Tibetan Terrier (Tsang Apso) Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits


The Tibetan Terrier is an enchanting breed with a captivating mane and endearing personality. The Tibetan Terrier breed is also known by a variety of alternative names such as Tsang Apso, Dokhi Apso, or even just TT.


Tibetan Terrier at a glance
The Tibetan Terrier


Loyal and loving, Tibetan Terriers are cherished and devoted companions.

Weight Range:

Male: 10-14 kg
Female: 8-12 kg

Height at Withers:

Male: 35 - 41 cm in height
Female: 33 - 39 cm in height


The Tibetan Terrier is a captivating and versatile dog breed known for its unique appearance and wonderful temperament. This type of Terrier has a medium-sized frame covered in a luxurious double coat, which can be both wavy or curly - it's clear this breed has a distinctive charm.

Other notable attributes include: Friendly, loyal and affectionate. Intelligent breed and training a Tibetan Terrier is enjoyable and rewarding. Great agility. Obedient. Often have a playful disposition.


Exercise Requirements: >30 minutes/day
Energy Level: Moderate
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Tendency to Drool: Low
Tendency to Snore: Moderate
Tendency to Bark: Moderate
Tendency to Dig: Low
Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Bred for:

Working, herding, companionship


Length: Medium to Long
Characteristics: Double coat, dense, weather-resistant.
Colours: Black, white, gold, cream, grey, sable, and parti-colour
Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club recognition:

AKC Classification: Non-sporting
UKC Classification: Companion Dog
ANKC:: Non-sporting
Prevalence: So-so

Tibetan Terriers, also commonly known as Tsang Apso, are medium-sized dogs, typically weighing between 8 and 14 kilograms, with the males tending to be slightly larger. Their coats come in a variety of colours, including shades of black, white, gold, cream, grey, and sable, often with beautiful patterns or parti-colour variations.

Beyond their distinctive physical appearance, Tibetan Terriers are renowned for their loving and loyal temperament and are known to be particularly protective of their family once trust is established.

Thanks to a healthy yearning for being active, Tibetan Terriers can be just as playful as they are snuggly which make them a popular dog choice for families.

Despite its name, the Tibetan Terrier is not actually a terrier breed. It is often confused with terriers due to its name and physical appearance, but it belongs to the non-sporting group (ANKC & ANC classification).
In terms of temperament and certain physical features, the Tibetan Terrier can be somewhat similar to some terrier breeds, such as the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier - both these breeds share a similar coat texture with soft wavy hair, as well as a playful and affectionate nature. However, it is important to note that the Tibetan Terrier has its own unique characteristics and is a distinct breed in its own right.


Tibetan Terriers are generally friendly in nature and can be comfortably socialised with other pets or family members. Whilst they may be reserved with strangers, this dog breed has a keen sense of awareness which makes them naturally protective of those they form a bond with. Over time, they are able to pick up on the emotions of their owners and respond to their needs.

This independent and intelligent trait can sometimes manifest as stubbornness, but when properly socialised, Tibetan Terriers make for a charismatic canine companion.

Living With:

Living with a Tibetan Terrier is a playful and loving experience, where the dog is a cherished member of the family.
This breed enjoys walks and outdoor time just as much as a cosy evening at home, so with sufficient attention they are a content and happy dog.

Due to their distinctive double coat, Tibetan Terriers are high-maintenance when it comes to their grooming needs. Frequent brushing will be essential to prevent matting with occasional professional grooming needed for trims and shaping.
When it comes to dietary needs, Tibetan Terriers are generally not picky eaters. A high-quality, balanced diet, along with portion control to prevent obesity, is recommended for maintaining their overall health and wellbeing.

Recommended Diet:

Puppy: Hill's Science Diet Puppy Medium Breed Dry Dog Food

Adult: Hill's Science Diet Adult Medium Breed Dry Dog Food

Mature: Hill's Science Diet Adult 6+ Senior Medium Breed Senior Dry Dog Food


Often known as the Tsang Apso, the Tibetan Terrier is an amazing breed with a history going back over 2,000 years in Tibet. Whilst this alternative name "Tsang Aspo," does not directly translate into a specific meaning, it does provide indication into the breed. "Tsang" refers to the region in Tibet where the dog breed originated from and "Apso" as a term, roughly means "long-haired " or “shaggy bearded dog”.

Serving as loyal friends to Buddist monks, they were even considered as a symbol of good luck. They were bred within monasteries, developing a thick coat, ideal for the harsh Tibetan climate.

In the early 20th century, the Tsang Apso dog breed was first brought to England, and from then on was renamed Tibetan Terriers, offering a nod to their original home as they gained popularity in the western world. They remain a popular dog breed to this day for the very reasons Buddist monks chose them for companionship; loyalty.

Health Concerns:

Tibetan Terriers are known to be susceptible to several eye conditions, and it's important for potential owners to be aware of these.

The most common eye issues for this dog breed include:

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - a genetic eye disease that affects the retina, leading to progressive vision loss and, in severe cases, blindness.

Hip dysplasia: a condition that alters the inner workings of the hip joint.

Canine Multifocal Retinopathy (CMR) - an inherited eye disease that affects the retina and can cause varying degrees of vision impairment.

Prevention is often the best medicine for ensuring your Tibetan Terrier leads a full, healthy life, and regular veterinary check-ups will be crucial to ensure health evaluations of the eye can detect signs of these conditions early on.

Genetic testing is also a recommended option as it can help identify whether your dog is a carrier of these eye diseases. This can also help to influence any breeding decisions which may affect future generations of the beloved Tibetan Terrier.

It is worth noting that not all Tibetan Terriers will develop these eye conditions, but understanding the potential risks allows owners to be proactive in monitoring their dogs' eye health.

In addition to regular veterinary care, owners can take preventive measures to support their Tibetan Terriers' eye health. This includes providing a nutritious diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which can promote ocular health.

Maintaining a clean living environment, free from potential eye irritants, is also beneficial.

It is advised that any prospective pet parents are aware of potential health challenges faced with this breed and that you do your own research before ownership.