About the Breed


The Tibetan Spaniel is a highly intelligent dog coming from the mountainous regions of Tibet.

These little dogs were originally bred in the monasteries of Tibet where they were held in high esteem by the monks.

Used as watchdogs they warned of approaching visitors by their barking.  These characteristics are still found in the breed today as they make very good housedogs warning of any unusual occurrence.  Just as they used to watch from the walls of the monasteries in Tibet so today they often like to climb up to a lookout point such as a window sill.

These little dogs are not guard dogs and should never show signs of aggression or bite.  They have a characteristic of being aloof with strangers but will accept you as part of the family once they are familiar with you.  Be warned that when they are being looked at by a stranger they may well not look straight at you and do not like being swooped down upon.

They are a long lived and generally healthy breed often remaining active and full of life until 15 or 16 years of age.  They have adapted themselves very well from life in the high monasteries where they would have needed to be hardy to survive, to the comforts of the modern home.  They are loving dogs but are naturally inquisitive and like to know all that is going on in the home and this sometimes manifests itself as boredom when required to remain idle for any length of time.

The Tibetan Spaniel likes to sit on something and will help itself to anything soft which it fancies such as the kitchen towel or the clean washing.

Whilst they are an extremely happy and intelligent dog they have a strong streak of individuality and will only co-operate if and when they wish to do so.  The Tibetan Spaniel should have great dignity and proud bearing indicating how much they were prized in Tibet by the powerful monks, their masters.  It should be realised that these dogs could not be bought from the monks but were given as valued gifts to esteemed friends.

The breed flourishes with constant human contact and the dogs should never be shut away for long periods from their owners.  The Tibetan Spaniel is not a dog which you can dominate and if you own one you should never expect instant obedience.

More about the breed can be found over on the Kennel Club website at https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/search/breeds-a-to-z/breeds/utility/tibetan-spaniel/

Easy To Build Tibetan Spaniel Instructions

Tibetan spaniel diagram

So You Want to Build Your Own Tibetan Spaniel?

(Reproduced by kind permission of the Kennel Club).

Small, active and alert. Well balanced in general outline, slightly longer in body than height at withers.

Gay and assertive, highly intelligent, aloof with strangers.

Alert, loyal but independent.

Small in proportion to body, carried proudly. Masculine in dogs but free from coarseness. Skull slightly domed, moderate width and length. Stop slight but defined. Medium length of muzzle, blunt with cushioning, free from wrinkle. Chin showing some depth and width. Nose: black preferred.

Dark brown, oval, bright and expressive, medium size. Set fairly well apart but forward looking. Rims black.

Medium size, pendant, well feathered in adults, set fairly high. Slight lift from skull desirable but must not fly. Large, heavy low set ears un-typical.

Slightly undershot. Teeth evenly placed and the lower jaw wide between the canine teeth. Full dentition desirable. Teeth and tongue not showing when mouth closed.

Moderately short, strong and well set on. Covered with a mane or “shawl” of longer hair, more pronounced in dogs than bitches.

Moderate bone. Forelegs slightly bowed but firm at shoulder. Shoulder well laid.

Slightly longer from withers to root of tail than the height at withers, good spring of rib, level back.

Well made and strong, hocks well let down, straight when viewed from behind. Moderate turn of stifle.

Harefoot. Small and neat with feathering between toes often extending beyond the feet. Round cat-feet undesirable.

Set high, richly plumed and carried in a gay curl over back when moving. (Not to be penalised for dropping tail when standing).

Quick moving, straight, free, positive.

Top coat, silky in texture, smooth on face and front of legs, of moderate length on body, but lying rather flat. Undercoat fine and dense. Ears and back of forelegs nicely feathered, tail and buttocks well furnished with longer hair. Not over coated, bitches tend to carry less coat and mane than dogs.

All colours and mixture of colours, except merle, permissible.

Ideal 4.1 to 6.8 kgs (9 – 15 lbs.). Height about 25.4 cm (10 ins).

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

NOTE: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.



Are you interested in judging Tibetan Spaniels or do you want some more in-depth information on how to understand the Tibetan Spaniel breed standard?

The Kennel Club provides access to a learning 'Academy'. Here you will find a number of breed specific films aimed at increasing your knowledge of Tibetan Spaniels, we believe this is an invaluable resource and would encourage you to have a look if you are serious about understanding what traits a Tibetan Spaniel has and how they are put together.

In order to access the information, you need to go to https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/academy/ and you will be prompted to log in to your account. If you don't have a KC account it is really easy and free to create one. Once you have landed at the Academy page (it is also available from your 'My Account' page) then head on over to the 'Breed Specific Films' section and then scroll down to the Tibetan Spaniel section. Once you are there, follow the instructions to view all the videos.

We hope you enjoy the information that is presented and find it really useful.