Understanding and Training a Tibetan Terrier

Understanding and Training a Tibetan Terrier

dog boarding surreyHati is a typical Tibetan Terrier, fun, lively and really cute and has already won the hearts of the Royvon staff here in Surrey. Here is some more information about the breed.

Overview – Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan Terrier is not a member of the terrier group, the name being given to it by European travelers to Tibet who were reminded of terriers from back home when they first encountered the breed. Its origins are uncertain: Some sources [who?] claim them to be lucky temple dogs, whereas others [who?] place them as farm dogs.

The Tibetan Terrier is a dog with many uses, able to guard, herd, and also be a suitable companion dog. Their utility in Tibet meant that the first examples of the breed available in the west were generally given as gifts, as the Tibetan Terrier, along with other Tibetan breeds, were too valuable to the people who owned them to casually sell. As such, the early history of the breed is linked to only a handful of foundation dogs.

Some of the most attractive characteristics of the Tibetan Terrier are that they are sensitive to their owners; they are adaptable and good-natured, yet not generally a nuisance with strangers and are usually good with other dogs and children.  A well balanced Tibetan is well exercised, appreciated and included in family activities.  Family members that do not establish appropriate leadership may experience negative traits such as toilet training problems, food/toy guarding and excessive barking.

The breed’s combination of determined and steadfast cleverness can equate to stubbornness in training.  Stubborn or not, the Tibetan Terrier will respond to fair, consistent training that includes plenty of time for play and activity. The Tibetan Terrier is best viewed as a companion, a loyal companion that is lively, outgoing and affectionate with owners and happiest when treated as such.

Brief History of The Tibetan Terrier

The Tibetan Terrier – often called the Holy Dog of Tibet – has evolved over hundreds of years of harsh conditions, tempered by the warmth and care of monks high in the Himalayas. The “little people”, as they were called, were highly valued as companions to the monks and families who owned them. They were treated like children in the family. Like the children, they eagerly assisted in taking care of the monastery’s or family’s property, their flocks and herds. Sure footed and reliable, they were sometimes sent to accompany a particularly esteemed traveller on a treacherous mountain journey home. No Tibetan in old Tibet who was fortunate enough to own a Tibetan Terrier would ever sell their dog. The dogs were considered good luck, and no one in their right mind would “sell” part of their luck. Mistreating or mismating a Tibetan Terrier could bring bad luck to the family and even the village. While they were not sold, they were given as gifts.

The Tibetan name for the breed, Tsang Apso, roughly translates to “shaggy or bearded (apso) dog, from the province of Tsang”.

The appearance of the Tibetan Terrier is that of a powerful, medium sized dog of square proportions, with a shaggy coat. Overall, there should be a feel of balance. Fully grown, he or she should look like a miniaturized Old English Sheepdog.

Tibetans have hair, not fur; as a result, their coat grows continuously and pet animals will require occasional trimming.[citation needed] They do not shed but rather slough hair at a rate similar to that of most humans. The exception is at approximately nine months when puppies slough their entire coat in advance of acquiring their adult coat. The double coat is profuse, with a warm undercoat and a topcoat which has the texture of human hair. It should not be silky or curled, but wavy is acceptable. Long and thick, it is shown natural, but should not be so long as to touch the floor, as is typical in breeds such as the Lhasa Apso or Maltese. A fall of hair covers the face and eyes, but long eyelashes generally prevent hair from getting in the Tibetan Terrier’s eyes, and the breed has very good eyesight.

All colours are permissible, barring liver and chocolate, and none are preferred. Gold the rarest. Tibetan Terriers are available in any combination of solid, particolor, tricolor, brindle or piebald, as long as the nose leather is black and the eyes and eye rims are dark[citation needed].

Tibetan Terrier Breeds’ Key Traits


The temperament has been one of the most attractive aspects of the breed since it was first established. They are amiable and affectionate family dogs, sensitive to their owners and gentle with older children. As is fitting a dog formerly used as a watch dog, they tend to be reserved around strangers, but should never be aggressive nor shy with them.

Suitable for apartment living, the Tibetan is still an energetic and surprisingly strong dog, and needs regular exercise. Their energy level and intelligence is well suited for dog sports such as agility. They are steadfast, determined, and clever, which can lead to them being stubborn. Some dogs of this breed can often be jealous, which can make it hard to live with another pet.

Though not yappy, the Tibetan Terrier has an assertive bark, likened to a rising siren.[citation needed]

Energy Level: Moderate to high General Nature: happy, active, lively, intelligent, agile

With Children: Good if properly introduced, supervised with well behaved children

With other pets: generally good

With dogs: generally good, sometimes shy

Socialization requirements: required to help address inclination to shyness to strangers

Ideal home characteristics: one devoted to regular grooming and care of the coat in addition to other needs

Temperament Notes: charming and loyal, sensitive and intelligent

Training requirement: dependent entirely on goals

Intelligent and sensitive nature. Training kept interesting and positive will move quickly. This is not a dog that will benefit from force of any form.

About Royvon Dog Boarding & Training

The nations first and leading specialists for dog training. Royvon Dog Training Schools provide residential dog training & Boarding services. The business, which was established in 1959, is committed to continual improvement and develops many innovative methodologies to train dogs.

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