• Tibetan Spaniel Dogs
  • Tibetan Spaniels
  • Tibetan Spaniel Breed information
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • Tibetan Spaniel Breed
  • Tibetan Spaniels in UK
  • Tibetan Spaniels Pets in the UK
  • Tibetan Spaniel Pet in the UK
  • Tibetan Spaniel Dog
  • Tibetan Spaniel Dog Breed
Exercise Level:
Barking Level:
Good with Children:
Good with other pets:
Height: 25 - 27cm M | 25 - 27cm F
Weight: 4 - 7kg M | 4 - 7kg F
Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 Years

Thinking of buying or adopting a Tibetan Spaniel?


The Tibetan Spaniel may be small but it is assertive and is even known to be a good watchdog. Curious, intelligent, people-loving and very adaptable, the Tibbie is an independent spirit originating from Tibet. This breed makes a wonderful pet for first-time owners and families with older children. It is sociable and devoted to its family. It does not do well when left alone as it is likely to develop a separation anxiety.

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The Tibetan Spaniel was highly prized by Tibetan monks and served its monastery-bound masters as alarm dogs. This breed, also called “Little Lion Dog” for its furry mane, likes to sit on high vantage points to observe everything from above. With its keen eyesight, it makes for a valuable watchdog. Its warm, fur-encased body was used by monks as body warmers.

Given as gifts to nobility, the frequent exchange of canine presents between Tibet and China diversified this breed. As such, it shares a similar parentage to the Shih Tzu, Pekingese, and Japanese Chin.

Although the Tibetan Spaniel is an ancient breed, it was only introduced to the West in the late 19th century. It was first brought to England by Mrs McLaren Morris. Sir Edward and Lady Wakefield also brought over a few of them. The Wakefields’ Tibbies were said to be the foundation stock of all such dogs in the UK at present.

In 1959, The Kennel Club acknowledged the Tibetan Spaniel as a distinct breed. This was two years after the Tibetan Spaniel Association was created.

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Appearance and Grooming

The small Tibetan Spaniel has a compact, well-muscled body that stands at an average height range of 36-41 cm. It also weighs between 8-14 kg on average.

The Tibbie’s body is a bit longer than its height, adding to its appeal. Its head is proportionate to its body. It has a strong muzzle, black nose, and a scissor or reverse scissor bite. Its eyes are large, round, and dark brown and its ears hang down, feathered and v-shaped. This canine’s neck is strong and muscular and set so it allows the pooch to carry its head proudly. Its body’s topline is level and its loins a bit on the shorter side. The Tibbie also has high-set, feathered tails that are moderately long and curled over its back. All four of its legs are strong, with muscular and powerful rear legs. Their round feet are rather big for such a small frame. Its toes are tufted.

The Tibetan Spaniel has a double coat that can be straight or wavy. Its coat comes in different colours and patterns.

Tibetan Spaniel shedding is seasonal. Its medium-length double coat will require a couple of brushings each week to prevent matting. Unlike some breeds, the Tibbie’s fur is best not trimmed.

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Temperament and Intelligence

Friendly, cheerful, very sociable, playful, and devoted, the Tibbie is a fantastic family pet that can put on an entertaining display. This charming canine is very endearing and loyal to its family but can be aloof around strangers. It is not known to be aggressive to those it does not know.

This moderately energetic dog has also been described as having feline traits. Its penchant for perching and watching over the goings on in the house from a high point explains this. However, it is not against snuggling its owner on the sofa or bed. It can also enjoy going on long walks with its owner. This must be done on a lead as its independent spirit makes it difficult to call back.

As an intelligent and eager-to-please canine, the Tibbie is easy to train using positive reinforcement and gentle correction. A firm yet gentle approach will help mitigate its stubborn streak.

Socialising the Tibetan Spaniel from an early age is recommended to usher its growth as a balanced and outgoing dog.

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Nutrition and Feeding

It is recommended that a Tibetan spaniel should consume 23 to 25 per cent of protein daily. Adding vegetables in his diet will also do him good. Do not feed your Tibbie grains, corn, soy, or wheat if possible.

Traditionally, the Tibetan spaniel had the same diet as the Tibetan people. He ate tsampa (ground barley), meat (generally sheep and yak), yoghurt, and tea. The tea is made from tea leaves, yak butter (rancid), and salt. But you can also feed your Tibetan spaniel with excellent-quality dog food. Do not choose commercial dog food, as it is low in vitamins and minerals. Be sure to pick out a high-quality food particularly made for the Tibetan spaniel’s age, energy level, breed, and size. You may consult the vet to accurately list down dog food that best suits your pooch. Fresh water should always be available throughout the day to ensure that he is well-hydrated.

Follow a set feeding schedule consistently and provide the same food to your Tibbie to avoid stomach problems. A Tibetan spaniel puppy must be fed three to four times a day, whilst an adult Tibetan spaniel can be fed twice a day.

For a Tibbie that is two to six months old, feed 55–160 g of food daily, depending also on his size and activity level. For a Tibbie that is seven to ten months old, feed 55–145g of food daily. When he turns twelve months and beyond, you can provide him with adult dog food.

The adult Tibetan spaniel weighing 8–12 kg should be fed about 115–226 g of food daily, also taking into consideration his activity level. If he weighs 14 kg, offer 175–245 g of food.

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Health and Exercise

The average lifespan of the Tibetan Spaniel is 12 to 15 years. This breed is healthy and is not known to have hereditary health conditions. However, it is known to be affected by the following issues:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Primary lens luxation
  • Congenital deafness
  • Entropion
  • Cherry eye
  • Patellar luxation

With its moderate energy level, the Tibbie can be content with 20-40 minutes of exercise per day. However, its high intelligence requires considerable mental stimulation to keep it happy and balanced.

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Cost of Ownership

If you are keen on buying a Tibetan Spaniel, you need to prepare £700-£1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. To ensure it stays healthy at whatever age, you will need to feed your dog high quality food and treats, which can set you back £20-£30 a month. You would also need to spend on dog accessories such as leads, collars, food bowls, crates, beds, and toys. The combined initial cost for these things is estimated at £200.

As to healthcare, you should be prepared in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. You can offset some bills if you get a pet insurance, which can range from £22 for a time-limited cover up to £44 for a lifetime one. These prices vary depending on your dog’s health, age, the type of cover you choose, and whether it has pre-existing conditions.

Other outgoings to consider are veterinary expenses that may not be included in a pet insurance coverage such as vaccinations, routine checks, neutering or spaying, and annual boosters, which can have a combined cost of £800 annually. Overall, you will be budgeting £50-£80 a month for recurring expenses, depending on the type of insurance cover you choose for your dog.

Tibetan Spaniel Breed Highlights

  • The Tibbie is a loyal, charming, and friendly dog that makes for a perfect family watchdog.
  • Although it is easy to train and eager to please, it has a stubborn streak.
  • Requires moderate daily exercise and must be walked on lead to prevent it from wandering too far.
  • The Tibetan Spaniel is also a good choice for first-time owners.
  • This dog can live in apartments or homes in the countryside.
  • It does not vocalise too much, but it alerts owners of strangers and other perceived dangers.
  • If left alone for too long, it can suffer separation anxiety. 
  • Its double coat requires frequent brushings per week to keep it tangle-free.
Tibetan Spaniel

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The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.