Because of the geographically isolated location of Tibet, Tibetan Terriers were kept purebred for over 2,000 years. Monks and families referred to the ancient breed as “the little people”, for they were highly valued as companions who were eager to aid in protecting properties and flocks.Since the dog was considered a bringer of luck, mistreating or selling a Tibetan terrier was believed to cause bad luck to both family and village.The first Tibetan terrier to come to Europe came with Dr. A.R.H. Greig of England in 1922. She was given a gold and white female puppy “Bunti” for successfully performing an operation on a patient. After acquiring a second male “Rajah”, Dr. Greig established a kennel and began to breed them.The first litter was born in 1924, registered as Lhasa terriers. In 1930, the Kennel Club of India changed the breed’s name to Tibetan terrier. The first Tibetan terriers in the USA were imported in 1956 by Dr. Henry and Mrs. Alice Murphy of Great Falls, Virginia. In 1973, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club and was classified into the non-sporting group.Tibetan terriers are related to and have contributed to the development of other Tibetan breeds, including the Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Spaniel, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, among others.
The Tibetan Terrier is a well muscled, medium-size dog and in general appearance is not unlike an Old English Sheepdog in miniature. His skull is of medium length, with a marked stop in front of the eyes; his head is well furnished with hair; the body is compact and powerful; his tail is carried over his back. The Tibetan Terrier is double-coated and can be white, golden, cream, grey or smoke, black, parti-colour and tricolour.
IMPORTANT. A Tibetan Terrier with exaggerated features is the result of bad breeding. Credit; The Breed Club Connection.
The Tibetan Terrier is smart, pleasant, and affectionate. Gentle but fun-loving, he’s dedicated to his family but may be cautious or reserved toward strangers. Puppies are active and lively — what puppy isn’t? — but settle down as they reach maturity.
True to their heritage, they make wonderful watchdogs and will bark an alert if they see or hear anything suspicious. They don’t like to be left alone for long periods, preferring the company of the people they love. Tibetan Terriers are known for adaptability and a sense of humor.
Like every dog, Tibetan Terriers need early socialization — exposure to many people, sights, sounds, and experiences — when they’re young. Socialization helps make sure that your Tibetan Terrier puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
( Source; Tibetan Terrier Breeder and Owners Club );
They do have health issues like any pedigree, cross-breed, or multi breed dog. However, diligent and responsible breeding over the past 50 years in the UK have lead to these being minimal. The founder club has kept health records since its inception. Now the T.T.B.O.C. along with the T.T.A. work very closely together to promote healthy dogs and sensible breeding practices. The breed standard for the Tibetan Terrier has always stated that they should be without exaggeration and this can only support the breeding of healthy animals.
Breeders today are encouraged to test for the following hereditary conditions:
P.L.L. – Primary Lens Luxation
N.C.L. – Neuronal Ceroid Lipfuscinosis
We also hip score our breeding dogs for Hip Dysplasia, via a xray at 12 months or over. Although there is believed to be some hereditary element to hip problems, there are other issues that may influence hip development such as diet, exercise, and injury. Currently the breed average score is around 14 and it follows that the lower the score the better the hip-joint. The score ranges form 0-106.
The other recorded eye condition is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (P.R.A.). The A.H.T. have a test for the rcd4 mutation, which is elderly onset, and not expected to appear before 10 years, this may even be older for Tibetan Terriers. It is hoped that later this year another test will be issued for the mutation P.R.A. 3. These two tests may account for only half of the P.R.A. in Tibetan Terriers. It is thought there will be another mutation or mutations, this is a work in progress.
All breeders should carry out annual eye testing of their breeding Tibetan Terriers via the recognised B.V.A. scheme. However , to put things into perspective, in the past 23 years there have only been around 57 confirmed clinical cases of P.R.A. and P.L.L. in a total of 22,224 dogs registered in the catchment period. In the UK we have only 2 confirmed clinical cases of N.C.L.
In addition to D.N.A. testing we recommend that breeding stock hold a current B.V.A. eye certificate, where the general health of the eye is monitored enabling early detection of any problem.Like any living being, Tibetan Terriers can suffer injury. Together with the wear and tear of old age, other illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems and a few other conditions, have been presented but certainly in no exceptional numbers.
There are no laws in place governing the health tests that breeders carry out. The T.T.B.O.C. would urge you to buy puppies from adults that have had a minimum of the scheduled tests for Tibetan Terriers .