drop ears are well feathered, and are set high on the sides of the skull. The nose is always black, regardless of coat color. The body is well muscled and compact. The length of the back is equal to the height at the withers, giving the breed its typical square look. The tail is set high, well feathered, and carried in a curl over the back.

Tibetan Terriers do not shed much but require weekly grooming to prevent matt formation. Grooming can be a means of creating a strong bond between the owner and the dog.

Puppies get all their exercise by simply running free around the house. Adult dogs may be taken for walks twice a day. They make excellent companions on hikes.

Eye problems, allergies, and hip dysplasia (abnormal hip formation) may occur in Tibetan Terriers.

Behavior / temperament:
Tibetan Terriers show a wide range of behaviors. Some dogs like to dig and owners may frequently find household objects buried deep in the mud. They are curious dogs who love to explore. These athletic dogs are good jumpers and can reach a distance twice their height. They are happiest in the company of their masters and may develop separation anxiety when left alone for too long.

Obedience training may be difficult and requires great patience, firmness, and kindness. However, harsh training methods do not work with the Tibetan Terrier and may destroy the dog's spirit. Early socialization is necessary and helps the dog adjust to different situations, people, and animals.

Puppies of all breeds may be noisy. Adult Tibetan Terriers bark whenever they spot something unusual. However, they can be trained to bark only when necessary.


new best friend, great watch dog, ideal family member, happy disposition, beautiful dogs


progressive retinal apathy, Breed medical problems, selective hearing, hair shampoo, expense


small gene pool, truly extraordinary eyes, longer haired breeds

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