Photo by BackyardBirderWa

Tibetan Spaniel - Breed Profile:

Origin: Tibet
Colors: Any
Size: Small
Type of Owner: Novice
Exercise: Moderate
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Slightly difficult to train
Combativeness: Not generally dog-aggressive
Dominance: High
Noise: Likes to bark

Physical characteristics

The Tibetan Spaniel resembles the Pekingese. The differences include a slightly longer muzzle, less profuse coat and no extra skin around the eyes. The body of Tibetan Spaniels is slightly longer than tall, with a level topline. The legs are relatively short. The head is somewhat small. The oval eyes are dark brown, bright, and expressive. They are medium size and set well apart. The eye rims are black. The pendent size ears are set fairly high. The teeth should not be seen when the mouth is closed. The shoulders and thighs are well-made and strong. The plumed tail curls over the back. The gait is proud, positive, and free.
Tibetan Spaniels weigh 9 to 15 pounds. Their height averages 10 inches.


The Tibetan Spaniel is a very smart dog with a perky, trusting, and cheerful temperament. Affectionate and loving. Can be somewhat aloof with strangers. Protective of its family, Tibbies make good watchdogs. This breed usually gets on well with other animals. Can be wilful and self-minded if the dog thinks it is the pack leader. Make sure you establish and reinforce proper human-dog relationship where the dog's place in the pack is below humans. Otherwise, Tibetan Spaniels can develop the "small dog syndrome". A well-balanced Tibbe makes a very sweet family companion. Daily walks are necessary for the dog to stay happy. This breed is less yappy compared to most other small dogs, but it will still bark at intruders and odd noises.

Coat and grooming

The double coat is silky and flat. It is shorter on the face and front legs and longer on the body. The ears, back of the forelegs, the tail, and the buttocks are nicely furnished with longer hair. The neck is covered with a "mane" which is more prominent in male dogs. Regular grooming is necessary to prevent matting and to keep the hair in good condition. Once a year, the coat comes out in clumps. Tibetan Spaniel can come in any colour and colour combination. The most common are gold, cream, fawn, red, white, black, and black-and-tan.


This breed is naturally healthy and free of serious genetic flaws. Because of their short muzzle, they may have respiratory problems or overheat easily.

Other interesting facts

Tibetan Spaniels are considered an very ancient breed. There is evidence of their existence over 2000 years ago. Most small Asian dogs are believed to be descended from the Tibbie. They were often referred to as "little lions".