Tibetan Spaniel is an ancient breed of dog. They were bred in monasteries and used as watchdogs, body warmers, and to turn prayer wheels for the monks. Because China and Tibet were closely linked at one time, it has been theorized that the Chinese gave Pekingese dog breed to the Tibetans and the Tibetan Spaniel dog breed was developed along different lines from the Pekes of the Imperial palace. In fact, paintings of 15th century Pekes portray the breed as looking more like the Tibetan Spaniels of today.
The name “spaniel” is a misnomer and was only used because of the ear placement and the fact that “spaniel” was used to describe the small companion-comforter dogs favored by ladies of European and Oriental courts.
Tibetan Spaniel Temperament: The Tibetan Spaniel is gay and assertive, highly intelligent and may be aloof with strangers.
General Appearance: In the show ring, it is essential that the Tibetan Spaniel be presented in an unaltered condition with the coat lying naturally, with no teasing, parting or stylizing of the hair. Specimens, where the coat has been altered by trimming, clipping or by artificial means must be effectively eliminated from a competition. Dogs with such a long coat that there is no rectangle of daylight showing beneath, or so profuse that it obstructs the natural outline, are to be penalized. Whiskers are not to be removed. Hair growing between the pads on the underside of the feet may be removed for safety and cleanliness. Dewclaws may be removed.
Tibetan Spaniel Size: Weight 9-15 lb. (4-7 kg) being ideal. Height about 10 inches (25 cm).
Coat and Colour: Double coat, silky in texture, smooth on face and front of legs, of moderate length on the body, but lying rather flat. Ears and back of forelegs nicely feathered, tail and buttocks well furnished with longer hair. Should not be overcoated and bitches tend to carry less coat and mane than dogs. All colors and mix of colors are allowed.
Tibetan Spaniel’s Head: Small in proportion to the body and proudly carried, giving an impression of quality. Masculine in dogs but free from coarseness. Skull slightly domed, moderate width and length. Stop slight, but defined. Medium length of muzzle, blunt with cushioning, free from wrinkle. The chin should show some depth and width. Black nose preferred. Ideally slightly undershot, the upper incisors fitting neatly inside and touching the lower incisors. Teeth should be evenly placed and the lower jaw wide between the canine tusks. Full dentition desired. A level mouth is permissible, providing there exists sufficient width and depth of chin to preserve the blunt appearance of the muzzle. Teeth must not show when the mouth is closed. Eyes dark brown in color, oval in shape, bright and expressive, of a medium size set fairly well apart but forward-looking, giving an ape-like expression. Eye rims black. Ears medium size, pendant, well feathered in the adult and set fairly high. They may have a slight lift from the skull, but should not fly. Large, heavy, low-set ears are not typical.
Neck: Moderately short, strong and well set on. Covered with a mane or “shawl” of longer hair which is more pronounced in dogs than bitches.
Forequarters: Shoulder well placed. The bones of the forelegs slightly bowed but firm at the shoulder. Moderate bone.
Body: Level back. Slightly longer from the point of shoulder to root of tail than the height at withers. Well ribbed with good depth.
Hindquarters: Well made and strong – hocks well let down and straight when viewed from behind. Stifle well developed, showing moderate angulation. Hare-footed, small and neat with feathering between toes often extending beyond the feet. White markings allowed.
Tail: Set high, richly plumed and carried in a gay curl over the back when moving. Should not be penalized from dropping tail when standing.
Gait: Quick moving, straight, free, positive.
Faults: Large full eyes; broad flat muzzle; very domed or flat wide skull; accentuated stop; pointed, weak or wrinkled muzzle; overshot mouth; long, plain down face, without stop; very bowed or loose front; straight stifle; cow-hocks; nervousness; cat feet; coarseness of type; mean expression; liver or putty-coloured pigmentation; light eyes; protruding tongue.