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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Tibetan Spaniel

Tibetan Spaniel

Origin: Tibet

AKC Group: Non-sporting

Height: 10 inches (Male)

Weight: 9 - 15 pounds (Male)

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In Tibet, Tibetan Spaniels used to sit on top of monastery walls and bark whenever strangers approached. Often called "lion dogs," Tibetan Spaniels are extremely agile and often compared to cats. They're playful, good with children and other pets, but they're often reserved with strangers.

Origin: 
Tibet
Male height: 
10 inches
Male weight: 
9 - 15 pounds
Coat: 
Soft with longer hair on the chest, stomach, legs and tail. Brush or comb twice a week. Tail curls over back; ears hang down.
Colors: 
Fawn, gold, cream, red, white, black, black and tan, patched, and shaded. Eyes are dark brown; nose is black.
History: 

As with other dogs from the Far East, mystery surrounds this ancient little breed. Like the Tibetan Terrier, who isn't a terrier, the Tibetan Spaniel isn't a true spaniel, either. It is believed that the Japanese Chin contributed to his makeup, as did the Pug and Pekingese. The Tibetan Spaniel was fostered and loved in the monasteries of Tibet for many centuries. Monks carried the little dogs under their flowing robes in the winter, with both benefiting from the additional warmth. The spaniels reputedly turned the prayer wheels for the monks, in addition to serving as alarms. Like the Lhasas, whom the lamas also favored, these dogs were considered to bring good luck.

The first examples of this breed were brought back to Great Britain by medical missionaries in the 1920s, but it wasn't until after World War II that the Tibetan Spaniel finally became firmly established in England, gaining distinction as both a show dog and family pet. Their introduction to the United States came later and was slower; the American Kennel Club (AKC) finally recognized this breed in 1983.

Personality: 
Tibetan Spaniels ("Tibbies" to their fanciers) are made for companionship. Affectionate and adoring of their owners, they are eager to please. These intelligent and playful dogs wish to be the center of attention at all times. Naturally suspicious of strangers, they warm up slowly to nonfamily members.
At home: 
Tibbies can do well in just about any living space, provided they are not left alone for long periods - they need to be with their owners. Tibetan Spaniels are not overly active indoors, but they do make fine watchdogs, alerting their family to any unusual activity. Because of their shortened faces, Tibbies do not fare well in extreme heat.
Exercise: 
Playful and spry, the Tibetan Spaniel enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his family. This athletic, sturdy dog is ready to go wherever the adventure takes him, from around the block to a romp on the beach or in a park. He loves to play and gladly engages in games with anyone who shows interest. Getting him out and about also helps socialize him, which is important because he is naturally aloof with strangers, who always want to greet him.
Feeding: 
Although small, the able-bodied Tibetan Spaniel is a hearty eater whose weight should be monitored. He needs the energy that food gives him, but of course he must be kept in shape. A high-quality, age-appropriate diet is best. Feeding twice a day as an adult is recommended.
Training: 
Tibetan Spaniels once shared the responsibilities of running monasteries with Tibetan monks, and they enjoy being part of the functioning household today. To that end, they will pay attention and be interested in things that seem to benefit their role in the home, and this is the motivation that can yield great results in training. Going through drills with little enthusiasm will cause them to lose interest.
Compatibility: 
Tibetan Spaniels get along well with children. They are suspicious of strangers and need socialization. They get along well with other dogs and pets.
Health: 
The average life span of the Tibetan Spaniel is about 14 years. Health problems may include portosystemic shunts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Fun fact: 

The first Tibetan Spaniels were brought to Canada in the mid 1960s, and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognized the breed in 1979.

Grooming blurb: 
The Tibbie is an average shedder who experiences a heavy seasonal shed. During most of the year, he needs just occasional brushing with a pin brush and combing with a metal comb; during his seasonal shed, that attention must be paid to him daily.
Disclaimer: 
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.