Showsight Presents the Tibetan Spaniel

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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