The Tibetan terrier was originally brought over from Tibet into India in the late 1920’s.
They were considered by the Tibetans to be good luck dogs and may even have come from the “lost valley” - a legendary place in Tibetan history. They were kept by both the
Buddhist monks and the common people and were sometimes used to herd animals. For the most part, however, their function was that of “companion dog.” Because they were
considered by the Tibetans to be “luck bringers,” they were never sold like other
livestock. Rather, they were given away as gifts to friends or to other individuals who
were owed favors. From India, the first Tibetan Terriers were taken back to England and
became popular there. They were not imported into the United States until 1957.
The Tibetan terrier became an AKC recognized breed in 1972. Fewer than 1000 are born in the United States each year. The overall appearance is that of a miniature “Old English Sheepdog.” Tibetans can be any color - there are no preferred colors or markings. They have excellent temperaments-the breed is very good with children and normally gets along well with other dogs. Tibetans want to be with people. An adult Tibetan terrier will be 14-17 inches at the shoulder and weigh 18 to 30 pounds. The coat is long, but they do not shed. As a breed, Tibetans have very few health or genetic problems and normally live a long time. They are the only breed of dog with flat feet - also known as “snow shoe feet” - which enables them to walk on high or steep surfaces without slipping.