The Tibetan Terrier originally came from the Himalayan country of
Tibet, an isolated region north of India. According to legend, the
breed was raised primarily by the lamas in monasteries and was kept
purebred for over 2,000 years.
The Tibetan Terrier is NOT a true terrier. The breed was called
"terrier" because it was of a size widely associated with terriers.
These shaggy dogs were known as "the Holy Dogs of Tibet." They were
treasured by the lamas, who kept them as companions, good luck
charms, mascots and watchdogs. There is also evidence that TTs were
used to herd as well as to retrieve articles that tumbled down the
steep rocky mountains into crevices. The breed is very sure-footed,
and they are powerful jumpers: they would be well suited for such
tasks. They were never sold but were give as gifts to promote good
fortune as a mark of great respect. They were valued in Tibet as
companions and were treated like children of the family. It was
thought that any mismating might bring bad luck to the family and
might even be blamed for any village misfortune.
The first "official" Tibetan Terrier arrived in the United States in
1956. They were admitted into the Non-Sporting Group at AKC shows
October 3, 1973.
The Tibetan Terrier can be compared to that of an intelligent,
loving, slightly mischievous child. Completely devoted to his or her
people (or person), the Tibetan becomes a member of the family very
quickly. The breed loves to travel and experience new places,
preferably with you nearby. Perhaps the chief characteristic of the
breed is its sensitivity to the moods and conditions of its owner
and/or family. This factor, combined with its innate intelligence
and devotion, makes the Tibetan Terrier a remarkable companion for
LIFE. Even in old age, there is a delightful childlike quality about
the breed that most find endearing. They are merry companions.