The Tibetan Spaniel, or affectionately referred to as a “Tibbie” is very playful and extremely confident, but also a generally calm dog. Tibetan Spaniels will be sure to do things their own way, including leading your daily walk. Whether you are on a hiking trail or walking down the street, these sweet dogs have the confidence to lead on, and will not shy away from other dogs they encounter.
The Tibetan Spaniel will be wagging that curly tail the entire time, also.
This dog is unique, in that the Tibetan Spaniel does not actually require a ton of grooming, even though their coats tend to be longer. Their hair does not mat very much, except for behind the ears. Their double coat does well with weekly brushings, and these dog breeds do shed seasonally. Tibetan Spaniels are generally healthy, as well, but some important medical screenings they should have include ophthalmologist and patella examinations.
Important things to note about the Tibetan Spaniel:
Tibetan Spaniel Breed Information
Height: 10 inches
Weight: 9 to 15 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 years to 15 years
Type: Non-Sporting Group Dog
Health Conditions & Dog Care: Progressive retinal atrophy, patellar luxation
Related Species: Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier, Japanese Chin
Recognized in the United States by the American Kennel Club and Tibetan Spaniel Club of America
1. The Tibetan Spaniel was originally bred for Sentinel work
Their eyesight is excellent – these dog breeds worked at Tibetan Monasteries as little dogs sitting atop the monastery walls, sure to alarm the monks if anything was out of place. Their history of being “alarm” oet dogs makes them the perfect dog for you if you’re looking for someone to alert you rather than protect your home of any possible intruders. Although Tibetan Spaniels have great eyesight, routine eye-checks are important to prevent any health issues from coming up.
Tibetan Spaniel on the lookout. Their short snout is another signature facial feature.
2. These breeds are extremely independent
While Tibetan Spaniels crave human companionship and are perfect lap warmers, the Tibetan Spaniel has an independent streak that can not easily be matched. Tibetan Spaniels are highly trainable, but often will only do certain tasks when they feel like it, and may just walk away when they don’t feel like doing something.
Standing tall with that perfect tail curl
3. These breeds were nick-named “little lions”
Because of this nickname, Tibetan Spaniels were a breed that was nearly worshipped. Lions are sacred to the Buddhist monks, so this breed became sacred as well. They were never sold, only given as prestigious gifts to others. They have a “lions mane” around their neck that was the reason behind their nickname.
4. The Tibetan Spaniel is the perfect apartment dog
This is one breed that will feel at home in any place. These pet dogs could even live in a tiny house. Their relaxed nature makes the breeds suitable for any type of home, as long as they get the necessary physical and mental stimulation. These dogs are more than happy to curl up on the couch with you, but also just as eager to leash-up and go on a run. They love to explore, so providing plenty of mental stimulation if you are gone at work for long hours would be beneficial to them. Agility training would be the perfect activity to keep their minds and bodies sharp, just look at this pup run the course!
5. These dogs are playful
Like many small dogs, this breed loves to play. These dogs love any attention from their owners and prefer playing with their person as opposed to toys. Although you can get them to play fetch or chew up a chew toy, they would still rather play something one-on-one with you.
A Tibbie playing with a cat
6. These dogs are moderately friendly to others
The Tibetan Spaniel is well-mannered around other dogs, and somewhat reserved around strangers, and they stay alert and watchful around people they do not know. They get along with most everyone, but they need to be properly introduced before trusting strangers. They are actually regarded as a great alert dog. They will make sure you know if something is wrong or if someone is close by that shouldn’t be.
7. These dogs are not actually a spaniel
They are a companion dog through and through, not of the spaniel group at all. The name was simply a misnomer that came about from the French word epagnuel, which meant companion or comforter in the Middle Ages. Although they have the personality to be considered spaniels, they are not. Even though they are a non-sporting group dog, the Tibbie can be highly active and learn plenty of tricks to impress you and your guests.
8. The Tibetan Spaniel is gentle with children and makes for good family dogs
Their laid-back temperament makes them the perfect family dog if you have children of any age. It’s almost as if they can sense that children are just the human equivalent of a puppy because they will be the first in the family to gently entice a child to play with them or to love on them. Even with grabby babies and toddlers, they are very gentle and patient. My Joe will let my nearly-crawling baby grab him and tug on him, and I don’t have to worry about him pulling away from the baby and sending him tumbling. Tibbie puppies and babies can be a lot of fun.
Joe (my Tibbie mix) guarding the baby’s toy
9. These dogs have many different coat colors
There is no breed standard for the color of the Tibetan Spaniel, so no colors have been “bred out.” There is such a variety of coat colors and color combinations that you are sure the find the color you are looking for in this breed. Their coat colors may be:
Their coats can also be any combination of these colors.
Puppy in the snow
10. Tibbie puppies were sent as gifts
The breed grew in popularity and became one of the highest regarded gifts given to the palaces of China, as well as to some other Buddhist countries. Tibet also received them as gifts in return. Having a rich history like this makes them the perfect dog to surprise a loved one with, and you can even tell them about their history of only being given as gifts back in the day.
11. They prefer high-quality dog food
Although any decent-quality ingredient dog food will do, the Tibetan Spaniel definitely prefers food of higher quality. The American Kennel Club even mentions cooking your dog’s dinner from scratch, with veterinarian approval and guidance, of course. Any dog would love a home-cooked meal, but if this isn’t practical for you (for many, it isn’t), a high-quality food will do just fine and your Tibbie’s health will thrive.
The Tibbie is a gentle, cute little dog that can make themselves at home nearly anywhere. Although they love having room to explore, they are perfect for any size home. The thing these puppies love most is being with you, and they will do very well in any home where they can be close to their person most of the time.
How Much Does a Tibetan Spaniel Cost
Regardless of any color or color combination, you will likely pay around $800 for a Tibetan Spaniel puppy. There is no preference of color that will increase the price of these adorable pups.
Wrapping It Up
Hope our Tibetan Spaniel guide was helpful! Be sure to reach out if you have photos or videos you would like to share on the Spaniel Tibetan.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.