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Tibetan Spaniel – Fun Facts and Crate Size

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Tibetan Spaniel - Fun Facts and Crate Size

Tibetan Spaniel

Quick Facts:

  • AKC recognized in 1983
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years
  • Size: Small
  • Energy: High
  • Recommended Crate Size: 24” dog crate*

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Also known as Tibbies, the Tibetan Spaniel is a small, assertive, and smart breed originating over 2,500 years ago in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet. They share ancestry with the Japanese Chin, Pekingese, Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Terrier Shih Tzu, and the Pug.

The Tibetan Spaniel has an incredibly long history. Bred in Tibetan Buddhist lamaseries to be companions and alarm dogs, they were popular gifts to foreign dignitaries.

Today the little canine ambassadors are still prized as companions, thanks to their sweet, smart, and attentive nature. Actually, the breed is not a true spaniel, and are often considered gun dogs.

The name ‘spaniel’ may have been given regarding its resemblance to the bred-down lapdog versions of hunting spaniels, such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Tibetan Spaniels are a social breed that needs regular contact with their humans and does not respond well to being left alone for long periods of time.


The American Kennel Club formally recognized the Tibetan Spaniel in 1984. These high energy dogs are thought to be early monastery dogs tat loyally trailed behind their Lama masters and came to be regarded as "little Lions," owing to their resemblance to the revered Chinese guardian lions which gave them added prestige and value.

The Tibetan Spaniel is extremely intelligent, making them one of the most cat-like dog breeds. They will climb on the table, sofa, or dresser to see what is going on outside. At the same time, they are highly affectionate and will often greet their owners by licking their face and jumping onto their lap. 

It is better that owners socialize Tibbies at an early age to a variety of people and situations. They are typically protective of their family. Even after socialization, they are typically aloof with strangers. If uneasy or startled, Tibbies will show their distrust by barking loudly.


The Tibetan Spaniel has a small domed head when compared to its body. It has a short, blunt muzzle that is free of wrinkles. They have medium-sized eyes, which are oval in shape and set wide apart.

Tibbies do not have extra skin around their eyes, this distinguishes them from the Pekingese. Their teeth occlude in either an end-to-end bite or an under-bite. They have black noses.

Their ears hang down either side of the head to around cheek level, making a V shape. The neck is covered in a mane of hair, which is more noticeable in the males of the breed.

Tibbie’s front legs are a little bowed and the feet are like that of a hare. This dog has a great tail, it is feathered and carried over their back. The double coat is short, silky and lies flat on the leg fronts and face.

Tibetan Spaniels come in all colors and can be solid, shaded and multi-colored. Colors that are seen are fawn, red, cream, white, gold, tan and black.


It is recommended to provide feed formulated to small-sized breeds. It is highly recommended to discuss your dog’s feed with your veterinarian and/or breeder in order to determine the size and frequency of meals in order to ensure a healthy, long life. It is also important to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available.


Weekly brushing is needed to keep the Tibbie's coat free of loose hair. Give them regular bathing as needed, every 6 - 8 weeks. Other grooming needed includes nail care and dental hygiene.

Teeth-brushing is given at least 2-3 times/week to remove tartar buildup and the accompanying bacteria. Also, nail-trimming is typically done once or twice a month, as needed. If you can hear the nail clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short nails keep the feet in good condition,


The Tibetan Spaniels need moderate exercises such as free play in a fenced yard or a daily walk. They must be walked on a leash to prevent them from running off to explore.

Don’t forget that yards should be fenced. Tibbies are very active and enjoy dog sports such as agility, but are not so demanding of exercise that they'll run you ragged.

For the best results, use positive training reinforcements, such as treats and praise. In addition, keep training sessions interesting and short enough to hold their attention.

Pet Crate Size

Pet Crates Direct recommends 24” dog crates* for most adult Tibetan Spaniels.

  * Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.

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