Tibetan Spaniel: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

A dog of the Tibetan Spaniel breed has a cheerful and sociable character. As a good companion dog, with the family its behaviour is loyal, sweet and affectionate. Originally from the high peaks of the Himalayas, it is becoming more popular and appreciated throughout the world every day. At Petlifey, we explain the temperament and characteristics of the Tibetan spaniel.

Character of the Tibetan Spaniel breed

The Tibetan spaniel is a dog with a cheerful, vital, very intelligent, vigilant and loyal character, although it is independent. In general, it is sociable, but it is reserved with strangers, reaching even sullen and suspicious attitudes. Act with determination.

It is a wonderful breed, always happy, sociable and very intelligent, it makes an excellent family dog, as it is very affectionate.

However, as it has a strong point of independence, it is not the most suitable breed for all types of families. Since, it needs to receive a lot of attention and must be worked intensively with it, perhaps to a greater extent than with other dog breeds.

For example, it is very important to carry out a very deep socialization work from the moment the puppy comes home. Due to its primitive nature as a watchdog, it can be surly and suspicious of people who are not part of its family nucleus.

In short, the Tibetan spaniel is a very pleasant, active and friendly little companion dog, who loves to join in any family activity. And, due to its strong and personal character, it is also an extraordinary watchdog of the house.

  • Energy: High. It is an active and energetic animal that needs to do a lot of exercise and be continuously engaged in some activity.
  • Temperament: Sweet, affectionate and cheerful, it has a very independent character, makes decisions for themselves and is very intelligent.
  • Adaptability: High. It is happy in any environment, as long as its family is close, as it does not tolerate loneliness.
  • Sociability: High. It is very sociable, but can be suspicious and rude towards strangers.
  • Health: Good. In general it is a healthy animal, without serious diseases associated with the breed.
  • Longevity: High. Live 12-15 years or more.
  • Utility: Company. Originally, it was a guardian animal, a task that it still performs perfectly today, but it is basically a companion dog.

Can it be left alone?

Despite its marked independence, this dog likes to live in the company of its family and it is not exactly a breed that can be left alone for many hours.

In fact, due to its ancestral selection, it is a very protective animal with its family and with its house, and it always acts as an incorruptible guardian.

Is it an active dog?

Due to its great intelligence and its restless temperament, the Tibetan Spaniel cannot spend a long time focused on the same place or executing the same action, since it is easily bored.

And a bored specimen will not hesitate to find something to do, and it will not always be a good thing, so it is very important that its owner give it as many tasks as possible to keep it continuously distracted and stimulated.

Can you live in a flat or in the city?

In fact, this is a clean, silent dog (despite the fact that it barks to warn of the presence of strangers near the house), sociable and that adapts perfectly to any environment, be it in the city or in the country.

In fact, all you need to be happy is to be able to reside at home, together with your family, and that they dedicate enough time and attention to you.

How does it behave with other dogs?

It does not pose too many problems in coexistence with other dogs, with which it tends to get along very well as long as there are no serious hierarchical conflicts between them.

How do you behave at home?

It is very curious to observe that, as with other small-sized Tibetan dogs whose main function was to watch over temples and monasteries, the Tibetan spaniel likes to always be up high, in an elevated position, as if it were a watchman on a watchtower. try, so it is advisable not to suppress its desire to climb the sofa, an armchair or a chair.

By placing themselves in that privileged position, what it does is comply with its natural temperament in an attempt to place themselves in a high place that allows them to see and control the maximum amount of ground in its task of guarding the home.

Many specimens even like to position themselves in such a way that they can observe the exterior of the house from a window, a bit like cats do.

Characteristics of the Tibetan Spaniel

The general appearance of the Tibetan spaniel is that of a small dog, with an active and watchful appearance. Its general profile is well balanced, with a slightly rectangular body, longer than tall, measured up to the withers.

How physically is the Tibetan Spaniel breed?


Petite but active and vigilant in appearance, the Tibetan Spaniel sports a well-balanced overall profile. Its body structure is slightly rectangular, since the length of its body, measured from the region of the withers to the birth of the tail, is greater than its height at the withers, which is located about 25.5 cm from the ground.

Their feet are rather roundedsmall and well formed. Between the toes and sometimes also extended over the feet are abundant tufts of hair.

The tail is set high, it is well covered with abundant hair and fringes. Usually the animal wears it happily raised and curled on its back.


The head is small in proportion to the body, it has a slightly domed skull, a slight but defined stop, and a not very long and rounded muzzle. The truffle is usually black.

Their eyes are oval in shape and medium in size. Bright and dark brown in color, they are very expressive, especially since the edge of the eyelids is black.

The ears are triangular and not very large, they have a fairly high set and are hanging. They fall slightly apart from the head, but are not buoyant, and are covered in long hairs.


The hair is double-layered, with an inner layer of fine and dense hair, and an outer layer of rather tight, smooth and silky-textured hair. On the body it is moderately long, but both the ears and the back of the forelimbs have abundant fringes.

In addition, both the tail and the thighs are adorned with more developed hair, although the coat is not excessively long. Females generally have more discreet coat and mane than males.

Tibetan Spaniel breed standard

  • Origin: Tibet / United Kingdom Patronage.
  • Size: Miniature.
  • Height at the withers: 25.5 cm.
  • Weight: between 4 and 7 kg.
  • FCI classification: PCI nº 231. Group 9 – Companion dogs. Section 5 – Tibetan dogs.
  • Use: Companion dog.
  • Other names: Tibetan Spaniel / Épagneul tibétain / Tibet-Spaniel.
  • General appearance: Small but active and lively in appearance, it has a robust, elongated body with a well balanced profile.
  • Head: Small in size in proportion to the body, the animal holds it up proudly, but without abruptness. Unlike the rest of the breeds in its section, it does not have long and abundant hair on its head, with which its face is clear.
  • Skull: Slightly domed, of moderate length and width.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): It is slightly marked, but defined.
  • Muzzle: Medium in length, blunt and padded, but without wrinkles. The chin shows a certain depth and width.
  • Nose: Normally it is black.
  • Jaws: The lower jaw, wide between the canines, shows a slight undershot, but neither the teeth nor the tongue are visible when the dog closes its mouth.
  • Eyes: Dark brown in color, oval, bright and lively. Somewhat separated, they have the edges of the eyelids pigmented black.
  • Ears: They are of medium size, set high and light in appearance. They hang slightly apart from the head, without floating excessively, and in adults they have good fringes.
  • Neck: The Tibetan spaniel has a moderately short neck, strong and well set at the shoulders, so that it allows the animal to carry its head upright, with a haughty and proud pose. It is covered in a mane or “scarf” of longer hair, which is generally more abundant in males than in females.
  • Body: It is slightly rectangular, longer than it is high.
  • Back: Presented straight.
  • Chest: The ribs are well sprung.
  • Tail: It is set high and is covered with abundant hair in the form of fringes. The dog usually carries it curled on its back, but when at rest it sometimes lets it fall downward.
  • Forelimbs: They are slightly curved, but firm.
  • Shoulders: Appear well oblique but firm.
  • Forearms and arms: They are endowed with medium bones.
  • Hind limbs: They are strong and well formed. Legs: They are robust.
  • Knees: They have a moderate angulation.
  • Hocks: They are located well below and if seen from behind they are straight.
  • Feet: Small and oval, they are known as “hare’s” feet. They are well formed and have tufts of hair between the toes, sometimes extending over the feet.
  • Movement: The progress of this animal is fast, straight, easy and energetic.
  • Hair: The hair on the outer coat is silky, long, tight and smooth, but the inner coat is fine and dense. A showy mane is formed on the neck, and the tail, ears and thighs are fringed.
  • Color: The coat of the Tibetan spaniel can be presented in any range of colors and combinations.

Education and training of the Tibetan Spaniel

Although the Tibetan spaniel has great intelligence and knows how to assimilate commands and concepts very easily, it is not easy to obtain excellent results in disciplines such as obedience due to its independent nature of the race and its tendency to put in doubt the orders and make your own decisions.

Also for this same reason, one must be very cautious when letting the Tibetan spaniel loose, since there are many specimens that show a strong tendency to run away and escape, possibly moved by their great curiosity, which leads them to want to explore it. everything.

The problem is that sometimes they do not respond to the owner’s call if they consider that what they are doing at that moment is more interesting than what their owner may want to indicate to them.

For all that has been said, unlike what happens with other Tibetan breeds, this is possibly the least suitable for inexperienced owners, since the Tibetan spaniel needs an owner who knows how to occupy a solid, firm and consistent leadership position, without doubts or fissures.

Any hesitation or sign of indecision on the part of its owner will be enough for the dog to start making its own decisions, try to control situations and proclaim itself as the leader of the group.

This situation, if not addressed in time, can become irreversible, with all the inconveniences and problems that may arise from it, such as disobediencenoisy or destructive behaviours, and even aggressiveness.

In addition, as with many other small companion dogs, the Tibetan spaniel can be easily affected by the small dog syndrome, mainly due to the tendency of many owners to treat it in an overprotective way, as if they have been throughout their lives. kept in that state of a weak and vulnerable puppy.

Thus, they are allowed a series of actions and attitudes that a larger dog would not be allowed, so that in the end the animal ends up feeling much more important in the house than it is.

Dogs affected by this syndrome show certain behavioural alterations caused by the misconception of their own place within the pack or family.

Some even assume that they are the same as the people with whom they share life. And, therefore, they feel they have the right to question the established hierarchical order by trying to occupy the highest position in the pyramid. At this point, the dog becomes dominant, disobedient, noisy, stubborn …

However, if the dog training process is carried out by an expert person or by an owner with enough strength of character to naturally impose themselves on its dog, there need be no problem and it can be enjoyed. from the company of a magnificent dog.

Therefore, inexperienced owners should never hesitate to go to a good professional trainer to help them carry out this task.

You can also go to a work group to share your problems and accelerate your progress, because in this way you can get all the best qualities of your pet and have a perfect and pleasant coexistence.

Health and diseases of the Tibetan Spaniel

If the Tibetan spaniel receives the care it needs, it is characterized as a basically healthy breed with very few associated health problems.

Of remarkable longevity, it is not uncommon to find specimens that are over 15 years of age, which is undoubtedly the best proof of their privileged nature and great physical strength.

Due to its size and body structure, it does not usually suffer from important osteoarticular diseases, as long as it does not grow obese. However, the truth is that the structure and shape of your head and make her snout does have a propensity to suffer some respirations problems. These can be aggravated especially in extreme heat situations.

It should never be forgotten that their country of origin is Tibet, in the middle of the Himalayas. A place with a cold and dry climate, so it is easy to understand that warmer and humid climates are not the most suitable for this dog.

Apart from this, regarding the health of the Tibetan spaniel, it only remains to highlight its high index of super sensitivity to anesthesia. This aspect must be taken into account by the veterinarian when facing any intervention that requires sedation.

As with practically all dog breeds in the world, the best preventive health policy with this dog is to visit the veterinarian regularly. Thus, complete the relevant annual vaccination and revaccination programs, as well as internal and external deworming programs.

The latter not only help keep the animal free of parasites, but also influence the effectiveness of vaccines. This is because certain parasites reduce the response of the immune system to their attack, invalidating them or altering their effectiveness, as they serve as vectors of very serious diseases.

On the other hand, the veterinarian should become the basic person in charge of regularly and routinely monitoring the general condition of the dog, controlling the evolution of its weight and growth.

In the same way, checking the specific status of the main health indicators of the animal, that is, its mouth, its eyes, its skin, its fur and its ears. Especially since the practice of ear cropping is less and less common and, therefore, the ear canal is blocked, poorly aerated and more prone to accumulate dirt and develop infections.

Another of the needs of this dog, both to feel active and happy and to be healthy and in good physical shape, is that its owner facilitates the practice of a lot of regular and daily exercise, appropriate to each age and to each specific situation of the dog.

Active and energetic animal, its muscles need to be exercised very frequently to stay strong and elastic. Enrolling the animal in a specific sporting activity for dogs will help to have a healthy, strong and, above all, mentally and physically balanced dog .

And if in the practice of this sport the dog is accompanied by its family, then it will also be the happiest dog in the world.

Feeding the Tibetan Spaniel breed

The most suitable diet for this dog must be rich in nutrients that keep its muscles in shape. And, with the level of fats necessary for your skin to be smooth, your hair stays shiny and well hydrated. And likewise, other organs, such as the eyes, function properly.

But it should not provide an inordinate amount of calories, otherwise the dog will gain more than its appropriate weight.

The prevents obesity animal move freely also feels clumsy and heavy. Also, it negatively affects their physical resistance and, most importantly, increases the possibility of developing other secondary diseases that can become very serious. Especially respiratory and joint, but also cardiovascular or epidermal.

On the other hand, the practice of routine exercise together with a healthy and balanced diet are fundamental principles that the owner of a Tibetan spaniel should try to impose almost as mandatory. It is the only way to avoid one of the most widespread evils today in this breed and, in fact, in practically all current breeds: obesity.

Care and maintenance of the Tibetan Spaniel

Although this breed is not characterized by having a very severe shedding, at least once a year the Tibetan spaniel changes its coat and the amount of undercoat it can shed is incredible.

Therefore, it needs to be brushed regularly with a metal bristle brush, capable of going deep into the dense undercoat.

You have to bathe it when it is very dirty, then try to dry it very well and not leave it wet in the open. It is recommended to take advantage of the moment of the toilet to cut the nails

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