Tibetan Terrier- Facts about the Tibet Ball of Fluff

The Tibetan Terrier is an ancient dog breed and companion dog that is associated with Buddhist monasteries. He is also known as the Holy dog of Tibet. 

This is a family-oriented dog with an incredible personality. It comes as no surprise that they are used as therapy dogs a lot.

And because he has a history as a watchdog he is a very alert dog but their gentle demeanor makes him very unsuitable as a guard dog.

But there is a lot you have to learn about this breed before deciding that you are either going to adopt or buy one of them.

That is why we as Mydogsinfo created this guide for you. By the end of this article, you should have all the important facts about this dog to help you with any decisions.

From his characteristics to how to take care of him once you have brought him home, you will have it all.

A great looking Tibetan dog

So, why don’t we dive right into it? 

About the Tibetan Terrier

Contrary to what the name might have you believe, this Tibetan dog is not a Terrier. He was named as a Terrier because of how closely he resembles them by European Travelers.

This doggie is called Tsang Apso by the Tibetans which translates to a bearded or shaggy dog “Apso.” Some also referred to him as Dokhi Apso “outdoor Apso.”

The Tibetan Terrier is a somehow low-key and calm dog that is also very playful and lively.

He is a pooch that is very adaptable as long as you can meet his needs, be it in terms of exercise or nutrition.

This dog is agile and athletic and loves activities that involve him and his family such as playing games. But he can also be suspicious and timid if he is not socialized early on.

Many dog lovers confuse this doggo for the Lhasa Apso that is a smaller breed than the Tibetan Terrier.

The Tibetan Terrier is more of a medium-sized dog.

You should be aware that these dogs are great climbers and they can jump up to twice their height when trying to reach for something. Their intense curiosity also does not make it any better for you.

So what is the story behind this Tibet Dog? 


Origin of the Tibetan Apso(dog)

The Tibetan Terrier is not a Terrier, at least not by blood, but his looks are what makes people confuse him for a Terrier group dog.

This breed has been around for at least 2000 years now and it would be accurate if you referred to him as an ancient breed.

He originated from Tibet where he was developed in the Lost Valley.

They are associated with the Dalai Lama and the Buddist monasteries where they were used as companion dogs and watchdogs.

These dogs would also assist people with the retrieval of articles that fell down the mountains and herding and were also believed to bring good luck. The monks would only give them as gifts and they were never sold and are commonly referred to as the ‘holy dogs of Tibet.

Agnes R.H. Greig, an English doctor, was responsible for bringing this dog to the west after it was gifted to her for treating a patient.

She luckily managed to acquire another puppy and started a breeding program in the 1920s.

The popularity of this breed has been on the rise and he has contributed to the creation of other dogs like the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu.

Tsang Apso

Breed recognition

This breed was recognized by the United Kingdon Kennel Club in 1937.

The Tibetans Terrier were only recognized by AKC in 1973 although they had arrived there earlier in the 1950s.

Pros and cons of the Tibetan Terrier


 They have a gentle demeanor and are affectionate.

 The Tibetan Terrier can adapt to living in an apartment.

 They get along well with children and other house pets.


 These dogs can have a stubborn streak.

 They can be prone to barking a lot.

 These Tibetans dogs are not suited for owners that have a busy schedule as they don’t tolerate being left alone.

General Characteristics of the Tsang Apso

Tibetan Terrier summary table
Height 14 to 17 inches
Weight 18 to 30 pounds
Lifespan 15 to 16 years
Breed Type Non-sporting group
Purpose Companion and family dog
Suitable For Is suited for all families and dog lovers
Grooming requirements high
Color Variations Any color that bares Chocolate and liver is allowed.

They also come in varying combinations from piebald to red sable to tricolor and even particolored

Health concerns Hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and progressive retinal atrophy
Temperament intelligent, loyal, courageous, Energetic, Playful, fearless, and obedient
Other names TTs, Tibetans, Tsang Apso, Dokhi Apso

Height and weight

The Tibetan Terrier is classified as a medium-sized dog with square proportions.

These dogs have a height of between 14 to 17 inches and would weigh anywhere between 18 to 30 pounds.

Males can be slightly larger than their female counterparts.

Tibetan-Terrier- is often confused for the Lhasa Apso
Tibetan-Terrier- is often confused for the Lhasa Apso

Physical appearance

Tibetan Terriers have more of a rugged look to them with muscular and compact bodies.

They have a skull that is neither flat not rounded and a medium-length muzzle. Their large adorable eyes that are dark and set fairly apart from each other.

They have well-feathered V-shaped ears that are high set.

The preferred color of their noses is black but some of the TTs can have brown noses with a well-feathered high set tail that curls over their backs.

But one of the features that are somewhat unusual about the Tsang Apso is their flat and broad feet with hair between their toes. This made them ideal for climbing mountains because they acted as natural shoes.

These dogs also have a well-developed jaw and a fair amount of beard.

Coat appearance of the Tibetan Terrier

The Dokhi Apso has a thick double coat with the undercoat being wooly and very thick while the upper coat is long and can be straight or even wavy.

Their coat protects them from harsh weather conditions such as the cold mountains.

This coat has no odor and is considered to be hypoallergenic which makes him suitable for allergic sufferers.

Unfortunately, Tibetans shed their coat but not as much as other dogs. Puppies may shed a lot when they are losing the puppy coat to develop a new adult coat.


Tibetan Apsos come in various colors and color combinations such as;

  • silver
  • white
  • gold
  • black
  • brindle
  • tricolor

Gold is their rarest color.


Personality traits and temperament of the Dokhi Apso

Traits Rating
exercise needs
Ease of care

The popularity of the Tibetan Terrier has been on the rise mainly because of his gentle demeanor and attractive temperament.

Generally, this Tibetan dog breed is intelligent, agile, active, and naturally happy.

Some of them are also determined, clever, and steadfast which can make them have a stubborn streak.

They are loving and affectionate towards members of their family but are mostly reserved around strangers. This does not mean that they are aggressive to them but maybe a bit shy.

You need to socialize these dogs at an early age to get rid of any shy tendencies that they may have.

TTs thrive on human affection and should not be left alone for long periods. They are known to suffer from separation anxiety and can even become destructive when this happens.

Overall, this dog is a charmer and you will not have a dull moment with him in the house.

Is the Tibetan Terrier a good family dog?

The Tibetan Terrier is a great family dog that is outgoing and playful.

Children love his playfulness and enjoy his genre and lovable demeanor. They also have no problems living with other animals especially those that they have been raised with.

However, you should correctly socialize them by letting them meet as many people, animals, and different life situations as possible.

Remember that a dog’s personality is mainly affected by how you bring them up.

The Tibetan Terrier Guide

Frequently asked questions

Does the Tibetan Shed a lot?

Tibetan Terriers shed moderately but not as much as other dogs. However, they sought hair just like humans do.

Are Tibetan Terriers aggressive? 

The Tibetan Terrier is not an aggressive dog but sometimes he can be reserved and even a bit shy towards strangers. Their gentle and loveable demeanor also makes them unsuitable to be guard dogs.

Is the Tibetan Terrier a Terrier?

Contrary to what many people believe the Tibetan Apso is not a Terrier. Terriers are dog breeds that were developed mainly to hunt vermin from the ground. The Tibetan Terrier does not have the disposition to be a true Terrier. Terrier is got from the word Terre which means the ground. He got the Terrier name because most Europeans used to name most of the small dog breeds as Terriers.

Tibetan Terrier Puppies

The Tibetan Dog puppies are believed to bring good luck.

Litter size

A Tibetan Apso mother can give birth to a litter of about 3 to 7 puppies.

These pups take around 6 months to reach their adolescent and about 17 months for full maturity.

How much does a Tibetan Terrier Puppy cost?

If you are set on getting of these puppies you should be prepared with anywhere between $1000 to $1500 just for one puppy.

Considering adoption maybe your best option if you are looking to save some money. Adoption can cost anywhere between $100 and $150.

You should look for a good and reputable breeder to avoid having issues with the pup that you get.


Tsang Apso grooming

Grooming these dogs may not be as easy as it may look. They have intensive grooming needs.

Their coats should be brushed regularly and preferably daily to get rid of tangles and mats. You can also use a detangling spray when you are about to brush them to make it easier.

Brushing also helps to distribute oils on the coat which keeps them shiny and healthy.

You may also be required to trim the coat to keep it at a manageable size.

Tibetan Terrier should only be bathed once a month at most.

Clean any wax build up in their ears frequently and do not forget to check for any signs of infections or irritation. Visit your vet to get ear wash recommendations and if you suspect that your pooch may have an infection.

The nails should also be trimmed when they start getting long.

Also, do not forget to brush their teeth at least once a week to prevent tartar build-up and to prevent the risk of periodontal diseases.

Visit our complete grooming guide and learn how you can groom a Tibetan Terrier.

 Exercise requirements

Your Tibetan Terrier will need some sort of physical exercise no matter where you live. He will need at least 45 minutes of exercise daily.

Taking him for walks alone may not be enough to make sure that he physically stimulated. You may be required to play games such as hide and seek, fetch, and even go for light jogs with him.

But at least make sure that even if you only taking him for daily walks, take him for 2 walks.

Also, remember to carry a leash on a harness when you are walking him in case he tries to escape.

If you have a yard where he can play, it can be very handy for him to play and roam around.

A great looking Tibetan dog

Nutritional needs of the Tibetan Terrier

Just like with any other dog the Tsang Apso does well on a high-quality diet that is high n proteins.

The diet should also be rich in minerals, vitamins, carbs, and fatty acids as well.

Whether it is a commercial diet or homemade food you should choose a diet that is best for your Tibetan Terrier. You should seek the advice of your veterinarian for any dietary changes that you may have in mind.

Avoid free feeding this dog as this could easily make him get overweight which may cause health complications.

Tibetan Apso Daily Food Consumption
Calories 750
Cups of Kibble 🍗🍗


These dogs respond very well to training, especially reward-based training, and positive reinforcement.

Reward him for the tricks and commands that he gets right but do not by any chance punish him.

They do not respond to aversive training methods and will even go to the extent of rebelling against you.

Be patient and consistent to get the best results because this dog is intelligent and eager to please but training overall takes time.

Health concerns

Tibetans Terriers live for long and have an average lifespan of between 15 to 16 years.

However, like most of the dog breeds, they are prone to some health problems some of which are inherited.

Finding a reputable and responsible dog breeder is your best bet to having a Tibetan Terrier with a healthy life and a long one too.

Some of the common health complications are;

  • Patellar Luxation which occurs when the knee cap slips out of the groove. This condition can be treated depending on how severe it is.
  • Hip Dysplasia which occurs when the hip joints develop abnormally and may be painful for the pooch. If left untreated it causes arthritis.
  • Eye problems such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy are also common in this doggie.

Breed summary

The Tibetian Terrier is an adorable, smart, and sometimes stubborn dog that makes an excellent family pet and companion.

He is sensitive to the moods of his owner and that is what makes him such a great companion dog.

They are alert doggos that are perfect watchdogs.

Have you had any experience with the Tibetan Terrier? And was this article helpful to you?

Give us your feedback in the comment section below.

There you go WOOF!

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