Tibetan Spaniel Breed Guide

Breed Group:
Companion Dogs

Middle Age: 6 years

Geriatric Age: 12 years

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

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Tibetan Spaniel Breed Information & History

Serving as a loving companion and trusted watchdog, the Tibetan Spaniel has taken on many roles throughout their long history. Known as one of the most ancient dog breeds originating from Tibet, these small canines were used as an alarm system for monks living high in the mountains. The Buddhist monks would train their Tibetan Spaniels to act as guard dogs to the lamasery and alert them of any danger.

These small dogs were also a popular companion throughout their early history with nobility and other people of elite status. It wasn’t until the 19th century that these praised companions finally expanded past Asia and made their way to England and the United States.

Tibetan Spaniel Temperament & Personality

Even though these pups work as excellent guard dogs, that doesn’t mean they are aggressive in any way. In fact, Tibetan Spaniels are known to be very loving and loyal towards their owners and will do whatever they can to make them happy. Keep in mind, this trust is not always earned automatically. This dog breed tends to be apprehensive towards strangers and will need a thorough introduction to feel comfortable with new people.

Tibetan Spaniel Training Tips

One personality trait owners do not always admire is that the Tibetan Spaniel can sometimes be a little stubborn. This is especially true when it comes time for training. Although these dogs are intelligent, they tend to have a mind of their own and will only participate in whatever interests them. That means if their dog training process is boring or repetitive, they will stop what they’re doing and find something better.

Once you establish yourself as the leader, your Tibetan Spaniel will learn to respect you. Like in most small breeds, use positive reinforcement such as playtime and praise to encourage good behavior.

Tibetan Spaniel Exercise Needs

Due to their small size, the Tibetan Spaniel only needs a moderate amount of exercise on a regular basis. This can be satisfied with a walk around the block or a little playtime in the backyard. While these pups are suitable for apartment living, they would require more exercise if they were living in a smaller home. Aside from regular walks and a game of fetch, try fun alternatives such as agility training to keep them active and entertained.

Tibetan Spaniel Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Tibetan Spaniel is between 12 to 15 years.

Tibetan Spaniel Breed Popularity

Today, the Tibetan Spaniel remains a fairly uncommon breed within the United States. Currently, these dogs are ranked as the 118th most popular breed out of 202 registered breeds by the American Kennel Club.

Tibetan Spaniel Feeding Requirements

Because of their small size, the Tibetan Spaniel should only consume between ¾ to 1 cup of high-quality food a day, split into two equal meals. With that being said, you should still consider your dog’s size, age, metabolism, and activity level before creating his feeding plan. When choosing your pup’s food, make sure to look for products that contain nutritious and all-natural ingredients.

Tibetan Spaniel Grooming

The Tibetan Spaniel has a fluffy and silky coat that requires regular maintenance. Weekly brushing is highly recommended to keep their fur clean and debris-free. Your Tibetan Spaniel should also be bathed every couple of months, which will help keep his coat in optimal condition.

Aside from regular dog coat grooming, make sure to check your dog’s eyes, ears, and nose for any signs of infection. You should also brush his teeth at least once a week to prevent dental disease from developing. Lastly, keep your pup’s nails nice and short, so they do not become overgrown or cracked.

Are Tibetan Spaniels Good With Kids?

Although the Tibetan Spaniel has a playful personality that is perfect for children, their small size makes them vulnerable to injury. Young toddlers who do not know how to treat an animal may accidentally hurt them while playing. That’s why it’s recommended that the child be old enough to handle and respect a household pet.

Tibetan Spaniel Health Concerns to Watch For

Generally speaking, the Tibetan Spaniel is fairly healthy and doesn’t have many breed-specific health concerns. However, that does not mean they are immune to all pet health issues. Possible dog health problems that may inflict your Tibetan Spaniel may include:

Patellar Luxation: This health problem occurs when the kneecap becomes dislocated from its normal positioning. When this happens, the dog may experience pain, lameness, or arthritis. In severe cases, Patellar Luxation in dogs can be cured through corrective surgery.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy: Progressive Retinal Atrophy in dogs is a progressive eye disorder that causes blindness. PRA causes the photoreceptors in the eye to deteriorate over time, leading to a total loss of vision. Depending on its severity, this eye condition may be fixed with corrective surgery.

Other Resources

National Breed Website: Tibetan Spaniel Club of America

Rescue: Tibetan Spaniel Rescue