There is much evidence to suggest that Tibetan Spaniels are related to other small Tibetan breeds such as the Lhasa Apso and Shih Tzu, and may even be related to other oriental breeds like the Pekingese or Japanese Chin. However, it is almost impossible to conclude which breed is the ancestor among those mentioned here.

The Tibbie is a small breed, slightly longer than tall, about ten inches at the withers with a lovely double coat- a fluffy undercoat to keep them warm and a longer outer coat to keep them clean. It is usually quite easy to distinguish between a male and female Tibbie (to the practiced eye anyway). The mature male generally has a thicker coat and a lovely lion-like shawl, and usually a bigger head than the female. For a small dog they are very sturdy, unlike some of the other toy breeds. They have that wonderful quality of always seeming to be puppy-like. They have been likened to the Pekingese although they do have a longer muzzle and do not have the profuse coat of the Peke. Most people say that the head is the most distinguishable feature of the Tibbie as it gives them that characteristic expressive monkey face. They are sometimes called part dog, part cat and part monkey - they have the faithfulness and watchfulness of the dog, independence and curiosity of the cat and the cleverness and mischievousness of the monkey.

Many Tibetans Spaniels were raised in monasteries and used as watchdogs. Because they are very long sighted they could warn the larger guard dogs of any approaching danger. They were also used as companions and bed and body warmers in the cold, harsh climate of Tibet (some of the lucky ones are still used as bed warmers even in Australia)! They make wonderful pets and show dogs - a lot of people say they are the perfect show dog because they don't need a lot of attention to prepare them for the show ring (they are sometimes called the 'shake and show' dog).

They are not kennel dogs and thrive on human contact. They would prefer to be in the house with access to a securely fenced garden, but make sure it is escape-proof as some of them love to dig or climb our way out! If you live in a flat or unit they can cope with that too and will be content with a daily walk on a lead (which is good for everyones health). When Tibbies go to a new home they will need training and you will have to be patient with them and teach them the rules of the house.

They're happy little dogs, lively and alert and love to have a conversation with people (in their own "special language"). If you want to play, great, but if not, they will leave you alone and either sleep or amuse themselves. Make sure you leave them some toys and chewies to keep them amused if you are not going to be around. They may bark if someone comes to the door, but they will love them once they know they are your friends (NB: they can be very aloof with strangers). The Tibbie is a very loving creature although they do maintain a certain amount of independence at times. They can be very stuborn and bribery is quite common where Tibbies are concerned! It is said that they have long memories - they have been known to never forget a friend or forgive an enemy!

Tibbies love being taken for walks on a lead and can walk for long distances. Warning - it is advised to not let them off the lead for their own safety, in particular where there are traffic or other dangers, as they can be quite wilful and may not be as obedient as you like! If on occasions you can't walk them then they will generally exercise themselves by chasing over and under the furniture or around the yard.

Tibbies are very intelligent little dogs - some even say they are schemers! They love playing games with you and other dogs, such as 'hidey' and 'chasey'. They will figure out how to open doors and get into your bag if you are hiding a special treat - or even if you aren't! They have a way of getting what they want. They love to learn new things too and you can even try attending obedience classes - good luck!

Tibbies will give you a lot of love and it has to be returned. They are easy to look after and do not require much grooming except a regular brush, especially behind the ears and hindquarters. A wipe of their eyes and face with a warm damp cloth. You will need to keep the fur between the pads of their feet trimmed but not the featherings. Tibbies don't have that usual doggy smell so you only need to bath them if we are going to a show or are dirty. They do not need to be clipped at all as their double coat insulates them in both summer and winter. Please keep their bowl full of fresh water.

Your dedicated breeders will supply you, the new owner, with a diet chart which will explain everything you need to know about what Tibbies need to eat at all the different stages of their lives. They are generally not fussy eaters but you must start them off right.

Breeding is NOT the mating together of two registered dogs to produce puppies. That has been the downfall of many breeds. It is a creative art that requires the study of genetics, conformation, bloodlines and veterinary procedures. The responsibility for future generations lies with the breeder. The mating together of outstanding dogs will produce many pets, so if dogs that are not outstanding are bred, you can imagine what will and does happen as time goes on. Personality, disposition and hardiness are lost- along with the good looks of the breed. A healthy dog is bred for, not come across by accident.

There is no excuse for buying a puppy from a pet shop, market or person who is exploiting the popularity of the breed - whose only concern is to make a quick dollar at your expense. When you buy from a dedicated breeder, who is breeding for future Champions, you have a chance to acquire a well-bred, properly raised puppy, offered at a fair price. Often only one puppy in a litter is show quality - the rest will be fine puppies. All puppies are cute but may not grow up to be show dogs. If a breeder is selling you a pet puppy, it is interesting to ask why it is not show quality. You will most likely find that it will be a simple matter, which will only affect a show dog, not a pet. Many breeders require that you spay or neuter their pets so you have the best pet possible. Some breeders will put their puppies on the "Limited Register" to protect their puppies (ask the breeder for more information).

A "show dog" is a rare animal that with proper training, nutrition, environment and handling, can and does win in the conformation ring. The Tibetan Spaniel Association of Victoria Inc has some breeder advertisements on this web site (click HERE for the breeders page). The breeders of these puppies will give you the much needed help to "learn the ropes" and allow you to enjoy showing your new Tibetan Spaniel.