The AKC standard is the authoritative description of the Tibetan Terrier (or TT). It describes a medium (average 14-16 inches at the shoulder and 20-24 pounds), long-coated dog of square proportions. (That is, the distance from the point of the shoulder to the root of the tail is the same as the distance from the from the highest point of the withers to the ground.) The coat is double, having a soft, wooly undercoat and a profuse outer coat. The outer coat is sometimes straight and sometimes waved. There is no preferred color, and TTs come in a wide range including white, gold, tricolor, brindle, silver, black, and many parti-color variations. Occasionally chocolate-colored TTs occur, but their chocolate noses are considered a fault, so they are almost never shown or used for breeding.
The dark, expressive eyes are covered with a "fall" of hair, sometimes making them difficult to see, but TTs have long eyelashes to keep the hair out of their eyes, and their eyesight is very good.The generally accepted history of the TT breed says that they were raised for hundreds of years by the monks that lived high in the mountains of Tibet. The TTs were companions to the monks, and generally not working dogs, though it is believed that occasionally they worked as herding dogs. TTs were never sold, but only occasionally given to friends or travelers for good luck.
With this heritage, it is easy to see why TTs make excellent pets and family companions. They are sometimes a little shy at first around strangers, but generally very outgoing and good-natured dogs. TTs seem to adapt to the lifestyle of their family. They're content to be couch potatoes in less active homes, but are also willing and able to participate in family activities such as hiking or camping or dog activities such as agility or obedience training. Tibetan terriers and performance.
TTs are extremely intelligent, and can be trained to do almost anything, but they respond best to positive training methods. Being as intelligent as they are, they are quick to learn how to train humans too, so consistency in dealing with them is important. Their long coats, while beautiful when neatly groomed, require frequent brushing or (if not being shown) trimming to prevent matting. Grooming can, however, become a special time of bonding if done frequently for short periods, as it is a time when the TT gets your full attention.
Unfortunately, there are instances of genetic diseases in TTs, including Canine Hip Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and Lens Luxation. For these reasons, it is important that TTs used for breeding have CERF (Canine Eye Registration Foundation) and OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) certification.
The Tibetan Terrier originally came from the Himalayan country of Tibet, an isolated region north of India. According to legend, the breed was primarily raised and kept purebred for over 2000 years in monasteries. 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 had tumbled down the steep rocky mountain sides. 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 given as gifts to promote good fortune or as a mark of great respect. The Tibetan Terrier is NOT a true terrier.
(from the TTCA web site)