Tibetan Spaniel Breed Information and Buying advice

Tibetan Spaniel

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Tibetan Spaniel?

Quick Tibetan Spaniel Facts

Average Size of Adult
Small (2/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Utility (6/8)
No (2/2)

Why Tibetan Spaniels are great

Although the name suggests it, Tibetan Spaniels don’t actually share any ancestry with traditional Spaniel breeds. These dogs were valued so highly that they were never sold, but were only given as gifts to people. Although these gorgeous little dogs weren’t bred to have a specific purpose, they make superb guard dogs and companions. Affectionately known as ‘Tibbie’, ‘Little Lion Dog’ and ‘Simkhyi’ – meaning Housedog – the Tibetan Spaniel never fails to capture hearts around the world. Some highlights:
  1. The Tibbie has a very low maintenance coat and does not require a great amount of grooming
  2. This breed is extremely intelligent, making them easily trainable and able to learn new tricks quickly
  3. Due to their small size and quiet temperament, the Tibbie is highly adaptable and will happily live in an apartment.

Things to consider when looking at Tibetan Spaniels for Sale

Even though these dogs look gentle, Tibbies must be heavily secured within a garden by fencing, as they can and will escape almost anything. This is where keeping them in an apartment is also a good idea as they are unable to escape from inside their house. Some downsides to the Tibetan Spaniel:
  1. This breed does tend to bark. They can be noisy and although they are excellent watchdogs, they can often bark at nothing, unnecessarily making noise.
  2. Their high prey drive must also be monitored, as Tibbies will happily chase after anything that is trying to run away and that looks small enough for them to catch.
  3. Due to their bonds they form with their owners, this breed can suffer from separation anxiety and is often difficult to leave alone for fear of chewing and destructive behaviour.

History of Tibetan Spaniels:

Found in Ancient Eastern art dating back to 1100 BC, Tibetan Spaniels are an extremely old breed. Originally bred by Buddhist monks, they are from Tibet, living in Tibetan monasteries acting as their watchdogs. They were always referred to as ‘Little Lion Dogs’, which implies their great importance, as lions are known to be sacred in Buddhism. They were worshipped by the Tibetan Buddhists who believed that any human could be reincarnated as a dog, especially as the Tibetan Spaniel. Today, this prized breed remains popular around the world as it was 3,000 years ago.  


How big is the Tibetan Spaniel?

The Tibbie tends to not grow over 36 – 41cm in both genders at the shoulder.  

How heavy is a Tibetan Spaniel?

In relation to their small size, they tend not to weight over 8 -14kg.  

What Colour is the Tibetan Spaniel?

The Tibetan Spaniel comes in many different colours, some being more highly regarded than others in nobleness. These can include Black, Cream, Fawn, Gold, Red, Silver and White. These colour can also be seen in lighter or darker shades, but it is rare to see them multicoloured.  


Do Tibetan Spaniels make good guard dogs?

Tibetan Spaniels make fantastic guard dogs. Much like the do in the temples in Tibet, they like to position themselves on a higher level, so they are able to see what is going on below and around them in houses. They bark at unfamiliar people, objects, sights and sounds and will alert their owner of anything strange around them. Other than this, Tibbies are a relatively quiet breed who don’t tend to bark unnecessarily.  

Are Tibetan Spaniels easy to train?

Their high level of intelligence makes them easily trainable and quick learners. However, their ability to learn good tricks fast means they can also learn bad habits quickly, too. They should be monitored and watched when at a young age as they will test their boundaries with their owners. Patience and understanding are important at this point. However, they love to please their owners and are usually on their best behaviour, inside and out of the house. They are a good choice for first-time owners.  

Are Tibetan Spaniels playful?

Tibetan Spaniels are very social and playful with both humans and animals. They can often be cheeky and try to get away with certain things, especially when they are a young puppy, but this behaviour can quickly be altered with some firm training. They are good with children, never acting aggressively and will enjoy playing with someone that has as much energy as them.  

Are Tibetan Spaniels good with other pets?

This breed does have a rather high prey drive for smaller animals, but most likely will enjoy playing with other dogs and animals a similar size to them. Early socialisation is key with this breed, as the more they are introduced to at a young age, the more confident and calm they will be as adults.  

Can I leave a Tibetan Spaniel Alone?

These dogs are very people orientated and tend to suffer from separation anxiety. They do not enjoy being left alone and should not be left for long periods of time. Otherwise, they become bored and stressed and can often release this through destructive behaviours such as chewing or digging.  

Do Tibetan Spaniels like water?

Tibetan Spaniels do enjoy swimming, especially in warmer climates to help them cool down. However, if your dog doesn’t enjoy water they should never be forced to go in, as they will become even more scared than they originally were. Also, as Tibbies are naturally small, they should always be watched when in the water, as they could easily be taken by a current or struggle to get back out of the water they are in.  


How long do Tibetan Spaniels live?

On average, Tibbies tend to live up to around 12 – 15 years.  

How much exercise does a Tibetan Spaniel need?

This breed is energetic, however, only about 20 – 40 minutes of exercise daily is recommended. When exercising, they should be allowed to run freely off the lead, being able to burn off as much energy as possible themselves.  

What are Tibetan Spaniels Common health issues?

Overall, Tibetan Spaniels are a relatively healthy breed, but they can still be prone to some diseases. These can include:
  • Congenital Deafness
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Eye Diseases
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Oxalate Nephropathy


How much space do I need for a Tibetan Spaniel?

Very little space is needed for a Tibetan Spaniel as they enjoy properly feeling part of the family, but it is always a good idea to give them their own space that will allow them to feel like they have their own area, as this may add even more comfort to their lives knowing they have a place to be alone if they so wish.  

How much grooming do Tibetan Spaniels need?

The Tibetan Spaniel’s coat is medium to long and can be either straight or wavy. If the coat is long, coats should be brushed most days with particular attention on the longer parts of the coat that may have touched the floor. This regular brushing helps knots not form and clears the coat of any debris.  

Do Tibetan Spaniels shed?

One of the downsides to the Tibbie is that they shed thoroughly throughout the year, but especially in Spring and Autumn. During this time, brushing should increase as this helps remove any dead hair but also stops it from clinging to the surrounding furniture in your house.  

Average costs

How much does it cost to keep a Tibetan Spaniel?

As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £700 - £900 for a well-bred Tibetan Spaniel puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £50 - £80 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Tibetan Spaniel Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Tibetan Spaniel puppy buying advice:
  1. Although the Tibbie is very people-orientated and prefers to feel like another member of the family, they should not be pampered too much. If they are, they can often become stubborn and disobey commands their owners are giving them. They can gradually begin to believe that they are the dominant individual and will begin to act like it, which can very quickly cause problems for the owners. However, with the correct training and balance of attention, they can grow to be gorgeous companions that are utterly devoted to you.
  2. It should be noted that Tibetan Spaniels can be subject to scams online. These scams can be recognized through their listing prices, which are usually lower than other adverts. Before sending the breeder any money at all, the potential buyer should always go and see the litter of puppies, giving them a chance to see if the puppies are real and check the breeder’s legality.

Other reading, Adopting Tibetan Spaniel Puppies and Rescue Organisations

https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/findarescue/Default.aspx?breed=4103 https://rushtondogrescue.co.uk/breeds/tibetan-spaniel/ https://www.dogsblog.com/category/tibetan-spaniel/ https://tibetanspanielassoc.co.uk/breed-rescue/ https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/7-facts-tibetan-spaniel/