Country/Date of Origin: Tibet/1000BC
The name Spaniel is a misnomer. This ancient breed from Tibet is probably the ancestor of the Pekingese. It has been kept by monks for over three thousand years. The little dog was trained to walk on a treadmill, which turned prayer wheels that the monks believed sent prayers to heaven. The holy dogs were given to the emperors of China as tribute gifts and surely figure in the backgrounds of many of the Chinese breeds.
One of the first of the Tibetan breeds to reach the west, the Spaniels appeared in England about 1900 and looked much like the Pekingese of the time. Refinements in England have brought the two breeds to their present forms. The Tibetan Spaniel has much more leg under it and is not so exaggerated in form as the Pekingese.
Tibetan Spaniels were recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1984.