Tibetan Spaniel, a tiny dog originally raised by monks in Tibet

Origins, physical characteristics, temperament and caring tips

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By Alex

The Tibetan Spaniel is a very active, cheerful and confident little dog. Since it does not require a lot of exercise, it is considered suitable for apartment life. Originally it was a ‘prayer dog,’ helping monks in Tibetan monasteries turn the prayer wheel. Let’s go find out more about its character and learn all you need to know about caring.

Origins of the Tibetan Spaniel dog

This breed, like other eastern dog breeds native to the Himalayan area, such as the Lhasa Apso, originated in Tibetan monasteries. For many years, in fact, this dog was bred by monks as a ‘prayer dog.’ Legend has it that the monks used it to spin prayer wheels.

They were also guard dogs, barking at the arrival of strangers to warn the monks living in monasteries.

It arrived in Europe in the early 1900s, imported to England by some missionaries. Many believe that this dog breed derives from various crosses over the centuries between Pekingese and Japanese Spaniels.

Tibetan spaniel

Physical characteristics of the Tibetan spaniel dog

This tiny dog has a rather curious, even somewhat funny physique. Alert and very active, he is well-proportioned, has a sturdy body and well-developed muscle and bone structure, though a bit longer than his height.

  • Height:the average is about 25 cm, and weighs between 2 and 6 kg
  • Arms: massive and straight. The hind legs are somewhat stronger and more muscular
  • Head: small and well proportioned compared to the body
  • Mouth: small and blunt, short and slightly swollen
  • Tartufo: black and provided with open nostrils
  • Teeth: well aligned, strong and highly developed
  • Eyes: oval in shape, they are brown and slightly protruding. Well spaced apart they are very expressive
  • Ears: with a somewhat high hairline, they are drooping and fringed along the lower margin
  • Tails: feathery plume-like, they are curved toward the back
  • Fur: thick and flat
  • Undercoat: very thick and short
  • Coat: fawn, black, golden, fiery black, white, cream or brown

Character of the Tibetan Spaniel dog

It is a very cheerful, energetic and active little dog, always attentive to any kind of stimulus. We may also define it a smart, cunning and shrewd dog.

Although it has an independent nature, it does not like to spend too much time away from its human family. Since it doesn’t bite, it is among the most suitable dogs for family life.

With people it does not know, this dog tends to maintain a reserved attitude. But it’s so easy to gain its confidence!

Health and diseases of the Tibetan Spaniel dog

This breed is prone to a hereditary eye disease. Therefore, it is essential to have him undergo regular eye examinations before breeding.

In addition, like other types of dogs with this particular conformation of the muzzle, short and somewhat flattened, it may present respiratory difficulties from time to time.

Tibetan spaniel

Care of the Tibetan Spaniel

These small Tibetan dog breeds do not need much exercise. One hour a day is generally enough.

If you have a garden, you should fence it securely and check its boundaries often, because it likes to dig and can escape.

One must take great care of his double coat. It should therefore be brushed and combed twice a week, paying particular attention to the knots that often form on the fringes.

The dog’s diet should be controlled to prevent it from gaining too much weight. For this reason, croquettes with balanced nutrients and suitable for inactive small dogs may be useful.

Does the Tibetan Spaniel fear the cold?

As a dog native to Tibet, where the weather can be inclement for many months of the year, it does not fear the cold. It also has a long, thick tawny or white coat and a waterproof undercoat.

Does the Tibetan Spaniel bark a lot?

It is certainly not one of those breeds of dogs that do not bark. After all, it was used by monks to guard the monastery, so it is alert and vigilant. It barks with a squeaky voice when something alerts it.

It can be trained, however, and with proper socialization from puppyhood, it is possible to limit or control its barking. It remains important to note, however, that every dog has different barking tendencies, depending on his personality and environment.

Therefore, it is advisable to meet the puppy’s parents before adopting one to see if it is suitable for your lifestyle.

How long does a Tibetan Spaniel live?

Like many other small to medium-sized dogs, it has an average life span of about 11 to 15 years.

Bonus tip

Here are also guides on other tiny dog breeds:

  • Labradoodle: born from a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle, a dog that does not shed hair
  • Welsh Terrier: character, diet and caring tips
  • Norfolk Terrier: one of the smallest terriers
  • Tibetan Terrier: another lovely dog breed from Tibet
  • Uncover the Canaan Dog (Canaanite dog): Characteristics, Training & Breed Insights

Other useful insights into the world of dogs

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