Any comment on Tibet refers
to myths & legend with the inaccessibility of the country
being the major factor in this. There is no doubt, however
that the Tibetan Terrier has his origins in Tibet. Various
texts & research refer to his allegiance to the monks
who dwelt in the monasteries situated on the high reaches
of the mountain where he was a companion and guard dog. He
is also said to have worked with the nomadic tribes of the
lower valleys as a guard and herding dog. With descriptions
of this ilk it is difficult to understand why he was classified
as a terrier and is a misnomer that still provides a puzzle
for some. In the UK, the Kennel Club place all dogs into one
of the seven groups and the Tibetan Terrier belongs to the
Working in the precipitous mountain sides and
snow covered valleys it was essential he had suitable protection
and the typical Tibetan Terrier coat is a double one. An undercoat
of fine woolly hair is overlain with a profuse coat of somewhat
harsher texture. The terrain also demanded a dog of great agility and
balance. The answer to this was to develop large flat feet,
a required breed feature.
We are grateful that a number of people have
taken it on themselves to delve into the history of the breed
and there seems little point in repeating their well-documented
research. References to some of these texts can be found at
the bottom of the page.
The UK breed standard calls
for a sturdy, medium-sized dog, long-haired, with a generally
square outline that should characteristically be a lively,
good natured, loyal companion dog. He should have an outgoing,
alert, intelligent temperament.
Life with a Tibetan Terrier is
typically hectic and demanding due to their desire to please
but what is gained in return cannot be quantified. His engaging
personality and willingness to adapt to all life styles makes
him an irrepressible breed to own. He excels as a family pet
and will join in with everything, invited or otherwise! Thanks
to responsible breeding programs, they suffer few health problems
and will often reach ages of 15 or 16 years old.
As with all breeds however
is not for everyone. His coat will need extensive grooming
and ia a major consideration. He is not a dog that enjoys
being left alone and can protest noisily. Their natural boisterous
demeanour will defeat all but the experienced owner if left
unchecked. It plays to buy from responsible breeders who carry
out BVA Kennel club tests on eyes, hips & have years of
experience in breeding for type and temperament. Such breeders
will provide you with proper diets for your puppy and should
give advice on training, inoculations and offer calming words
during those early days of acclimatisation.
For information on the books (see below) written
about the Tibetan Terrier, some of which we occasionally stock,
contact our Merchandise Secretary. Our club Secretary, Philippa Gilbert, may
be able to answer queries on health issues or refer you to
someone who can. You can also get such information at the
'The Tibetan Terrier' by Angel Mulliner (1977).
'Dogs From The Lost Valley' by Tony Johnson (1984).
'Your Guide To The Tibetan Terrier' by Emmy Manual (1984).
'Tibetan Terriers' by Ann Keleman (1994).
'Tibetan Terrier' by Juliette Cuncliffe (1991).
'Grooming The Tibetan Terrier' by Lesley Cooper.
'The Little People' by Hanne Mathias (signed).
'The Tibetan Terrier' by Tony Johnson (article in Dogs Monthly