Tibetan Spaniel

Type: Guardian Dog

Height: 9 - 11 inches.

Weight: 9 - 15 lbs.

Life Span: 15 - 16 years.

Litter Size: 2 - 4 puppies.

Country of Origin: Tibet

Activity: High. But they are not hyperactive.

Watch-dog: High. The Tibetan Spaniel is aloof with strangers and will bark long enough to attract attention.

Guard-dog: Low


Description: Despite the name Spaniel, the Tibetan Spaniel is not related to spaniels and is not known to have been used as a hunting companion or gundog. They are related to the Pekingese and Japanese Chin Dogs. Tibetan Spaniels are small dogs who are longer than they are tall. Their muzzle is wrinkle free, unlike some of the breeds it is related to. The ears are small and medium size and hang down. Their well-feathered tail is high on the back end and curls over the back. They have silky fur and is double coated and medium in length. The fur is ruffed around the neck and profuse towards the backs of the legs and tail, and they come in all different colors. Tibbies, as they are sometimes called, are very eager to please and chipper. They are a breed who love comfort and companionship and display a charming, good nature. Tibetan Spaniels live to play and are heartier than their size may suggest. They can be wary with strangers, though, and will bark until they are noticed. They are good with almost everyone, however, and get along with dogs and other pets as well. Perfect for children, this breed has been described as catlike. This affectionate, family oriented dog is certainly a delightful choice for any family.

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Other Names: Tibbies

Colors: All solid colors and mixtures are permissible.

Coat: Moderately long and silky in texture; shorter on the face and fronts of the legs; there is feathering on the ears, backs of legs and tail.

Temperament: Tibetan Spaniels are intelligent and assertive. They are very eager to please, and get along well with everyone, except maybe the occasional other female dog. They are cheery, affectionate and family-oriented. They make delightful watchdogs, barking to alert unusual things. The Tibetan Spaniel is hardy, though small; they are not as fragile as Chihuahuas. They are playful and loving companions.

With Children: Yes, good with children, they make a splendid house pet.

With Pets: Yes, good with cats and other dogs, and they can learn to accept exotic birds. There could be some female-to-female aggression in certain groups.

Special Skills: Family pet.

Care and Training: Regular brushing of the Tibetan Spaniel's silky coat will keep it clean and free of mats. Extra care needs to be taken during seasonal shedding. Trim the hair between the pads of the feet, trim the nails, clean the ears and teeth. Bathe only when necessary. The Tibetan needs routine walks and runs as they love to romp outdoors and do their best when they have received a lot of exercise. Sometimes stubborn, the Tibetan Spaniel may be hard to housebreak. They will benefit from obedience training. Puppies need to be handled when they are young.

Learning Rate: High. They are a smart independent thinkers and will require a creative trainer. Obedience - Medium to Low. These dogs are independent thinkers and like to explore. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Moderate grooming and socialization.

Living Environment: The Tibetan Spaniel does not make a good kennel dog. Tibetan Spaniels are an indoor dog who will enjoy a fenced backyard. Care must be taken to have adequate fencing as they has been known to scale chain-link fences. They are adaptable, however, and they will do well in the city or country.

Health Issues: PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), cataracts, juvenile kidney disease, patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, and liver shunts.

History: The Tibetan Spaniel is thought to have been around even before Tibet was established in the 7th century, making their past quite obscure. It is not known where this little dog came from, but there are theories that the Tibetan Spaniel was given to a royal in Tibet from a royal in China. These countries often exchanged dogs, trying to breed these little dogs, as well as Pekingese, Foo Dog and others in the likeness of a small lion. Lions were highly regarded in the Buddhist culture, and therefore the ancestors of this breed were very popular among royalty and dalai lamas. Tibetan Spaniels were bred by Buddhist monks for whom they served as companions, watchdogs and prized possessions. Some believe the Tibetan Spaniel was crossed with a Pug to create the Pekingese, and yet there are theories of the opposite happening. The Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Foo Dog, and Tibetan Spaniel are all of the same lineage, but who came first is still a mystery. Known as the "prayer dog" for turning the monks' prayer wheel, they date back to at least 1100 B.C. They may have also been used as hot water bottles. The first Tibetan Spaniel was brought to the United Kingdom in 1905 by F. Wormald. They first appeared in England in the 1890s but did not become popular until the 1950s. It was not until the 1960s that they were brought to Canada, and were accepted by the CKC in 1979. Following suit years later, the breed was accepted by the AKC in 1983.

First Registered by the AKC: 1983

AKC Group: Non-Sporting Group

Class: Non-Sporting

Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 9), KC (GB), UKC