Country of OriginTibet, China
Nicknames and Other NamesTibbie
Scientific NameCanis lupus familiaris
Breed TypePurebred
GroupNon-Sporting Dog
Companion Breeds
Bred ForAlarming
Life Span12-15 years
Ideal Weight9-15 pounds (male and female)
Ideal Height10 inches (male and female)
Fur TypeDense, double-coat,
laying close to the body
Common ColorsBlack, Gold, Red, Sable, Black and Tan,
Cream, Whte, Silver Sable
White markings
AvailabilityCommonly available
AchievementsGiven the name, “Little Lions”
Suitable for ApartmentsYes
Used in World WarNo
Most Similar ToPekingese

The Tibetan Spaniel which is also nicknamed as Tibbies is a small dog breed of Asia. At first glance, they somewhat look similar to Pekingese. It is a non-sporting group dog that does not have a high activity level.

This dog is suitable in an apartment due to its small size and also a low activity level. Just a few minutes of walk regularly is enough for this dog to fulfill its required activity.

The Tibetan Spaniel has blunt looks and the monks have given them a name “the small lion”. The head is small than the body with eyes oval, expressive and the ears are set high, pendant, and fully feathered in adults. The neck is slightly short and strong. Their coat is double with dense and medium outer coat and soft and short undercoat.

Origin and History

The origin of the Tibetan Spaniel was in Tibet and is believed to be a very ancient breed that dates back to some 2000 years. The Buddhist monks bred this breed as to serve as an alarm dog. If they see anything suspicious, they would bark and warn the monks about the activities in the area.

These Spaniels were valued very much and were presented in front of royal families as a gift. This breed got attention in the United States in the 1960s and became quite popular at that time.

Tibetan Spaniel History
Picture of Three Tibetan Spaniel sitting.
Image Source: AKC

In 1971, the Tibetan Spaniel Club was formed. It was first introduced in England in the late 1800s. In 1984, the American Kennel Club recognized this breed as a member of the non-sporting group.

Is Tibetan Spaniel Child-Friendly?

The Tibetan Spaniel does great with a family with children as they are loving and protective of them. However, they do not get along with the kids they don’t know.

While taking them out of the house in the place with children, keep them on a leash. Due to their small size, big kids might knock over them and injure them. Therefore, their interaction should be properly supervised and taken care of.

Tibetan Spaniel with a baby
Tibetan Spaniel laying with a baby.
Image Source: Instagram-@bellathetibby

Temperament, Behavior, and Personality

Temperament: The temperament of the Tibetan Spaniel is bright, playful, and, self-confident. They are not much an active dog, so a moderately active dog owner is suitable for it. They enjoy exercise but not for a long time. It is happy with family and sitting by their side or just laying on their feet.

Behavior: Tibetan Spaniel is a small dog but it does not like people carrying them. They like to walk than being carried but walk them on a leash. It does not like being left alone for a long time without a family companion. If it happens, it will bark excessively disturbing the neighbor and chewing on stuff.

Personality: The Tibetan Spaniel has a willful and intelligent personality. They are smart and quick at learning commands and new things. They seek attention from people, so they are best suited for older people who have the time to place all attention on them.

The Tibetan Spaniel makes an excellent companion at a house where people stays home and work.


Training Tibetan Spaniel is not an easy task to do. You must establish a firm leadership from an early age. Forming a leadership at an early age is necessary because once it sees itself as a leader, training is quite impossible. A lot of delicious treats is a great motivation for them.

Treat them and train them gently as harsh treatment might lead to their aggression. Start with basic commands and once they master it, slowly jump to advance training like agility.


  • The Tibetan Spaniel is not an original spaniel. In the Middle Ages, it was referred to as “epagneul” in French, which means small comforter dogs.
  • In Tibet, they are referred to as “Simkhyi, which meaning is housedog, room dog, or bedroom dog.
  • It ranks 118 of 193 American Kennel Club registered breeds.

Health Issues

General Health
Common Health Issues
Vaccination Required
Weight Gain Potential
Separation Anxiety
Diets and Supplements

The average life span of the Tibetan Spaniel is between 12-15 years. In this years they might suffer from the following canine diseases:

  • Cherry Eye: A red mass that bulges out of the eyes of the dog like cherry is known as cherry eye. It happens in one eye or both eyes but does not happen in both eyes at a time. It causes discomfort due to dryness, irritation, inflammation, and pain. This condition is not life-threatening. However, it should be treated on time and should not let any dirt contact the eyes of your dog.
  • Allergies: The contact of foreign particles or something that is not acceptable by the body of your dog is called allergy. Most allergies face by dogs are of grass, food, plastics, smoke, chemical cleaner, etc. It causes irritation, swelling or redness. However, the things that cause allergy to your dog should be kept out of its reach.


The Tibetan Spaniel comes in the following colors and markings according to the American Kennel Club:

  • Black
  • Black and Tan
  • Cream
  • Gold
  • Red
  • Sable
  • Silver Sable
  • White
  • Parti-color
  • White markings


Height and Size: The average height of the Tibetan Spaniel is around 10 inches. The average weight is between 9-15 pounds.

Cost: The average cost of the Tibetan Spaniel is between $800-$1000 USD. The cost might varies with the quality of the breeders.

Dog Breeds Similar to Tibetan Spaniel

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