The Tibetan Spaniel, or "Tibbie," is an alert, loyal, loving, lively, assertive and watchful dog. He is almost cat-like, and will climb high onto furniture, windows and cabinets to survey his territory and to guard his family. He makes a good watchdog because he is so vigilant, because he is totally committed to his owners, and because he is sensitive to details, especially unusual sights and sounds. He will bark to alert you to the approach of a stranger, but is not an overly barky dog, and will soon quiet down. He is aloof with strangers and will wait to see if you accept newcomers--then slowly accept them himself. He is not aggressive with people. He saves all his love and devotion however for those he knows and adores. He is a wonderful, cuddly family companion who will lick you, kiss you, and nestle in your lap. He can be calm and quiet in the house, and yet he's also fairly active and energetic, and loves to play or go for a romp in the yard. He needs a daily walk and should always be on a leash or behind a fence when outdoors, since he likes to run off and explore and will not come back to you when you call him. He can be independent and strong-willed, and will only cooperate when he feels like it. He is trainable, but can be a challenge to work with. He is willing to please you but also grows easily bored with repetition. He is very sensitive to moods and harsh tones. What he wants most of all is your love, attention, and companionship. He is not a dog who can be left alone or shut away, and he is not an outside dog. He can get along well with other pets if he is raised with them while still a puppy, and he is good with considerate children. He won't tolerate rough handling, though, and so may not be good for very small children, and he should always be supervised when playing with children in general. He is a medium shedder throughout the year, and once a year his coat may "blow," or come out in clumps. He might not be a good pet if you are concerned about dog-hair in the home.
The Tibetan Spaniel is 10 to 11 inches tall (to shoulders) and weighs 9 to 15 pounds. He has a silky, medium-length, double coat. His coat color can be black, black and tan, cream, gold, red, sable, silver or white.
He only needs an occasional brushing. But you might find yourself brushing him more often, however, to remove the loose hair before it falls out in your home.
The Tibetan Spaniel is a very old breed whose existence can be traced back nearly 2,000 years. He was the cherished pet and guard dog of Tibetan monasteries, and perched high on walls to look out and begin barking at the approach of intruders. He was also a prized gift, known as the "Lion Dog." The first Tibetan Spaniel arrived in England in the late 1800's, but he did not arrive in America until 1985. The Tibetan Spaniel Club of America was formed in 1971, and the breed was admitted into the AKC in 1984. His AKC popularity was 104th out of 157 breeds in 2007.