A small dog that is slightly longer than he is tall, the adult Tibetan Spaniel is around 25cm in height and weighs approximately 7-9kg. He has a silky, medium-length coat, which is smooth on the face, and feathered on the ears, backs of the legs and tail. Males have a thicker coat and 'mane' around the neck and shoulders. The coat comes in all colours and combinations.
Bred by monks to be watchdogs in the monasteries of Tibet, the Tibetan Spaniel dog breed has never been a gundog spaniel breed, but perhaps takes its name after toy spaniels, as he was given as diplomatic gifts to royalty and nobility to whom he became a prized companion. For hundreds of years, the Tibetan Spaniel would climb monastery walls to keep a look-out, barking to alert the monks if someone approached. To this day, in the modern home, a 'Tibbie' often seeks a high vantage point in his self-appointed role as watchdog.
An active, alert little dog, the Tibetan Spaniel is reserved with strangers and utterly loyal to his loved ones. He has a happy disposition but quite an independent little soul. He doesn't like to be separated from his family for too long, however, and he can be vocal in his watchdog duties.
The most common health problem affecting Tibetan Spaniels is an inherited eye disease and so eye testing prior to breeding is important.
The Tibetan Spaniel needs about an hour's exercise each day. Do ensure that your garden is secure and check the boundaries regularly, as this breed is a renowned digger!
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
The double coat consists of a fine, dense undercoat and a longer, silky topcoat. Brush and comb through the coat a couple of times a week, paying particular attention to the feathering, which is prone to tangling.