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Tibetan Spaniel

Quick facts

Tibetan Spaniel AKC Group: Non-Sporting
Height: 10 inches
Weight: 9-15 pounds
Colors: Black, black and tan, cream, gold, red, Sable, Silver Sable and white
AKC recognized in: 1983

The Tibetan Spaniel originated in Tibet, particularly in the Himalayan mountains sharing ancestry from the Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Pug, and Japanese Chin. But, it is not really a Spaniel because it is not a gundog or a breed that is used for hunting like pointers, retrievers, setters, and flushers. It resembles though the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel which is a bred-down lap version of true Spaniels.

The Tibetan Spaniel is a house dog ready to serve its master. These dogs served in ancient Tibet turning the prayer wheel and also worked in Tibetan monasteries. It is given a nickname as Tibbie and highly regarded as an intelligent dog. Based on ancestry, the Tibbie is known to be the ancestor where many small Asian dogs descended.

It has a medium length double coat. The most distinguishable feature of its coat is its high set tail carried over its back like a plume of feathers. Its domed head is fitted with a strong muzzle in medium length. There are no wrinkles on its muzzle and it has a defined stop.

The teeth meet in level or undershot bite that can be likened to the Pekingese. But, the Tibetan Spaniel has a bit longer face and its eyes do not have extra skin like the Pekingese. The Tibetan Spaniel has dark brown eyes and black nose.


Tibetan Spaniel Summary
Affection five paws
Cold Tolerance four paws
Ease of Training four paws
Energy level three paws
Exercise Requirements four paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals two paws
Friendliness: Other Pets three paws
Grooming Requirements three paws
Heat Tolerance three paws
Playfulness four paws
Protection Ability two paws
Watchdog Ability three paws

This dog breed is lively and energetic. Sometimes, it has a behavior called Small Dog Syndrome where it acts and feels that it is the small boss of the house. It can be too aggressive as it dislikes strangers and barks annoyingly at anyone it feels to be intruding the premises. The owner must, therefore, start early to curb its mischievous and overbearing behavior by letting it know who the boss really is. Yet, it is generally quiet when the home is kept secure from strangers.

It is not receptive to training and it acts independently. Being an intelligent dog, the Tibetan Spaniel can only co-operate when the master would be able to give it attention and responsibility at the same time. Avoid it to become the pack leader or there would be problems about its attitude later on.

Health and Exercise

The Tibetan Spaniel has an average lifespan of 12-15 years. This dog breed is prone to heatstroke and respiratory problems. Blindness is a big risk to this dog because it may have genetically acquired it beginning with night blindness or not being able to see well at dark areas. This is called Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) that hits the dog from 1 and a half years to as late as seven years of age.

Portosystemic shunt happens in the Tibetan Spaniel when an abnormal vessel makes blood bypass the liver, the organ that filters waste. In the process, the Liver Shunt makes the dog prone to poor appetite, depression, seizures, banging its head on a hard object, increased drinking and urinating, sensitivity to sedatives, balance problems, salivation, etc.

It can also acquire allergies that result into the cherry eye or weeping eye that is common among this breed.

Visitor Comments

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Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.
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