Tibetan Mastiff general features, temperament, health

Tibetan Mastiff dog breed photo

FCI# 230, Origin: Tibet 2.3 Molossoid Breeds.

Height: 25-28 in, Weight: 140-170 pounds

Grooming: Medium, Shedding: Medium, Coat: Straight elongated coat with undercoat.

Color: Black, brown, grey with tan, shades of golden color.

Ease of training: Medium, Energy level: Medium, Span of life: 12-15 years.

Breed: Tibetan Mastiff even today is a very rare breed. However, according to the experts, he is the ancestor of all modern dogs of Molosser type. The first mention of Tibetan Mastiff dates back to 1121 BC.

For many years, this dog almost did not change: domesticated, he  became one of the favorite breeds, and his exterior and a strong natural health, intelligence and ability to adapt to any - even the most severe - climatic conditions - remained unchanged.

The scientific sources can tell us of a whole army of fighting animals, including large shaggy dogs, traveling along with a horde of Mongolian nomads.

In addition, they have left their traces in the ancient history: the Mesopotamian Molossoids (it could be the Tibetan mastiffs, or their descendants!) were at one time presented to Alexander the Great by the  Indian king. It is known for sure, that this dogs were brought from Tibet to Europe several times, usually during the wars, invasions, or with the caravans.

In 1271 Marco Polo arrived to Tibet. He was one of the first Europeans to see the Tibetan Mastiff, and this dog gave him an indelible impression.Traveler wrote about the dog, that was fierce, huge, as tall as a donkey.

Subsequently, when the Europeans saw the Tibetan donkey, they found that it rarely reaches even meter in height, but the comparison has long excited the imagination of naturalists. For a long time the Tibetan dogs were beings rather legendary than real, and often people compared them with the yeti - a snow man, whose existence is not proven, but there are witnesses, and traces of his presence in the most inhospitable places on our planet, where everything is incredibly difficult and dangerous.

Tibetan Mastiff dog breeds

Next European who saw the Tibetan Mastiff after Marco Polo was Robert Buckle, sent by the Governor of Bengal to Tibet with a diplomatic mission. And it happened after almost five centuries, in 1774.

Buckle described the Tibetan Mastiff as a dog with long hair, very large and ferocious. This and other evidences brought nothing new to the history of the breed, but it was the only information until the middle of XIX  century - when the first real live Tibetan Mastiffs arrived to Europe. And for a long time they were treated like wild beasts - the first dogs were sent to the London Zoo. Some of them died soon after failing to adapt to the European climate, and the survivors were placed in a cage, with the sign saying: "Do not approach." Of course, the nature of these dogs was "heavy", which was determined by their original purpose - they were used as guards, watchdogs and hunters

In their homeland this breed did not have a permanent name. They were called Do Khyi ("Do" means "a door", "Khyi" - "a dog"), but in Tibet this name was given to all guard dogs, without exception, while the hunting dogs were named Sha Khyi ("Sha" means "the meat"). This name - "Do Khyi" means that the Tibetan Mastiff was primarily a guard dog. Another view was held only by Marco Polo, who claimed that these dogs were used for hunting a lion and a huge wild buffalo. These "lions" were tigers - animals, unfamiliar to the Venetian traveler, and with the name "buffalo" Marco Polo called yaks, menacing only at first glance, but actually harmless.Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that dogs accompanied the herds of yaks, not in order to hunt them, but to protect them from predators.

The first dogs that arrived to Europe, were already adults. They did not know their new owners, and may not have been accustomed to people from the childhood. It is not surprising that at the time when no one knew about the dog's psychology, these animals were recognized as "complicated in handling". When talking about the Tibetan Mastiff it is important to remember that, the first - not too successful - experiments happened long time ago. Today this breed is somewhat different from it's ancestors, and the image of a dog - huge, in size of a donkey and fierce as a tiger - remained exclusively belonging to legends.

But let's get back to the history of the breed, which in the twentieth century shared the sad fate of it's country of origin. Tibet was first occupied by British, and then by China. The Dalai Lama was forced to escape and the country felt in a crisis that continues to this day.This crisis effected the dogs as well. As always, first of all people tried to get rid of those who was bigger in size: it became difficult to keep such a huge dogs, and, finally, in his motherland the Tibetan Mastiff has virtually disappeared. Today the situation is better - those dogs that survived the turbulence of political disasters became a new start of the breed - especially popular in China.

While Tibet was in the middle of troubles, the Tibetan Mastiff was  literally rescued in Nepal, where the king himself took this dogs "under his wing". In 1966 there was developed a special program of protection and breeding of these dogs. It is thanks to Nepalese the Tibetan Mastiff managed to win sympathy in Western Europe. In the late 60's, when Tibet was completely under the control of China, Nepal has become a place of pilgrimage for tourists, especially Americans. They were mountaineers who dreamed to climb the Himalayas, the hippies, interested in the Buddhist philosophy, adventurers ... And they all came in admiration at the sight of huge, noble dogs that frolicked in the valleys.

Anna Rouer, who brought the Tibetan Mastiffs from Nepal, became the founder of the American Society of Tibetan Mastiff's fanciers.

In Europe, the Tibetan Mastiff are bred in England, Holland, Germany, France, Italy and other countries. In France, the first Tibetan Mastiffs were purchased by a famous actor Alain Delon, who spoke about them with the great enthusiasm.

Indeed, the Tibetan Mastiff, deserves a wide distribution - not only because of his beauty, but because of his character. 

General Features: Tibetan Mastiff is a powerful, heavy, very beautiful dog with a good expression. He has a straight back, well developed muscles, deep chest, strong shoulders and broad head. The body of the Tibetan Mastiff has no analogues in the dog world. European fans of the breed Tibetan Mastiff argue that some of this dogs reach a weight of 99 kg, although a more realistic weight, probably is about 60 kg. Coat of a Tibetan Mastiff is very dense, with well developed undercoat, elongated. Guard hairs are thin, but tough, rough to the touch line. Colors of Tibetan Mastiff: pure black, black and tan, brown, different shades of gold and silver.

Temperament: Many centuries of evolution and the fact that Tibet has been a closed area preserved the quality of the breed almost unchanged. Adult Tibetan Mastiffs are quite healthy and rarely get sick.

Tibetan Mastiff dog breed photo

Optimal conditions for these dogs - a house with yard. In a city apartment Tibetan Mastiff will cause a number of difficulties: he will need a lot of long walks and more careful attitude to the training. City noise, lots of sounds and smells, walking pedestrians with children, other dogs - all these should not be a stressful factor, the dog must be fully adapted to this lifestyle. In addition, the city dog ??????coat will not look so thick and luxurious, like with an animal that lives on fresh air.

One of the remarkable benefits of the Tibetan Mastiff - a complete absence of the typical dog smell. This breed can be recommended even for people who are prone to allergies or do not tolerate "doggy odor". Grooming of the Tibetan Mastiff is very simple: the necessary hygienic procedures will not take much time and effort.

Tibetan Mastiff needs training  from an early age. Puppy needs to be introduced to people and the outside world.
Tibetan Mastiff is a territorial dog. He is protecting not only his owner, but also "his" properties: plot, garden, or even some part of the street. On his territory Tibetan Mastiff chooses the highest point, which he will use for observation.

Tibetan Mastiff has a very interesting character: bright, expressive, uncommonly harmonious and friendly. This dog is never barking "for nothing". In addition, he is able to make his own decisions - when the owner is not in danger, he would go quietly to the side, but if a person tries to enter the house with bad intentions, the dog will protect you. This happens because the Tibetan Mastiff has an unusually developed sense and intelligence.

Tibetan Mastiff will not annoy you with impudence. He is running around the yard, lying lazily in the sun or cooling off in the shade, but he always enjoys the attention of his owner and communication with you and your family can give him a real joy. Usually, this dog knows who's the chief, but also to other family members he has enough affection, respect and loyalty. Brave, faithful heart of a giant furry pet has enough space for everyone he loves. And how great is his joy, when the owners returned from a trip or from work!

When a family has a child, the Tibetan Mastiff understand that in front of him is a little baby. All children's pranks, teasing and fussing will not cause the dog aggression. Many experienced breeders agree that we need rather to think about the dog's safety, than about the safety of the child - Tibetan Mastiff will allow a little child wag, sit on his back, run after him, climb, pull his ears and anything else, the child is willing to do. If your child has guests, explain to children that even humorous bickering and fussing the dog can take over the fight, and try to intervene to restore the order.

Another remarkable feature of the Tibetan mastiff -  his majestic self-esteem. However, this dog can not be called phlegmatic, he has a sense of humor, and mental alertness, and playfulness, and curiosity, and mobility. All these traits are manifested remarkably in a timely manner and according to the situation: when the family is alone with the dog, he is tender and gentle playful kitten (giant-sized!), when there is a guest - a keen observer who does not get underfoot, but he is in control of the situation and when you are in danger - he is a fabulous guardian. But most important is the light of the devotion and loyalty that Tibetan Mastiff emits virtually with every cell of his body!

Health problems: Tibetan Mastiffs are prone to hip dysplasia and CIDN (which is, unfortunately, a genetic problem).

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