Can you imagine life high up in the desolate area of the Himalaya mountains in Asia, living in harsh conditions with bad weather and difficult terrain?
The Tibetan Terrier can!
This breed of dog has lived with monks in Tibet for many years, and only found its way to Europe with a kindly Dr Greig, when she was presented with one after saving the life of a Tibetan in the early 20th century. Whilst conditions may have been difficult they were, and still are, much loved by the warmth and love of the monks, proving to be wonderful companions. The Tibetan name given to the breed is ‘Tsang Apso’ which translates to “shaggy or bearded dog from Tsang”.
Despite it’s name the Tibetan Terrier is not a member of the terrier group, as this was given to the dog by European travellers to Tibet who were reminded of terriers, however recent DNA concludes that the breed is descended from the most ancient dog breeds. The Tibetan Terrier is a compact, medium sized dog, with a long thick double coat of hair that grows continuously, and when kept as a pet is likely to require trimming. The need of a double coat comes from their background life in Tibet, with the warm, thicker undercoat hidden mainly by the topcoat that is almost human hair like. Often the hair will fall over the face, covering the eyes, but long eyelashes prevent this from getting in their eyes too much.
Whilst their appearance is somewhat unique, with their feathered tail carried in a curl over the back, the most attractive feature of the Tibetan Terrier is its temperament. It is a clever, loving dog that is eager to please, striking a close, loyal and sensitive bond with its owners and whilst it will happily spend hours snuggled up to you on the sofa, regular exercise is still required, and enjoyed by the dog, as it is quite energetic and surprisingly strong.
Our hero is a handsome Tibetan called Willy, or to give him his full name, Araki Fabulous Willy. He was born in 2001, and was the UK Champion before he was 2 years old.
In the following years he was a regular at Crufts, winning the Best in Breed for three years running in 2004, 2005 and 2006. He won so many titles that by the end of 2006 he was the top winning Tibetan Terrier ever in the history of the breed.
However it was in 2007 that he returned to Crufts and had his best time when he won the top award of Best in Show.
Willy became quite a celebrity, but then retired from showing and enjoyed a leisurely life at home, before he sadly passed away in 2008.
Here he is with his owner, Neil Smith.
The Tibetan Terrier is therefore an excellent choice as a family pet wanting to play their part in day to day family life. They are especially good with children, although as puppies, early socialisation is recommended, to help with a tendency to being sometimes a little shy with a hint of jealousy. It may therefore be worth considering some puppy training/classes, as this will prove beneficial to dog and owner for the future.
For more information on the Tibetan Terrier you can visit the website of the Tibetan Terrier Association, the Tibetan Terrier Breeder and Owners Club or that of the Kennel Club. These will include lists of dog breeders who you can contact to enquire about owning a Tibetan Terrier.
Don’t forget to check out Misty’s latest adventures in Misty’s Blog!