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How To Breed Tibetan Spaniels

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Published on
Friday 11 September 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
how to breed tibetan spaniels
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Are you wondering how to breed Tibetan Spaniels? “Little lions” as they are known, are small dogs with a big heart. They know how to protect their people, and due to their friendly personality, they are the perfect companions for the family.

Tibetan Spaniels show a little bit of reluctance to strangers at first, but you can easily fix this giving them early training. Breeding Tibetan Spaniels should not involve a complicated task if you know in advance how to do it properly and how to face some challenges. Do you want to know how? Keep reading to find out everything about Tibetan Spaniel breeding.

Background of the Tibetan Spaniel Breeding

Understanding the background of Tibetan Spaniels helps breeders and buyers to know what to expect from their temperament and appearance. Also, for a dog you will own, it is just interesting to know!

Origin and History

Tibetan Spaniels has its roots in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet. These little dogs were kept and bred by Buddhist monks in monasteries. Back then, they used to be known as “Little lions” due to their similarity to Chinese guardian lions because this breed served as watchdogs. They would lie on the high monastery walls and bark if they felt something suspect to alert the monks.

breeding tibetan spaniels
Tibetan Spaniels have big hearts!

However, they also served as excellent companions to monks, sleeping with them at night to provide them warmth. And due to their great prestige, they would only leave the monasteries as gifts to the palaces of China and other Buddhist countries. They were never sold. By 1898, a few Tibetan Spaniels had been bred in the United Kingdom since British missionaries fell in love with them and brought them to their country. Nevertheless, this breed was not that known, until 1965, when two imported Tibetan Spaniels had a successful litter. Since that, this breed just achieved so many other things.

In January of 1971, The Tibetan Spaniel Club of America was formed and years later, in 1983, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized this breed. Tibetan Spaniels have, without a doubt, a long history to tell and many other achievements to add to this list, since they are indeed, a beloved breed.


Tibetan Spaniels are ranked #119 out of 195 dogs in the AKC Breed Popularity Ranking. Maybe, this ranking position does not really reflect how unique and adorable this breed is. However, one thing is for sure, they have a long history supporting them.

A fun fact is that Pervez Musharraf carried his two Tibetan Spaniels to his first press conference as the President of Pakistan. Tibetan Spaniels also appear in some works of art that date back to 1100 B.C. and can be also found on some carved jade pieces dating from 1644 A.D.


Tibetan Spaniels are known to be well-balanced dogs with no exaggerated features. In this section, we will discover some of the Tibetan Spaniel breed standard traits.


Tibetan Spaniels are small-sized dogs. These are the measures they are likely to have:

  • Height: 9 to 10 inches
  • Weight: 9 to 15 pounds
size of tibetan spaniels
Tibetan Spaniels are small dogs.

The skull size of Tibetan Spaniels is smaller than the size of their body, which gives them a delicate look. Their nose is short and blunt, and their mouth undershot.

Their eyes are dark brown, oval, or almond in shape and medium in size and forwards looking which gives them an ape-like expression. Also, they do not have extra skin around them, which makes it easier to distinguish them from other breeds.


Their ears are medium in size and are well feathered. They tend to hang down each side of the head to cheek level and have a “V” shape.


Their teeth should meet in an undershot or lever bite. The upper incisors must fit neatly inside and touch the lower incisors, that is why their teeth should not be seen when their mouth is closed.



Overall, their body is slightly longer than tall. To be more accurate, let’s see some other characteristics of Tibetan Spaniels regarding their body.

  • Tail: It is long, plumed, and feathered. It is set high and carried over the back
  • Neck: It is moderately short but strong and well set on. In males, we can see that it is covered by a mane of hair


Tibetan Spaniels own a straight, silky, double coat. Its length is medium but starts to get longer around the neck. Actually, this is one of their most outstanding features, that is why they do deserve to have the nickname of “Little lions”. And, of course, you can expect them to have long hair covering all the rest of their bodies. Their coat can be of many colors and patterns, such as:

  • Fawn
  • Red
  • Gold
  • Cream
  • White
  • Black
  • Black and tan

Tibetan Spaniels require brushing once a week and only need occasional baths. To sum it up, the appearance of Tibetan Spaniels surely combines the tenderness with liveliness.


According to Tibetan Spaniel breeders, this is a dog that despite its small body, it has great and strong qualities. Tibetan Spaniels’ temperament can be lively and playful yet calm and laid-back. They can easily adapt to any lifestyle and can be stubborn sometimes. However, these dogs have definitely more good things than bad ones.


They have a cat-like personality, they are really cheerful, agile, and charming dogs that are really family-oriented. Tibetan Spaniels are good companions, they enjoy being with their family and friends and do not mind showing affection and devotion to them. Most of the time the simple fact of cuddling up, keeping you warm, or jumping into their owner’s lap will make them happy.

Besides, a quality they carry from very ancient times is the fact that they are excellent watchdogs that will alert you in case they see something suspicious, but they are rarely aggressive.


However, they can be aloof and reserved around strangers, as well. So, it is important to expose them to a positive environment that allows them to socialize with different people and animals. Also, leaving them alone at home during long periods of time can lead them to feel separation anxiety, which can cause them to present bad behavior. So, if you are a homebody who enjoys spending time at home, this is the dog for you.

And even though Tibet Spaniels are very attached to their owners, they also have an independent nature, so they tend to wander off and explore on their own. What is more, they have the ability to sense your moods and feelings and respond to them.

Not a “Spaniel” Breed

There is a misconception about these dogs, believing that they are a Spaniel breed, since they are not. Their breeding and role differ a lot from other spaniels that are actually, gundogs. Tibetan Spaniels are more related to other Asian blunt-nosed breeds such as the Pekingese and the Pug.

Their name can be due to their resemblance to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a bred-down lap dog.

However, there is also another explanation for this. It turns out that this name can come from the French word, “spagnuel” which, in the Middle Ages referred to a companion dog that women from the European and Oriental courts used to love.

not a spaniel breed
Tibetan Spaniel breeding and role differ a lot from other spaniels that are actually, gun dogs.

Health Concerns When Breeding Tibetan Spaniels

Since Tibetan Spaniels are purebred dogs, they can suffer from many inherited diseases, therefore we must pay attention to the symptoms they show and take them regularly to a veterinarian to check their health status.

If we see that our dogs are developing rare conditions, we must take them to a veterinarian to prevent their condition from getting worse. If you take good care of your Tibetan Spaniel, they can live a long life, since they have an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. Right below we are going to see some of the Tibetan Spaniel’s health problems:


These are the initials of Progressive Retinal Atrophy, a disorder that results in the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. This is a genetic disease, in other words, it is inherited by its parents.

Right now, there is no treatment for this condition, so your dog is at high risk of going blind if it develops it. Even so, researches show that they do not suffer pain and they are able to adapt well to this process. Owners can observe clinical signs between 1 ½ and 4 years, but as late as seven years. A sign of this condition is when the dog does not want to move from a lighted room to a darker one.

Do not worry too much, because this disease is not that common. However, it is important to contact a good breeder that can assure you that the dog has had its eyes checked at least once a year since PRA is detectable way before the Tibetan Spaniel presents any sign of blindness.


Portosystemic Shunt (PSS)

Portosystemic Shunt is referred to as an abnormal vessel that allows blood from the dog’s intestine to bypass the liver. This causes the toxins, proteins, hormones, and nutrients absorbed by the intestine, also bypass the liver, circulating throughout the body, and resulting in big damage for the dog. This disease is diagnosed most of the time only later in life even though the symptoms can be noticeable years before. Some of these are:

  • Difficulty growing
  • Poor weight gain
  • Sensitivity to sedatives
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased drinking and urinating

Some methods of shunt attenuation that veterinarians use include:

  • Ameroid ring constrictors
  • Cellophane banding
  • Intravascular silicone hydraulic occluders

Nevertheless, surgical treatment is more recommended. This condition can be either a congenital or an acquired one. However, Congenital Portosystemic Shunt is more common. This is a disease that Tibetan Spaniels are very likely to have, so pay attention to the following information.

Cherry Eye

It is also known as a Prolapsed Third Eyelid because the prolapsed gland appears as a red mass that protrudes from behind the third eyelid in the corner of the eye. Cherry eye is actually a pretty common condition in Tibetan Spaniels.

This disease is not fully proved to be genetic, but it is believed by some that it is a congenital disorder. It is mostly presented in young dogs under the age of two. It is unknown what precisely causes cherry eyes in them, therefore there is no way to prevent it. However, we still can name some of the symptoms they show:

  • A visible fleshy mass in the medial canthus of the eye
  • Abnormal tear production
  • Drainage from the eye

Having this condition can also lead to the following problems:

  • Secondary inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Infection

The treatments go from eye massages of the affected eye, to surgery, which is the most common method. Remember that if it is not treated correctly; it may lead to dry eye syndrome.

Weeping Eye

It is normal for dogs to have eye discharge to get rid of dust particles. This should not be a reason to worry generally. However, if this happens more than a few days, it should be taken seriously. The symptoms include:

  • Wet or moist fur below their eyes.
  • Reddish-brown stains below their eyes.
  • Their skin can become red and irritated.

Some of the reasons why this condition develops:

  • Allergies.
  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Eye irritation.
  • Glaucoma.

The treatment depends on the cause, for instance, if it is caused by conjunctivitis, the treatments for this in specific involve flushing the eye, antibiotic therapy, or just eye drops. To wrap this section up, let’s say that as we have reviewed, many of the health issues they present are eye-related ones, so it is crucial before buying one, to make sure that they have health clearances from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation certifying that their eyes are healthy.

How To Breed Tibetan Spaniels

In this section, you will find out how breeding this dog can be a profitable business by learning some useful tips.

Choosing the Bitch and Stud

To choose the right stud you must take into consideration that it must be free of genetic faults and also, it should have a good temperament, because it will be more likely to produce Tibetan Spaniels puppies with a similar temperament.

Looking at the stud’s pedigree can be also helpful to guide you to a superior bloodline. Also, bear in mind that the stud needs to be at least seven months old and no older than 12 years.

On the other hand, if you want to find the perfect bitch, then you have to see how often it is bred from, since Tibetan Spaniels can only have one litter per year to remain healthy.

Litter Size

The litter size of Tibetan Spaniels goes from an average of 3 to 6 puppies and unlike most other breeds, Tibetan Spaniels bitches tend to go into heat only once per year.

It takes between 60 to 64 days of pregnancy for these dogs to deliver Tibetan Spaniel puppies. The small puppies should be raised with proper care and attention. And always be sure to expose it to different people, environments, and sounds, so they can socialize correctly in the future.

Don’t forget that most frequent breeding is not healthy for dogs, so be careful not to ignore their needs and not to buy a dog from a puppy mill. And if you have a dog breeding business, make sure to never overlook this recommendation, as well.

Birthing issues

It is not very likely that Tibetan Spaniels will suffer from birthing issues. Nevertheless, since these are small animals, it can be still a possibility for them to have dystocia. This is a condition that refers to the inability to expel the fetus without assistance. We can prevent this situation from happening if we identify the following indicators:

  • The bitch presents fever, seizures, vomiting
  • More than 30 minutes of persistent abdominal straining without delivering the puppy
  • More than one hour of active labor
  • Palpation of a stuck puppy in the birth canal
  • Labor seems to have stopped before the entire litter is delivered


If something like this happens, there are two methods that can be used:

  • The first includes medical treatment that consists of oxytocin administration and calcium gluconate. Some specialists recommend the installation of warm fluid inside the uterus using a soft rubber catheter.

If this is effective, then oxytocin can be given every 20 minutes until the bitch ends to deliver all the puppies.

  • The second option is C-section, which should be initiated if the above methods did not work. After the cesarean section is performed. Most dogs recover quickly and complete recovery from anesthetics should take two to six hours.

Nevertheless, the bitch must be closely monitored. It must begin eating small amounts of food and water, because if she eats or drinks too much she may vomit. Also, the first days you can help her by making it lie so the puppies can nurse.


If you are looking to improve your business, pay attention to these ideas:

  • Let your dogs participate in shows and work hard to win because, in that way, you will not only gain prestige but also the chance to breed award-winning dogs that have excellent pedigrees
  • Another option is to provide stud dog services since you can get a fee offering it and it is a very profitable option if your stud can produce many champions
  • Find out what are the breeds that customers are more willing to buy. If you start breeding those, and you promote that actively on social media, that can attract more potential buyers to your business

And of course, you must offer a quality service. Remember not only purchasing female dogs, buying a male dog or paying a stud fee, but also paying for their shots and tests to keep them healthy.


Owning a Tibetan Spaniel can cost you about $700 to $900. This is a relatively expensive price, but it will vary depending on the kind of training it has received, its pedigree and its temperament.

Before purchasing a dog, always remember what the Official Standard of the Tibetan Spaniel says. They should be small, active, and alert. They are far away from having traits of coarseness.

To be sure, please, check one more time the appearance section, in which you will be able to read in detail what are Tibetan Spaniel’s characteristics.

cost of tibetan spaniels
Prices will vary depending on the kind of training it has received, its pedigree and its temperament.

Tibetan Spaniel Breeding – FAQs

We have created a handy FAQ about breeding Tibetan Spaniels so you know everything that you need to!

How many puppies do Tibetan Spaniels have?

The litter size of Tibetan Spaniels goes from 3 to 6 puppies. Bear in mind that the Tibetan Spaniel bitches can have a litter just once a year, or at least, that is what is healthy for them.

Are Tibetan Spaniels easy to train?

Tibetan Spaniels are a little bit difficult to train, due to the fact that they own an independent mind, and if they do not feel like listening, they will not.

That is why Tibetan Spaniel puppies must begin their training and socialization since day 1. Bear in mind that obedience training should utilize food and praise and notice that they are sensitive for harsh words and should not be treated in a rough way.

Do not let much time pass before you start doing it because otherwise, they will turn stubborn and headstrong and they will not acknowledge you as the Alfa of the household. Maybe, you will have to spend a lot of time before they can learn any tricks, but later, it will be worth it. The good side of this is that Tibetan Spaniels are smart dogs and can learn quickly, so this can easily turn into an enjoyable activity for you.

Are Tibetan Spaniels rare?

Tibetan Spaniels are relatively rare. Actually, it is kind of difficult to find a good breeder if you feel like buying a Tibetan Spaniel puppy. This breed is, indeed, small in number. This can be because Tibetan Spaniels are an old dog breed and it can be difficult to find a pure breed dog.

However, nowadays there are many websites that can help you and give you important information. Hopefully, you will be able to contact a good breeder.

If you finally found one, then do not forget to visit the place the Tibetan Spaniel was in to make sure that it has received high-quality breeding and that it is in good health conditions.

Are Tibetan Spaniels good family dogs?

This is one of their most striking qualities, they love being part of a family. That is why they always remain loyal to an owner that gives them the attention and affection they require.

They tend to notice how are you feeling and respond to that, and that helps them to create a stronger bond with the family members. And even if they do not live in a house with a big garden, what they do enjoy is spending quality time with the family.

Besides, they do not have problems adapting to different lifestyles, as long as it is with the people that they are comfortable with. Tibetan Spaniels are also good to children since they are protective and playful.

Tibetan Spaniels are one of the friendliest dog breeds, they behave correctly in gatherings and they will not disturbances since they are not that energetic. They are the perfect companions.

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