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Tibetan Terrier: good luck charm

Updated on January 1, 2015

Tibetian Terrier


The Lamas who bred the Tibetan Terriers in their monasteries 2000 years ago considered the dogs to be good luck charms. These dogs were also thought of as the “Holy dogs of Tibet” and served as companions, mascots, and watchdogs as well as good luck charms. They were also used for herding and for retrieving things that at time fell down the mountains. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) they are medium size, powerfully built, agile and hardy dogs able to “withstand the extreme climate and difficult terrain” of Tibet. Their large round flat feet act like snowshoes they can get traction in heavy snow, according to the AKC. They also have a protective double coat and hair over the face protects them from the harsh climate.

This is an ancient breed that contributed to other Tibetan breeds such as the Shi-Tau, the Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Spaniel., according to Although the monks would not sell these dogs they would give them as gifts. One such gift, according to hat website, was in the 1920’s to Dr. A.R.H. Greig of England of England who worked in India for the Women’s Medical Service of India, was given two dogs, one from the Dalai Lama because she saved a life. She started a Tibetan terrier kennel in England. The breed was started in the United States by Dr. Henry and Mrs. Alice Murphy or great Falls, Virginia who imported Tibetan Terriers into the U.S. in 1956. The AKC started registering them in 1973. They are classified as herding, non-sporting dogs.

Like the Tibetan Mastiff is not a mastiff, the Tibetan Terrier is not really a terrier. According to the Tibetan terrier Club of America, the dogs are called terriers because breeds of this size were often classified as terriers in England where the dogs were first introduced to the western world.” Wikipedia relates that they are not in the “terrier group”. They got the terrier name from European travelers because the dogs reminded them of terriers back home. The Tibetan name for the dog is Tsang Apso, which means something similar to shaggy or bearded dog.

Buddie, tibetan Terrier
Buddie, tibetan Terrier | Source

Tibetan terriers are:

  • · Medium size
  • · Squarely proportioned
  • · Have medium head with moderate slope
  • · Have Black nose
  • · Tail well feathered curling over back
  • · Height 14-17 inches
  • · Weight: 18-30lbs
  • · Lifespan 12-17 years
  • · Need a lot of grooming

These dogs, which are sometimes called the Holy dog of Tibet, looks like a miniaturized Old English Sheepdog, according to Wikipedia. They can be almost any color except liver or chocolate. Although they are not really terriers they are about the size of a terrier. They are an intelligent and intelligent dog, a bit mischievous and is sensitive to its owner’s moods but might be reserved around strangers. according to the AKC.

The Tibetan terrier is and independent and active dog and should have a positive, patient approach to training and regular exercise.

  • · Non-sporting group
  • · Recognized by AKC in 1973
  • · Companion, multipurpose utility dog

This is a dog that needs the owner to be a strong pack leader. If they do not feel that the owner is the leader they will tend toward barking and other signs of insecure behavior. According to the, they may not be trustworthy with small children under those circumstances.

If the owners are not the strong leaders some dogs will feel they have to be the leaders and will then be in conflict trying to be the leader of the pack. This is often the cause of behaviors that people find undesirable.

© 2012 Don A. Hoglund


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    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      agulpes. Thanks for reading and commenting of this hub about Tibetan terriers.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Bobbi! Happy New Year. Thank you for reading and commenting. Among other things, I will continue writing about dogs.

    • agvulpes profile image


      3 years ago from Australia

      I had never heard of this breed until a newcomer walked past us and introduced their Tibetan Terrier to us?

      She exhibits all of the characteristics you mention in this great Hub and now she has got to know us is very friendly and playful :)

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image


      3 years ago from Florida


      Happy New Year, I had to stop by and tell you and to thank you for writing about one of my favorite subjects---dogs.

      I appreciate your support during 2014--many blessing.

      Bobbi Purvis

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      moonlake, they do have an interesting look. Thanks for reading and voting.

    • moonlake profile image


      5 years ago from America

      What pretty dogs. I love the way they look we had a black dog that looked just about like that. Interesting hub voted up.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Peggy,for centuries dogs have adapted to human needs, a quality we tend to overlook.Thanks for the votes and tweet.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      These Tibetan Terriers really do look similar to the Lhasa Apso. My parents had the latter breed and looking at that second picture of the dog named Buddie, he looked a lot like that. Always interesting learning about the origin of dog breeds. Up votes and tweeted.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi midget, thanks for visiting and sharing. Yes, I imagine grooming would take effort.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for this write on a really lovely dog. It has a great temper, and I enjoyed the video. I can imagine that grooming won't be easy!! It has such a long coat and it'll take effort to keep it clean. Thanks for the write!!I share as well!

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      taazakhabar, thank you for the complimentary comment.

    • taazakhabar profile image


      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      An interesting and well researched narrative. Love to read. My complements.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      sgbrown, we too have a siberian Husky who is in the house most of the time. As far as the insulation theories, I only know what I have read. However, to some extend insulation is insulation, I think. Conditioning is another factor. However, I think my wife keeps the dog inside too much, so she is conditioned ot being inside. I think being outside more would give the dog more things to interest her. Thanks for the comment.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Dog experts tend to disagree on the "pack" theory. The "Dog Whisperer" is absolute on being "leader of the pack" and having the dog behind the owner when walking. there is another show by a woman who thinks the dog can be where ever, as long as the leash is slack. I am not a training expert but my reading leads me to think that some dogs need more discipline than others Thanks for commenting.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Dexter,Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Very interesting dog breed. They are very cute dogs and I'm sure great companions. We have a Siberian Husky and we let her stay in the house during hot weather. I really don't see how their coat can insulate them against the heat. They were meant to be cold weather animals. Voted this up and interesting. Have a great day!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 

      6 years ago from Asia

      Interesting bit of history. I think that owners need to be the Alpha[s] with an dog bread, to prevent bad behavior. Dogs live in packs and they need to know their place to feel comfortable ... being equal is not a part of a dog's natural life.

      Shared, up and interesting.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      6 years ago from United States

      I have always loved these dogs! Great info. Thanks.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      drjb, I can understand that. Even in wisconsin we have to keep our Siberian Husky indoors on hot days like we have had recently. Some people do argue that the heavy coats insulate against heat as well as cold.I don't know if it is true. Thanks for commenting.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      The Tibetan Terrier seems to be a very playful animal, Don. If it didn't have so much fur, I would like to raise one in south Florida. But the poor things would be undone by our high humidity and hot temperatures.


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