Excellent Pets and Family Companions

videoThe generally accepted history of the TT breed says that they were raised for hundreds of years by the monks that lived high in the mountains of Tibet. The TTs were companions to the monks, and generally not working dogs, though it is believed that occasionally they worked as herding dogs. TTs were never sold, but only occasionally given to friends or travelers for good luck.

History of Tibetan Terriers.

With this heritage, it is easy to see why TTs make excellent pets and family companions. They are sometimes a little shy at first around strangers, but generally very outgoing and good-natured dogs. TTs seem to adapt to the lifestyle of their family. They're content to be couch potatoes in less active homes, but are also willing and able to participate in family activities such as hiking or camping or dog activities such as agility or obedience training.

Tibetan Terriers and Performance.

weavepolesTTs are extremely intelligent, and can be trained to do almost anything, but they respond best to positive training methods. Being as intelligent as they are, they are quick to learn how to train humans too, so consistency in dealing with them is important. Their long coats, while beautiful when neatly groomed, require frequent brushing or (if not being shown) trimming to prevent matting. Grooming can, however, become a special time of bonding if done frequently for short periods, as it is a time when the TT gets your full attention.

The AKC Standard for the Tibetan Terrier

The AKC standard is the authoritative description of the Tibetan Terrier (or TT). It describes a medium (average 14-16 inches at the shoulder and 20-24 pounds), long-coated dog of square proportions. (That is, the distance from the point of the shoulder to the root of the tail is the same as the distance from the from the highest point of the withers to the ground.) The coat is double, having a soft, wooly undercoat and a profuse outer coat. The outer coat is sometimes straight and sometimes waved. There is no preferred color, and TTs come in a wide range including white, gold, tricolor, brindle, silver, black, and many parti-color variations. Occasionally chocolate-colored TTs occur, but their chocolate noses are considered a fault, so they are almost never shown or used for breeding.

The dark, expressive eyes are covered with a "fall" of hair, sometimes making them difficult to see, but TTs have long eyelashes to keep the hair out of their eyes, and their eyesight is very good.


Unfortunately, there are instances of genetic diseases in TTs, including Canine Hip Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and Lens Luxation. For these reasons, it is important that TTs used for breeding have CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) and OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) certification.
More about the health of Tibetan Terriers.


An example of a well-balanced, properly propotioned, properly presented Tibetan Terrier from the Illustrated Guide to the Tibetan Terrier.

Breed Columns from the AKC Gazette by Andrea Reiman   email

March 2019 Grow It, Flow It, Show It!

December 2018 The Preservation Predicament

September 2018 Aging Well Together

June 2018 Rediscovering the "Why" When All the Wheels Fall Off

March 2018 All Colors Allowed

December 2017 All the Right Moves

September 2017 Of Black Swans and Tibetan Terriers

June 2017 The Resolute TT


March 2017 Latest News on TT Dental Care

December 2016 Letter from a Job-Loving TT

September 2016 Back to the Future

June 2016 We Need to Talk

March 2016 Three Reasons the TT Is Born to Run

December 2015 Two Cheers for Diversity!

September 2015 The Greatest Dog You'll Never See

June 2015 Extraordinarily Ordinary

March 2015 The Essesntial Double Coat

December 2014 Where the Wild Things Are

September 2014 The 13th Tibetan Terrier World Congress

June 2014 The Daring Adventures of Beginner's Mind

March 2014 A TT Carries the Moon on His Back

December 2013 A Conversation with Kerstin Handrich part 2

September 2013 A Conversation with Kerstin Handrich part 1

June 2013 Look Before You Leap is TT M.O.

March 2013 Lessons in Losing

December 2012 Body Style

June 2012 Drop the Brush

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