Tibetan Spaniel Dog (History, Characteristics, & Basic Facts)


Tibetan Spaniel is Sweet, happy, smart, and intelligent, the Tibetan is a great little dog that gets along exceptionally well with children and makes a devoted and loving family pet.

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Tibetan Spaniel Characteristics

This is a dog that is very trusting yet is also very protective of his family. The Tibetan is an independent little dog and can be stubborn and willful at times. He has a curious personality and enjoys attention and involvement with his owners.

They are very good burglar alarms, but if prevented from sitting on a window sill or from seeing passing traffic and people, and dogs, they are not noisy. They love clean bedding and will often curl up in the clean linen basket for asleep. They can be very determined and amazingly strong-willed and owners need to be prepared to make rules or the Tibby will be ruling the roost in no time!

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They are never boring and many of them love making their owners laugh at their funny antics. As adults, they would be able to walk as far as any ordinary person, yet they are just as happy to snuggle down for a rest with their owners. Puppies should not be walked too far before fully grown and need to be able to sleep a lot when small.

Tibetan Spaniels are rarely greedy and most will only eat what they need. Some hate wet weather and will need to be forcefully encouraged to go outdoors for toilet reasons when the weather is wet. Tibbies are very intelligent and learn quickly usually.

Tibetan Spaniel Physical features

Many people think that the Tibetan Spaniel looks like a Pekingese in many ways. This small dog has an attractive appearance and is long in body and fairly low. He has a slightly rounded head, and a medium length, strong muzzle. The medium-length coat of the Tibetan Spaniel is silky and soft and is complemented with a beautiful plumed tail and feathered ears. The coloring of the Tibetan Spaniel can be black and tan, black, white, red, fawn, cream, or gold. The weight of the Tibetan Spaniel is between 9-15 pounds, and the height is around 10 inches.

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Is he right for you?

The Tibetan Spaniel makes an excellent family pet, particularly for those with children as this breed gets along wonderfully with kids. A playful, loving, devoted, and protective breed, the Tibetan Spaniel makes the ideal companion dog. He will be fine living in an apartment too, although you will need to ensure that he gets to enjoy exercise and play in a safe area if there is no secure garden or yard.

Tibetan Spaniel Health

The Tibetan is a small dog with a short face, and this can result in respiratory difficulties in some cases. However, by and large, this breed has no serious health problems associated with it and is generally and health and hardy breed.

This is a breed that mostly enjoys very good health. The only accepted health problem in the breed, in the U.K., is Generalised Progressive Retinal Atrophy. GPRA is a hereditary disease of the eye which causes total blindness as the retina ‘atrophies’ and does not reflect light into the eye.

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Affected dogs go blind, sometimes as young as four years of age, although often they are 8-12 years before this happens. At present, the Animal Health Trust is researching to find the gene which causes this.

Those purchasing a puppy should ask to see the parent’s certificates stating the parents were free of GPRA in the 18 months before the birth of the litter. Very few cases have been reported in the U.K. and at present, probably less than 6 reported cases of GPRA are living. Carriers can often have excellent eyesight all their lives and at present, carriers are only revealed when they produce a case of GPRA.

There have been reports of Liver shunt and slipping patella in this breed in the UK over the years, but these conditions do not seem to be numerous. Tibetan Spaniels often live well into their teens and to find them still coping well at 16 is not unusual.

Tibetan Spaniel Grooming requirements

You should brush the coat of the Tibetan regularly to keep it silky and stop it from matting. These dogs are average shedders, but once yearly the coat can start to come out in clumps, and this is where some extra grooming may be required.

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Tibetan Spaniel History

Originating from Tibet, this breed was much prized by the Buddhist Monks. Early examples varied considerably in type and still today, it is possible to see several different types in the show ring and elsewhere. We are told this breeds purpose was to be a companion and also to guard their owners/family.

They were much prized, and never sold, but given as a gift from the monasteries. Legend has it that this breed would stand on guard on the flat roofs, and they would give the alarm as soon as strangers were sighted.

Tibetan Spaniels are often able to see much further in the distance than one would expect them to. Present-day stock in the UK can often be easily traced back to the few original examples.

Tibetan Spaniels first came to England in 1898, although the breed has become much more numerous since the second world war, still they are not a ‘common’ breed and it can be very difficult to find puppies at times. This is a good thing since the breed is not a suitable pet for all homes due to their arrogance and single-mindedness.


The Tibetan Spaniel ranked 101st of 155 in the AKC popularity list in 2006, which was a slight rise from its position of 102nd in 2005.

Dog group

The Tibetan Spaniel comes under the AKC Non-sporting Group.


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