Pet Advisor Blog

Tibetan Spaniel – Dog Breed Guide

Breed summary

Size: Small
Weight: 9 to 15 pounds
Height: average of 10 inches
Longevity: 17
Bark Tendency: High
Aggression: Medium
Compatibility to other pets: Low

Adopt a Tibetan Spaniel, Dog Breed Guide


The Tibetan Spaniel is not actually a genuine spaniel breed! Spaniel type dogs are gun dogs, used by hunters to find and retrieve game fowls in land and water, which the Tibetan Spaniel is clearly not. This ancient Tibetan dog breed was created to be small dogs to accompany the Tibetan monks in their monasteries. These small Lion-looking dog got the spaniel from the westerners, depicting the physical similarities it shares with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Official Name

Tibetan Spaniel
The Lhasa name for this breed is Simkhyi, which is roughly translated to indoor dogs.


Date – 2000 years ago
Country – Tibet
Family / Group – Companion, Non-Sporting, Toy

Recognized By:
Continental Kennel Club
Fédération Cynologique Internationale
American Kennel Club
Kennel Club of Great Britain
Canadian Kennel Club
National Kennel Club
New Zealand Kennel Club
American Pet Registry, Inc.
American Canine Registry
Dog Registry of America, Inc.
North American Purebred Registry, Inc.


Like the Tibetan Terrier, which is not actually a terrier, the Tibetan Spaniel is not really a spaniel type of dog. These dogs are more closely related to the Japanese Chin dogs and the Chinese Pekingese. Tibetan Buddhist Lamas bred these companion dogs to specifically resemble a lion or to be similar looking as the Chinese Fo Dog. The two are revered symbols in Buddhist religion.

Tibetan Spaniels were used as precious gifts to rulers of countries following Buddhism. These dogs were also bred to be guard dogs of Tibetan monasteries.


Tibetan Spaniels are small dogs that can be very loud and very vocal. This high level of alertness makes them excellent guard dogs. Their cleanliness and fastidious nature often give them the impression of being cat-like. These dogs will show affection and an eagerness to please when around their family.

Bred For

Tibetan Spaniels were often given as gifts to royal houses and diplomatic attaché.


The Tibetan Spaniel is a dog that can adapt to all kinds of living conditions. They will do fine in the city, country or suburban areas. They will be good apartment dogs.


Tibetan Spaniels should be regularly groomed by coming and brushing their coat. These dogs shed hair in average amounts.


Tibetan Spaniels can be slightly difficult to train as these dogs may become hard-headed and even aggressive towards other dogs.


The Tibetan Spaniel dog breed are known to be at high risk on developing problems that affect the respiratory system. They are also very sensitive to extremely hot climate and these dogs are known to suffer and even die from heatstroke.


The Tibetan Spaniel requires moderate exercise through long walks done casually every day.