Tibetan Spaniel: Care & Characteristics of the Dog Breed

Tibetan spaniel lying on grass

A little non-sporting dog breed from Tibet, the Tibetan spaniel has a medium-length, silky, flat double coat with longer hair around the dog's neck that is referred to as a "lion's mane." It has a short snout and a domed head. Additionally, it has personality because to its big, expressive eyes and fluffy tail that folds over its back. This breed often dislikes being left alone and is a highly loyal friend. It may also serve as a great little watchdog.

Breed Overview


Height: 10 inches

Weight: 9 to 15 pounds

Coat: Medium-length double coat

Coat Color: Black, black and tan, cream, gold, red, sable, white, or silver sable with/without white markings and/or parti-color

Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Temperament: Friendly, playful, affectionate

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Tibet

Characteristics of the Tibetan Spaniel

The demeanor of the Tibetan spaniel is often lively and outgoing. It might be reserved among outsiders, but it likes being with its family. The temperament of the breed often includes a little of independence and stubbornness, yet it still responds to training rather well.

Affection Level High
Friendliness Medium
Kid-Friendly High
Pet-Friendly Medium
Exercise Needs Medium
Playfulness High
Energy Level Medium
Trainability Medium
Intelligence Medium
Tendency to Bark Medium
Amount of Shedding Medium

History of the Tibetan Spaniel

An old canine breed is the Tibetan spaniel. Eastern art as as far back as 1100 BC displays early iterations of the breed. These dogs were maintained by Buddhist monks in Tibet as companions and watchdogs at their monasteries. The watchful Tibetan spaniel would warn the Tibetan mastiff, its larger cousin, of potential threats to look out for.

Given that lions were revered as sacred animals, the monks highly treasured these dogs and even referred to them as "small lions" or "lion dogs." Tibetan spaniels were often sent as priceless gifts to nobility.

The Tibetan spaniel made its way to the Western world in the late 1800s. The Tibetan Spaniel Club of America formed in 1971. And the American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1983.

Tibetan Spaniel Care

Tibetan spaniels don't require a lot of daily activity. To keep it neat, their coat has to be groomed frequently. Starting at an early age, these guarding puppies should get regular training and socializing.


For a Tibetan spaniel, allow at least an hour of exercise every day. Dog walks in the morning and evening as well as intermission fun can be included. Your dog's mind may be stimulated with puzzle toys. The mental and physical demands of canine sports like agility may also appeal to Tibetan spaniels.


Unless there are furry patches you wish to straighten up, the Tibetan spaniel's coat doesn't need to be trimmed. To eliminate stray fur and avoid tangles and mats, brush the coat at least twice a week. The lengthier feathering and hair behind the ears should receive extra care since they are prone to matting. Expect times of increased shedding during which you'll need to brush more frequently to keep up with the loose hair, which typically occurs when the weather changes.

About once a month, give your dog a wash, and at least once a week, check to see if your dog's ears need cleaning. Additionally, examine the animal's nails every month to see whether they require a cut. Try to use dog toothpaste to clean its teeth each day.


Although the Tibetan spaniel is intelligent, at times it can be difficult to teach. In order to stop undesirable habits from taking hold, it's critical to begin training from a young age. Due to the breed's sensitivity to severe reprimand, it is always best to employ positive reinforcement techniques like praise and rewards. To sustain your dog's interest, make training sessions interesting and entertaining.

It's possible that you'll need to put in more effort to educate your dog to feel secure when you leave it alone. Due to their propensity for separation anxiety, Tibetan spaniels do best in homes where someone is home for the most of the day. You can get advice on how to handle from a qualified dog trainer or behaviorist.

Additionally, begin socializing your Tibetan spaniel as a puppy. Due to its protective nature, this breed may be suspicious of outsiders, which may result in vigilant barking. However, giving your dog several opportunities for friendly contacts with others may greatly increase both its comfort and confidence.


Common Health Problems

Tibetan spaniels generally are healthy dogs, but they are prone to some hereditary health issues, including: 

Diet and Nutrition

Keep fresh water on hand at all times for your Tibetan spaniel. Feed it two measured meals a day of high-quality, nutritionally balanced dog food. Consider choosing food designed specifically for tiny breeds. But be sure to go over the type of diet and the quantity with your veterinarian. Pay attention to snacks and any additional food as well. These vivacious small pups may be skilled beggers, but it's crucial to avoid overfeeding them to avoid excessive weight gain.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Tibetan Spaniel

The Tibetan spaniel is not a very well-known canine breed. However, you may still find it in animal shelters and rescue organizations. Put your name on a breed wait list if you can because you might have to wait for a while. Depending on where you reside, finding ethical breeders might be challenging. The typical price range for a puppy from a reputable breeder is between $800 and $4,000.

For further information to help you find a Tibetan spaniel, check out:

  • Tibetan Spaniel Club of America
  • TSCA Rescue & Health Trust
  • Tibetan Spaniel Rescue

Tibetan Spaniel Overview

  • Exceptionally devoted to its family

  • Affectionate and playful

  • Doesn’t require a lot of exercise

  • Some alert barking

  • Often doesn’t do well when left alone

  • Might be timid if not well socialized

More Dog Breeds and Further Research

Before taking a Tibetan spaniel home, like with any dog breed, conduct extensive research to make sure it's the best fit for your lifestyle. Speak with Tibetan spaniel owners, ethical breeders, rescue organizations, and veterinary specialists. If you can, spend some time with Tibetan spaniels as well.

If you’re interested in similar breeds, check out:

There’s a whole world of potential out there—with a little research, you can find the right one to bring home!

  • Are Tibetan spaniels good family dogs?

    Tibetan spaniels are generally good with children. They are best for a household that has respectful older children. Young kids might be too rough for this small dog.

  • Are Tibetan spaniels aggressive?

    Tibetan spaniels have a protective nature and can be wary of strangers. But as long as they have proper socialization and training, that typically does not turn to aggression.

  • Are Tibetan spaniels good apartment dogs?

    Tibetan spaniels may thrive in an apartment setting as long as they get adequate daily exercise outside. However, because of the possibility that their alert barking would annoy nearby residents, they should be taught the "quiet" command.


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