What is a Tibetan Mastiff?

Tibetan Mastiffs are a breed of large dogs that are generally used to help in herding animals such as goats, sheep, and other livestock as well as serve as guard dogs.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) categorizes dogs into 7 groups:

  • herding
  • hound
  • non-sporting
  • sporting
  • terrier
  • toy
  • working

The Tibetan Mastiff is listed under the working category of the American Kennel Club, and is considered to be an extremely independent and intelligent dog that is very protective of their territory and family.

Tibetan Mastiff Temperament

Tibetan Mastiffs have different temperaments dogs that are still in their native Tibet are said to be very formidable, ferocious, hostile and unpredictable, thus rendering training them a very strenuous and difficult task to accomplish. In contrast, Tibetan Mastiffs that were westernized are less cumbersome when it comes to domestication. They are very audacious and brave dogs being flock guardians, they are able to defend their flock against any potential threats

People who have Tibetan Mastiffs usually attribute the dogs to be:

  •          Courageous
  •          Even-tempered
  •          Calm
  •          Thoughtful
  •          Loyal
  •          Rugged
  •          Powerful
  •          Fearless
  •          Fierce
  •          Tenacious against threats
  •          Intimidating
  •          Intelligent
  •          Dignified
  •          Quiet indoors
  •          Guard dog
  •          Confident
  •          Pack-minded
  •          Strong-willed
  •          Excellent family dogs
  •          Reserved with strangers

Tibetan Mastiff History

The Tibetan Mastiff is said to be one of the oldest dog breeds that exists today. But historical documents during the earlier part of human history were not stored, making the Mastiffs earlier history unidentified. Some suggest that Tibetan Mastiffs have existed as early as the stone and bronze ages. There were documentations from Marco Polo during his adventures in Asia during the 13th century, with him depicting the dogs were usually trained to be guard dogs in China from 1000 BC. Tibetan Mastiffs are descendants from Tibetan dogs where Molossuses and other Mastiff breeds originated from. As with its name, The Tibetan Mastiff is found in Tibet as well as in the Himalayas, where they are called tied dogs and are raised to be fierce guard dogs, but some can also be Arabia and Syria, likely due to them following the invaders of centuries past as well as importation over the centuries.

A Work-minded Companion

Tibetan Mastiffs are hotwired for work, with instincts that are rooted deep within their psyches. They are independent and strong-willed dogs and would attempt to control any situation should the presence of an assertive leader or owner is absent. They are very protective of their territories and their families, taking after their pack-mindedness, and would normally decide itself whether a person is a friend or a potential threat. They also have a tendency to not listen to its owner if they sense that he or she does not exude an air or aura of authority. This results in training to be quite a chore, so it is a necessity to show that one is the top or alpha dog for the dog to realize its place in the family, not to mention patience and dedication. Being a working dog, Tibetan Mastiffs need their exercise and need to be walked at least once a week. Its owner must also induce heavy socialization on the dog at an early age so that when it matures, it exudes confidence, adaptable and becomes reliable.

They generally have a large frame and strong bone structure; they usually weigh 100 to 160 pounds (both for males and females), and have a usual height of 25 to 28 inches (both for males and females). Though bulky at first glance, these dogs are surprisingly agile and fast. These Mastiffs have prominent noses and a wide muzzle. Their heads are well-built and sturdy while their necks are powerfully built and arched moderately; a male Tibetan Mastiff has a more prominent dewlap than a female Tibetan Mastiff. Their eyes are shaped like an almond and slanted slightly at angle and come in different and varying shades of brown. Their ears are shaped in a V and are generally close to and forward-facing on the dogs head. They possess feet that resemble that of a cats, and may or may not have feathering between the toes. Tibetan Mastiffs have medium long hair as well as thick double coats and intense manes encompassing their necks; their coats vary in color black, brown, gray, blue-gray, and might even display different shades of gold and sometimes even have white markings. They are considered to be medium to heavy shedders. Their life expectancy ranges from 10 to 14 years, and they usually give birth to 3 to 10 puppies.

The Tibetan Mastiff is truly a Dogs dog, and should one train it properly, it serves as a wonderful pet.