The Tibetan Spaniel

The Tibetan Spaniel has been recognized in early Eastern art that dates all the way back to 1100 BC. Tibs weren’t your average guard dogs. They were referred to as “little lions” and were prized possessions of Tibetan monasteries. They sat on the monastery walls keeping watch over the countryside and would let out a bark if they saw danger approaching. Tibs were also given as gifts!

The Tibetan Spaniel was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1983.

Sizing up

  • Weight: 9 to 15 lbs.
  • Height: 10 inches
  • Coat: Silky double coat
  • Color: Black, black and tan, cream, gold, red, sable, silver sable, and white
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 15 years

What’s the Tibetan Spaniel like?
The Tibetan Spaniel is an intelligent, loving, independent little dog who will dart off after anything that’s not on a leash. Tibs don’t require that much exercise but can’t be on the couch all the time either. They’re equally as happy to take a walk as they are with a rest and it's important that you find a balance.

The Tibetan Spaniel can be pretty stubborn, especially when it comes to training, which is why you’ll want to start the day you bring him home. Always be firm and consistent with your positive reinforcements during training sessions.

Grooming your Tib is synch! To keep his coat looking clean you’ll just need to brush or comb it a couple times a week to remove dead hair or mats.

The Tibetan Spaniel is generally a healthy breed with a few concerns to watch for:


  • When an eyelid is inverted causing an eyelash to irritate the eye

Retinal dysplasia

  • A hereditary disease caused by folds or clumps in the retinal tissue

Progressive retinal atrophy

  • An eye condition that essentially worsens over time and could lead to loss of vision

Takeaway Points

  • The Tibetan Spaniel would make a great pet for a family with older children.
  • The Tibetan Spaniel can adapt to any style of living: apartment, suburbs, etc.
  • The Tibetan Spaniel is not suitable for someone who is away from the home for long periods of time.
  • The Tibetan Spaniel should always be kept on a leash unless in an safe, enclosed area.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Tibetan Spaniel

The Tibetan Spaniel, or Tibbie, as he is affectionately called, is sometimes described as a large dog in the body of a small dog. Tibbies are active, alert, and eager to please. Most importantly, they love to spend time with their owners. Here are some more interesting facts about the Tibetan Spaniel:

1. They Aren't Technically Spaniels

Tibetan Spaniels don't share any common ancestry with the traditional spaniel breeds, most of which were bred to be gun dogs. The misnomer, spaniel, in this case, came from the French word epagnuel which, in the Middle Ages, referred to a companion dog and comforter loved by the woman of European and Oriental courts.

2. They Were Bred by Buddhist Monks

Though they are not actually spaniels, Tibetan Spaniels are indeed from Tibet. They lived (and still live) in Tibetan monasteries with monks and lamas (priests). They were referred to as “little lions,” a title of great honor, since lions are considered sacred in Buddhism.

3. Their Tibetan Name is “Simkhyi”

In Tibet, Tibbies are referred to as “Simkhyi,” which means housedog, room dog, or bedroom dog. This is congruent with the Tibetan Spaniel's lifestyle of keeping monks and lamas company in their day-to-day lives.

4. They Appear in Ancient Eastern Art

Tibetan Spaniels appear in art that dates to 1100 B.C.—making the breed at least 3,000 years old. No one knows for sure how old the breed is it is possible that the Tibetan Spaniel could have been the predecessor to the Pekingese and the Lhasa Apso.

5. Gifted to Other Buddhist Nations

Tibetan Spaniels were never sold, only gifted. Many were given to leaders in China and other Buddhist countries. Some experts believe that Chinese royalty crossed the Tibetan Spaniels they received as gifts with their own Pugs to produce the Pekingese. But others believe that the Tibetan lamas developed the Tibetan Spaniel by crossing the Pekingese they received as gifts from China with their own Lhasa Apsos, another Tibetan breed.

6. They Served as Guard Dogs

Tibetan Spaniels had the important job of being lookouts for the monasteries. They would sit atop the monastery walls and bark whenever there was an approaching intruder. Tibbies in modern homes maintain this instinct, alerting their owners when someone or something approaches.

7. Humans May Be Reincarnated as Tibetan Spaniels

Tibetan Buddhists believe that any human, or even perhaps a Buddha, could be reincarnated as a dog, such as a Tibetan Spaniel. Tibetans believe that dogs have an important purpose in spirituality. Tibbies often help lamas with their spiritual practice, sitting next to them or on their laps while they are meditating.

Tibetan Spaniel Health Problems

Tibetan Spaniels are prone to suffer from respiratory, orthopedic, and eye problems. It is not mandatory that the pet will definitely have these health problems but they may face one or the other symptom as it grows old.

Patellar Luxation – Short dogs are prone to “loose knee” problems also called patellar luxation. This condition can lead to lameness and painful limping in the dog. A good vet will help you identify this anomaly and treat it for early relief.

Hernia – Tibetan Spaniels have reported having been diagnosed with a maximum number of hernias. The most prominent kinds of hernia are the Umbilical hernia, inguinal and scrotal hernia.

Early identification and immediate treatment can help you prevent complications.

Portosystemic Shunts – This problem, also known as the liver shunts, is marked by the abnormal flow of blood through the liver.

Researchers are trying to identify a more definitive test in order to diagnose the disease early and treat the suffering pet better.

Cherry Eye – A small inflammation may appear in the corner of the dog’s eye this can be quite painful to the pet and it may find it difficult to keep its eyes open for a long time.

Application of heat on the affected area can soothe the problem and in some cases, doctors might advise you to go for surgery.

Tibetan Spaniel

Small but active and alert, the Tibetan Spaniel dog breed hails from mountainous Tibet, where these dogs served as a companions and watchdogs. They’re known for their intelligence, easy-care coat, and desire to keep watch over their family from high perches in the house.

Even though these are purebred dogs, you may find them in the care of shelters or rescue groups. Remember to adopt! Don’t shop if you want to bring a dog home.

Tibetan Spaniels are adaptable dogs and can even fit in well with apartment life, so long as they get enough exercise and walks each day. However, they don’t enjoy being left at home alone for long hours. As an affectionate, sensitive breed, these dogs crave companionship. When they don’t get it, they can start barking or acting out. If you can give your dog plenty of love and attention, you’ll be rewarded with a loyal, happy companion.

See below for complete list of dog breed traits and facts about Tibetan Spaniels!

The Bolognese and the Tibetan Spaniel might be a little bit spunky. They can be an inquisitive little fella so keep on the lookout for that behavior! All dogs need attention and don't want to be left alone. That's why you have a pet, right? Plan on putting forth effort to socialize her as this will reap dividends in the long run. Please use always use positive reinforcement even though they can have a mind of their own. Enjoy being with your new mixed breed and love the relationship you will have with them.

All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems as all breeds are susceptible to some things more than others. However, the one positive thing about getting a puppy is that you can avoid this as much as possible. A breeder should absolutely offer a health guarantee on puppies. If they won’t do this, then look no more and don’t consider that breeder at all. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur. We obviously recommend that you look for a reputable animal rescue in your area to find your new mixed breed. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.

The Bolognese mixed with the Tibetan Spaniel might be prone to joint dysplasia, luxating patellas, among others.

Note that these are just common problems in both breeds.

Watch the video: Why Tibetan Spaniels Are The Best! (July 2021).