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Tibetan Terrier

(Dhokhi Apso)
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Tibetan Terrier

Form and Function

The Tibetan Terrier was historically viewed as an all-purpose dog, able to accompany their family on any job. They are usually square-proportioned, compact, and powerfully built. Their double coat, consists of a profuse fine, long (straight or slightly wavy) outer coat and a soft wooly undercoat, which provided protection from the harsh Tibetan climate. Long hair falls forward over their eyes and foreface. Their feet are large, flat, and round, producing a snowshoe effect for maximum traction. Their stride is free and effortless.


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Breed Traits

Energy Level

3 out of 5

Exercise Requirements

3 out of 5


3 out of 5

Affection Level

4 out of 5

Friendliness To Dogs

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Other Pets

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Strangers

2 out of 5


1 out of 5

Ease of Training

3 out of 5

Grooming Requirements

4 out of 5

Heat Sensitivity

3 out of 5


4 out of 5

Breed Attributes




18-24 lb





Area of Origin


Date of Origin

Ancient times

Other Names

Dhokhi Apso


The history of the Tibetan Terrier is as shrouded in mystery as the mountains and valleys from whence they come. The Tibetan Terrier originated in Lamaist monasteries nearly 2000 years ago. These dogs were kept not as workers, but as family companions that might occasionally help out with the herding or other farm chores. They were known as “luck bringers” or “holy dogs.”

Much of the breed’s history is speculation or myth; one story claims that a major access route to their valley was obliterated by an earthquake in the fourteenth century. Few visitors hazarded the treacherous journey to the “Lost Valley” after that; the few that did were often given a luckbringer dog to help them on their return trip. As befitting any bringer of luck, these dogs were never sold, but they were often presented as special gifts of gratitude. So it was that in 1920 Dr. A. Grieg, an Indian physician, was given one of the special dogs in return for medical treatment. Dr. Grieg became interested in the breed and began to promote them.

The Tibetan Terrier first became recognized in India, and by 1937 they had made their way to England. From there, they came to America in the 1950s and was admitted to AKC registration in 1973. Incidentally, the Tibetan Terrier is in no way a terrier, having only been given that name because of their terrier size.


Gentle and amiable, the Tibetan Terrier makes a charming, dependable member of the household. They are equally up for an adventure in the yard or a snooze in the house. They can be sensitive, a wonderful companion and willing to please.


The Tibetan Terrier often likes to run and explore, and needs daily exercise in a safe area, such as a fenced yard. Their needs can also be met by a vigorous game in the yard or a moderately long walk on leash. Their long coat needs thorough brushing or combing once or twice a week.


  • Major concerns: lens luxation, PRA
  • Minor concerns: patellar luxation, cataract, CHD, ceroid lipofuscinosis, hypothyroidism
  • Occasionally seen: distichiasis, deafness
  • Suggested tests: eye, hip, hearing, DNA for lens luxation, DNA for lipofuscinosis
  • Life span: 12–15 years


Note: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

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