Country of OriginTibet
Nicknames and Other NamesDokhi Apso
Tsang Apso
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypePurebred
GroupNon-Sporting group
Companion Breed
Bred ForWatchdogs, herding, and companion
Life Span15-16 years
Ideal WeightMale: 18-30 pounds
Female: slightly smaller
Ideal Height14-17 inches
Fur TypeShaggy, long coat
Common ColorsBlack, Gold, Sable, White,
White and Black,
Golden Brindle, Black and Brown
MarkingsWhite marking, White markings
AvailabilityCommonly available
Suitable for ApartmentsYes
Used in World WarNo
Most Similar ToShih Tzu

The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized ancient breed that was bred to be a family companion and working dog. It adapts well in an apartment as long as it gets the exercise that it needs.

They are a very intelligent dog breed and if trained properly, they can be a well-behaved dog. A novice can own Tibetan Terrier as it does not necessarily need an experienced dog owner.

The Tibetan Terrier is square in shape and powerfully built. The eyes are big and set fairly apart that comes in dark brown or black in color. The ears are V-shaped, heavily feathered and fall close to the head.

Their coat is double, where the undercoat is soft and woolly. The outer coat is long, fine, and not so woolly. The feet of the Tibetan terrier is unique than other dogs. It is large, flat, and round in shape.

Origin and History

The Tibetan Terrier is originated in the mountainous terrain of the harsh, high, remote land of Tibet. It was bred and raised by the Buddhist monks (also known as lamas) more than 2000 years ago. It was a treasure kept as a companion and believed to be the ‘bringer of the good luck’.

They were also used as herding dogs in the village that herds flocks. Although today the Tibetan Terrier is known as a companion, in their long history, they had worked as guarding and herding dogs of the flocks.

Tibetan Terrier History
Tibetan Terrier with a Lama.
Image Source: AKC

The American Kennel Club recognized Tibetan Terrier in 1937, as the member of the Non-Sporting Group. Although it is not widely popular like Tibetan Spaniel, it is still kept to control the movements of the flocks in its native land.

Is Tibetan Terrier Child-Friendly

Tibetan Terrier is a child-friendly dog that has high energy to match the activity level with kids. It can play all day with children and do not get a tire. Therefore, they make a great playmate for small kids. However, they might not do well with kids they don’t know.

So, while taking them out, keep them on a leash. If they are to interact with kids, proper supervision and introduction are necessary.

Tibetan Terrier with a baby
Tibetan Terrier being comfortable with a baby girl.
Image Source: Instagram-@hertsdaddy

Temperament, Behavior, and Personality

Temperament: The temperament of the Tibetan Terrier is affectionate, loyal, and gentle. They are very loving towards their family and thrives for their attention and company. They are very gentle and well mannered and do not get aggressive towards people. Tibetan Terrier is a highly adaptable dog that can live in an apartment, city, or a country.

Behavior: The Tibetan Terrier loves to be with people but if they are not socialized properly, they can be reserved. They thrive for human company and if they are left alone without any human interaction, they can have separation anxiety. Therefore, Tibetan Terrier should not be left alone without human company for a long time.

Personality: The personality of the Tibetan Terrier is calm, yet playful and lively. They are highly energetic which makes them a great companion for an active owner. They help their people with their activities and also will curl up on their lap at the end of the day. Tibetan Terrier does well with other canine pets if they are raised together.


Training Tibetan Terrier is not a hard job to do as they are an intelligent and well-mannered dog breed. You should establish a firm leadership upon them at first and since they are a people pleaser, they will learn commands quickly. Reward them with delicious treats and a lot of vocal praises. This will motivate them to learn things quickly and also to focus on the training.

Do not be harsh on them as they might get scared and will not be able to catch up on your commands. Treat them gently and soo they will be a well-trained dog.


  • The Tibetan Terrier is not a true terrier. When the Westerners carelessly called it by the terrier, it soon spread by that name.
  • It is associated with the Buddhist and the Dalai Lama.
  • It ranks 91 of the 193 American Kennel Club registered breed (as of April 2019).

Health Issues

General Health
Common Health Issues
Vaccination Required
Weight Gain Potential
Separation Anxiety
Diets and Supplements

The Tibetan Terrier is generally a healthy dog breed with the life expectancy of 15-16 years. They can face following canine diseases during their lifetime:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Sometimes hip dysplasia can be found in Tibetan Terrier. It is a condition where the hip joints of the dog are either dislocated or underdeveloped. If it gets serious, it causes pain on the back that makes movement hard and painful. If the sign of hip dysplasia is seen as the abnormal movement of your dog, immediately consult a vet.
  • Glaucoma: It is a condition where there is a build-up fluid inside the eye of your dog. It can be genetic or can be caused by eye disease. It will cause poor eyesight, intraocular pressure and if not treated immediately, it can cause blindness.


The Tibetan Terrier comes in many colors and some standard colors according to the American Kennel Club are listed below:

  • Black
  • Black & White
  • Brindle
  • Black White & Gold
  • Gold
  • Gold & White
  • Golden Brindle
  • White
  • White & Black
  • Sable
  • White & Gold
  • Black markings
  • White markings


Height and Size: The average height of the Tibetan Terrier is 14-17 inches. The average weight of the male is 18-30 pounds and the female is slightly smaller.

Cost: The average cost of the Tibetan Terrier is between $1200-$2000 USD. However, if you consider adopting one, it will cost around $300-$400 that includes the expenses of taking care of the puppy.

Dog Breeds Similar to Tibetan Terrier

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