The Tibetan Spaniel is one of the ancient breeds of dog that originated in Tibet. There is some evidence that suggests that these dogs could have existed as long as 2000 years ago. Depictions of these dogs have appeared on artwork dating back to 1100 BC. These dogs were highly prized and were often given as gifts to royalty and traded between palaces and monasteries. This led to their spread throughout Asia. Tibetan Spaniels were sometimes called “little lions” because of the way they resembled ancient Chinese guarding lions. These dogs lived in monasteries mostly as companions, but they also performed important jobs. They made excellent watch dogs due to their exceptional eyesight. They would sit on the walls and keep watch. When they saw something they would bark, which would alert the monks and the larger Tibetan Mastiffs below. They would also work to turn the monastery’s prayer wheels and sleep with the monks at night to keep them warm. The Tibetan Spaniel was introduced to England in the late 1800s, and from there they made their way to the United States. The Tibetan Spaniel was officially recognized by the AKC in 1983.
The Tibetan Spaniel looks somewhat similar to the Pekinese, and they are sometimes confused for one another. This is mainly because of the very similar faces. This breed is slightly longer than they are tall and stands at about 10 inches tall at the withers, and they should weigh between 9 and 14 pounds. The head is slightly domed and is somewhat small in comparison to the rest of the body. They have a medium length and blunt muzzle that has a well defined stop. The nose is black and the medium sized eyes are oval in shape and dark brown in color. The eyes are also set slightly far apart. The jaw may sometimes have a slight under bite. The v-shaped ears are feathered and are partially erect, folded forward and hanging alongside the dog’s head. The tail is also well feathered and is high set, carried curled over the dog’s back to either side. The Tibetan Spaniel has a double coat that is a medium length and feels smooth and silky to the touch. There is a mane around the neck, which is often more prominent in males. The coat comes in many different colors and may be a solid coat or a multicolored or shaded coat. Some of the most common colors are red, fawn, cream, gold, white, or black and tan. There may also be some white markings on the feet. The coat on the Tibetan Spaniel should brushed regularly. These dogs are average shedders, but will shed heavily and in clumps once a year.
The Tibetan Spaniel is a cheerful and friendly dog. They are very clever and intelligent, making them fast learners, but their independent nature still makes them a bit difficult to change. They are great family companions and are very effective watch dogs. These dogs generally get along well with other household animals. It is important be a strong pack leader and to thoroughly obedience train these dogs. A lot of smaller breeds develop small dog syndrome because their owners treat them like a cute accessory rather than a canine. They need to be trained in exactly the same way a larger dog would be. Dogs that develop small dog syndrome are much more likely to bark obsessively, guard objects, or even be snappish and aggressive. Those are not personality traits, they are due to poor training. These things happen mostly because the dogs are spoiled and think that they can get away with anything. A larger dog would be disciplined for something like jumping on people that come in the door and a smaller dog should be too. This is not a greeting gesture, it is the way the dog establishes dominance towards those entering his home. The Tibetan Spaniel should also be well socialized while they are still young. This process should include taking them out to expose them to new people, places, and situations. Socializing helps to make sure that the dog doesn’t feel scared or threatened by anything new later in life.
Tibetan Spaniels are relatively inactive indoors, making them good for apartment life. While they don’t necessarily need a yard, they do need to get out for a walk every day. They will also enjoy getting to run and play in a safely enclosed area. This will keep them happy and healthy and ensure that the dog’s instinctual need to walk is met.
The Tibetan Spaniel is a generally healthy breed, but there are some health issues to be aware of. They are sometimes prone to respiratory issues, mostly due to their short snout. They may also suffer from allergies or heat stroke. Some of these dogs may develop progressive retinal atrophy, which affects their vision and can worsen over time. This breed can sometimes have a rare condition called portosystemic shunt. This has to do with blood flow to the liver and affects the filtering process. The most obvious sign of this condition is when puppies fail to gain weight. This condition can vary in severity. A healthy Tibetan Spaniel will live about 12 to 15 years.
Overall the Tibetan Spaniel makes an excellent family dog. They are very intelligent and friendly. They enjoy spending time with their families. This breed has only moderate grooming and exercise requirements.