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Tibetan Spaniel Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Traits, & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Tibetan Spaniel Dog

Height: 8-11 inches
Weight: 9-15 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Colors: Black, white, cream, red, gold, sable, multicolored
Suitable for: Families, singles, seniors, apartments, and single-family homes
Temperament: Intelligent, extremely loyal, friendly, independent

Tibetan Spaniels, also known as Tibbies, are a fascinating breed with a rich history. They’ve been around for thousands of years and used to serve as companions and watchdogs in Tibetan monasteries. They were bred and raised by Buddhist Monks who never sold them. Unless they were given as gifts to esteemed friends and associates, Tibetan Spaniels rarely ever left the monasteries they lived in.

These dogs are compact: they typically stand no taller than 11 inches in height, and the biggest ones don’t weigh more than about 15 pounds. They’re curious and friendly, although they are wary around strangers until formal introductions are made. The Tibetan Spaniel is instinctually protective, so they tend to bark when action is taking place outside of their home.

They love to run and play, yet they enjoy lazy afternoons spent lounging around on the couch. They don’t need a fenced yard at home, but they do need an opportunity to go on walks and visit the dog park every day if they don’t have a yard to play in. Are you wondering what it would be like to parent a Tibetan Spaniel of your own? Read on to learn everything you need to know about this beautiful dog breed.

Tibetan Spaniel Puppies

Tibetan Spaniel pup
Image credit: kikatani, Pixabay

The most important thing to keep in mind when buying a Tibetan Spaniel is the puppy’s health.  Take your time to find a reputable breeder that has screened puppies for common health issues.

When you find a puppy, make sure that you have the puppy seen by a veterinarian that you trust before finalizing the adoption, to make sure that the puppy is healthy and to minimize the chance that they will face any serious health issues at any point in the future.

When you bring a Tibetan Spaniel into your home, be ready to have a loyal and friendly dog by your side. They’re an excellent option for families, and due to their size, they are also good for apartment dwellers and seniors.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Tibetan Spaniel

1. They’re also known as Simkhyis.

In Tibet, this purebred dog is known as the Simkhyi, meaning house or room dog, because they stayed close to their human companions throughout their days at the monastery.

2. They are features in many ancient artworks.

These little dogs can be seen in artwork that dates to 1,100 B.C. So, while it isn’t known exactly how long Tibetan Spaniels have been in existence, the artwork gives us a good idea.

3. They love to meditate.

Tibetan Spaniels used to sit with their monk companions while the monks meditated in their monasteries. Therefore, they’re used to sitting still for long periods of time. They might not actually be meditating but sometimes, they look like they are!

Tibetan Spaniel Puppy
Image credit: rzierik, Pixabay

Temperament & Intelligence of the Tibetan Spaniel 🧠

The Tibetan Spaniel is smart and affectionate. These dogs expect to spend a great deal of time with their human companions, and they will gladly play the role of compassionate companions for babies and young kids. This purebred dog is somewhat active and would be happy with a short daily walk and regular playtime in the house.

While they are friendly, these dogs need time to warm up to strangers. Until they do, they can be shy or even suspicious. They make great watchdogs because they instinctively bark when they discover someone is coming to the door. They love to travel in cars, so you should expect to take your pooch along to run errands or socialize with friends.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Tibetan Spaniel is a perfect pet option for families with or without kids. Their patience and fun-loving nature tend to mingle well with the energy and curiosity levels of toddlers and young kids. They will even sit quietly with a crying baby to help soothe them. These dogs enjoy the companionship of teens and adults too. They don’t like to spend much time alone, so the house shouldn’t be empty all day long. At least one family member should be around most of the time.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

This purebred dog can get along with other animals, but they need to be socialized and trained before they are introduced to other dogs or cats. They aren’t particularly interested in living with other animals, but they do enjoy the occasional trip to the dog park or visit with a friend’s pet. Still, they can be introduced as puppies to a family with other pets and learn how to get along well with the furry family members over time.

Tibetan Spaniel in the snow
Image Credit: ilyessuti, Pixabay

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Things to Know When Owning a Tibetan Spaniel

Owning a Tibetan Spaniel is rewarding, but you must keep up your end of the bargain by taking good care of your pooch as they age. Here are a few more important things you should know about this interesting purebred dog.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

These little dogs don’t eat much food, so the food that they do eat should be made of high-quality ingredients. Your Tibetan Spaniel will likely eat less than 1 cup of food each day, so every bite counts. In addition to making sure that your dog’s food is free of artificial ingredients and fillers like corn and soy, you should choose a food that is formulated specifically for small breed dogs like the Tibetan Spaniel, as their nutritional needs are a bit different than the needs of larger breeds.

Always check the ingredients list when choosing a new food for your dog to make sure that whole meat is the first ingredient. Look for a food that includes fresh fruits and vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, and beets. These foods will provide your pooch with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that they need to stay healthy through adulthood. They’ll also help keep your dog’s digestive system healthy as time goes on.

Exercise 🐕

Tibetan Spaniels aren’t as active as many other breeds, and they may seem perfectly content spending all their time lounging around in the house. But without exercise and brain stimulation, your dog could become destructive due to boredom and a lack of having a job. These dogs should be walked daily, even if just around the block. If you are running low on time or the weather is bad and you can’t get outside for a walk, you can teach your dog to use your treadmill for exercise.

They should also have access to toys and activities while spending time indoors. Playing short games of fetch, engaging in hide-and-seek, and practicing tricks are all great ways to stimulate your dog’s brain and engage their problem-solving skills.

Tibetan Spaniel dog breed
Image Credit: ilyessuti, Pixabay

Training 🦮

Even though Tibetan Spaniels come from lives in the monastery, they need training just like any other dog. Obedience training should start early during puppyhood and should continue through adulthood to ensure a well-balanced, well-behaved dog. Tibetan Spaniels are naturally low key, so their training doesn’t have to be as in-depth or persistent as training for a high-energy Labrador Retriever would be. You should have no problem training your Tibetan Spaniel to come, sit, and stay.

Grooming ✂️

This purebred dog sheds moderately throughout the year, but daily brushing or combing will keep the fur from ending up on your floor at home. Their fur is long enough to get knotty, and mats could develop without daily grooming. Bathing is acceptable but should be done only occasionally to maintain proper oil levels in the skin. Their nails may need to be trimmed a few times a year, depending on their daily activity level. Their ears should be wiped clean regularly to prevent wax buildup.

Health Conditions ❤️

The Tibetan Spaniel is generally a healthy dog with a long life to look forward to. However, there are a couple of health conditions they are prone to that you should know about.

Minor Conditions
  • Cataracts
Serious Conditions
  • Entropion

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Male vs Female

Some say boy Tibetan Spaniels are more independent than girls are. It’s also been said that girls are easy to potty train than boys, especially if the boys have not been neutered. But for the most part, both males and females are smart, gentle, and good-natured. Either sex would make a great family companion, so don’t let the small differences affect your adoption decision. When you show up to adopt a pup, you should choose the one that you feel most connected to, regardless of gender.

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The Tibetan Spaniel is a cute little dog that is sure to win the hearts of everyone in the family. They’re caring, loyal, and intelligent. Even though they are small, they’ll help you keep your home protected from would-be intruders. If you’re looking for a lap dog to spend your downtime with, don’t overlook this savvy purebred dog. Have you had the pleasure of spending time with a Tibetan Spaniel, or are you getting ready to adopt one? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below.

Featured Image Credit: Jne Valokuvaus, Shutterstock

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