The origin of the Tibetan Spaniel, as the name suggests, lies in Tibet. It is one of the oldest breeds of the dog, historical remains of similar dogs dating back to more than 2000 years ago. They were also called as the lion dogs in ancient times because of their resemblance to guarding lions of China.
It is believed that the dog was gifted to Chinese palaces and other Buddhist nations where it was crossbred with different Chinese breeds such as the Pekingese. It was primarily used as watchdog in monasteries. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1983.
The breed is easily recognisable in structure and appearance, boasting a rectangular frame, short legs, a small, blunt face and muzzle, moderate-length ears, and a high-plumed tail carried over the back. The Tibetan Spaniel is often mistaken for the Pekingese although there are distinct differences between the two breeds.
Despite being an intelligent and fun-loving breed, the Tibetan Spaniel is not a suitable breed choice for everyone. Notoriously strong-willed and difficult to train, requiring firm leadership, early socialisation and consistent training in obedience and manners from puppyhood, the Tibetan Spaniel demands patience and attention from all it comes into contact with.
The Tibbie is an average shedder. Its flat and silky coat is easy to maintain. The coat needs to be brushed at least 3-4 times a week and almost daily during shedding season. It should be bathed only when necessary and must be dried properly after each bath. The ears and eyes should be cleaned regularly to avoid any infection. Its nail and, the hair around the eyes, ears and paws need to be trimmed regularly. Its feathery ears tend to accumulate dirt and moisture so special care needs to be taken of the ears.
Generally healthy and long-lived, the Tibetan Spaniel is susceptible to few breed-specific health conditions. These include optical disorders, with entropion, retinal dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy being most prevalent, as well as epilepsy, congenital deafness, orthopedic problems and respiratory difficulty being well documented in the breed.