The Tibetan Spaniel: A Complete Guide

The Tibetan Spaniel is a small dog with a long history. Bred in Tibetan Buddhist lamaseries to be companions and alarm dogs, they were popular gifts to foreign dignitaries.

Today, these dogs remain the prized companions that they are. Thanks to their attentive, smart, and sweet nature.

Said to resemble a little lion, which is a powerful Buddhist symbol, the Tibetan Spaniel retains the watchfulness bred into him centuries ago.

He can be aloof toward strangers, but he’s a fond and friendly family companion.

Tibetan Spaniels are active enough to enjoy dog sports, but they are not so demanding of exercise to run you ragged.

Their compact size makes them well-suited to any home, as long as they receive a lot of human attention.

When they’re not cuddling with their people, Tibetan Spaniels enjoy a high perch that allows them to see everything that’s going on.

They’ll climb on any piece of furniture in your home just to get the best view, earning them the reputation of moving just like a cat.

Like many small dogs, they prefer being approached at their level rather than having someone looming over them.

They’re very intelligent dogs and can be trained effectively by using positive reinforcement techniques like play, praise, food, and treats.

Tibetan Spaniels are sensitive to the moods and needs of their families, and they’re happy to try and meet them.

This loving breed is uncommon, but he’s the ideal match for the right homes.

Tibetan Spaniel Puppies – Before You Buy…

A brown and white Tibetan Spaniel
Most Tibetan Spaniels are timid around strangers.

What Price are Tibetan Spaniel Puppies?

Tibetan Spaniel puppies from most reputable breeders will cost between $800 to $1,500, sometimes even more.

How to Find Reputable Tibetan Spaniel Breeders?

You’ve decided that you want to buy a Tibetan Spaniel. But how can you tell if they are a responsible and reputable breeder?

Reputable breeders breed dogs for the love of the breed, not for the money.

They are knowledgeable about the breed they represent and can help with behavioral and physical issues that might come up later.

Reputable breeders socialize their puppies early on. They breed in good traits and breed out bad ones.

Go visit breed club websites. You will find the information that you need, as well as a list of reputable breeders with upcoming litters.

Generally, the best breeders don’t have to advertise their business. They usually have a waiting list and a loyal following. They rely purely on word of mouth.

Be prepared for the breeder to interview you as well. They will also want the assurance that you can provide a good home for their puppies.

They will ask about your family, your home, your lifestyle, and other pets that you may be taking care of. As much as possible, they will make sure that you and the puppy are a perfect match.

3 Little-Known Facts About Tibetan Spaniel Puppies

  1. The Tibetan Spaniel is an ancient dog that hails from Asia.
  2. It’s believed that Buddhist monks known as lamas bred the little dogs to sound the alarm if anyone approached the lamasery.
    With the ruff of thick fur around their neck and their richly plumed tail, Tibetan Spaniels were said to resemble little lions.
  3. In Buddhist symbology, lions represent Buddha’s triumph over violence and aggression, so dogs with a lionlike appearance were popular.

Physical Traits of the Tibetan Spaniel

A Tibetan Spaniel looking at you
Tibetan Spaniels are sensitive to moods and feelings.

The Tibetan Spaniel dog has a long body, small head, and eyes that are quite wide-set.

It has an apelike appearance. Its mouth is undershot, while its plumed tail has long feathering. This dog moves with a straight, free, and quick gait.

The double coat comprises a medium-length, silky, and flat-lying outer coat and a long mane.

How Big is a Full-Grown Tibetan Spaniel?

Tibetan Spaniels stand about 10 inches high at the shoulder and weigh 9 to 15 pounds.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Tibetan Spaniel?

The Tibetan Spaniel has a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Tibetan Spaniel

Gentle and affectionate toward their favorite humans, Tibetan Spaniels may be indifferent toward strangers, but they are never aggressive.

True to their heritage, they make excellent watchdogs and will bark to alert you of anything that seems unusual.

Tibetan Spaniels are quite sensitive and responsive to people’s emotions and moods.

As loving as they are, however, they’re independent thinkers and won’t always obey, especially if they think they know better or don’t see any good reason to do as you ask.

As with all dogs, Tibetan Spaniels need early socialization. They need to be exposed to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences while they’re still young.

Socialization will help make your Tibetan Spaniel puppy a well-rounded dog when he grows older. If you’ve got a lot of attention to give, the Tibetan Spaniel is the dog for you.

This is just one of the many reasons why this breed makes a terrific companion dog for older people.

This breed loves its family but is wary of strangers. Even with its small size, the Tibetan Spaniel is good with small children and will keep a watchful eye on their activities.

Because of their size, you can carry your Tibetan Spaniel dog in your purse or bag. With that said, you should not over-coddle them because it can cause them to become high-strung.

Give your dog enough freedom, and make sure that they get out of your purse or bag regularly so that they can enjoy their daily walks.

This will allow him to socialize with people and dogs. This way, he will learn proper doggy manners.

Because of his small size, request people to greet him on his level because this will make him feel most comfortable.

The Tibetan Spaniel craves attention. They don’t enjoy being left alone too long because they can suffer from separation anxiety.

This breed does best with people who can stay at home, not those who work long hours.

This dog does not enjoy being left alone for long periods. You can expect to come home to a mess when you leave them alone all the time.

Neighbors can also get distracted and annoyed because of their incessant barking.

The Tibetan Spaniel’s Diet

A Tibetan Spaniel sitting on a a bed
The Tibetan Spaniel is said to resemble a little lion.

Tibetan Spaniels can flourish on many diets, including dry kibble or raw food. Because every dog is different, you may need to experiment with what diet works best for your dog.

The Tibetan Spaniel isn’t an overly active dog, so be sure not to overfeed him because it can cause obesity.

How Much Exercise Does a Tibetan Spaniel Need?

Because they are so small, Tibetan Spaniels can live happily basically anywhere.

They can be happy in an apartment or a large estate. They make wonderful companions for seniors because they don’t need a lot of daily exercise.

A daily walk and some playtime will cover all his exercise needs.

If you have a backyard, do not leave your Tibetan Spaniel unattended. This dog needs to be with their humans and will be happiest when playing with them.

Tibetan Spaniel Health and Conditions

The Tibetan Spaniel is a generally healthy breed.

However, it can suffer from the portosystemic shunt, progressive retinal atrophy, cherry eye, patellar luxation, and allergies.

My Final Thoughts on the Tibetan SpanielThe Tibetan Spaniel dog breed

Because of his quick agility and independent nature, Tibetan Spaniels are often compared to a cat.

Energetic, playful, calm, and relaxed, this dog is very easy to live with. He fits in an apartment or an estate with equal contentment.

All he asks for in the way of exercise are daily walks and occasional romps in a safe and enclosed area.

Tibetan Spaniels are family-oriented. They love to play games with their own people.

They are sensitive to moods and feelings and do not like to be left alone for long periods.

They are agile, sure-footed climbers. They can often be found perched on the windowsill or the high back of a chair and looking out the window.

They are clever problem-solvers who often rely on their dexterity to get what they want. For example, you can expect them to use their paws to pry open a cabinet door.

Most Tibetan Spaniels are timid around strangers and don’t like too much attention from them. Early socialization is important to develop a confident, outgoing temperament.

Though headstrong and independent, this dog is also quite sensitive. You should use obedience training and reinforce it with treats and praise.

If you want a dog who is small but sturdy, and easy to live with, the Tibetan Spaniel is a good dog choice for you.

They have a cute face and large expressive eyes. Their thick coat comes in a variety of colors, and anyone who sees them is sure to stop and pay them attention.

They are sometimes lively and playful, and sometimes they are calm and laidback. They only need moderate exercise.

Tibetan Spaniels make a good watchdog but are not aggressive with people.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3