The Tibetan Spaniel is a small breed, and although bearing the brand “spaniel” it is not actually a true spaniel because it performs a different role (true spaniels are gun dogs.) The Tibetan Spaniel is slightly longer than it is tall, with a small, masculine head with a blunt muzzle and black nose. It also features oval, dark brown eyes with an expressive look, highly-set medium-sized pendant ears with feathering and a slightly undershot jaw. The moderately short neck is covered with a mane of longer hair and gives sufficient support to the head. The Tibetan Spaniel is slightly bow-legged with strong hindquarters. The legs are cushioned by hare-like feet with slight feathering in between the toes. The highly set tail is also well-plumed, typically carried curled over the back when moving. The double coat of the Tibetan Spaniel is made of silky topcoat with fine and dense undercoat. All colours and mix of colours are permitted.
Similar to the other dog breeds that originated in Tibet, the Tibetan spaniel is also an ancient breed, originally bred by Buddhist monks and a revered symbol of Buddhism. Buddhist believed that the lion followed Buddha like a dog. With the Tibetan spaniel’s lion-like appearance, it became a highly regarded icon in Buddhist culture. Similarly, the Chinese also bred a lion-like dog known as the Pekingese which was often interbred with the Tibetan spaniel, most of which happened in Buddhist monasteries. These little dogs were efficient guard dogs, sitting atop the monastery walls alerting their masters when strangers or wild animals are nearby. The breed was also used to turn prayer wheel as early as 1100 B.C. In the late 19th century, the breed started to appear in England mostly thru importation, although it wasn’t until the 1890s that it was bred extensively. Today, the Tibetan spaniel is adored by its owners although it has been slow to gain a popular following both in Europe and in England.
The Tibetan Spaniel is small, yet active, alert and independent. It is typically suspicious of strangers which make it a good watchdog but in contrast, a very loyal breed to its family. It is fairly easy to train and can easily understand what is required of it, although it has a stubborn streak which requires consistent training which should start from an early age. It is not an excessive barker but will typically bark at intruders and things that may otherwise prove to be strange to the breed. This small breed moves fairly quickly.
The Tibetan Spaniel should be trained consistently due to its stubborn streak. Early socialization with other household pets is required in order to grow up with a balanced character.
Grooming the coat is quite easy where regular brushing should be enough. This breed sheds off its coat in clumps every year wherein it will require more grooming attention. The Tibetan Spaniel has almost identical feeding requirements with its other Tibetan relatives.
The Tibetan Spaniel is a perfectly healthy breed with no known hereditary health problems, owing this to responsible breeders and a long line of healthy, purely bred ancestors. This small breed has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. However, there is a concern regarding sensitivity to heat as this breed has a short muzzle, which, similar to short-faced canines is prone to overheating and respiratory problems.
A base diet that contains a mixture of horse meat, barley, white rice and beet pulp will do great for the breed.
Although exercise requirement is minimal, the Tibetan Spaniel will enjoy daily long walks or a free time to romp off leash in a secured open area. This breed loves outdoor activities and will be happy if taken for a stroll in the park. Relatively inactive indoors, it will typically live well in an apartment living and will do fine in even in a home without a yard.
It is very intelligent, coupled with a natural fondness for small children and an attitude that goes along well with other dogs makes for a good household pet.