This is an ancient Tibetan dog breed that can trace their roots back centuries to the Buddhist monasteries. Lion is an important Buddhist symbol and everything lion like – even lion like dogs – were adored. The Buddhist monks kept Tibetan Spaniels as watchdogs. These little dogs would sit on the monastery walls guarding and watching over their territory and started barking when something suspicious started to happen.
2) Not a Spaniel
Tibetan Spaniel is not a Spaniel type of a dog. Traditionally, spaniels were gun dogs, but as you already know, Tibetan Spaniel served as a watchdog and not as a hunter. The reason, why they are called spaniels is, that French called this dog epagnuel, which can be translated as companion dog. So the word spaniel is a misnomer of the French word epagnuel.
These little dogs were never sold, but they were often gifted to other important people and royalty, epecially in China. This is how they made their way to the courts of China and Japan and it is believed they were interbred with some local dogs as well. We can not be sure about it, but it is believed, that they share common ancestry with Japanese Chin and Pekingese.
4) Little lion
On of the most distinctive feature of the Tibetan Spaniel is its coat, better to say, the thick mane around the nick, which is how they got their nickname – little lion. The rest of the body is covered by thick double coat of medium length which can be in any color combination.
Just like most of the dogs that were bred as guards or watchdogs, the Tibetan Spaniel is an independent breed. On the other hand, they are very intelligent and pretty trainable. They get new commands quickly and with firm and patient training, they can grow into very obedient dogs.
This is slightly longer than tall breed with small head and short muzzle. The average height is around 10 inches, which is 25 cms and weight between 9-15 pounds, which is 4-7 kgs. There are no extreme differences between the size of males and females.
This is moderate shedder which require regular brushing. It is recommended to brush them on daily basis to minimize the shedding and keep the coat in good condition. This dog should live indoors and you should regularly check their eyes, ears and nails and clip them or clean them if needed.
8) On leash
This is very curious dog breed and even though they are not hyperactive, they love exploring. That is why its recommended to keep the dog on leash in unknown or unfenced areas, otherwise they might run away after something, they find interesting.
Tibbies were bred and developed as watchdogs and even though, they are not used for this purpose anymore, they still have it in them. That is why you can rely on them to start and alarm bark when something suspicious is going on around your property. But of course, even though they make good watchdogs, they are not the best guards, since they are too small for this kind of a job.
This is usually very healthy dog breed with great average lifespan between 13-16 years. Just like all dogs, they do suffer from some health issues, most commonly from progressive retinal atrophy, portosystemic shunt, allergies or entropion.