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Norwich Bulletin - 3/25/2007

A Tibetan Treat

Shaggy, playful, full of energy and a delightful companion, the Tibetan Terrier brings great joy into the lives of their owners. They are very intelligent, oftentimes surprising their owners with such feats as opening a container with their paws! Unbelievable as it sounds, Tibetan owners swear that these dogs can use their paws like hands.

As intelligent as these pups are, they are equally independent and can choose to obey or not. Even though they are little dogs, they will need training and firm guidance. With solid training and by putting in the time and energy they need to get that training, the Tibetan Terrier has an eager desire to please that makes them a wonderful animal companion.

When they arrived in the West in the 1930's, the Tibetan was listed as a Terrier, because of their size. However, the Tibetans are not actually terriers, which makes no sense but that's the way they are listed. They were originally raised by monks in the mountains of Tibet over 2,000 years ago. The Tibetan was not raised to hunt or kill anything, but rather as a companion, although at times they did herd sheep at times. The breed has a thick coat that offered protection from the winter weather or summer dust storms.

Tibetan Terriers were never sold. They were called the Good Luck Dog because it was believed that anyone who was traveling and had been lucky enough to receive a Tibetan Terrier as a gift, would not be harmed. Of course this custom of giving a Tibetan Terrier only as gifts, did not follow the dogs to the United States.

They are very versatile dogs and one that can help keep a busy person busy. Their long, often multicolored coat, requires daily brushing, and they are perfectly atuned to participating in agility and obedience training, or just walking and hiking with their human. They are extremely adept at jumping so I would also recommend some Frisbee or flyball exercise. All in all, a Tibetan Terrier will be as busy as you want him to be.

Tibetans have a life span of 12 to 15 years so they are a long term responsibility (as is any pet). They can come in any color or color combination and sports a long, shaggy double coat. They only weight about 20 pounds, with males slightly larger than females and they stand a little over a foot tall.

Tibetan Terriers are great with children and other animals, which makes them a pretty perfect family dog. And those hand like paws are great for hugging. In fact Tibetans are such great pets you can almost never get one through the breed rescue. For one thing their families can seldom give them up, but when they have to, ninety-five per cent of the breeders take their dogs back.

If you would like to learn more about the breed and to see if you are the right type of home for a Tibetan Terrier, contact the Tibetan Terrier Club of America, 87 Pleasantview Avenue, New Providence, New Jersey 07974, or log onto www.ttca-online.org.

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