Friday, April 9, 2010

Dear Suddie

So, yesterday, I received this nice email from this lady named Susan. She is interested in getting a Tibetan Terrier and had lots of questions. I decided to post her questions and my answers here. I thought it might be useful.

Hello Suddie.
I’m very interested in TTs. I would love some insight from you if you have a chance to answer some questions at your convenience.

My husband has allergies to dogs so we were seeking a breed that is at least some what hypoallergenic ---- this led us to the TT. We have two small children ages almost 6 and almost 4 --- we really want to expose them to the joy of owning a pet early. We both grew up with dogs. We don’t have much of a backyard so we thought a smaller to mid-size breed would be good. We do live close to a park and we are an active family so we feel we can give the dog what he/she needs in terms of exercise.

Hi there Susan.
Thank you for your email. I, of course, think TTs are the best things on earth. I have attempted to answer each of your questions below.

What is your experience with the TT’s personality? I’ve read they are very affectionate but reserved with strangers. Is this true in your experience?

This, I guess, is true in general. It, of course, depends a lot on the individual dog. My family of TTs is very loyal and affectionate when we want to be. We are not overly needy and on top of you all the time. We are very happy to just hang at home and laze around, but are equally happy to go on long walks or play ball or frisbee. My parents think that we are perfect in that we seem to be happy to do whatever they want to do. We even love to swim. We are not overly interested when we meet new people on the street (which we often do because everyone wants to give us some love), but we enjoy visitors and are happy to have our parents friends and visitors in the home. We can be very sweet and soulful. Sometimes we will go and sleep with our overnight guests. In general, we do tend to bond strongly with our owners.

Does your TT bark a lot?

We do not bark a lot. But we do bark. Mostly, we bark to announce a visitor, but settle down quickly and enjoy the visit.

Do you think they would be good with children?

This, of course, depends on the temperament of the pup (and the children). My parents have placed many TTs with families with children, but we work to ensure a good match. They do not place our dogs with households that include children under 5 years of age. I don't think it is a good idea to have any breed of puppy in a household with small children.

Are they very, very active?

No. We are not part of the terrier breed so we do not have this temperament. We are very easy dogs. I am equally happy lounging around in bed with my parents (one of my favorite activities) as I am going for a long hike. We are the best!

Do they shed?

We are non-shedding, but we lose hair like any other hairy mammal. Having said that, we do lose our puppy coat at around 1 year, but that is a one-time thing. So non-shedding, but we do lose hair and you will need to vacuum more!

Are they difficult to groom?

If you keep your TT in full coat they do require thorough brushings at least twice a week. I prefer my long, natural coat but many people keep their TTs in puppy cuts which are much easier to maintain and require less vacuuming.

Are they high-demand dogs?

Not at all. We do love to be with our owners.

Are they hard to house train?

Not at all in my experience. Most of my pups are well on their way to being house-trained when they go to their new homes at 8 - 10 weeks. Read the reviews on our website for more on this:

We are away from home school hours --- do you think a TT can be left alone that long?

We have placed our TTs in homes where the owners are away during the day for work. This is most difficult when the pup first arrives in your new home and needs a lot of attention to training and becoming comfortable in their new home. Pups can generally hold their water one hour for every month old they are. So a new pup coming to your home at 2 months will need to go outside every two hours or so. Most people who do work hire a dog walker to come at least once during the day for adult dogs.

They sound like such great dogs, so I don’t understand why there are not more of them around. I have had a huge challenge in finding TT owners to talk to. Do you have any thoughts on why TT aren’t more popular? Is there a downside to the breed that I’m missing?

It's a supply side issue not a lack of demand. You don't see many of us because there aren't many of us. I think around 600 pups are born each year. Reputable breeders tightly control the quality of the breed and who can breed. My pups are always pre-reserved far in advance of their birth. I think, perhaps, the long coat is a lot for some people to deal with. If you are on Facebook, you will easily find owners to talk to and TT groups.

I hope this has been helpful. We also have a TT blog that, along with a lot of nonsense, contains useful info about the breed. You can even find instructional videos on grooming your TT. Please visit the blog and sign up to "Follow" it.