Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan mastiff is a huge handsome man, which is notable for its powerful dimensions. However, his external resemblance to the king of beasts does not detract from his good nature at all.

Brief information

  • Breed Name: Tibetan Mastiff
  • Country of Origin: Tibet
  • Weight: 64-78 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males from 66 cm, females from 61 cm
  • Life expectancy: 10-11 years old


  • This breed is not recommended for novice dog breeders: it requires competent socialization and incredible patience.
  • The impressive size of a Tibetan is not always combined with the usual apartments, so it is best to keep a dog in a private house.
  • The peak of mastiffs' activity falls in the evening or even at night: that's when it's best to walk with your pet on the street.
  • Tibetan mastiffs can't keep on a chain because they are very sociable and want to spend time with their master.
  • These dogs are incredibly smart and independent, and in some cases you will have to show firmness of character.
  • All Tibetans are owners of loud barking, so work hard to ensure that your dog does not make noise for no reason.
  • Mastiffs need constant physical activity, otherwise they can get bored and literally turn your house into ruins.
  • Don't like noisy companies because they see them as a potential threat.
  • Get along well with children and, under certain circumstances, animals.

Tibetan Mastiff is rightfully considered the property of a mysterious corner of the globe – the "roof of the world" called Tibet. Representatives of this breed are reputed to be reliable and fearless defenders who are not devoid of self-esteem and independent character. Looking at the threatening appearance of the dog, it is difficult to assume that this breed is one of the friendliest and most loyal. The centuries-old duet of man and mastiff taught the latter to show remarkable patience and understanding.

Breed characteristics

Aggressiveness ?
Above Average ( Rating 4/5)
Activity ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Training ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Molt ?
Moderate ( Rating 3/5)
Need for care ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Friendliness ?
Friendly ( Rating 4/5)
Health ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Cost of maintenance ?
Expensive ( Rating 5/5)
Attitude to loneliness ?
Long periods ( Rating 4/5)
Intelligence ?
Standard ( Rating 3/5)
Noise ?
Low ( Rating 2/5)
Security qualities ?
Excellent ( Rating 5/5)
*Characteristics of the Tibetan Mastiff breed are based on expert assessment amitypuppies.net and reviews of dog owners.

History of the Tibetan Mastiff breed

Tibetan Mastiff

The history of the origin of Tibetan mastiffs is shrouded in a trail of mystery, since the first dogs appeared long before the emergence of writing in certain regions of Tibet. The approximate age of the breed was determined only by genetic research initiated by the staff of the Chinese University of Molecular Evolution. Comparing the mitochondrial DNA of a wolf and a dog, scientists found out that the first signs of their difference from each other appeared about 42 thousand years ago. A similar experiment with mastiff DNA showed a different result – 58 thousand years. This makes it possible to consider the breed one of the oldest in the world.

Archaeological finds – bones and skulls of animals – suggest that the ancestors of mastiffs walked side by side with people back in the Stone and Bronze Ages. As for the mentions of the breed in written sources, they date back to the first half of the XII century. In 1121, the Emperor of China was awarded a luxurious gift – huge hunting dogs, outwardly resembling mastiffs.

Tibet is considered the birthplace of the breed – a sacred place for followers of the Buddha and his teachings. Thanks to their physical and intellectual strength, dogs have become indispensable companions in those harsh living conditions. Often the animals showed ferocity, which is why many owners kept mastiffs locked up, letting them stretch their paws only at night: mountain villages always needed enhanced protection.

Mastiffs were also widely used to protect the peaceful tranquility of monasteries. Then the animals worked in the company of Tibetan spaniels. The latter raised unrestrained barking at the invasion of strangers and thereby called for the help of mastiffs – heavier "artillery". Given the fact that these large dogs fearlessly engaged in battle even with snow leopards, monks and novices could not be afraid of armed raids and invasions.

It was the geographical remoteness of Tibet that became the reason why the breed managed to preserve its original features for thousands of years. Only occasionally mastiffs "roamed" to other countries — mainly as trophies or valuable gifts. According to historical data, similar dogs accompanied Genghis Khan's army in battles, and the rest of the time they performed guard duty. There were distant ancestors of mastiffs in other armies of the ancient world, who fought with the Romans, Greeks, Assyrians and Persians.

At the turn of the XIII-XIV centuries, Marco Polo, an Italian traveler and merchant, set foot on the lands of Tibet. In his writings, he mentions a mastiff – a huge and evil dog, which almost surpassed the size of a pack donkey. Her voice was loud and booming, like the roar of a lion, and her eyes were bloodshot at the slightest hint of danger. Although, perhaps, the merchant only recorded the observations of other travelers, who could embellish reality. By the way, many dog handlers adhere to this point of view, although they admit that such a colorful description excites the imagination of impressionable persons.

Tibetan Mastiff Puppy

For a long time, the whole world was content with only fragmentary stories of travelers about the powerful and majestic dogs of Tibet. The spread of the breed across Europe began in 1847, when the future Viceroy of India, Lord Harding, presented Queen Victoria with an unusual gift - a Tibetan mastiff, which was later named Syring. In the second half of the XIX century, Edward VII returned to his homeland together with two representatives of the breed. Later they were shown at an exhibition at the Alexandra Palace Cultural and Entertainment center in London.

These were the first glimpses of the West's timid acquaintance with Tibetan mastiffs, who had been completely isolated from the outside world for several millennia. The amazing breed began to gain popularity in aristocratic circles, and mastiffs increasingly began to be imported to the territory of Great Britain, from where they later spread throughout Europe. This process took the next fifty years.

In 1931, interest in mastiffs resulted in the creation of the Association of Tibetan Dog Breeds. At the same time, the first breed standard was formulated. Its author was the wife of Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Bailey, who purchased four Tibetan mastiffs and returned with them to England. This standard was later taken as a basis by such cynological organizations as FCI and Kennel Club.

The beginning of the Second World War almost put an end to the spread of the breed around the globe. The flow of mastiffs, which were brought from Nepal and Tibet, temporarily stopped, and the breeders had to make tremendous efforts to preserve the breed. It has not yet been established how the dogs ended up in the United States in 1950 as a gift to then-President Eisenhower. However, this gesture of goodwill was not received with enthusiasm, and the breed itself did not win the love of Americans. Gradually, the mastiffs were sent to the ranch and forgotten for twenty years.

Since 1969, dogs have been brought back to the USA – this time straight from their historical homeland. Five years later, on the initiative of dog handlers, the Association of the American Tibetan Mastiff Line (ATMA) was established. She also became the main club for fans of the breed. In 1979, mastiffs bred in the USA took part in the exhibition for the first time and won a dizzying success.

Today the Tibetan mastiff is one of the rare breeds of dogs. So, about three hundred purebred specimens live in the UK. As for the United States, mastiffs occupy the 124 position out of 167 existing breeds in the rating. In Russia, these dogs continue to gain popularity, but it is still not enough to open full-fledged kennels.

Video: Tibetan Mastiff

Appearance of the Tibetan mastiff

The muzzle of the Tibetan mastiff

The Tibetan mastiff belongs to large breeds of dogs. It is a strong animal with a heavy and strong backbone. Despite its impressive size, the mastiff looks proportionally.

The FCI standard assumes that the minimum height of a male is 66 cm, and bitches usually grow up to 61 cm and above. As for body weight, ideally it reaches 64-78 kg.

Head and skull

The head of the Tibetan mastiff is commensurate with its size: it is very heavy and strong – in general, it perfectly matches the appearance of the dog. The rounded skull has a pronounced bump on the back of the head.


Mastiff – the owner of a very wide muzzle, which looks square full-face. The transition to it from the forehead is well outlined. A wide nose with large nostrils is distinguished by black or pigmentation as close to it as possible. Fleshy lips are adjacent to the lower jaw. In adult Tibetan mastiffs, a fold on the side of the muzzle is acceptable.


Triangular ears are planted above the eyes, but not reaching the skull line. The mastiff's ears are hanging and slightly falling forward, but can be raised if the dog is in a restless state.


Oval eyes set slightly obliquely and wide apart. They have a brown tint, and the richer it is, the better. The eyelids fit tightly.

Jaws and teeth

The jaws of the Tibetan mastiff are quite strong. The upper incisors of the dog overlap the lower ones, thereby forming a scissor bite (a straight one is also allowed). The teeth "sit" vertically and tightly in relation to each other.


The dog's muscular and strong neck has a pronounced nape and a small suspension. Thick wool forms a mane. It is worth noting that it is less noticeable in bitches than in males.

Fluffy Watchman


An adult Tibetan mastiff next to a man

The Tibetan mastiff has a strong body. The muscular back turns into a wide croup. The shape of the "heart" that the chest has is very remarkable. It is formed by the slightly rounded ribs of the dog. The lower part of the chest is below the level of the elbows.


The tail of medium length is located high enough. He is casually thrown on his back and raised during the movement of the mastiff or at the moment when the dog is alarmed by something. It is covered with a long and tightly fitting coat.


Have a strong backbone and pronounced articulation angles. The muscular shoulders of the mastiff are well inclined and turn into straight forearms. The elbows are directed strictly backwards. The breed standard does not allow them to turn outwards or inwards. The pasterns are set at a slight angle. The forelimbs end in large and strong paws with curved fingers.

Hind limbs

are parallel to each other, which is noticeable when examining the Tibetan mastiff from behind. Long thighs are quite muscular. The dog's knees are well defined. The dewclaws are often removed at the request of the owner of the mastiff. The pigmentation of the paw pads is predominantly black or corresponds to the color of the animal.

Manner of movement

The movements of the Tibetan mastiff combine strength and lightness; they are distinguished by a confident push and removal of limbs. With accelerated walking, the dog shifts its legs to the conditional line in the center. In other cases, the animal moves slowly, demonstrating nobility.

Wool cover

Tibetan Mastiff puppy at the exhibition

Under the stiff and straight coat hides a thick undercoat that sheds in the warm season. A mane is formed on the dog's neck, which gently falls on the shoulders. On the back surface of the hind limbs, there are noticeable feathering.


The breed standard assumes as pure shades as possible (regardless of the base color). The tan varies between light and rich chestnut. At the same time, it is located mainly above the dog's eyes, on the lower part of the limbs and tail. The presence of "points" is acceptable. The same applies to the white spot on the chest, but on the paws this color should not be intense. The main colors of the mastiff include sable, golden (shades of any saturation are possible), blue (with or without points), black and tan and black.

Possible vices

The slightest deviations from the standard are considered defects. Among them, the most common are:

  • smoothed or outlined angles of the limbs;
  • large or very low set ears;
  • rounded ribs (in the manner of a barrel);
  • light color of the iris of the eyes and nose;
  • loosely fitting lips;
  • brightly outlined suspension;
  • stiffness of movements;
  • twisted tail.

Among the disqualifying vices noted:

  • color, different from the accepted standard;
  • cowardly or aggressive behavior;
  • overshot or undershot jaws;
  • undescended testicles.

Tibetan Mastiff photo

Character of the Tibetan Mastiff

Self–confident, balanced and independent - these are the epithets that come to mind of a person who meets a Tibetan mastiff for the first time. The dog has an indestructible sense of self-worth and requires an appropriate attitude towards himself: not as a pet, but as an equal being. The mastiff is not inclined to show nervousness, cowardice or baseless aggression, as representatives of small breeds. This is a restrained and independent animal that behaves with royal dignity and never barks over trifles.

Tibetan mastiff with a master

. The thousand-year history of the breed and the original purpose of its representatives explain the fact that mastiffs have excellent instincts when it comes to protecting the territory entrusted to them. For the same reason, dogs tend to lead a nocturnal lifestyle, because their distant ancestors gained energy and strength during daytime sleep in order to begin service after dark. So don't be surprised if your Tibetan suddenly becomes restless and noisy when you go to bed. At rare moments, the dog may bark, seeing a potential danger in a quiet rustle or creak. Consider this fact in the presence of excessively irritable neighbors who will not miss the chance to express their indignation.

The animal's attitude towards strangers is mostly restrained – especially in the presence of the owner. The mastiff will never rush into the attack first in the absence of a threat, but be sure: not a single movement of an uninvited guest will escape from his gaze. The representatives of this breed have a well-developed intuition, so the dog can put up with the society of not every person. And this is a great reason to think, do you really communicate with a friendly and pleasant company?

By the way, about friends ... If you are a sociable enough person and regularly invite guests to tea, the mastiff will not fully accept this fact and will make any attempts to limit the number of people in your house. Families with children should also pay attention to this fact. Excessively active and loud games of a child with his friends can be perceived by a Tibetan as a threat and a manifestation of aggression. The mastiff, without hesitation, will stand up for his little master, and given the powerful dimensions of the dog and the impressive body weight, this can end in very deplorable circumstances.

Tibetan mastiff with baby

Representatives of this breed show dominance in relation to other pets. The exception is the pets with whom the Tibetan grew up: in this case, the dog considers them members of his pack. This applies equally to cats and other dog breeds. However, it is not recommended to get new animals if an adult mastiff already lives in your house. In this case, rivalry cannot be avoided.

In the family circle, Tibetans behave friendly and love to spend time with the owner, so get ready for the fact that every day a miniature version of Chewbacca from Star Wars will lie at your feet and peacefully snore in response to dog dreams. Adult mastiffs are calm, but puppies are full of strength and energy. In the absence of proper upbringing, these well-fed cubs will turn your house into ruins in a matter of minutes, so do not leave them unattended for a long time.

Beware if your pet gets bored! Tibetan mastiffs tend to gnaw on anything within their sight. If you value your furniture, take care of a sufficient number of toys and do not forget to walk your dog in the city park. Tibetans will run after frisbee with puppy delight, and after the game they will lie down in the shade of spreading trees with pleasure. A winter walk is especially appreciated by representatives of this breed: when else will there be a chance to roll in the snow, which is so reminiscent of the historical homeland of mastiffs – Tibet?

Tibetan mastiff puppy with mom

Education and training

Due to its independent and somewhat even stubborn nature, the Tibetan mastiff is difficult to train (especially if it does not recognize the primacy of the owner). Tact and patience are your main weapon in the process of raising an animal and teaching it new commands. Avoid rude words and actions, otherwise a real problem will grow out of the puppy, which will not be so easy to cope with.

Tibetan mastiff lay down to rest and occupied the whole bench

It can take about two years to fully train a Tibetan mastiff. If you do not have enough time and experience, it is best to contact specialists who will not only teach the dog the basic commands, but also share effective tips for raising this furry giant.

An important aspect is imprinting – a set of techniques aimed at teaching an animal to trust its owner implicitly. Do not forget to pet the puppy and show affection. You may even have to sacrifice your own clothes for this: the mastiff likes to "chew" a person, thereby expressing his affection and desire to start another fun game. If this does not happen, and the laces on your sneakers are still intact, think about it: the puppy simply does not trust you and will not become a devoted friend in the future.

Early and proper socialization is very important for representatives of this breed. Already from the seventh week, the mastiff must be among people and other animals and thereby get used to the fact that the whole world does not revolve around his person. For the same purpose, it is recommended to invite guests to your home so that the dog gradually gets used to strangers on its territory and does not show aggression towards outsiders.

While walking, you should not stick to one route. Firstly, your pet will get bored quickly and will soon stop enjoying the walk. Secondly, changing the place will allow the mastiff to understand that he does not own the whole world, and thereby make the animal more tolerant of other creatures.

Tibetan Mastiff at home

Care and maintenance

Huge size and long coat – that's why caring for a Tibetan mastiff takes so much time and effort. Special attention should be paid to the thick coat of the dog, which has a dense undercoat. Despite the fact that the representatives of the breed rarely form tangles, regular combing is still necessary. It is carried out no more than three times a week, using a metal brush. Before combing, it is recommended to sprinkle the wool with diluted conditioner or water: this will make the procedure a little easier.

Don't forget to take care of the Tibetan mastiff's fur!

If you do find tangles – they mostly appear on the ears, neck and hind legs of the animal – use a tangle cutter and a special spray to gently remove them. Please note that Tibetan mastiffs shed abundantly in spring and autumn, so additional devices can be used – a furminator or a pukhoderka.

It is strictly forbidden to shorten the dog's fur with a hair clipper! This is fraught with a violation of thermoregulation and, consequently, frequent pneumonia.

Mastiff is not a breed that needs regular bathing. To maintain cleanliness, it is enough to arrange a bath day for the animal once every three months. In addition, frequent water procedures hypertrophy the skin glands of the dog, which is fraught with the appearance of a specific and well-known smell of "dog". An excellent alternative to bathing can be dry shampoo, which is rubbed into the hair of the Tibetan mastiff, and then carefully combed.

To shorten the claws, use a claw cutter for large breeds of dogs, and to smooth out sharp edges, use a nail file. Pre-hold the pet's paws in warm water to facilitate the procedure. It is repeated once a month. At the same time, the fur between the fingers of the Tibetan mastiff is neatly trimmed, and the pads of the paws are lubricated with oil. This will avoid the formation of cracks that cause the dog considerable discomfort.

The animal's teeth should be cleaned twice a week. Use a brush or a special nozzle on your finger and in no case "share" your paste with a Tibetan: there is a special one for dogs for this. In addition to plaque, tartar can form in the pet's mouth, so you need to take care of the availability of special toys and solid food in the dog's diet. Thanks to them, the mastiff's teeth will retain their strength for a long time.

What are you watching? Pass by

Tibetan ears also need your attention. To keep them clean, wipe the auricles once a week with a moistened handkerchief. In winter, do not go for a walk with the animal until its ears are completely dry. The same goes for the eyes. At the same time, use a soft lint-free cloth moistened with a decoction of chamomile.

The health of the Tibetan mastiff is largely determined by the balance of the diet. In the first months of a dog's life, it is necessary to take care of a sufficient amount of calcium: the joints of such a massive giant succumb to a heavy load every minute. Otherwise, premium dry food or natural food remains the optimal way to feed a Tibetan. Please note that the combination of the two types of food is fraught with problems with the digestive system of the dog.

Do not include the following products in the diet of the Tibetan mastiff:

  • river fish (in any form);
  • spicy and salty food;
  • tubular bones;
  • flour products;
  • fatty meat;
  • smoked meat;
  • raw eggs;
  • potatoes;
  • sweets;
  • nuts.

Natural food is always served fresh and non-hot. The same applies to drinking water.

Health and diseases of the Tibetan mastiff

Running Tibetan Mastiff Puppies

Natives of snow-covered Tibet are distinguished by excellent health. So, adult mastiffs practically do not get sick. However, there are diseases that are characteristic of all representatives of this breed:

  • decreased thyroid function or its diseases;
  • dysplasia of the elbow or hip joints;
  • hypertrophic neuropathy;
  • inflammation of tubular bones;
  • ear infections;
  • osteochondrosis.

Visit the veterinarian on time and do not forget that a vaccinated pet is a healthy pet.

How to choose a puppy

It is best to buy a Tibetan mastiff in nurseries that breed this breed. If pedigree matters to you, ask the breeder to provide all the information and photos of adult individuals who will later give offspring. At the same time, you can book a puppy from a certain pair of mastiffs or take the baby you like four weeks after his birth.

Puppies should be kept in a spacious and carefully cleaned room, be distinguished by playfulness and healthy curiosity. Carefully examine the skin and mucous membranes of the baby. The eyes and nose should be clean and have no painful discharge. Pustules and other kinds of irritation are ideally also absent. A small Tibetan should be moderately heavy and well-fed, broad-faced and thick-legged. The thicker the coat, the better. Please note that the puppy should not be cowardly and aggressive.

Listen to your heart – and it will not deceive you!

Photos of Tibetan mastiff puppies

How much does a Tibetan mastiff cost

Tibetans still remain one of the rarest dog breeds, especially in Russia. For this reason, the price of a puppy can bite, since it starts from $500 and above. Pedigreed babies will cost $1600. Do not try to save money on a future friend by purchasing a mastiff at the bird market almost for free. This will affect you with frequent diseases of the pet.

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