OVERVIEW OF THE TIBETAN TERRIER
Tibetan Terriers have a somewhat deceiving name. Although born in Tibet, these dogs are not terriers at all. They don’t share the same temperament nor the tendency to dig for mice, rats, and other vermin. The name was given purely due to their similarity in size.
Tibetan Terriers (TTs) were bred in monasteries or lamaseries as companion dogs to the monks as well as to accompany herdsmen in the Tibetan mountains. Since they were thought to bring luck, they were never sold but only given as gifts or gestures of appreciation.
These dogs have a fun-loving yet kind nature. They need lots of affection and thrive on being with their human family. They are great therapy dogs. They do make good watchdogs and will bark at anything, however, aren’t the scariest guard dogs after the alerts have been called.
Their thick, silky coats make them ideal for colder climates. They have medium activity needs, so have to get out for some play and walks daily and may fare well in agility and obedience activities. They’re more suited to families with older children and should not be left alone for long periods. A bored TT will either practice their barking or their escaping skills whether it be under a fence or over a wall.
Smart, affectionate, and dedicated, Tibetan Terriers will become very loyal members of your family. If you’re considering getting a silky-haired Tibetan companion to join your home, here are the best care, wellness, and grooming tips to keep your new pup happy and healthy.
TIBETAN TERRIER FOOD AND HEALTH
If you get your puppy from a breeder it is essential that they show you health certificates for the puppy and its parents to prevent serious genetic diseases. It is recommended that dogs are screened for thyroid problems, bladder stones, hip and patella irregularities, periodontal disease, allergies, and eye health. They should also get genetic or DNA tests are done for Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) which affect the eyes as well as Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis, a neurodegenerative disease.
Many breeders recommend the dogs reach maturity before spaying or neutering. Doing this too early can predispose the pets to joint issues. Aging Tibetan Terriers can suffer from heart murmurs, vestibular disease, and cancer.
Not all dogs suffer from all or any of these diseases, however, it is good to be aware of the importance of testing when buying from a breeder and to know what symptoms to look for. If you are adopting a rescue pup, giving them good care and a healthy diet is important to see them grow old healthfully and gracefully.
Tibetan Terriers don’t need large quantities of food. Even just a little overfeeding can lead to health and digestive problems. Adults need between one to one and a half cups of quality dry food every day, divided into two meals. Dry food can be moistened with a grain-free sauce. Serve your pet pal’s meals at consistent times every day and take into account how many training snacks they eat during the day. Training treats can often be halved or quartered to stretch them further and prevent pilling on the calories. Adjust the amount of food they get according to their activity level and weight.
Avoid giving your TT table scraps. Besides many human foods not being healthy for dogs, one sniff of your fatty meat will probably equal your pup’s entire calorie allowance. If you prefer cooking for your dog, introduce new foods in small quantities and always make sure the foods are dog safe. Lean meat such as chicken and fish are generally good options with veggies such as sweet potatoes.
Puppies and adult dogs have different nutrient needs for healthy development. For this reason, it is essential that your puppy never gets adult dog food. Only feed your Tibetan Terrier puppy age-appropriate formulas. Food packaging will clearly state the age the food is created for and how much to feed your puppy according to its weight.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR TIBETAN TERRIER
Tibetan Terriers don’t need excessive activity but they do need a couple of 20-minute walks or one longer walk and play session daily. Socializing your pup from an early age is recommended. Together with consistent obedience training, this will ensure they learn good manners and get used to having other people and dogs around.
They don’t like repetitive training so keep it fun and interesting. Like most dogs, they will not respond well to harsh or aggressive training methods. Always make training a positive experience with encouragement and rewards for good behavior.
A harness is the best option for walking your dog as opposed to a collar. The pressure from a collar against your puppy’s neck when either of you tugs can cause severe damage. A collar is best kept for ID tags, and even so, they shouldn’t remain on permanently. Leaving a collar on day and night can cause the hair around the neck to mat or fall out and can increase the chances of rashes and infections.
A harness fits around your dog’s chest and torso, which eliminates tension on the throat and neck. Choose a harness material and design type that won’t cause too much tangling if your TT has long locks.
A back-clip harness is generally more comfortable for your dog since the D-ring to attach the leash is positioned on the back. A front clip harness has a leash attachment on the front of the chest. These are a good choice for larger breeds that require extra control.
Check the collar and harness regularly for a size adjustment as your TT grows.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR TIBETAN TERRIERS
Just like you, your pet pal needs enough quality sleep to stay happy and healthy. Tibetan Terriers don’t do well if left alone for long periods and thrive on human companionship. They need to be in a home where they get lots of attention and that means living inside with you.
When done correctly, crate training can be effective for house training. Transform the crate into a comfortable and cozy den for your pup with a mattress or blanket and toy. It can also serve as their sleeping space. Never use the crate as a means of punishment. Keep the association positive.
The crate needs to offer ample airflow and be big enough so your TT can turn around, stand, and stretch out comfortably. If you want to use the crate through adulthood, consider getting an adult size and sectioning it off inside while your pup is still small.
Regardless of whether you get a crate for your pup or not, a good dog bed is essential. The interior of the bed, excluding frames or bolsters, should be big enough for your pet pal to fit comfortably. Dog beds that are odor resistant and have a removable cover for washing are the best options.
If your pet pal suffers from joint ailments, choose an orthopedic or memory foam bed to support their joints.
BEST TOYS FOR TIBETAN TERRIERS
Tibetan Terriers need exercise to stay healthy and entertainment or play to keep them out of mischief. They don’t need excessive amounts of exercise, however, like certain other breeds, and are quite happy to spend most of the day trotting around the house and being with you once their exercise needs are fulfilled.
Like most dogs, they enjoy playing fetch. Balls, Kongs, and durable soft toys are ideal for your TT. In addition, mentally stimulating toys such as puzzle toys and treat finders will keep them busy at home.
Puzzle toys have treats placed inside a ball or covered slots. Your pup has to figure out how to get to them. Once they’ve mastered the puzzle and found their treats, some versions allow you to increase the difficulty level.
When your dog is still a puppy, make sure you have chew toys around. This will prevent your puppy from chewing on furniture and shoes to relieve itchy and aching gums while teething. As they get older, teething toys can be replaced with other types of chew toys such as teeth cleaning toys. A chew brush, for example, helps prevent tartar buildup. Although this helps with dental health, it is not a replacement for brushing their teeth.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR TIBETAN TERRIER OWNERS
If you decide to keep your Tibetan Terriers coat long, it requires a lot of grooming. If you are not willing to or don’t have the time for grooming, it is kinder to your pet and yourself to keep their coat on the shorter side to prevent matting and knots which can lead to painful pulling or infections.
These pups are protected by a double coat. The undercoat is soft and wooly while the top coat can be wavy or straight and grows almost to the ground. They come in various colors and patterns from white, silver, black, and tricolor to gold and brindle.
During adolescence, their coat requires daily brushing. When they reach 18 months of age, the adult coat will have come in, and grooming three times weekly will suffice. It is important to brush all the way to the bottom coat to ensure you remove tangles and mats. Merely sweeping over the top coat won’t be effective.
We highly recommend you use a pin brush or slicker brush and metal comb as well as ear powder. Mix water and a dog-friendly conditioner in a spray bottle to lightly mist their coat when combing to avoid damaging the hair and making detangling much easier. Don’t forget to check for mats on the chest, belly, legs, tail, and behind the ears. Additionally, you want to trim the hair between the footpads.
While brushing your pup, check their ears for redness or infections. Make sure the ears stay clean. Also check their skin, eyes, and paws so you can catch any sores or infections early on. Their nails need to be trimmed to prevent hooking and tearing or scratching. They do have blood vessels in their nails so you may want to get a professional to do this for you to prevent pain and bleeding which may make future grooming difficult.
Regardless of whether you keep their hair long or short, bathe your pet at least once a month with a gentle dog-friendly shampoo. If they often play outside in the dirt, you might want to increase the frequency.
Brush your TTs teeth daily if possible, alternatively every other day to remove bacteria, prevent tartar build-up and avoid gum disease.
Get your puppy used to being groomed and having their paws, mouth, and ears checked and handled. Make it a pleasant experience with lots of encouragement and praise. This will make it easier as they get older and will make vet check-ups a lot more pleasant for everyone.
BEST TIBETAN TERRIER ACCESSORIES
To keep your TT safe and comfortable during travel, whether it is to the park, vet, or for a weekend trip, we recommend getting a dog car seat. Look for a model with a non-slip base that secures well with an adjustable seat belt around the headrest and back of the seat. This prevents the seat from shifting if the car stops suddenly. Some models have zips that allow you to form a basket or box so your pup can curl up comfortably for the ride.
If your TT has a crate, a fabric crate cover is a great way to turn a boring box into a comforting haven. Many crate covers have a door flap that you can roll up or leave down. This allows your pup to enter or exit as desired while still keeping it cozy inside in the evening. Crate covers that are machine washable will be easier to maintain.
To learn more about breeds like the Tibetan Terrier, check out our breed hub page.