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AKC Meet the Breeds: Tibetan Spaniel

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

One of the three native Tibetan breeds in the Non-Sporting group (along with the Lhasa Apso and the Tibetan Terrier), the Tibetan Spaniel is small, active and alert. They are low to the ground, with a body slightly longer than tall. Popular primarily as companion dogs in their native Tibet, "Tibbies" are also now found in the conformation, obedience and agility rings in the United States. The breed can be all colors including cream, gold and sable, with white markings allowed on the feet.

A Look Back

Found in early Eastern art dating back as far as 1100 BC, Tibetan Spaniels were prized as pets and companions in Tibetan monasteries. Referred to as "little Lions" by their masters, they would sit on monastery walls and keep watch over the countryside below, barking to alert the monastery inhabitants of any impending trouble. The breed's development was influenced by dogs from China and other Buddhist countries, as Tibbies were sent between the countries as gifts.

Right Breed for You?

A very intelligent breed, the Tibetan Spaniel thrives on human companionship and needs to be with its people. Although outgoing and friendly, the breed may be aloof with strangers. Tibbies need only moderate exercise, so they are excellent in apartments. Their double coats need weekly brushing.

  • Non-Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 1983.
  • Ideal size: 10 inches tall at the shoulder and 9 to 15 pounds.
  • Watchdog; companion.

AKC Meet the Breeds is a registered trademark of the American Kennel Club, Inc.