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Meet the breed: Tibetan Spaniel

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle presents the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for a playful and intelligent breed to join your family, learn all you need to know about the Tibetan Spaniel.


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A prized pet and watchdog for the Tibetan monasteries, the Tibetan Spaniel is lovingly referred to as a “little lion dog.” Thought of highly, the breed was gifted to royals throughout Asia. Given to other countries, the popularity of the Tibetan Spaniel grew. A devoted human companion, the breed is immediately loved by all families that own it.

Breed standards

  • AKC group: Non-sporting
  • UKC group: Herding
  • Average lifespan: 14 – 16 years
  • Average size: 9 – 15 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Silky
  • Coloration: Gold, cream, red and sable with white markings on paws
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Small body, short to the ground and longer than it is tall; dark brown, oval eyes and black nose; feathering between the toes; plump and fluffy feathered tail
  • Possible alterations: May be multicolored

Is this breed right for you?

A human lover to the bone, the Tibetan Spaniel goes well with young children and other pets. A great family dog, the breed also makes for an excellent watchdog. Suited for apartment life, he is a true-blue inside dog. Enjoying a daily walk and time out in the yard, he is a bit difficult to train. Requiring moderate grooming, the Tibetan Spaniel is a moderate shedder, but does lose a large amount once a year. In need of a master with good leadership skills, the breed is likely to show behavioral problems if allowed to develop small dog syndrome.

Breed characteristics

A dream day in the life of a Tibetan Spaniel

The Tibetan Spaniel is likely to wake up with a smile. Happily wagging his tail at his owner, he will gladly follow his master wherever she may go. Running outside for a romp in the yard, he’ll bark at any possible intruders. A lover, he’ll play with and lick the children at any available opportunity. Kindhearted, he’ll be at your feet until the end of the day, where he’ll cuddle close for bedtime.

Other breeds you might like

Japanese Chin
Tibetan Terrier

Photo credit: Life On White/Photodisc/Getty Images

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