The hardy Tibetan Terrier, also known as The Holy Dog of Tibet, is a breed built to withstand the extreme climate and difficult terrain of its home country. He is actually not a true terrier, but was given his name by European travelers who thought he looked like their terriers at home. His Tibetan name, “Tsang Apso,” means "shaggy or bearded dog from the Tsang province." Related to the smaller Lhasa Apso (also from Tibet), he was bred by Tibetan monks almost 2,000 years ago, who treasured him as a companion, mascot and watchdog. Tibetan Terriers were also occasionally used for herding and accompanying travellers over rough mountain paths, but he was generally not a working dog. He was sometimes given as a gift to travelers or friends as a good luck charm, which is how he first made his way to Europe.
The Tibetan Terrier evolved over thousands of years to thrive in very cold, harsh conditions. The result is a sure-footed, medium-sized dog with a shaggy double coat that comes in a wide variety of colors, including white, black, gold and various combinations. Despite the long forelock that usually falls across his eyes, he has excellent eyesight. Weighing between 20 and 25 lbs., he adapts equally well to apartment life or a more spacious home.
Historically treated as a treasured member of the family, the Tibetan Terrier makes an affectionate and amiable companion. He is an eager helper, responding well to positive reinforcement and consistent obedience training. His playful energy and strength make him a natural athlete, and he can do very well in agility, flyball and other competitions.
Energy and strength aside, the Tibetan Terrier is prone to hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect his health — not to mention your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Tibetan Terriers are prone to include knee and hip problems such as luxating patellas and hip dysplasia; eye conditions such as lens luxation and progressive retinal atrophy; and neurological issues such as neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Tibetan Terrier inherits anything more than his mom’s bad knees or his dad’s bad hips, you’re covered.