A fluffy Tibetan Mastiff.
A fluffy Tibetan Mastiff.

Tibetan Mastiff

avatarChristy McDowell, LVT, VTS (ECC)

Height24 - 26"
Weight140 - 170 lbs
TypeWorking
Life Expectancy10 - 12 years
Area of OriginTibet

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient breed that is considered to be the basis from which most large-breed working dogs evolved. They are herding and guardian dogs that originated in the Himalayan mountains of Tibet, and are noted for their intellect and strong will. If not trained properly, they are capable of becoming aggressive.

Energy Level

Playfulness

Friendliness to dogs

Friendliness to strangers

exercise requirements

affection level

friendliness to other pets

watchfulness

Grooming Requirements

Vocality

Where Are Tibetan Mastiffs From?

The history of the Tibetan Mastiff is well hidden, thanks to the isolation of Tibet from the rest of the world. They have been guarding land and flock for centuries, and are believed to be the ancestor of every other Mastiff breed. Their large bodies and thick fur are perfect for the cold climate and high altitude of the Himalayan Mountains, and their intimidating demeanor acts as a very effective deterrent for potential intruders.

In the mid-19th century, travelers were allowed to enter Tibet, and many wrote about their first-hand experiences. Marco Polo noted the Mastiff to be as “large as donkeys.”

Exportation of the breed to England began around the same time, and America became home to Tibetan Mastiffs roughly 100 years later. Today, the number of Mastiffs in Tibet has dramatically decreased, though they are likely still bred by the people of the Chang Tang plateau.

Where Are Tibetan Mastiffs From?

The history of the Tibetan Mastiff is well hidden, thanks to the isolation of Tibet from the rest of the world. They have been guarding land and flock for centuries, and are believed to be the ancestor of every other Mastiff breed. Their large bodies and thick fur are perfect for the cold climate and high altitude of the Himalayan Mountains, and their intimidating demeanor acts as a very effective deterrent for potential intruders.

In the mid-19th century, travelers were allowed to enter Tibet, and many wrote about their first-hand experiences. Marco Polo noted the Mastiff to be as “large as donkeys.”

Exportation of the breed to England began around the same time, and America became home to Tibetan Mastiffs roughly 100 years later. Today, the number of Mastiffs in Tibet has dramatically decreased, though they are likely still bred by the people of the Chang Tang plateau.

Care

What Kind of Diet Does a Tibetan Mastiff Need?

Mastiffs do well on a high-quality, large-breed commercial diet. They need less food then their size suggests, and will occasionally skip meals or only eat when hungry. If you have any nutrition questions, discuss them with your veterinarian.

Caring for a Tibetan Mastiff

What Kind of Diet Does a Tibetan Mastiff Need?

Do Tibetan Mastiffs Need to Be Brushed?

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Healthy?

Can You Train a Tibetan Mastiff?

How Much Exercise Does a Tibetan Mastiff Need?

What Kind of Diet Does a Tibetan Mastiff Need?

Mastiffs do well on a high-quality, large-breed commercial diet. They need less food then their size suggests, and will occasionally skip meals or only eat when hungry. If you have any nutrition questions, discuss them with your veterinarian.

What Are the Physical Characteristics of a Tibetan Mastiff?

The average height of a Tibetan Mastiff is 26″ minimum at the shoulder for males, and 24″ minimum for females. They weigh anywhere from 140 to 170 pounds. They are large and powerful, with an alert gaze and imposing demeanor.

Eyes are varying shades of brown, typically with dark rims. The ears are mid-sized, high on the head, and dropped forward. The head is broad and strong. Adults may have some skin wrinkling from the eyes to the mouth.

The body of the Tibetan Mastiff is strong, heavy, and muscular, with a straight back and deep chest. Their necks have a thick mane of fur, especially in males. The abdomen is moderately tucked up.

The tail is feathered, mid-length (typically not reaching past the hock), and curled over the back when alert.

The forelimbs are straight, strong, and covered with coarse hair and feathering. The feet are large, but compact, typically with longer fur between the toes. Dewclaws are typically not removed.

Tibetan Mastiffs have a double coat that is moderately long and plentiful. The outer coat is coarser to provide protection. The undercoat is softer to provide warmth in the colder months. Their colors are limited to black or brown-blue, with or without tan markings.

The hindlimbs are powerful, and straight when viewed from behind. There may be one or two dewclaws, which can be removed if desired.

Tibetan Mastiff Facts

1

In Tibet, Tibetan Mastiffs are called Do-khyi ("tied dog"), referring to the fact that they are typically tied outside during the day and allowed to patrol at night.

2

Tibetans believe that Mastiffs are inhabited by the souls of monks and nuns not reincarnated into humans or accepted into the heavenly realm of Shambhala.

3

Accepted in 2006, the Tibetan Mastiff is one of the most recent breeds to be recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Other Breeds to Explore

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Newfoundland
Choosing a Saint Bernard

References

  • American Kennel Club. The Complete Dog Book. Random House Digital, Inc., 2006.
  • Morris, Desmond. Dogs: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds. Trafalgar Square, 2002.
  • Wilcox, Bonnie and Chris Walkowicz. The Atlas of Dog Breeds of the World. T.F.H Publications, Inc., 1995.

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