The Tibetan Mastiff is a massive breed of dog that is one of the oldest breeds in existence today. Always known for its massive size and its amazing abilities as a guard dog, the breed may have been around over 3000 years ago. After surviving a few extinction scares, these dogs can now be found all over the world and, while still considered some of the best guard dogs around, are fantastic family pets when brought up the right way.
Thanks to Chortens Tibetan Mastiffs for the images used on this page.
The Tibetan Mastiff (Do-khyi in Tibetan, meaning 'tied dog') is a rare, very large ancient breed of dog, originating in what in the past was Tibet and neighboring countries with similar nomadic culture (for ex. Mongolia).
There are many unique physical characteristics that people can point out when talking about the Tibetan Mastiff, but the one thing that always comes up is just how big these dogs are. They're tall, they're wide and they are extremely strong. They are so strong, in fact, that owners used to trust them to guard their livestock against the biggest wild beasts.
Another thing that people notice about this breed is that it usually has a calm, yet serious look no matter what mood they are in. They have slanted, medium-sized eyes that can come in any variation of brown, which are beautiful to their owners, but usually quite intimidating to strangers who see them for the first time.Tibetan Mastiffs usually weigh anywhere from 150 to 175 pounds, but many of them get all the into the low 200s. Both male and female Tibetan Mastiffs grow to be anywhere from 25 to 28 inches tall.Tibetan Mastiffs have thick double coats that protect them in the most extreme of climates. The males' coats usually are a bit thicker than the females, with extra hair around the neck and shoulder areas.
Their coats can be a dark bluish gray, brown or black, with some having gold or white markings in different areas of their bodies.
Tibetan Mastiffs are very protective of their owners and their property, so they can become aggressive around strangers. However, if they are socialized very early in life, this instinct can be controlled to a point.
Tibetan Mastiff puppies learn to be independent and fearless at a very early age, which is why it is okay to start training when they are young. Because of their large size, Tibetan Mastiff puppies have gained a reputation for being some of the messiest pups around.Well-trained Tibetan Mastiffs are great with children because they are patient, loyal and loving. Of course, accidents can happen with dogs of this size around smaller children, so owners should never leave them alone together.
While Tibetan Mastiffs are suspicious around strangers, they are actually quite good around other dogs. They rarely become aggressive around other animals unless they feel they absolutely have to, so this is a good breed to have in a home with other dogs.If someone is interested in getting a great guard dog with natural instincts for the job, then there simply aren't too many breeds out there that are better suited than the Tibetan Mastiff. Their loud, powerful bark is usually enough to scare off any would-be intruders, but they will attack if anyone they suspect could cause harm to their owners gets too close to the house.
Training a Tibetan Mastiff takes a lot of work because this is an independent breed with a pack leader mentality. This means that they need trainers who are willing to go the extra mile to be able to get through to a Tibetan Mastiff that the owner is in charge, not the dog. In most cases, once a Tibetan Mastiff recognizes its trainer as the pack leader, they recognize that they must respect all of the humans in the house.
Owners should be prepared to train their Tibetan Mastiffs on everything, from walking properly to staying calm around other people and other animals. This can take a lot of work and a lot of time, but the end result is a happy dog and a happy owner.
Tibetan Mastiffs do need a walk at least once a day, but they actually require far less exercise than most other breeds. In fact, giving them too much exercise can result in joint issues later on in their lives. It is okay for a Tibetan Mastiff to jog or run around a little bit, but their bodies just aren't built to take too much extra exercise.
It is very important that Tibetan Mastiffs learn early on in their lives not to pull their owners while out on a walk. This is instinctual for them, but it can lead to problems if they think that they believe that they are the leaders of the pack. Because Tibetan Mastiffs don't need too much outdoor exercise, they need to have plenty of room to move around indoors during the day. They mostly like to sleep during the day and move around and guard the home during the night, but they can get a bit claustrophobic in smaller spaces, which can lead to them destroying things around the house.
In the late winter or early spring, most Tibetan Mastiffs shed their coats, which can leave hair all over the house, This is why they need to be brushed regularly all year, which will keep the shedding to a minimum.One thing that all Tibetan Mastiff owners find out at some point is that this breed, because of its big size and double coat, can smell worse than a lot of other dog breeds. Even if they are kept in a cool, dry environment, that smell just seems to come out of nowhere. A bath once a month or once every other month should help to keep the that smell to a minimum throughout the year.Other than keeping the coat in good condition, Tibetan Mastiffs should have their nails cut regularly to keep the dog from putting all their weight on long nails. Their teeth and ears should also be checked and cleaned at least once a week.
Tibetan Mastiffs aren't the cleanest dogs in the world, but it doesn't take too much effort to keep them looking and feeling good. There is just a little bit more work to put in because of their massive size.
Even though Tibetan Mastiffs aren't the most active dogs in the world, they are still relatively healthy considering they are a larger breed. Still, the usually health issues of big dogs are common with Tibetan Mastiffs, including hip dysplasia and thyroid issues.
Owners should check their Tibetan Mastiffs throughout their lives for skin and ear issues to prevent infections and diseases. A good idea is to look over the skin for any type of dirt or insects and to clean those areas if necessary. With the ears, just check for any type of fluid coming out and get medication if necessary.
Most Tibetan Mastiffs live between 11 and 14 years, which is quite a bit longer than a lot of the other large breeds. In fact, many Tibetan Mastiffs live to be 15-years-old or older.
Who Should Own a Tibetan Mastiff:Someone with experience training a more independent breed will have a much higher chance of bringing up a good all-around Tibetan Mastiff. While it isn't totally necessary that owners know how to train this type of breed, many inexperienced dog owners have tried and failed to get the most out of a Tibetan Mastiff. They definitely can be a headache if they are trained the right way.People with bigger families who have all learned how to handle a Tibetan Mastiff will find that this breed can be a great family pet. The more people that they feel they can protect, the happier the animal is. Of course, a small family that brings up a Tibetan Mastiff the right way will get along with these dogs just fine, too.
Who Shouldn't Own a Tibetan Mastiff:
People who either don't have the time or don't have the ability to properly train a Tibetan Mastiff should not get this breed. They will come to think that they are the maser of the house and this can lead to a lot of problems down the road.People with small apartments or townhouses will not be a good match for a Tibetan Mastiff because this breed needs a lot of room to roam. It may seem like they are comfortable when they are young puppies, but they will get frustrated as they get older because of the lack of space.
They don't necessarily need a huge backyard, but they are natural protectors and like to have enough of a fenced in area so they can keep their families safe.
The Tibetan Mastiff is an interesting breed because they can turn into some of the best family dogs and guard dogs around, but most people just don't realize how much work goes into getting them to be that way.
Still, the work that has to be put in is greatly rewarded in the end because this is a majestic, powerful breed that loves its humans and gets along with everyone once they have been properly introduced.