Tibetan Spaniel Dog Breed Profile

by Luke Blaise

Tibetan Spaniel Dog

Tibetan Spaniel Dog

AKC Group: Non-Sporting Group

The Tibetan Spaniel dog is a small, alert, and intelligent breed. Although the word spaniel is in their name, they are not a true spaniel type of dog. Originally from Tibet, they were used by monks to help keep a watchful eye over the monastery. Today these small dogs, rarely standing higher than 10 inches, make great lap dogs.


These dogs originated in Tibet, in the Himalayan Mountains. They also came from other Buddhist countries and China. They are considered as one of the earliest breeds. Tibetan spaniel are believed to have been around for over 2,000 years. They regarded as high class breed and were given as gifts from royal families. "Tibbies" were widespread all over Asia and many small breeds are believed to be ascended from these dogs.

Physical Features

"Tibbies" as they are commonly called, can come in almost any color, but their nose is normally black and their eyes are normally brown. The glossy double-coat lies flat, and is smooth and short on the front of the legs and face. On the body its medium length. The fur comes in all colors, multi-colored, shaded, or solid, including red, fawn, cream, gold, black, white, and tan. You can also see white markings on their feet. Tibetan Spaniels normally stand around 10 inches tall at the shoulder, and normally reach an adult weight of anywhere between nine and 15 pounds.


Tibetan Spaniels are lively and assertive, not to mention highly intelligent dogs. They make excellent pets in the house even with the company of small children. Tibbies enjoy attention and interactions with their owners, but are a naturally independent breed. They are generally quiet but will bark when they see strangers.

Common Health Problems

The common health problem with this breed is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). The illness is an inherited type of blindness common in some dogs and it arises in two forms: Central PRA and Generalized PRA. Generalized PRA is mainly a photoreceptor ailment and is found in this breed. The condition is painless and dogs with this disease become totally blind. There is no treatment yet, but affected dogs usually become accustomed well to their gradual blindness.

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