The Tibetan Spaniel, also known as the Tibbie, is often mistaken for the Pekingese. In fact, to the casual observer, they probably look the same because they have similar features. This close resemblance may be a result of cross breeding. However, if you observe the two breeds closely, you will see that the Tibbie has dark brown, oval-shaped eyes, elongated face, and droopy ears. Plus, the hair on its ears is silky-smooth. Another important distinction is that the Tibetan Spaniel has strong, black, and rounded nose and mouth. The top skull is also quite round and it has a relatively long body for its height. This dog has a plump, bushy tail that twists back on its behind.
The Tibetan Spaniel has double coats which run at medium length throughout its body. If you feel the coat, you will find that it feels smoother on the front legs and on the face than on the other parts. Compared with the male Tibbie, the female usually has less hair.
While the Tibbie has possible links to the ancestors of many breeds in Asia, obviously, it originated from Tibet, China. In the olden days, the monks in Tibet kept Tibetan Spaniels as watchdogs in the monasteries. From then on, the dogs’ reputation grew and became ideal pets. The Tibbie loves elevated positions, a characteristic which is passed on by its predecessors. Tibetan Spaniels that lived in the monasteries had been known to perch on the monasteries’ tall fences. The rulers and high officials in ancient China grew to love this breed due to its lion-like appearance.
In the UK, this type of dog was being kept and raised since the 1890s. The Tibbie was brought to the US around the 1960s. From then on, the breed propagated; and in 1971, a special association called the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America was founded. In 1984, the Tibetan Spaniel was finally honored by the American Kennel Club and it can now participate in dog competitions.
The Tibetan Spaniel loves human companionship. It loves to be petted, cuddled, and given attention. As such, the Tibbie makes an excellent pet especially in homes with elderly and small kids. It may appear unfriendly to people not familiar to it but once it gets to know the person, it will develop a warm bond with the person.
While it is not very effective at guarding the premise, the Tibbie can surely chase away potential dangers around your home because it makes a lot of noise at the slightest sound or sign of intruders. Known to be a sensitive breed, the Tibetan Spaniel often relates well to what its master feel. One thing you have to know about this dog is that it does not like being startled or being caught off guard. So, do not lift it off the ground in a sudden jolt because it will surely be agitated.
The Tibbie is often in good physical shape and it has very sharp senses as well. It can usually live to a ripe old age of nine to fifteen years because it does not get ill easily and it is not prone to early aging. If not properly cared for, the Tibetan Spaniel can be prone to abnormalities in the hip joints, kneecap dislocation, and canine renal disease. It is also prone to progressive retinal degeneration so regular eye examination is recommended.
Good grooming is not only for humans but pets as well. It is recommended that you bathe it only as needed because excessive washing will reduce the natural oils in its hair.
What should be established as part of its regular grooming routine is the combing or brushing of the coat. During the time of year when the Tibbie is not yet shedding its hair, a weekly brushing of its hair is enough. There is no need to clip, strip or pluck its fur. Once a year, the Tibetan Spaniel sheds its coats in clusters. At this time, you should comb its hair more frequently. Even though the Tibbie does not shed profusely unlike other long-haired breeds, owners should brush the animal’s coat when it is shedding.
Oral hygiene is important. For the best results, you should seek help from a professional pet parlor for your pet’s oral hygiene. The dog’s nails should be trimmed weekly. Trim only the nail’s ends because cutting too deep may cause wounds and discomfort. Clean the ears using cotton swabs. Concentrate on cleaning the outer ears as well because filth often gets stuck there. Watch out for symptoms of infections in the ear. If the dog seems to have an itch in its ear or frequently waves its head, bring it to a veterinarian for an examination.
Although it is a good apartment pet, the Tibetan Spaniel needs a good work out. So, walk or play with your dog every day. However, make sure that the activities are not overly taxing. A few minutes of playing and socialization a day should be considered a good exercise for your Tibbie. Do not wear it out. The play should end before it gets bored with the activities. Since the Tibetan Spaniel is not really good in defending itself, you will do well to watch over your pet when taking it outside, especially when it gets attacked.
The Tibbie may be difficult to train because of its headstrong attitude. You must have a lot of patience when training it. However, it is capable of following basic commands. If you insist on teaching your Tibetan Spaniel some fancy moves, it can be extremely perplexing. There are lots of training materials available to help you though. Of course, you can also enroll in training classes so you and your dog can learn from professional dog handlers.