Tibetan Spaniel


A small Tibetan Spaniel
Tibetan Spaniel Quick Summary
Also Known As
Height (at withers)9-11in (23-28cm)
Weight9-15lbs (4-7kg)
Hair Colour(s)Varies
Lifespan12-18 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size2-6
Barking TendencyLow
Exercise requirementsMedium
Ease of trainingMedium
Suitability for kidsMedium
Animal compatabilityMedium
Aggression levelsMedium
Distress if leftHigh

The Tibetan Spaniel is a small and dainty looking dog. The body is low with well-sprung ribs, a level back, slightly bowed front legs and a high-set plumed tail carried in a curl over the back. The head has a short blunt muzzle, a black nose, dark oval eyes, high-set pendant ears and a slightly undershot bite. The silky coat is medium in length and flat, with feathering on the legs and ears. The colouring varies greatly and includes red, black, cream and gold.


Tibetan Spaniels are sweet and charming dogs with trusting natures. These are sociable people dogs with good natured dispositions and playful attitudes, and they love company and interaction. They make loyal companions and family pets but not like being left alone or neglected for long periods of time. Early socialisation is recommended for these dogs in order to promote confident and stable temperaments, and although some can be a little manipulative, most are easy going, calm and sensitive. This breed is very intelligent and quick to learn but can be slightly difficult to train due to their stubborn and independent attitudes. However, they are well suited to both experienced and novice dog owners, although confidence and assertiveness will be required in owners. Tibetan Spaniels are loyal and protective and will get along well with older, more considerate children as they do not like to be handled roughly. They will get along with other animals too, although some females can be aggressive with same sex dogs, and they may be aloof and reserved around strangers. Although not prone to barking, they are protective and will bark when they sense an intrusion and so make great watch dogs.

History & Skills

Tibetan Spaniels originate from Tibet, as may be expected from their name, and have rich history dating back centuries. Bred by Buddhist monks, they are thought to be a mix of Pekingese, Pugs and Japanese Spaniels. Tibetan Spaniels became known as prayer dogs and were the preferred gift to royal houses. They also made good companions and watchdogs, and would sit on high walls in monasteries and bark at any intruders. These days they still make great companions and family pets.

Breed Specific Ailments

Tibetan Spaniels tend to live between 12-18 years and so are a relatively healthy and long-lived breed. Some of the health problems that have been noted include liver problems, Legg-Perthes, luxating patella, PRA, and allergies. These dogs can overheat and suffer respiratory problems in hot weather due to their short muzzles.


Tibetan Spaniels are medium shedders that also shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, so they are not terriblysuited for allergy sufferers. Their grooming requirements are reasonable, and the coat will need brushing around twice a week, and more regularly during periods of heavy shedding. Hair around the bottom area should be kept trimmed for hygiene reasons, and the ears should be kept clean and dry to reduce the chances of infection. The coat may need occasional clipping to maintain the shape.

Exercise & Environment

Tibetan Spaniels tend to live indoors and are suitable for small homes such as apartments. Although generally inactive while indoors, they will need a daily half-hour walk and preferably a garden or yard area in which to play and exercise. These areas must be secure because these dogs are good climbers.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

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