Other names: Tibbie, Simkhyi
The Tibetan Spaniel is a small, charming little dog with a big personality. Despite his tiny stature, this is a confident and assertive breed. Remarkably intelligent for a small dog, highly social, and very affectionate towards his owners, the Tibetan Spaniel makes an interesting and loving pet. His little legs don't require much exercise, making him a perfect companion dog for people living less active lifestyles.
Key facts about the Tibetan Spaniel
Origins and history
The Tibetan Spaniel was a popular companion dog for the Buddhist monks of Nepal. As relations between China and Nepal began to develop, the two countries would send dogs as gifts. Once in China, the Tibetan Spaniel became a popular choice for leading feudal families. It wasn't until the late 19th century that the West started paying attention to the Tibetan, and the Tibetan Spaniel was brought to Britain by missionaries. By 1971, the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America had 14 separate charters, and its popularity has been growing ever since.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 9 - Companion and Toy Dogs
Section 5 : Tibetan breeds
Physical characteristics of the Tibetan Spaniel
Female : Between 10 and 10 in
Male : Between 10 and 10 in
Female : Between 9 and 13 lb
Male : Between 9 and 13 lb
All colours and mixtures are possible.
Type of coat
A short silky undercoat with a medium length thin topcoat.
The Tibetan Spaniel is a small, active dog with an alert expression and a springy gait. He has a small head, short legs, and a long body for a dog of his size. He has expressive oval eyes, medium-sized, pendulous and fringed ears. He has a high set tail and fluffy patches of fur around the legs and chest.
Good to know
He was also called Tibetan prayer dog, because the monks, during the winter, carried these little dogs under their tunics and used them to turn the prayer wheels.
The Tibetan Spaniel was bred as a companion dog, meaning he’s extremely affectionate towards his owners. That being said, he is a resourceful dog, who can also show initiative and be quite independent.
This is an energetic little dog that loves to play, but it's not just about fun; smart dogs like the Tibetan Spaniel need lots of mental and physical stimulation.
Of a rather serene nature, this dog is not the type to go around in circles for hours and ask for any attention. The Tibetan Spaniel knows how to chill out. He tends to be active during the day before turning into a "lazy bones" later in the evening. As long as his needs are met, he knows how to distance himself and be small at home.
The Tibetan Spaniel is a very intelligent and receptive dog. His education is easy because of his abilities and his enthusiasm.
In addition, his intelligence is also revealed by his great ability to observe, which allows him to adapt to the mood of the people around him.
This little dog does not have the extremely high prey drive of his spaniel cousins, but can chase birds and squirrels in the garden.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Tibetan Spaniel is wary of strangers and other new people at first sight, but is confident enough to befriend people once he understands they are no danger.
The Tibetan Spaniel can be very independently minded. The Tibetan likes what he likes and will rarely do anything he doesn’t want to. Start training as early as possible. If not, you'll find yourself trapped in a battle of wills with a rather stubborn dog.
Behaviour of the Tibetan Spaniel
The Tibetan Spaniel can handle being left alone, as long as he is accustomed to it positively from a young age.
Easy to train / obedience
The Tibetan Spaniel is docile, intelligent and alert. It is very easy to educate this dog as he wants to learn, and please those he loves. Of course, this still requires time, patience and a firm trainer to reach his full potential.
This dog can be quite “yappy”, especially if he wasn’t properly socialised. He will also bark a lot if he’s not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation.