Tibetan Terrier

Grooming Advice

Brought originally from the “Lost Valley” of Tibet to England in the 1920’s and introduced from there to the USA in 1956, the Tibertan Terriers (TT) have always been highly prized as “Luck Bringers” by the lamas for 2,000 years. Technically not a Terrier and loosely associated only because of size they make wonderful and devoted companions and though not bred for utilitarian purposes, they are capable of assisting in caring for property and livestock.

A square, medium sized breed, the TT has a profuse double coat with soft, woolly undercoat and a fine, long outercoat. This may be straight or wavy but never silky, woolly nor curly. It ought to be presented as “naturally as possible”. Frankly, natural is often taken to the extreme and the opposite can be true too. So, where is the happy balance to this coat to appear “natural” and yet beautifully groomed and presented?

Your standard calls for the coat to be heavily furnished many times and that the key word to be profuse is explicit. So, no curl, can be straight or wavy and can have a part at neck and back and must be long without hanging on the ground. That’s pretty straightforward. Almost any colour is permissible with the exception of chocolate or liver.

The secret to grooming this coat is to make sure everything we apply to the coat is through the whole of the coat and not just put on the top layers. I am a stickler for even dispersion of whatever we apply to a coat, with the understanding that application to top layers is never going to provide support from the undeneath if the underneath is ignored. Thus this coat needs to be saturated with whatever it is you use to ensure total penetration.

Starting with the shampoo - it depends on what colour you have or what your greatest need/desire for the coat I.e. If a grey or white or black then use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo DILUTED at least 5:1 - this shampoo tones the unwanted warm tones in all the colours. Thus a coat that is dehydrated and looking faded will benefit from this or a coat that has white areas also. I am an advocate of using different shampoos on various areas to achieve the various outcomes. Thus this will tone and retain texture. A useful tool and a good point to know. Alternatively you could use the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo which gives lots of shine yet maintains texture. Use also at 5:1 dilution.

Everything must be diluted - the Tibetan coat is thick and this technique ensures even distribution of the product and without too many bubbles. Too many bubbles gives too much static in the coat so you want ideally to have a shampoo that is low foaming and can be diluted even further to 10:1 if you desire, though you will get less toning on the Whitening shampoo and less shine from the All Purpose. If the coat is not profuse enough, then one would use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo - this adds texture & volume to the coat and is diluted again at 5:1. So if you are happy with the texture and colour but require shine, I would suggest to use the All Purpose diluted 5:1 and rinse well.

Actually our quest appears difficult to achieve - on one hand we want a fine texture but NOT silky yet we want the coat to drape and have it hang smoother without curl and yet appear profuse. Yes I know a Tibetan coat in European showdogs is desired as being wavy and natural etc but in reality they look better smoother and flatter - in other words blow dried smoother. You do need to retain a semblance of natural but in a presented way so that it does not appear you have contrived it - the great illusion!

You have different things happening here on this coat and needing different applications to various areas e.g. The back, the lengths, the feet which must appear large with the legs heavily furnished. You ideally want the coat to hang but at the same time for the coat to appear profuse and the dog’s outline to appear as if he is heavily furnished and he is compact, square and strong. You need to style and tweak your dog to fit this ideal silhouette. So, you know the various outcomes of the above shampoos and can use them accordingly on the areas that need shine or need drape or need volume etc. Did you think that a shampoo was just to cleanse? It must do more than that. We are told not to trim or sculpture this dog so we must endeavour to attain that perfect outline with other means.

For your final rinse, use the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil which is good for good healthy vigour to the coat and use 1 tspn to 4 litres/1 gal warm water, also adding 1 dspn Plush PuppySilk Protein Conditioner for disentangling and 1 dspn Swishy Coat to help smooth the lengths of the coat and minimise static - saturate the coat using a large car washing sponge right through all the lengths of the coat. Leave in and do not rinse out. You can adjust these amounts according to each of the individuals you own but I suggest this is a good starting base.

Bulk up the feet and legs if necessary with Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo at 3:1 rinse and then an application on these areas of Plush Puppy Volumising Cream at a ratio of 2 teaspoons to 1 cup water and liberally applied and left in. Do not wash off. This will really bulk out those areas.

Now blow dry using a Plush Puppy Pin Brush sectioning the coat and starting from the underneath, layer by layer drying till 3/4 dry and finishing till fully dry with Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush to get a smoother finish. I use the Pin brush when the coat is wet to avoid stretching and destroying the texture. If you use bristle on a wet coat this will overly stretch and ultimately ruin the coat. However once the coat is 3/4 dry, then it is safe to use. The Pin Brush will dry without stretching but not give you the lovely smoother polished effect that the Porcupine 1/2 bristle 1/2 nylon brush will do. I dry with the Porcupine brush stroked down the lengths and then held about halfway with the brush angled at 90 degrees to the hair section so as to put some tension on the hair and maximise the smoothing action. Then slide the brush further down with the air of the dryer following the brush. Now lift the section of hair and use the brush placed underneath to lightly bend the ends under. There is little actual brushing but a lot of work happening with the holding of the dryer and the action of the air of the dryer. Too much brushing and you just create more static and fly away coat. Once the coat is dry, you could take some Plush Puppy Powder Puff Regular and toss a small amount through the top layers of the coat if the coat is too soft. Work this well in with a brush until you feel the texture coming to the correct feel in your hands. Now use the dryer and blow out the excess.

Voila! Instant stronger texture. If you want an even coarser texture, use the Plush Puppy Powder Puff Terrier Powder as this is really harsh. However be warned, as it gives a very hard texture and not the texture I know a TT must have. I am just giving you some extremes so if you are confronted with an extreme situation, you now have the tools to create what you want.

One can also use a treatment on this coat between shows by applying a watery slurry of Plush Puppy Coat Rescue and water to the coat and leave in for as long as possible before rinsing. The follow through with an application of diluted Silk Protein Conditioner at 10:1, squish through evenly and then rinse. Use Plush Puppy Revivacoat on the lengths and leave in.

For show day & daily brushing, use Plush Puppy OMG Grooming Spray. Wonderful stuff for spraying and brushing the lengths of the coat. I prefer this at a dilution rate of 30:1 i.e 30 parts water to one part OMG. Never brush a coat without a grooming spray and this is ideal. You could also if requiring more moisture to the coat, mix a spray of Plush Puppy Revivacoat which is a leave in moisturiser, at a ratio of one golfball amount to 250 ml/1 cup water into a measuring cup and once the mix settles, pour into a spray bottle and use as your grooming spray. The OMG will really glide through the coat and minimise static whereas the Revivacoat will give more condition and moisture. For last minute finish to the coat before going to the ring, add a small amount of Plush Puppy Protein Coat Balm which is a great leave in anti-stat, to your hands and work through the ends of the coat and brush with the Pin Brush.

I do understand that in Europe there is a tendancy to leave coats in general of all breeds, more natural and less contrived. However, I believe that the coat looks better when something special has been done to it. It is a dog show. The TT that won Crufts was groomed to the ultimate & it looked terrific.

You can achieve outline. You can achieve that wondrous, square silhouette with the tail, heavily furnished again, set on high and falling forwards over the back. Make sure the ends are always moisturised between shows and that you don’t lose texture and length due to dehydration from lack of attention. I hate to see a TT coat looking fluffy towards the ends. Good moisture retention and attention to blow drying correctly will see this coat fall properly. Remember, never woolly! This dog came from a cold and harsh climate and ought to be able to withstand the extremes of temperatures he would have been required to survive in.

The Tibetan Terrier is a very glamorous dog. He is lively and good natured and exhibits an engaging personality. He is outgoing which is such a plus in the show ring and with his effortless stride of good reach and flexibility for full extension in rear he is capable of great agility and endurance.

Such a highly intelligent and affectionate dog combined with his beautiful outline and presence in the ring it is no wonder this breed is often on the red carpet for the big awards.

- Cheryl Le Court