The Tibetan Spaniel (Tobby) is a small decorative dog, presumably brought to Europe by the Jesuits from Tibet. Dogs were revered by Tibetan monks for their kind disposition, quick wit, and bravery. Along with the huge Tibetan mastiffs, they were on guard duty in the monasteries, and when they saw a stranger from afar, they raised a loud bark. In addition, the monks trusted them to spin prayer wheels.
Many thousands of years ago, the strongholds of Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayas were protected from the raids of robbers by two types of dogs: small short-nosed dogs kept a vigilant watch on the walls and, seeing the enemy, raised the alarm, and then heavy artillery in the form of huge mastiffs was used. This “live signaling” was what we know today as Tibetan spaniels.
At first glance, these are small glamorous dogs with cute snub-nosed muzzles and beautiful long hair, but not a single Tibetan monastery has seen its life without these four-legged helpers. The dogs not only patrolled the walls of monasteries, but they were also entrusted with the honorable duty of spinning the so-called prayer drums – rollers with mantras written on them. Buddhists believe that it is not necessary to disturb yourself and the gods with hourly prayers – it is enough to write them on special devices and constantly twist them, and then the prayers will be read themselves, and the gods will hear them. And so, while the monks were engaged in meditation, practicing martial arts techniques and agriculture, small dogs twisted and twisted drums with mantra prayers.
Tibetan spaniels were never sold – they could only be given as a sign of great respect. That is why these dogs were in Europe relatively recently.
It should be understood that these dogs have nothing to do with real European spaniels (or Hispaniola), but are named so solely for their external resemblance to decorative Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. In fact, they are related to such ancient Asian breeds as the Pekingese and Shih Tsu.
Today this breed, although not too numerous, is very loved all over the world.
Tibetan spaniels are oblong in size, longer than tall. This is a small breed, up to 25 cm at the withers, weighing 4-7 kg. Despite their small size, the dogs are very balanced, without any sharp features.
The head is small relative to the body, proudly raised. The skull is domed, with a smooth but pronounced stop.
The muzzle is of medium length, the lower jaw is pushed forward, which leads to a snack. But the teeth and tongue are not visible.
The nose is flat and black, the eyes are wide apart. They are oval and dark brown in color, clear and expressive.
The ears are of medium size, set high, drooping.
The tail is covered with long hair, set high, and lying on the back when moving.
Dogs from Tibet may differ in appearance, but they all have a double coat that protects them from the cold.
The dense undercoat retains warmth, despite the fact that the guard coat is not harsh, but silky, short on the muzzle and forepaws.
The mane and feathers are located on the ears, neck, tail, back of the legs. The mane and feathers are especially pronounced in males, while females are more modestly decorated.
There are no restrictions on color, but golden is especially appreciated.
The Iberian Spaniel is not a classic European hunting spaniel. In fact, this is not a spaniel at all, not a gun dog, they have nothing to do with hunting dogs. It is a very valuable and beloved companion dog that was considered sacred and was never sold.
Modern Tibetan Spaniels still behave like sacred dogs, they love people, respect them, but they demand respect for themselves.
This is an independent and agile breed, they are even compared to cats. Despite the short legs, Tibetan Spaniels are quite graceful and easily overcome obstacles. In ancient times, they loved to be on the monastery walls and have respected the height ever since.
Today they can be found at the top of a bookshelf or on the back of a sofa for the best views.
They have not forgotten the guard service, they can be magnificent bells warning of strangers. Just don’t think that they are guard dogs, for obvious reasons.
The Tibetan Spaniel loves to be part of the family and is quite happy living in an apartment. They are also famous for their sensitivity to the mood of a person, they try to be with him in difficult moments. Because of this sensitivity, they do not tolerate families where scandals and quarrels are frequent, they do not like screaming and noise.
They are friends with children, but like all decorative dogs, only if they respect them. They will especially appeal to people of the older generation since they require moderate activity, but at the same time, they are extremely sensitive to the mood and state of the owner.
In ancient times, they worked alongside the Tibetan Mastiffs to raise the alarm. So with other dogs, they behave calmly, friendly. But in relation to strangers, they are suspicious, although not aggressive. It’s just that in their hearts they are, as before, on guard and so simply will not let strangers approach them. However, over time they thaw and trust.
Modest, well-mannered, at home, the Tibetan Spaniel changes on the street. Independent, he can be stubborn and even difficult to train.
Often, the Tibetan Spaniel responds to a call or command when it decided it was time.
Unless the owner wants to run around the area after his little princess, it’s best to keep her on the leash. Training, discipline, and socialization are a must for the Tibetan Spaniel. If everything is done correctly, the attitude towards the owner will be like a god.
If you forget about stubbornness and independence, then this is almost an ideal dog.
They are clean and respectful of order, capable of adapting to life in an apartment and a house.
Stanley Coren, the author of The Intelligence of Dogs, ranks them 46th in terms of intelligence, referring to dogs with average ability.
The Tibetan Spaniel understands a new command after 25-40 and performs it 50% of the time.
They are quite smart and stubborn, they love people and without company they easily get bored. If they stay for a long time on their own, they can become destructive.
Agile and quick-witted, they can climb where not every dog can. Small, with small legs, they are able to open doors, cupboards in search of food and entertainment. However, this does not mean that they will eat everything, as they are whimsical in the feed.
Care and Maintenance
The main decoration of the Tibetan Spaniel is its silky coat, especially the lion’s mane and lush plume on the tail. Of course, in order for the dog to always look attractive, it must be carefully combed and, if necessary, bathed. Of course, you shouldn’t do this very often, but about once a month, water procedures will not interfere. In addition, in slushy weather, the fur often gets dirty and sticks together into untidy icicles.
The rest of the Tibetan Spaniel is practically a problem-free dog. Thanks to the thick (especially in males) undercoat, he is not afraid of the cold, but during the summer sun it is still not worth taking him outside – like all other short-faced dogs, the Tibetan can get overheated.
Despite their small size, these dogs are very fond of movement, so the more they walk with them, the better. And even more, they need communication and love. Their mental state and even health directly depend on family relationships, because it is not for nothing that they say that a dog is a reflection of its owner.
Education and Training
Those who took a Tibetan spaniel puppy into their family should understand that not a toy, but a living creature with its own desires and character, settled in his house. Moreover, this creature is an integral personality and, albeit small, but a real dog with all the instincts inherent in a gregarious predator. They, just like large dogs, need a strong leader and also require training. Moreover, Tibetan spaniels were bred as service dogs, therefore, if the owner shows respect for their nature and goes through a general course of obedience and even training with his pet, they will be truly happy, because it will become clear that a person takes them seriously.
After all, if you don’t work with a dog, it will not be able to determine its place in the pack and will grow up nervous and insecure, which most often manifests itself in the form of aggression. Many have seen little dogs barking and throwing themselves at everything that moves incessantly – these are the victims of neglect of educational work.
By the way, it is a pleasure to train the Tibetan Spaniel, because, thanks to a lively mind and focus on the owner, he grasps commands literally from the second time.
Nutrition plays an important role in the life of a pet, it is worth building a regimen correctly. First of all, fatty and fried foods are excluded from the dog’s diet, smoked meats and sweets are prohibited. A similar statement applies to salt and salted foods, potatoes, and starch-based foods. Flour products, the pasta will greatly harm the pet. It is important to remember that the main part of the diet is meat, and the meat is lean – veal and beef are suitable. In a proportional ratio, meat takes up 2/3 of the portion.
How to feed Tibetan Spaniel puppies with such a list of exceptions? The baby’s morning begins with low-fat cottage cheese, if desired, diluted with kefir or yogurt. This means natural yogurt without fillers and dyes. It is useful to periodically add calcium or honey to the curd. The last ingredient helps to raise immunity and resist infections, it is better to add it during dangerous infectious periods.
Tibetan Spaniels are one of the longest living breeds, but the breed’s inherent diseases do occur. So, due to some elongation of the trunk, they often have intervertebral hernias and other problems with the musculoskeletal system. There is also a pronounced tendency to allergies.
The breed was bred in the Himalayas, at an altitude of more than 5000 meters above sea level, where the temperature is invariably kept at low levels, so they tolerate the heat quite hard. Due to the fact that the hot air does not have time to cool down in their short nose, dogs often suffer from shortness of breath and heart problems in hot climates.
Also, Tibetan spaniels are prone to obesity, which is already the fault of the owners, who often pamper pets with food from their own table. And obesity leads to many other diseases.
How to Choose a Puppy
When choosing a new pet, many are guided primarily by the cost of the baby. But price shouldn’t be the main criterion. Do not forget that the baby will live with you for many years. First, you need to decide on the gender. Bitches are calmer, and males are more serious and hardy. A healthy puppy is playful, active, and curious. As a rule, Tibby babies are taken at the age of 2-2.5 months. Be sure to get to know the breeders personally, evaluate the conditions of keeping the dogs. Buy from trusted and trusted sellers.