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Tibetan Terrier

Country/Date of Origin: Tibet/1700s

On the roof of the world in the Himalayan Mountains the lamas or holy men of Tibet, cherished a shaggy little dog which they believed brought good luck. These dogs were never sold because no one would tempt fate by selling part of their "luck." The dogs were given occasionally as a mark of esteem or in gratitude for a service rendered. The first example of the breed to reach the outside world was a gift to an English doctor. She began breeding the Tibetan Terriers in India in the 1920s and later returned to England with them and from there the breed became popular the world over. They were accepted into the American Kennel Club Stud Book in 1973.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Dhokhi Apso, Holy Dog of Tibet, Luck Giver

AKC Group: Non-Sporting

Breed Club: Tibetan Terrier Club of America

Rescue Club: Tibetan Terrier Club of America Rescue

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Body Type:

  • A medium sized, well-balanced dog with a long shaggy coat that covers the face
  • Height: 14-16 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 18-30 pounds
  • The pendant ears are not altered
  • The tail draped over the back in a curl and is not altered


  • A friendly alert dog
  • Adaptable, loves to travel
  • Good watchdog
  • Intelligent
  • Excellent with children
  • Original use was as a companion. The Tibetans are naturally helpful and willing to please in all things


  • The silky textured double coat is moderately long
  • All colors and mixtures of colors are acceptable
  • Moderate grooming required

Health Concerns:

  • Exceptionally healthy breed
  • Like other long haired dogs, they can develop skin disorders known as hot spots
  • Possible eye problems caused by hair over the eyes scratching the cornea
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • In spite of the name, this breed is not a terrier. Does not have a terrier disposition or their inclination to dig
  • Physically adapted to high altitudes. Oversized lungs compensate for thin air and flat, "snowshoe" feet provide extra traction
  • Tibetan Terriers are very active and require ample exercise

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