The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-size breed of dog originated in Tibet. Despite its name, it is not a member of the terrier group. The breed acquired its name from European travelers who first encountered the breed due to its resemblance to terriers. The Tibetan name for the breed, Tsang Apso, roughly translates to 'shaggy or bearded (apso) dog, from the province of Tsang'. Some old travelers' accounts give the name Dokhi Apso or 'outdoor' Apso, indicating a working dog which lives outdoors.
Bred and raised in monasteries by lamas over 2000 years ago, Tibetan Terriers were kept as good luck charms, mascots, watchdogs, and companions. In addition to herding sheep, they were also used to retrieve articles that fell below mountain sides.
Known as the 'Holy Dogs of Tibet', they were never sold but only given as gifts by monks to promote good fortune. As such, the early history of the breed is linked to only a handful of foundation dogs. Recent DNA analysis has concluded that the Tibetan Terrier is descended from the most ancient dog breeds.
The Tibetan Terrier is a powerful, medium sized dog of square proportions, with a shaggy coat. They vary widely in height and weight, ranging from 14-16 in (35–41 cm) and is 18-30 lb (8–14 kg), with 20-24 lb (9.5–11 kg) preferred for either sex. All weights are acceptable if in proportion to the size. Fully grown, the Tibetan Terrier resembles a miniaturized Old English Sheepdog. The head is moderate, with a strong muzzle of medium length, and a skull neither rounded nor flat. The eyes are large, dark, and set fairly far apart. The V-shaped drop ears are well feathered, and should be set high on the sides of the skull. Although the preferred colour for the nose is black, in showdogs, they are also sometimes brown. The body is well muscled and compact. The length of the back should be equal to the height at the withers, giving the breed its typical square look. The tail is set high, well feathered, and carried in a curl over the back. One of the more unusual features of the Tibetan Terrier is the broad, flat feet with hair between the toes. They are ideal for climbing mountains and act as natural snow shoes.
The hair of Tibetans has a long growth cycle. As a result, their coat grows quite long and pet animals will require occasional trimming. They do not shed like dogs with shorter hair growth cycles, but rather slough hair at a rate similar to that of most humans. The exception is at approximately nine months when puppies slough their entire coat in advance of acquiring their adult coat. The double coat is profuse, with a warm undercoat and a topcoat which has the texture of human hair. It should not be silky or curled, but wavy is acceptable. Long and thick, it is shown natural, but should not be so long as to touch the floor, as is typical in breeds such as the Lhasa Apso or Maltese. A fall of hair covers the face and eyes, but long eyelashes generally prevent hair from getting in the Tibetan Terrier's eyes, and the breed has very good eyesight.
The coat of the Tibetan Terrier requires regular and careful grooming to keep tangles from forming.
This coat has been verified by canine experts to help the Tibetan Terrier withstand temperatures as low as -50°C for prolonged periods of time.
All colors are permissible, barring liver and chocolate, and none are preferred. Gold is the rarest. Tibetan Terriers are available in any combination of solid, parti-color, tricolor, brindle or piebald, as long as the nose leather is black and the eyes and eye rims are dark.
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Terrier
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