Archived Q&A and Reviews

Interested in getting a Tibetan terrier

Sept 2002

I'm looking for a Tibetan Terrier breeder. I've heard that there are some local breeders one should avoid. If anyone has experience with this breed and could volunteer any observations about temperment, exercise, comfort with children, training and above all, a reputable breeder, I'd be most appreciative! I'd be happy with a rescue dog, but I've been looking for monthes without finding a small to medium breed. thanks, Jane

There is a terrific FAQ on Tibetans here: http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/breeds/tibetan-t.html

They seem like wonderful dogs. If I were you, I'd join one of those mailing lists to learn more about how to find a great breeder, what to expect to pay (seems like it's always more than you think), what are the breed problems (all breeds have something), etc. Lists like this are also invaluable as the dog grows up, esp. for training problems. It's great to touch base with folks who have BTDT several times.

Good luck! Please also consider rescue (although for rarer breeds like this, there are probably fewer options). Jennie

You can't go wrong with a Tibetian Terrier as a family dog, so long as you don't get one of the over-bred ones (that have a lot of health problems.! We love ours: Daisy is terrific with kids (I caught our toddler pulling her long eyelashes yesterday; Daisy just whimpered through it). She is fun to play with and fun to cuddle with. Our neighbor's kids also come play with her every day, so she gets a lot of excercise, but she is exceedingly mellow when hanging around the house (mellowness set in around 2 years old). Drawbacks: burrs get caught in her fur, and she was more difficult to house-train than I expected (though she is perfect now). I think Tibetians are the perfect sized dog -- we also have a big dog, who is terrific, but I prefer the more portable medium size of Daisy. We got her from a woman in Chico (a family friend) who has one female dog she breeds as a project with her kids. Her dogs always go very fast. I can't remember her name off-hand, but if you are willing to go up to Chico I'll call my aunt to get the name. Christine

re:tibetan terriers...we have one and we love him, he's 4 yrs old, but there are some definite things to know about owning/caring for one. Some are very protective and aggressive, and even will snap/bite family members or friends...so one must be careful and take precautions in acquiring and training them...feel free to e-mail for more info...our breeder was from Pleasanton... Tim

My family and I adopted a Tibetan Terrier from the Oakland SPCA about five years ago. He is now about 7-1/2 years old. This breed is known to be territorial and quite high strung, and within a few weeks of bringing him home, he bit a workman who was in the house. With kids in the house, we decided to send him to Elite Dog Training for the full course of dog training, which took three weeks, plus an additional week for family training with him. The training was wonderful and as a result we have a wonderful pet.

There are few provisos, though. Our dog is wonderful with people, but still very territorial, and feels very protective towards his family. He barks when someone comes to the door, and can be a little hard to quiet at times. We generally tell people who are new to him to just ignore him, because in a little while, he will go up to them to get acquainted. He also does not like other dogs, in general, and is very aggressive towards them always, and therefore is always on a leash. In other words, his high-strung nature can show itself in offensive behavior, especially towards dogs. All of this said, my cousin in New Jersey has a young female Tibetan with the same high-strung characteristics, but who has no problem with other dogs or people. Our dog's problems could be related to his treatment earlier in life, about which we know nothing.

He is, however, very loving, and is absolutely wonderful in a house full of people (which ours is often). When our daughter was born two years ago, we were a worried about how he would handle having an infant in the house, but he just adopted her (and all little kids) as part of his pack, and he is very careful with little ones. And my daughter lovingly torments him by pulling his hair and tail and trying to see his eyes by poking her fingers through his eyebrows, which he tolerates until he's had enough and just walks away.

Tibetan terriers are traditionally house dogs, and live inside with a family, and so they are very social. We do not regret adopting ours at all, even though the beginning was a bit bumpy. I certainly recommend the breed, even with small children, but I would also recommend serious training from the get-go so you are sure that you can control your pet under any circumstances. I see lots of Tibetans around Berkeley, where we live, and they seem to be quite popular. They do need a lot of care, however. I am a former dog groomer, so I can provide the twice-weekly brushout and monthly bath that ours needs. They have two layers of hair, not fur, and so do not shed much, but they mat up easily, and the mats tend to be fairly close to the skin and uncomfortable. Good luck with your decision. A happy Tibetan owner

We have a Tibetan Terrier who is almost one year old. She's active, funny, and a bundle of fur. Well, actually, it's hair, which is an important distinction because she's supposedly hypo- allergenic.

Based on things we read in books and on websites along with the comments of one owner, we thought this was a people-oriented, child-friendly, highly adaptable breed. They're widely known to be very intelligent.

Our dog is definitely people-oriented, but she's a *lot* more active than we anticipated, a bit stubborn (and way too smart!), and even a tad less gentle than we'd hoped. Training her has been a time-consuming challenge.

If we had it to do over, we'd probably choose a much calmer breed, and maybe even a smaller dog. A friend recently got a King Charles Spaniel puppy, and honestly, that looks more our speed. But you have them, you love them, and there you go.

FWIW, we did a huge amount of research before choosing this breed. Our dog is spirited, funny, smart, and loves us to death. She's also now pretty well behaved. But getting to the well- behaved part took maybe three hours a day for ten months, and it isn't over yet.

Our dog is also just about the same size as our child, who is a very gentle soul and not always up to dealing with the dog's antics. They play, but the dog has the upper hand a bit too often for my comfort. I still don't trust them in a room alone together. The dog wouldn't bite my child, but she does start jumping for joy and my child gets overwhelmed. The dog doesn't jump *on* my child, mind you -- she simply starts leaping into the air, which is a very common Tibetan Terrier trait.

If you have children under 7 and if you are not already experience with training and keeping dogs, you might want to consider a calmer breed and/or a smaller breed. But of course it all depends on your skill level with dogs and how rough-and- tumble your kids can be. anonymous