If you want a dog that is more like a cat, but with a high need for companionship, then the Tibetan Spaniel might fit the bill. These small dogs don't like to be left alone, like cats, but they do often resemble cats in their ability to perch on windowsills and the way they are somewhat standoffish in temperament. This is a good dog for an apartment for an older person who wants constant round-the-clock companionship. You may think this qualifies the dog as a good pet for children, but sadly, the dog doesn't do that well with children. Children may end up teasing the dog or being too rough with it and this can lead to defensive biting at worst. At best, the dog may run and hide and not want to come out. [...]
The ideal environment for a Tibetan Spaniel used to be high up in the Himalayan mountains where it would perch on Buddhist monastery walls and act as the primary watchdog for approaching strangers. Its bark would warn the real guard dogs to beware the strangers that were coming near. While it still likes cooler temperatures and doesn't do well in very hot, humid weather, it can be very comfortable in an urban environment too.
The household that keeps a Tibetan Spaniel should be one with adults and only older children. Younger children that might tease the dog or play to roughly with it can cause it to exhibit poor socialization around strangers. It will either hide or bite the tiny offender. The dog prefers to be around people who respect it and don't roughhouse it too much. [...]
You have managed to get a wonderful Tibetan Spaniel after a long time waiting. The dog is everything you dreamed of and it seems to be the perfect dog, well behaved and now house-trained. Then, you go off to work and leave the dog alone and all of a sudden the problems start. The dog forgets its house-training or refuses to use newspaper while you are out. The furniture is chewed to pieces and your neighbors are complaining that it barks all the time when you are gone. You are starting to get visits from the animal control office. What went wrong?
Simply put, the Tibetan Spaniel cannot be left alone for long periods of time without suffering separation anxiety. While it can appear to be the model dog as long as you are around, the minute you leave the clock starts ticking. [...]
The Tibetan Spaniel grows to only 10 inches high, in most cases, with a weight of about nine to fifteen pounds. These facts alone would make the dog a prime candidate to be a good escape artist. However, what really makes it masterful is that it can use its paws to open things, like a cat can, and it does just that when prying open fence boards, gates, and doors that are somewhat ajar.
The dog should be kept in an enclosed backyard if you want it to spend some of its time outside. Granted, it won't stay out for long because it can rapidly get lonely. It does suffer from separation anxiety and seeks constant companionship. However, if you place a doggie door available for it, it may go out for a quick romp and just as quickly return. The fenced in yard is mostly for its protection. The dog is so small, it can become prey to larger dogs in the neighborhood. Even a feisty cat can have a good go at this dog and leave scratch marks on the snout of this ever-curious dog. [...]
The Tibetan Spaniel is a highly revered watch dog in Tibet. There the dog was used in Buddhist monasteries to watch out for approaching strangers and wild animals. Upon spotting visitors or animals, the Tibetan Spaniel would bark to signal the guard dogs to be ready to defend the monastery. The dogs were sometimes referred to as "little lion dogs" as they kept faithful watch over the monasteries and accompanied monks as they went about their business. The dogs were so highly revered that they were often given as gifts to different nobility in China. [...]
The Tibetan Spaniel is used to doing its own thing. Its role as a watch dog for Buddhist monks gave it a certain leeway and independence in making judgments as to when to alert the guard dogs. It was left mostly to its own devices and not really trained, and as such, it really isn't suitable for obedience training now.
This small dog has the stubbornness of a mule. Its intelligence and sensitivity also make it easily bored with repetition and obedience training. In order to deal with the inbred stubbornness and independence the dog needs to be very well socialized. It must want to please its owner and it is up to you to figure out how to bring that out in the dog. [...]
The Tibetan Spaniel is still somewhat of a novelty in the United States. There are about 500 Tibetan Spaniels that are registered every year. Breeders can charge upwards of a $1000 for each puppy. The dog breed itself wasn't accepting into the AKC until 1984. Even if you manage to locate a breeder, they may not have puppies for sale. Then, you will probably be put on a waiting list and you will have to hope that you eventually make it to the top of the pile.
If you are trying to locate a breeder, you might think of trying the Internet. Unfortunately, you probably won't find a whole lot since the dogs are in high demand. Your best bet is to go directly to the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America" website, if you are looking for one in the United States. On this website, they will have an area to contact them for a list of breeders. This will give you a good idea how many breeders are near you, what they are charging, and how long the wait is likely to be. [...]
The Tibetan Spaniel has a double coat that is thick and lush. It does shed year-round minimally with one or two actually shedding seasons, depending on the gender of the dog. The bitches can lose their undercoat twice a year, while the dogs will lose them only once during the spring or summer. The shedding season can vary based on your climate but it is usually early summer in warmer climates.
The dog does not need a whole lot of grooming unless it is during shedding season. Most of the rest of the year they do shed, but not as much. If you do not like having dog hair in your apartment, brush them regularly during shedding season. Otherwise, grooming them occasionally is enough to keep them looking good and your home from being too swamped in dog hair. [...]
The Tibetan Spaniel, sometimes affectionately referred to as a "Tibbie," is a very sensitive dog breed. Their wonderfully expressive eyes seem to convey the many moods of this exquisitely sensitive dog. The dog also seems to respond to the moods of its owners and can appear to try to give solace to an owner that is sad or depressed. Similarly, it has a very playful temperament and can sometimes exhibit a smile that looks more like a grin. There are specific situations though that will trigger obstinate behavior and pouty moods in your dog. Learn some of the moods your dog is trying to convey and you will have a better insight into how to handle the dog in a way that leaves it eager to please and content. [...]
Buddhist monks originally used the Tibetan Spaniel as a watch dog in the Himalayan monasteries. It would perch high up on the stone walls where it would have a good view of approaching strangers. Upon new arrivals, it would bark to signal the guard dogs to be alert. There has even been some speculation that the dog was trained to turn the Tibetan prayer wheels. The dog is sometimes called the "little lion dog" and this may come from a story that suggests the Buddha was accompanied by a lion that followed him everywhere like a dog. The dogs were so revered by people that they were often given to nobility in Tibet and China. [...]