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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.
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.
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.
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.
Follow a set feeding schedule consistently and provide the same food to your Tibbie to avoid stomach problems. However, if you need to change its diet to another type of high-quality food, do so gradually. This allows your dog to adjust accordingly without complications. Puppies must be fed 3-4 times a day. Adult Tibetan Spaniels can be fed twice a day.
For a Tibbie 2-6 months old, feed it 55-160 g of food daily, depending also on its size and activity level. For one that is 7-10 months old, feed it 55-145g of food daily. When it turns 12 months and beyond, you can provide it 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 its activity level. If weighing 14 kg, offer 175-245 g of food.
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:
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.
To buy a well-bred Tibetan Spaniel puppy, expect to spend at least £700-£900. Insurance may cost about £22 (basic) to £44 (lifetime) monthly. The food expenses may cost about £20-£30 monthly. For vaccinations, boosters, annual checks and other veterinary costs, pet care expenses may add up to more than £800 annually.
On average, a Tibbie owner will spend about £50-80 per month. The insurance costs can also influence these cost estimates. For its lifetime (12-15 years), the costs can range from £7,200 to £14,400 overall. This estimate does not include the expenditures incurred in acquiring one from Tibetan Spaniel breeders, though.
Are you sure the Tibetan Spaniel is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Are you not convinced the Tibetan Spaniel is for you? Check out our Pet Finder for more suggested breeds that may suit you.
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