Showsight Presents the Tibetan Spaniel

SPANIEL TIBETAN

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JUDGING THE TIBETAN SPANIEL by LINDA C. FOILES TSCA Judges Education Coordinator

T he Tibetan Spaniel, like other Tibetan breeds, was one that was looked upon as a cherished gift to friends and was never sold. They lived in a cold, rough terrain and were a hardy breed. They are somewhat cat-like in nature and independent even though they do thrive on human companion- ship. It is by their terms they allow us to care for them! This breed has prov- en hardy for many generations. Even today they remain a long lived breed with numerous individuals living past 18 years. That is a fact we breeders are proud of sharing. This is not to say they don’t have some health issues but our breeders do their best to protect this breed. The breed is comical in many ways using their feet like a cat might. This fact can get them into trouble, at times. We owners need to think faster than a Tibbie to outsmart them. They keep us on our toes, that is for sure. Often, we need to make them think what it is we want them to do is “their idea”. Getting things accomplished can sometimes be challenging to say the least. God bless anyone that is successful in obedience with this breed. I, myself, was humbled by this about-ten-inch breed in the obe- dience ring many years ago and I con- tinued to raise and show them. That is how unique they are and can be to those that adore them. The Tibetan Spaniel standard uses the word moderation in all points and that one word “moderation” should lurk in the back of your mind while you judge this “well kept secret” of the dog world. This very intelligent breed is devoted to family and friends but may be aloof with strangers. The breed may not look you in the eye when judging them and does not like to be swooped down upon. At first glance, the Tibetan Spaniel or “Tibbie”, as we affectionately call them, should appear to be a small, active and well-balanced breed, free from coarse-

ness; being only slightly longer than tall when measured from the point of shoul- der to the root of tail. One needs to be mindful of this fact and train the hands and eye to automatically go to those points for measurement. The Tibetan Spaniel outline should never fit into a “square box” from the vantage point of point of shoulder to root of tail and the dog should be balanced without any exaggerations. ( The Tibetan Spaniel ; Miss Phyllis Mayhew, U.K.). The overall balance of this breed’s, about-10-inch package, is extremely important and the top-line is to be level. Moving the tail out of the way to check the top-line is a must, as tail hair can mask the top- line. Too often handlers and breeders alike are draping the tail to reach the shoulders, which is not normal for the breed. Naturally, the tail rests on the back or falls to the side. The head is the hallmark of the breed, however, do not confuse this as a “head” breed alone. The entire pack- age is necessary to fulfill the balanced, moderate dog or bitch. The head should appear small in proportion to the body, free from coarseness or wrinkle. The coloring of the hair on the head and muzzle can sometimes fool the eye into thinking there is a wrinkle on the muzzle when there is none. Because of this fact, you must feel for the wrinkle and not rely on your eye for this assess- ment if the word “wrinkle” pops into your thoughts. It was said recently, “A wrinkle can only be round.” I am not one who cares what shape it is; if it appears to be a wrinkle and you can feel it with your fingers—be it round, flat or otherwise, it is a wrinkle. The skull is broadest at eye level and slightly domed of moderate width and length. The dark eyes, oval in shape (almost triangular) meeting the well-cushioned blunt muzzle of about 1 ½ inches, being measured from the inner corner of the eye to the tip of the nose. The blunt- ness of the muzzle assures the cor- rectness of bite, being ideally slightly

undershot but level mouths are permis- sible providing the chin has sufficient width and depth to preserve the blunt appearance. The teeth should be evenly placed and the lower jaw wide between the canine tusks. The teeth should not show when the mouth is closed. We ask that you please have the handler show the bite in this breed. If you have a ques- tion of bite, chin depth and width, later while judging please re-examine on the table and remember to have the handler show the bite once again. This breed does not care for their mouths to be examined so it is best to ask for the bite to be shown by the handler. Ignoring this fact can ruin a youngster for show- ing later. Please be mindful. When judging the overall look of the head on the table, cup your hands behind the dog’s ears to see how the skull, dark brown eyes, ears and muzzle all fit together. Pay close attention to ear placement. The ears should be set fairly high and may have a slight lift from the skull but never fly. They are pendant, well feathered in adults and of medium size. The black nose is preferred and with the eyes set fairly well apart gives an ape-like expression. When judging the head in profile on the floor, the head should not be down faced, snipey, roman or long and narrow. Pay close attention when evaluating the oval, dark brown eyes of this breed as you can find specimens with blue marks or blue eyes in the breed, which is a fault. Also, pay attention to a large, full eye, light eyes or mean expression which detracts from the ape-like expression of this breed. To further complete the picture, the neck is moderately short, strong and well-set and the head may be car- ried high when on the move. The neck should not give a stuffy appearance. The body should be well ribbed with good depth, have a strong loin and a level back. The ribs should be well sprung, but not barrel and carried well back towards a short loin. The tail is set

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2017 • 249

high, richly plumed and carried in a gay curl over the back when moving. Please check for the tail set when evaluating the breed on the table. The dog should not be penalized for dropping its tail when standing. The forequarters of this breed should be nicely laid back to allow for the brisk movement of the breed. For this reason the neck must not be too short. The moderately short appear- ance of the neck is really brought about by the shawl or mane of hair. The mod- erate bones of the forelegs are slightly bowed but firm at the shoulder. The dog should not be out at the elbow and the legs must not be too bowed or too heavily boned. Remember moderate is the key word here as well and all pieces must fit the package. The feet should not turn neither in nor out but point straight ahead. With that said, young specimens may be a bit eastie/westie when standing due to the lack of matu- rity; i.e. rib spring and depth of chest. The legs must have a rectangle of day- light beneath the dog but should not appear leggy, but younger specimens (not fully developed) may appear leggy due to lack of coat and substance. The feet are small and hare-footed. The hindquarters are well made and strong with the stifle well devel- oped, showing moderate angulation.

The hocks are to be well let down and straight when viewed from behind. The dew claws may be removed, hare-foot as in front. The coat of the Tibbie is a double coat but silky in texture. Due to the silky texture, the coat lies rather flat on the body. The coat should never be a stand off coat, but the forelegs, but- tocks and tail should be well furnished with longer hair. The ears are also nicely covered and the neck is covered with a shawl or mane. Bitches tend to carry less coat than dogs. The feather- ing on the toes can extend beyond the feet however; younger animals may not carry the toe hair called slippers. Slip- pers may not appear until age four and some never grow much toe fringe due to the surface they may be housed on. It is essential that Tibbies are shown natu- rally. Many breeders come to Tibbies from other breeds and along with them they bring their old, familiar ring habits from those other breeds. If the coat of the Tibbie is correct, all the brushing in the ring will be of no use. A correct coat will not stand once the dog shakes or moves. The coat will then fit the body once again. Ring presentation is of the utmost importance to the preservation of this natural breed. As stated in our standard; presentation in the show ring calls for

the Tibetan Spaniel to be shown 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 shall be so severely penalized as to be effective- ly eliminated from competition. Dogs with such a long coat that there is no rectangle of daylight showing beneath or so profuse that it obstructs the nat- ural outline, are to be severely penal- ized. Whiskers are not to be removed. Hair growing between the pads, on the underside of the feet, may be trimmed for safety and cleanliness. Feathering on the toes must not be trimmed. Exhibi- tors have been told by judges, from time to time, to trim those feet. That is a ‘no, no’! All colors and mixtures of colors are allowed and that is what adds to the beauty of this breed. When you get breeders together and they relive the shows they have attended, one some- times hears, “There are judges out there that are color blind.” I don’t believe they are color blind but would rather prefer to see it as judging for breed qualities rather than isolating by color. A quality dog is a quality dog regardless of its col- or and I truly believe a judge is looking for the dog that fills their mind’s eye as the most correct specimen when they judge on that given day. I have been told by some attending the breed seminar that it is hard for them to see expression on the black dogs. Please don’t look for that while the dog is on the ground. Do that particular judging while the dog is on the table and at eye level. If you ques- tion that and want to take another look, as in anything, please put the specimen back on the table for another look. Whether you are learning about the breed, judging it or evaluating your own breeding stock, make sure that this about-10-inch alert, active and moder- ate breed called Tibetan Spaniels gives a well-balanced appearance, ranges from 9-15 pounds and is slightly longer than tall when measured from the point of shoulder to the root of tail. In look- ing for the ape-like expression; with its dark brown eyes and blunt cushioned muzzle, be sure to also include that aloof, quick moving and positive animal with the level top-line, double silky coat and richly plumed tail shown naturally. When you see it all: you will know you have found “The Tibetan Spaniel!”

“IF THE COAT OF THE TIBBIE IS CORRECT, ALL THE BRUSHING IN THE RING WILL BE OF NO USE. A CORRECT COAT WILL NOT STAND ONCE THE DOG SHAKES OR MOVES.”

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VIEWS ON THE TIBETAN SPANIEL

PAMELA BRADBURY

match show. That is where I started. My husband and I had a great time and I still remember that day. The trend I’d like to see stopped is winning at all costs. 7. Has the breed improved from when you started judging? The mix is about the same, but there are more nice imports. I hope they do not bring in unwanted health problems. 8. Are there aspects of the breed not in the standard that you nonetheless take into consideration because breeders consider them important? Not really. We have a wonderful illustrated stan- dard and an excellent video. 9. Can Judges Education on this breed be improved? I believe the best education is in ring observation. Please bring it back, AKC! JOE & MURREL PURKHISER BIOS

DRAGONSONG@PETML.COM 1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? I live in southwest Michigan, near Lake Michigan. Interests? I love to visit plant nurseries—I collect rare and unusual plants and visit Botanic Gardens wherever I am. Also, I raise purebred poultry. 2. Number of years owning, showing and/or judging dogs? I have been showing and breeding purebred dogs since 1972. I put my judges application in about 15 years ago. 3. Describe your breed in three words: Corgies: fun-loving, bold and trainable. Tibetan Spaniels: elegant, independent and watchful. 4. What traits, if any, are becoming exaggerated? Trimming! Trimming is becoming almost epidem- ic. Judges, please follow the standard and place these dogs at the end of the line, no matter who is on the end of the leash. Please! 5. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? What shortcomings are you willing to forgive? Must haves: pretty head with well-placed ears. A muzzle that is broad, with good depth of chin. No long, snipey muzzles; no low, hound-like ears. Good level topline with a well set on tail. I like a nicely boned dog, with good movement. Remem- ber this breed needs to have bow in the front legs. I cannot forgive straight front legs. I can forgive a round eye. 6. While judging, do you see any trends you’d like to see continued or stopped? AKC is trying to reintroduce dog shows as a fam- ily sport. They need to bring back Match Shows independent of point shows. By a half hour after BIS everyone is tired, dogs included. The average person is more likely to bring his or her dog to a

Joe and Murrel both had dogs as children. Their first joint enterprise was when their sons were old enough to want a Collie. They bred and showed Collies and Shelties until Joe’s retirement from the Air Force. They then returned to the breed of Joe’s childhood, Smooth Fox Terriers—several

Champions and Bests in Show followed. Joe has been judging for 38 years and judges all breeds. Murrel started judging after retiring from teaching and now judges the Hound, Toy, Non- Sporting and Herding Groups, plus Fox Terriers and Manchester Terriers.

294 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2015

Q&A

1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? We live in San Antonio, TX. I am USAF Retired. I dabble in photography and enjoy travel. 2. Number of years owning, showing and/or judging dogs? All my life. Murrel and I began showing and breeding as a team in 1965, I’ve been a Judge for 38 years. 3. Describe your breed in three words: Smooth Fox Terriers: intelligent, clean and devoted. 4. What traits, if any, are becoming exaggerated? For Tibetan Spaniels, body length. “Slightly longer than tall” is becoming longer than tall in too many cases. Over grooming—mainly by handlers, not breeders. 5. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? What shortcomings are you willing to forgive? Head traits and expression are high on the list, as is condition, coat, topline, tail carriage, gait and temperament. When you ask about shortcomings, you must be aware that judging dogs is a study in compromise. You must forgive in nearly every class. What you forgive is dependent upon the exhibits present. 6. While judging, do you see any trends you’d like to see continued or stopped? Trends to continue: breeders trying to improve with every litter. Also, having fun. To stop: People who call themselves handlers try- ing to talk unprepared owners into paying them to show dogs that should be home on the couch. 7. What, if any, are the traits breeders should focus on preserving? Having been there, I am sure that breeders worry about many things. Head, eyes, ears, structure, body length, topline, tail carriage, coat and tem- perament need to be high on the list. Come to think of it, what’s not to worry about when you are breeding dogs? 8. Has the breed improved from when you started judging? Not all, but as a general rule I believe coats are improved. It may be that breeders are paying more attention, as well as exhibitors conditioning better. 9. Are there aspects of the breed not in the standard that you nonetheless take into consideration because breeders consider them important? No. 10. Can Judges Education on this breed be improved? I have been very active in Judges Education for more than 30 years, locally and nationally, and have very strong views on the subject. National clubs must put responsible people on their Judges

Education Committees and not just members who like to see their name on the letterhead. Until all clubs do this, we will have hit and miss educational programs. LINDA FOILES 1. Where do you live? What do you do outside of dogs? I live in a rural community outside Washington, DC in Northern Virginia. Outside of dogs I have spent the last 37 years teaching elementary school grades pre-K through 1 and the last 13 years as a reading specialist for K-5. I recently retired. 2. Number of years owning, showing and/or judging dogs? My family began showing dogs when I was 9 years old and settled on Great Pyrenees as their breed after a year or so. When I was 13 years old, I purchased my first Sheltie and that began my personal love affair with the show ring and purebred dogs. I became involved with Tibbies before they were recognized by AKC through a Sheltie friend. She imported a parti color dog from England and I never looked back. My foundation bitch was a daughter of his that I bought about a year or so later. I enjoy many breeds of dogs and have raised and shown successfully, Silky Terriers and currently, Papillons as well. I began judging in, I believe, 1989 and presently judge 5 breeds—Tib- bies being one of them. I have judged the TSCA National Specialty two times plus judged the breed in Australia and in May 2016 I have the honor of judging the breed in Scotland. 3. Describe your breed in three words: Moderate, loving and independent! 4. What traits, if any, are becoming exaggerated? Large head size, wrinkle and body length. 5. What are your “must have” traits in this breed? What shortcomings are you willing to forgive? Must have traits: head appears small for the body, substance and bone. Free from wrinkle; coat that does not obscure the outline. If I need to, I can forgive longer in body. This plagues this breed. I can also forgive a taller dog if body proportions are correct with beautiful type and head qualities. 6. While judging, do you see any trends you’d like to see continued or stopped? In some areas the breed is losing bone and sub- stance. They are not a toy-like breed. They must also have a strong sternum—something we are not always seeing as well. Toplines need to be dead level with no tail being draped to the shoulder blades. The tail should lay on the back or drape to the side. You should see topline when viewed from the side.

296 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2015

JUDGING THE TIBETAN SPANIEL

By Linda C. Foiles TSCA Judges Education Coordinator

T

he Span- iel standard uses the word moderation in all points and that one word “moderation” should lurk in the back Tibetan

of your mind while you judge this “well kept secret” of the dog world. Th is very intelligent breed is devoted to family and friends but may be aloof with strangers. Th e breed may not look you in the eye when judging them and does not like to be swooped down upon. At fi rst glance, the Tibetan Spaniel or “Tibbie” as we a ff ectionately call them, should appear to be a small, active, well- balanced breed, free from coarseness; being only slightly longer than tall when measured from the point of shoulder to the root of tail. One needs to be mindful of this fact and train the hands to auto- matically go to those points for measure- ment. Th e Tibetan Spaniel outline should never fi t into a “square box” and the dog should be balanced without any exaggera- tions. ( Th e Tibetan Spaniel ; Miss Phyllis Mayhew, U.K.). Th e overall balance of this breed’s, about 10 inch package, is extremely important and the top-line is to be level. Moving the tail out of the way to check the top-line is a must, as tail hair can mask the top-line. Th e head is the hallmark of the breed however; do not confuse this as a “head” breed alone. Th e entire package is neces- sary to ful fi ll the balanced, moderate dog or bitch. Th e head should appear small in proportion to the body, free from coarse- ness or wrinkle. Th e coloring of the hair on the head and muzzle can sometimes fool the eye into thinking there is a wrin- kle on the muzzle when there is none. Because of this fact, you must feel for the wrinkle and not rely on your eye for this assessment if the word wrinkle pops into your thoughts. Th e skull is broadest

First Tibetan Spaniel Best in Show.

First Tibetan Spaniel National Specialty Winner.

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“PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO EAR PLACEMENT. The ears should be set fairly high and may have a slight lift from the skull but never fly. They are pendant, well feathered, in adults, and of medium size.”

at eye level and slightly domed of moder- ate width and length. Th e dark eyes, oval in shape (almost triangular) meeting the well cushioned blunt muzzle of about 1 ½ inches, being measured from the inner corner of the eye to the tip of the nose. Th e bluntness of the muzzle assures the correctness of bite, being ideally slightly undershot but level mouths are permissi- ble providing the chin has su ffi cient width and depth to preserve the blunt appear- ance. Th e teeth should be evenly placed and the lower jaw wide between the canine tusks. Th e teeth should not show when the mouth is closed. If you should have a question about the bite please re- examine on the table. Th is breed does not care for their mouths to be examined so it is probably best to ask for the bite to be shown by the handler. When judging the overall look of the head on the table, cup your hands behind the dogs ears to see how the skull, dark brown eyes, ears and muzzle all fi t togeth- er. Pay close attention to ear placement. Th e ears should be set fairly high and may have a slight lift from the skull but never fl y. Th ey are pendant, well feathered, in adults, and of medium size. Th e black nose is preferred and with the eyes set fairly well apart gives an ape-like expres- sion. When judging the head in pro fi le, on the fl oor, the head should not be down faced, snipy, roman or long and narrow. Pay close attention when evaluating the

oval, dark brown eyes of this breed as you can fi nd specimens with blue marks or blue eyes in the breed, which is a fault. Also pay attention to a large full eye, light eyes or mean expression which detracts from the ape-like expression of the breed. To further complete the picture, the neck is moderately short, strong and well set on and the head may be carried high when on the move. Th e neck should not give a stu ff y appearance. Th e body should be well ribbed, with good depth, have a strong loin and a level back. Th e ribs should be well sprung, but not barrel and carried well back towards a short loin. Th e tail is set high, richly plumed and carried in a gay curl over the back when moving. Please check for the tail set when evaluating the breed on the table. Th e dog should not be penalized for dropping its tail when standing. Th e forequarters of this breed should be nicely laid back to allow for the brisk movement of the breed. For this rea- son the neck must not be too short. Th e

moderately short appearance of the neck is really brought about by the shawl or mane of hair. Th e moderate bones of the forelegs are slightly bowed but fi rm at the shoulder. Th e dog should not be out at the elbow and the legs must not be too bowed or too heavily boned. Remember moderate is the key word here as well. Th e feet should not turn neither in nor out but point straight ahead. With that said, young specimens may be a bit east- ie/westie when standing due to the lack of maturity; i.e. rib spring and depth of chest. Th e legs must be long enough to have a rectangle of daylight beneath the dog but should not appear leggy. Th e feet are small and hare-footed. Th e hindquarters are well made and strong with the sti fl e well developed, showing moderate angulation. Th e hocks are to be well let down and straight when viewed from behind. Th e dew claws may be removed, hare-foot as in front. Th e coat of the Tibbie is a double coat but silky in texture. Due to the silky

“The legs must be long enough to have a rectangle of daylight beneath the dog but should not appear leggy.”

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“ALL COLORS AND MIXTURES OF COLORS ARE ALLOWED AND THAT IS WHAT ADDS TO THE BEAUTY OF THIS BREED.”

texture the coat lies rather fl at on the body. Th e coat should never be a stand o ff coat but the forelegs, buttocks and tail should be well furnished with longer hair. Th e ears are also nicely covered and the neck is covered with a shawl or mane. Bitches tend to carry less coat than dogs. Th e feathering on the toes can extend beyond the feet however; younger animals may not carry the toe hair called slippers. Slippers may not appear until age 4 and some never grow much toe fringe due to the surface they may be housed on. It is essential that Tibbies are shown naturally. Many breeders come to Tibbies from oth- er breeds and along with them they bring their old, familiar ring habits from those other breeds. If the coat of the Tibbie is correct all the brushing, in the ring, will be of no use. A correct coat will not stand once the dog shakes. Th e coat will then fi t the body once again. Ring presentation is of the utmost importance to the preservation of this natural breed. As stated in our standard;

presentation in the show ring calls for the Tibetan Spaniel to be shown in an unal- tered condition with the coat lying natu- rally with no teasing, parting or styliz- ing of the hair. Specimens where the coat has been altered by trimming, clipping, or by arti fi cial means shall be so severely penalized as to be e ff ectively eliminated from competition. Dogs with such a long coat that there is no rectangle of daylight show- ing beneath or so profuse that it obstructs the natural outline, are to be severely penal- ized. Whiskers are not to be removed. Hair growing between the pads, on the underside of the feet, may be trimmed for safety and cleanliness. Feathering on the toes must not be trimmed. Exhibitors have been told by judges, from time to time, to trim those feet. Th at is a “no, no!” All colors and mixtures of colors are allowed and that is what adds to the beau- ty of this breed. When you get breeders together and they relive the shows they have attended one sometimes hears, “ Th ere are judges out there that are color

blind.” I don’t believe they are color blind but would rather prefer to see it as judg- ing for breed qualities rather than isolat- ing by color. A quality dog is a quality dog regardless of its color and I truly believe a judge is looking for the dog that fi lls their minds eye as the most correct specimen when they judge on that given day. Whether you are learning about the breed, judging it or evaluating your own breeding stock make sure that this about 10 inch alert, active, moderate breed called Tibetan Spaniels gives a well bal- anced appearance, ranges from 9-15 pounds and is slightly longer than tall when measured from the point of shoul- der to the root of tail. In looking for the ape-like expression; with its dark brown eyes and blunt cushioned muzzle be sure to also include that aloof, quick moving and positive animal with the level top- line, double silky coat and richly plumed tail shown naturally. When you see it all: you will know you have found “ Th e Tibetan Spaniel!”

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GETTING TO KNOW THE TIBETAN SPANIEL

By TSCA Members: Linda C. Foiles, Mallory Driskill, Becky Maag, Pat Sarles, Karen Shilliday & Carol Srnka

T o those who love the Tibetan Spaniel we see the many facets of their being. We see the unique animal who graciously allows us to live with “them” and we hope this article gives you some idea of the reasons why. To know and understand this breed we go back to their very beginning. Tibbies, as they are a ff ectionately called, originated in the rough, mountainous countryside of Tibet. Th e breed has been known for over 2000 years. We envision them sitting on a wall or high place alerting their people of something that may (or is about to) be hap- pening. Th is is an ancient characteristic they still possess today. It is said the Bud- dhist monks raised Tibetan Spaniels and used them as bed warmers among other things. Th ey were never sold but given as cherished gifts to esteemed friends. Legend has it that the Buddhist monks had the Tibetan Spaniels turn the prayer wheels in the monasteries. Owners today keep that thought alive. Because of the legend, when someone in the Tibbie community needs prayers we sign our e-mail or corre- spondence with, “prayer wheels are turn-

ing for you.” Th is rugged, little dog with- stood temperatures in their native Tibet from between 32 degrees – 50 degrees in the summer and to -4 to 14 degrees in the winter months. Th is double coated breed was made to withstand these extremes. As such, Tibbies are a hardy breed both loving and stubborn at the same time. Th ey are cat-like in nature, thriving on human com- panionship when “they” feel the need to have it. Th is loyal and independent nature adds to the breed’s uniqueness. Th e breed in the U.S. got its start from breeders in the United Kingdom. We thank those breeders for believing in us to care for and cherish this wonderful breed. In the early days, before AKC recogni- tion, we as breeders were also fortunate to have two members of the Tibetan Spaniel Club of America, Inc. who came back from India and brought a male and a female with them. Th e introduction of those new lines made great contributions to the breed in the U.S. Today we import dogs from all over Europe and work together with breed- ers from many countries. In this way we continue to strive to keep this breed true to its origin. Working cooperatively with others around the world has worked in the

breeds favor. We have gained knowledge about health issues and in turn address those issues world wide. Both the breeders from the U.S. and the U.K., among others, have worked to contribute blood samples for PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) research. Because of this e ff ort the breed now has a genetic marker and test for PRA 3. Th e breed is relatively healthy, living to upwards of 15 years old or older and thriv- ing because of its conscientious caretakers. Th e people that raise and train the Tibetan Spaniel are almost as unique as the breed they raise. Raising show ani- mals can be both rewarding and frustrat- ing. It is very rewarding when a puppy from ones planned breeding earns its championship and then goes on to com- pete at the next level of competition. Doing well in the Group ring, competing against other breeds in the Non-Sporting Group, is the ultimate compliment to ones breeding program. So much planning goes into breed- ing quality, healthy (in mind and body) examples of the breed. Several things that make Tibbies unique are their hare feet with their coveted slippers. Slippers are the hair that grows out from both the

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underside and topside of the foot. Please note this hair may not grow to its full beauty until the Tibbie is four or so years old. Th e surface the Tibbie is kept on can contribute to the breakage or loss of toe hair. Tibbies also have a unique front assemble with its strong prosternum. Th is breed feature is easily lost if attention to this detail is not speci fi cally sought after. When this is lost you may lose true Tibbie movement. One head factor that is impor- tant to uphold is the slightly undershot mouth or bite. Th e standard does allow a level bite provided there is enough width and depth of chin as to preserve the blunt appearance of the muzzle. Anyone can put two dogs together but that doesn’t necessarily mean the end result will be a dog that looks like its breed. Genetic testing must be done, prior to breeding, to better insure the con- tinued quality of the breed. Of course, breeding dogs is not an exact science but most national breed clubs require its club members to do this testing for the health and welfare of the breed the organization is there to protect and defend. We are the caretakers of the breed and if we fail in our task the breed fails as well. It is gratifying to hear newcomers to the breed say that this is a welcoming breed. One that aides new exhibitors in how to show and care for the breed. With little basic grooming a new exhibi- tor can have a Tibbie ready for the ring. Most show them free baiting which adds to the ease of showing. Th ankfully we are a breed where class animals are mostly owner handled. Tibbies are enjoyable

little characters to have fun with and have a big dog attitude! Th is is not a breed with just a pretty face and coat. Tibbies and their devotion to family and companionship have lent themselves well to therapy work. A ther- apy dog has an outstanding temperament, tolerates other animals well, loves adults as and children and enjoys being with their owners. Whether it’s visiting nursing homes, libraries (as nonjudgmental read- ing listeners) pediatric wards in hospitals or sitting on the lap of someone in a wheel chair therapy Tibbies are unique to the job at hand. Being involved with pet therapy is rewarding and therapeutic for both the dog and the handler. Th e breed is also used in the junior showmanship ring. We have enjoyed both watching and supporting our juniors with Tibbies. Having children involved with the breed helps insure the next generation of dog show enthusiasts. If you feel performance events might be what tickles your fancy you may be interested in agility or obedience. Tibbies are very intelligent and intuitive little dogs. While Tibbies love being with their people and having fun, they also have an independent nature described as “cat like” in our standard. Th is independence often means they do not see a purpose in doing something over and over again since… they just did it. Th is combina- tion makes training a Tibetan Spaniel for performance events a challenge but often a very fun adventure. With a sense of humor, use of positive training tech- niques and short fun practice sessions

Tibetan Spaniels can excel in many dif- ferent performance events. Tibetan Span- iels are sturdy and athletic little dogs (not diminutive toy-like dogs) that enjoy agili- ty, but may want to pause at the top of the A-Frame or Dog Walk to check out their domain. Th ey also can excel in obedience and Rally obedience if “their person” remembers short, fun practice sessions. Some other activities Tibbies have par- ticipated in include tricks, tracking, and musical freestyle. Just remember train- ing a Tibbie can be entertaining because of Tibbie antics. Maintain a good sense of humor and accept that a Tibbie will make you laugh! As you can see there are many facets of the Tibetan Spaniel. Whether it’s the fun loving Tibbie antics that attract you to this breed or the challenge of training an independent cat-like thinker; peel back the multitude of layers that make up a Tibetan Spaniel and you will fi nd the unique four legged creature we lovingly call “Tibbies.”

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