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In Italiano

 Why the Tibet?

Graduated in biology, nowadays  also judge ENCI  for Tibet Terrier and Spaniel, I have been always passionate about animals.Soon after finishing my second degree in veterinary studies I am told that in the local dog pound – in the island of Sacca Sessola – there is a three-years-old black small bitch in needs of medical attention.

I immediately decide to take “Briciola” home with me and take care of her until she gets back to shape, in view of re-homing the poor thing with a dear friend of mine who had just lost her poodle in a car accident. As soon as Bricola gets better we decide to go on holiday altogether for a few days: we really had a jolly good time! But when the time comes to hand Briciola over, we discovered that she did not want to leave me at all. She was my shadow ever since.

Keen on identifying her breed, browsing through dog books I come across Tibetan Terriers and thought they looked just the same.

Up: Briciola

Up/Rigth: Briciola and Pao (with the coat)

Rigth: Pao

Those were the years of the hippies, when youngsters used to travel East and bring home dogs from Nepal only to abandon them a few months later. I decided that this was Briciola’s story and when asked what breed she was I would reply: “Tiben Terrier” at once. At the time the breed was practically unknown in Italy.

During one of her Venetian walkies, one day, Briciola meets Pao, a French dog originally from Goa (India) of remarkably similar looks. The two fall in love with each other and their romance brings home a litter of four who lived – as their parents – for more than fifteen years.

I soon decide that Briciola deserved a proper play-mate with whom to share her mature years and in 1991 I decide to travel all the way to Tibet and start my quest for the right dog from there.

In spring 1992 I also try my luck in Bhutan.

Tibet, turquoise lake Himalaya, Tingri
Gyatse Monastry Lapkale, 5,220 mt
Bhutan, Paro Bridge

Bhutan, Tibetan terrier look-alike

Tibet, Lhasa monastry Bhutan, mixed breed dogs on the courtyard of the Sikkim Temple
Bhutan, Tibetan terrier look-alike  

The travel is amazing, Tibet is a unique and spectacular place, just reopened to the western world. I see many dogs but they all appeared to be mixed breeds.

On the way back, in a hotel in Katmandu (Nepal) a young bitch grabs my attention.


The young bitch in Kathmandu

The young bitch in Kathmandu

Mixed breed dogs, Tibet, Samye monastry

Monastry in Lhasa

Tibet, Tingri

The market in Lhasa



Young monk with Tibetan terrier (or similar)  

I look for a puppy at the Tibetan refugee camp. The refugees there are happy to give me as many puppies as I was prepared to carry but they would not show me their mothers. I thus gave up and returned to Venice empty handed.

Once back from Tibet I travel all over Europe, until I come across Garwal, a beautiful foam pedigree bitch, bred in the heart of France. With Garwal I start my adventure into canine shows and breeding. In deep fascination with these reserved and philosophical breed I go back to France and buy another dog – Jasper – for one of my clients. Once at the breeder’s though I could not resist and, in July 1994, Jalana’ came home with me.

Garwhal, Briciola and the young Jalana



As soon as feasible I apply to the Italian Canine Board for my own affisso, the canine DOC. Among the three names I had suggested they granted Serenissimo (i.e. quintessential Venetian) Ganesh (the elefant-god of good fortune).

And lucky we were! Garwal and Jalana’, healthy and completely free from hereditary diseases have been – and still are at their respectable age – Italian and international beauty champions and together with their descendants gave us 62 puppies over 12 years. And the story goes on: in September 2005 I went back to Kham (a Tibetan region in the eastern territories) with two friends from the international judging circuit. It is believed that no dog from Tibet has travelled to Europe in the last 40 years and we tried to find a new blood line. We found many Tibetan Mastiffs, locally known as Do Kyi (Literally the door-dog), chained outside the tents of the nomads and outside the doors of the few houses in the local hamlets.


While travelling, we meet a lot of “haba” – short legged dogs similar to Lhasa Abso – but we could not find more than a handful of the long legged Tibetan Terriers we were looking for. The very few we found were unfriendly and not used to strangers.




Our quest however will not be vain. Fifteen days into our travel we eventually see a beautiful black and white dog of very good character. The tree year old is probably a misbehaved monk who has reincarnated into a dog. He is now very gentle and well mannered either because he has learned his lesson or simply because he fancies a comfy trip to Europe, who knows? Kanze’ – this is his name – joins us immediately. However, Chinese bureaucracy is no better than the Italian one and the poor creature needs to remain in China with a friend while we prepare all the necessary paperwork for his travel and immigration. As soon as the last paper was signed by the competent authority I flew back to China and brought him home. His patience during the twenty hours flight to Europe was indeed that of a monk! The following pictures show Kanze’ during his last Chinese months.


First trip by car

Waiting in front of the Bon monastery

IAwaiting departure

Awaiting departure

Arrival in Venice

Segu ,Sakia 9 months

Barabise X Kanze





Farah Diba
Garwhal II
Garwhal II
Garwhal I at 12

Jalanà at 9
At the end of April 2006 a new litter will be born.
A few months ago we decided to enlarge our Tibetan family with Tara, a very sweet Tibetan Spaniel bitch which will certainly give us a lot to talk about in the future!




Finally in March 2015 I managed to organise my second trip to Bhutan.
This time we planned a longer visit on a east to west route.
The much treasured memories of my first visit in 1992 were not ruined as the countr has remained almost intact over the last two decades.
The place is scattered with beautiful forests of autochthonous pine trees, rhododendrons and fruit trees notwithstanding the altitude always beyond 2000 metres.
Even the architecture has remained true to its traditional roots with some seldom exception in Thimpu. The locals have also remained kind and reserved in their traditional outfits. A slice of paradise!
As far as the dogs are concerned we only spotted a few Tibetan Terriers among a considerable number of mixed breeds. All dogs were looked after by an apparently very efficient national service.
I returned home totally refreshed and already planning a third trip!


And here we are again in Kham in 2017, in search of specimens of TT and TSP.

Kham 2017 (1/27)
Kham 2017 (2/27)
Kham 2017 (3/27)
Kham 2017 (4/27)
Kham 2017 (5/27)
Kham 2017 (6/27)
Kham 2017 (7/27)
Kham 2017 (8/27)
Kham 2017 (9/27)
Kham 2017 (10/27)
Kham 2017 (11/27)
Kham 2017 (12/27)
Kham 2017 (13/27)
Kham 2017 (14/27)
Kham 2017 (15/27)
Kham 2017 (16/27)
Kham 2017 (17/27)
Kham 2017 (18/27)
Kham 2017 (19/27)
Kham 2017 (20/27)
Kham 2017 (21/27)
Kham 2017 (22/27)
Kham 2017 (23/27)
Kham 2017 (24/27)
Kham 2017 (25/27)
Kham 2017 (26/27)

The dogs have greatly decreased, while the Chinese presence has increased. We came across a van loaded with dogs, which immediately disappeared, strengthening our suspicions of poaching for food purposes.

In 2018, I returned to Lhasa after 27 years! Too many Chinese people. But Tibetan spirituality and religiosity survive in Tibetans, despite everything, as demonstrated by the crowds in the temples.

Liza bought a Tibetan Spaniel that will arrive in Europe in June 2019. Upon our return, we had a gathering at the Tibetan monastery near Pisa, where we had our dogs blessed.

In June 2019, my Slovenian friends invited me to participate in their travel project with Kora around Mount Kajlesh. I was tempted, accepted, but immediately gave up on Kora because it was too strenuous and all above 5000 meters

a Tibet Spaniel

some Doky

Tibet Mastiff, modified according to Chinese whishes

Big Surprise, The Kingdom of Guge - Mountains with rock-cut dwellings and temples