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Cats and Dogs; Pets Are Us; #1 Artists of Red Bubble (Permanent Feature Page – Paintings, Drawings, etc. 11-08-10); Pencil Drawing; “5” Group;
The Tibetan Spaniel is a breed of assertive, sweet, small, intelligent dogs originating in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet. They share ancestry with the Pekingese, Japanese Chin, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, and Pug. This breed is not a true Spaniel; its breeding and role differs quite a bit (Spaniels are gun dogs.)
Height about 10 inches. Their head should be slightly domed with a medium length, strong muzzle. Weight 9-15 pounds being ideal. They carry a medium length double coat with flarings, and a high set plumed tail, carried over their back.
Happy and assertive, highly intelligent, aloof with strangers. “Tibbies”, as they are often called, make excellent housepets for many people, including families with small children. Tibetan Spaniels enjoy attention and involvement with their owners, but have an independent nature and can be wilful. They will bark to warn of strangers and strange occurrences, but generally reserve barking.
Professor Ludvic von Schulmuth studied canine origins by studying the skeletal remains of dogs found in human settlements as long as ten thousand years ago. The Professor created a genealogical tree of Tibetan dogs. It shows that the “Gobi Desert Kitchen Midden Dog”, a small scavenger, evolved into the “Small Soft-Coated Drop-Eared Hunting Dog” which then evolved into the Tibetan Spaniel, Pekingese, and Japanese Chin. Intermixing of Tibetan breeds then involved the Tibetan Spaniel with the Lhasa Apso and the Shih Tzu, resulting in both the latter breeds birthing the occasional “Prapso” in their litters – a pup with a shedding coat greatly resembling the Tibetan Spaniel.
Although legend has it that Tibbies were trained to turn the monks’ prayer wheels, it is more likely that their keen sight made them excellent monastery watchdogs, barking to warning of intruders and alert the monks.
Not only was the Tibetan Spaniel prized as a pet and companion, it was considered a very useful animal by all classes of Tibetans. During the day, the dogs would sit on top of the monastery walls keeping a steady watch over the countryside below. Their keen eye and ability to see great distances, as well as their persistent barking, made them exceptionally good watchdogs. Modern-day Tibbies retain their ancestors’ love of heights.
Tibetan Spaniels were being bred in the United Kingdom by the 1890s. The first authenticated reference we find to Tibetan Spaniels in the United States is a litter born out of two imported dogs from a Tibetan monastery in 1965. In January 1971, the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America was formed with 14 charter members. After a period in the Miscellaneous classes, the Tibetan Spaniel was accepted for AKC registration and became eligible to compete as a Non-Sporting breed effective January 1, 1984 (info from Wikipedia).