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Tibetan Spaniel
History
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Small monastery dogs, thought to be early representatives of the Tibetan Spaniel, loyally trailed behind their Lama masters and came to be regarded as "little Lions", thus giving them great value and prestige. The practice of sending the dogs as gifts to the palaces of China and other Buddhist countries grew significantly, and in reciprocity more "lion dogs" were presented back to Tibet, continuing until as late as 1908. Through exchange of Tibetan Spaniels between palaces and monasteries, the breed is likely to have common ancestors with a number of the Oriental breeds, including the Havanese Chin and the Pekingese.

Village-bred Tibetan Spaniels varied greatly in size and type, and the smaller puppies were usually given as gifts to the monasteries. In turn, these smaller dogs used in the monastery breeding programs were probably combined with the more elegant Tibetan Spaniel-type dogs brought from China. Those bred closer to the Chinese borders were characterized by shorter muzzles,

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.

The first authenticated reference we find to Tibetan Spaniels in this country 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.





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