Used for centuries by the monks of Tibet to turn their prayer wheels by means of a small treadmill, the Tibetan Spaniels were considered a sacred animal. The monks also used to put them inside the sleeves of their robes as a kind of hairy hot-water bottle to keep them warm! Additionally, they were used for security purposes as an early warning system against intruders in the monasteries.


Similar in size to the Shih Tzu and Maltese breeds, the Tibetan Spaniel’s coat is long and silky and varies in colour (including red, gold, cream, fawn, black, white and black/tan). The petite breed has a short face with large oval eyes and a black nose. They have small feet with feathering between the toes. Their tail curls beautifully over their back.

Average lifespan

Up to 15 – 16 years


The Tibetan Spaniel makes a delightful pet, and is suitable for small houses. They are cheery, assertive and full of fun, being every bit as happy in the great outdoors chasing a ball as they are sitting on a silk cushion in the most comfortable chair in the house. An aristocrat in their own right, the Tibetan Spaniel considers themselves the guardian of the household and will let their owners know, in their own aloof and dignified way, of any slight (real or imagined) that offends their sense of superiority. They are distrustful of strangers and will raise the alarm at their approach, making them a valuable little watchdog.


An odourless breed, the Tibetan Spaniel’s coat is tangle free and requires minimal grooming.


They do not need excessive amounts of exercise and will be satisfied with a daily half hour walk.

Health Concerns

The Tibetan Spaniel can be prone to respiratory problems and overheating in hot weather due to their short faces. During spring and summer, they may be prone to allergies.