Did you know?
Dogs’ ears are very sensitive, full of sensory nerves that help to preserve hearing. Blowing into a dog’s ear, no matter how softly, can hurt a dog. It’s not the air itself, but the frequency at which you blow. It’s like running your fingers on a blackboard, but hundreds of times louder.
Pups are among the world’s greatest con artists. Better, then, to find out all you can about him before meeting him in person. – Jean Lauder
The Tibetan Spaniel is not a spaniel at all. He takes his name from the fact that the word ‘spaniel’ was used to describe small dogs kept by ladies of the European and Oriental courts.
The Tibbie dates back 2,500 years to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet where he was bred in monasteries. His functions ranged from being used to turn the prayer wheels for the monks to keeping watch, sitting high on the walls of the monastery, to being used as a sort of animated hot water bottle!
A breed of ancient pedigree, the Tibetan Spaniel was given as tribute to China and travelled the silk route to Europe where he quickly found favour as a companion.
The Tibetan Spaniel’s close resemblance to the Chinese guardian lions further enhanced their importance and value and they were often given as gifts to China and other countries. The “little lions” were presented back and forth between palaces and monasteries and so is likely to share ancestry with other Oriental breeds such as the Japanese Chin and the Pekingese.
Photos displayed courtesy of Sandra and Donald Bingley, Sandon Reg’d, Ontario
The Tibetan Spaniel stands up to 10 inches (25 cm) at the shoulder, weighs up to 15 pounds (7 kg), and has a medium-long, silky, double coat. His coat may any colour or mix of colours. A dog of naturally clean habits, he is easily kept as grooming is minimal. His tail curls up over his back.
The Tibetan Spaniel has been noted to be almost cat-like in his behaviour. He looks for the high ground and will climb on any furniture such as the sofa, table, dresser, etc. or the window sill, to get a good vantage point from which to observe the comings and goings of the outside world. Still, they also possess the dog-like, in-your-face affection and devotion to family. In fact, the Tibbie is loving and loyal almost to the point of worship of his family.
Not a breed to be left on his own, this dog thrives on human companionship. He will delight in cuddling up with you and being a loving bed warmer. Children must be old enough to respect the Tibbie’s small size.
Unlike a lot of smaller dogs, the Tibbie is not typically a ‘yappers’. However, he is very intelligent, assertive, and alert, and will notify you immediately of strangers or unusual events. His keen sight, hearing, and sense of smell make him a wonderful watchdog.
It must be reinforced that Tibetan Spaniels are a social breed that need regular contact with their people. This is not the dog to be left alone for long periods of time. His breed purpose is one of companionship and his instincts and temperament have been bred to fulfill that function for centuries. This does not mean that Tibbies are naturally socialized to people. It is important to socialize the dogs from an early age to a variety of people and situations. Their function as watchdogs mean they are protective of their family and will typically remain aloof with strangers. If startled or uneasy, a Tibetan Spaniel will express their distrust by loud barking.
A Tibetan Spaniel is fiercely independent, happily wandering off to explore an interesting sight or sound. Getting him to come when called can be a challenge. Along with socialization, training should begin early. However, the Tibbie will not respond well to harsh training methods as they are very sensitive little dogs. The key to success is firm, consistent, and gentle guidance.