The Tibetan Terrier is not a member of the terrier group, the name being given to it by European travelers to Tibet who were reminded of terriers from back home when they first encountered the breed. Its origins are uncertain. Some sources claim them to be lucky temple dogs, whereas others place them as farm dogs. The Tibetan Terrier is able to guard, herd, and also be a suitable companion dog. Their utility in Tibet meant that the first examples of the breed available in the west were generally given as gifts, as the Tibetan Terrier, along with other Tibetan breeds, were too valuable to the people who owned them to casually sell. 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. Height for either sex is 14-16 in (35–41 cm) and weight is 18-30 lb (8–14 kg), with 20-24 lb (9.5–11 kg) preferred, but all weights acceptable if in proportion to the size. The Tibetan Terrier is a dog with many uses, able to guard, herd, and also be a suitable companion dog. Their utility in Tibet meant that the first examples of the breed available in the west were generally given as gifts, as the Tibetan Terrier, along with other Tibetan breeds, were too valuable to the people who owned them to casually sell. As such, the early history of the breed is linked to only a handful of foundation dogs. The Tibetan Terrier - often called the Holy Dog of Tibet - has evolved over hundreds of years of harsh conditions, tempered by the warmth and care of monks high in the Himalayas. The "little people", as they were called, were highly valued as companions to the monks and families who owned them. They were treated like children in the family.

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