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So Bentley isn't a Pug Mix - Bones and Fishes

So Bentley isn’t a Pug Mix

I’ve had Bentley for a couple years now. When I got him, I was told that he was a pug and pekingese mix. Some googling brought up dogs that looked somewhat similar, giving that theory plausibility.


I enjoyed having a pug mix. There’s a very active pug rescue in our area that puts on frequent fundraisers that are great fun, such as the Pug Gala and Pugoween. We attended these each year and had a blast. There are also many pug owners at the agility center that we were going to (that’s been on hold for a while, but I’m hoping to get back to it soon!) and everyone loves pugs. But I always wondered if his lineage was accurate.

Not long ago, I joined a dog-centric Facebook group and started sharing pictures of both Bentley and Quincy there, describing Ben as a pug/peke mix. It wasn’t long before one guy spoke up and said “He’s not a mix, he’s definitely a Tibetan Spaniel.” As an obsessed dog person, I was embarrassed to realize I’d never heard of that breed, so off to Google I went. I was surprised by how similar some of those dogs looked, but other results were mixed in, leaving me a little uncertain.


For a couple weeks I browsed Tibetan Spaniel hashtags on Instagram, such as #tibbie and #tibetanspaniel. At that point, I was startled by how much some of those dogs looked like Bentley. Some were identical!

Posting in the Facebook group again, the same man spoke up and I found out that, not only did he own two tibbies (one who ispretty much Bentley’s doppelganger), but he also shows Afghan Hounds and judges dog shows. Someone who really knows his stuff! All his stories about Tibetan Spaniel behavior matched Bentley to a T. Every little anatomical feature matched as well, like the long black ear hairs and the toe tufts.

While some people still argue that he might not be purbred, and that is possible, I’m pretty convinced that he’s a pure Tibetan Spaniel. When it comes down to it, he’s not “papered” or registered and he’s neutered, so his purebred status is irrelevant. He obviously isn’t “show quality” either way, but he’s an excellent little companion and knowing his breed sheds a lot of light on who he is aND how he behaves.

Dogs at Voodoo Donuts in Portland Oregon

Each breed was developed for a specific purpose and their personality traits are a huge part of this. ┬áBrand new breeds may be an exception, since it’s become trendy to breed for looks rather than function. But Tibetan Spaniels are a very old breed, dating back 2500 years. They share ancestry with Pugs and Pekingese, among others that were developed in that part of the world, and do have similar personality traits.

Like Pugs, Tibetan Spaniels were bred for companionship in monasteries. As with Pekingese, their resemblance to lions gave them value and prestige. I can tell you first hand that they are tenacious little cuddlers. Bentley has made me claustrophobic a few times with how insistent he is about sitting in my lap at all times!


Pure or not, I’m happy to have made some progress on figuring out what Ben is. This knowledge has helped me understand some of his quirky behavior, and I’ve learned a lot about that breed. I still might get a DNA test at some point for the fun of it, but the big mystery has been solved!

Have you ever wondered what breed your dog is? Did you figure it out, or is it still a mystery? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

1 Comment

  1. Ann Chantrel

    Does he do the Tibbie trill? That is a high pitch noise when excited (and usually climbs up on something, too)


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