Tibetan Spaniel

August 3, 2020 // 6 minute read

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Tibetan Spaniels, also known as Tibbies, are small-sized Asian dogs. Their looks resemble that of the Pekingese but have a longer snout and non-protruding eyes. The Tibetan Spaniel stands at a height of 10 inches and weighs around 9-15 pounds.

The most distinctive feature of Tibetan Spaniel is the “lion’s mane” around their neck. Their tails curve elegantly over the back, and their eyes are bright and expressive. Their coats come in various colors, which can either be solid, a color pattern, or a combination of colors.

Tibetan Spaniels make excellent dog companions, particularly for those looking for a pet to cuddle. But, they can also be very active when allowed to run around outdoors. These dogs are not common, but with the right people, they are certainly loving dogs.

Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Spaniel Breed Statistics

Dog Breed GroupNon-Sporting
Breed SizeSmall
Height10 inches
Weight9-15 pounds
Lifespan12-15 years

Tibetan Spaniel Breed Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Tibetan Spaniel History

Tibetan Spaniels are known to be ancient dog breeds from Asia. You can trace their origin back to centuries ago in Tibet and China where dogs with lion-like coats were commonly depicted.

It’s believed that Tibetan Buddhist monks developed the breed to serve as alarm dogs in the lamasery. The dogs were said to perch on high walls and windows to keep watch and alert monks of potential dangers.

Because of the dog’s lion-like appearance, they were revered by the Buddhist monks. They were often given as gifts to ambassadors and other nobles in exchange for dogs from those countries.

It is believed that this is how they reached the courts of China and Japan, where the dogs were interbred with other small Asian dogs. As you may have noticed, Tibetan Spaniels, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese look so alike, and it’s probably because of this reason.

Tibetan Spaniels were first brought to England during the late 19th century, and more were brought around the 1920s. The breed gained immediate popularity but was also immediately wiped out during the Second World War.

It took several years before the breed started to recover in England in 1947. By 1958, the Tibetan Spaniel Association was formed, and two years later, the England Kennel Club recognized the dog breed.

By 1965, the first known litter of Tibetan Spaniels was born in the US. By 1971, the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America was formed, and the American Kennel Club finally recognized the breed in 1984.

Now, the breed ranks 119th as the most popular dog breed in the US. This dog is still considered pretty rare, but for those who have them as pets, they are indeed charming dogs.

Tibetan Spaniel Dog

Tibetan Spaniel Temperament

Tibetan Spaniels are known to be playful, bright, and self-confident dogs. They are even easily compared with cats, especially with how they like to perch on high walls or windows and climb up on things.

These dogs are calm indoors but are also lively and playful outdoors. They can adapt to any living environment, even in apartment living. However, daily walks are essential, and so does occasional play sessions in a securely fenced area.

Tibetan Spaniels love people, and they most enjoy the company of their own family. They are very sensitive to everyone’s moods and feelings, and it’s especially important not to leave them alone for long periods.

Although known to be gentle around children, supervision is still necessary. On the other hand, they can easily get along well with other pets, especially those raised with them.

Their attitude towards strangers can range to somewhat reserved and aloof, but never to the point of being aggressive. This makes them excellent watchdogs, and you can expect them to bark when they see something unusual.

Socialization is essential for the dog breed. This will encourage a stable temperament, making them more well-rounded dogs.

Training can be quite a challenge since these are independent thinkers. Obedience training is a must, and you must learn to have lots of patience. Foods and praises should usually do the trick.

Tibetan Spaniel Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: Tibetan Spaniels are known to eat the same diet as Tibetan people from their native land. They usually ate barley, meat, yogurt, and tea. Like any other domestic dogs, they can eat anything. What’s important to remember in a Tibetan Spaniels’ diet is that it should be high-quality and well-balanced. Remember to mix sources of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. But, only but high-quality ingredients. The same should be considered when giving them dog food. Make sure to buy those that are of premium quality. It shouldn’t contain fillers and additives that can be harmful to the breed. Be careful with the number of calories you feed them daily. Overfeeding a Tibetan Spaniel is easy, so ask your vet regarding the right measurements, so your dog doesn’t get overweight.
  • Grooming: Tibetan Spaniels have medium-length coats that shed seasonally. However, the only area you need to trim for this dog is on the bottom of their feet. You would also need to do regular brushing to keep the coat in good condition. This would also help remove excess hair, debris, mats, and tangles. Baths can be given occasionally, or if needed. However, ears should be cleaned regularly to avoid ear infection. Nails should be trimmed regularly too. You don’t want your dog to feel pain and discomfort because of long nails.
  • Exercise: Tibetan Spaniels are considered as calm dogs suitable to live indoors. They are not very active but would be happy to be taken out for a short daily walk. If you allow him to run in the yard, make sure you have a securely fenced yard.
  • Health: Tibetan Spaniels are healthy dog breeds. Progressive retinal atrophy and patellar luxation can occur, but other than that, there are no major health problems that you need to worry about. Make sure to provide them the right care and nutrition, so they remain healthy and happy. You can also meet at least one of your dog’s parents to be aware of possible existing hereditary problems.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Tibetan Spaniels is 12-15 years.

Tibetan Spaniel Breed

Fun Facts about Tibetan Spaniels

  • Tibetan Spaniels, as their name implies, originated from Tibet.
  • Their Tibetan name is Simkhyi.
  • They served as watchdogs in Tibetan monasteries.
  • These dogs are often compared to little lions.
  • They are not true spaniels. It is believed that the spaniel part of the name was picked up because they resemble a lapdog version of spaniels.
  • These dogs were never sold; but instead given as gifts to China and other Buddhist countries.
  • They are related to several Chinese dog breeds such as the Pug and Pekingese.
  • They have cat-like personalities e.g., climbing onto furniture.

Check Out Other Non-Sporting Dog Breeds:
American Eskimo Dog, Bichons Frises, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, Coton de Tulear, Dalmatian, Finnish Spitz, Keeshonden, Lhasa Apsos, Lowchen, Norwegian Lundehund, Schipperkes, Shiba Inu, Tibetan Terrier, Xoloitzcuintli

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