The Tibetan Mastiff is also known as “Tibetan Mastiff”. It fulfills the function of a guard dog and is classified by the FCI in group 2. So much and not more most people know about the Tibetan Mastiff. Maybe they even still have the right picture in their mind. But what really makes this independent, self-contained guard dog, escapes them. Maybe because they think it is too big and that is why they are interested in dog breeds that are more suitable to their circumstances.
The Tibetan Mastiff, however, is worth paying attention to. Because he is a really noteworthy dog.
Character of the Tibetan Mastiff
Yes, he is really fearsome, imposing and big. But at the same time he rests in himself and is the best big brother/uncle you could wish for. He knows about his power and his innate dominance, so he can handle everything calmly and serenely. There is nothing he loves more than to get an overview first. He prefers to simply keep an eye on everything. You can always act if something happens. But what looks like coolness and sovereignty to the outside world is actually a constant observing and analyzing. Analyzing whether the environment is behaving correctly or whether order needs to be ensured. For his family he is always the calm and at the same time protective pole because of his task as a watchdog. As it has been his original task. He is 100% loyal to his family. But this can also lead to the fact that you have to share the sofa with him in the evening.
As intelligent as he is, he can be difficult to raise. After all, he instinctively knows how to behave. From an early age, he must be made to understand that his primary caregiver is in charge. Being consistent and assertive is the most important thing for the owner. If he is neglectful over a longer period of time, the Tibetan Mastiff quickly has the scepter in his hand. It is difficult to break him of this habit.
The historical background of the Tibetan Mastiff
This dog breed belongs to the oldest dog breeds in the world. It comes from Tibet, where it was kept secluded from the rest of the world for a long time. This is probably the reason why he is still so primitive as he was described in the traditions. Visually, the Tibetan Mastiff resembles the Molossians. If you translate the name “Do Khyi”, you will get the meaning “tied dog”. Thus, the tradition in which this dog was mentioned as a guard and protector of monasteries and farms is confirmed. The farmers could also rely on him, because he protected not only the farms and fields, but also the cattle. With the nomads he also moved through the region as a guard dog. Caravans passing through the Himalayas also relied on his reliable guard services. In this way, he eventually found his way out of Tibet.
No matter which large, wild animals were to be put to flight, they could not hold a candle to the Tibetan Mastiff. He not only had the physical size, but was extremely defensible.
Already in ancient times, the mysteries about his origin accumulated. Even today, the story about his origin persists, in which he appeared as an Indian mastiff, half dog, half lion. It was also suspected that he could have been the ancestor of the Molossians and Great Danes. However, in the meantime it could be scientifically proved that he is an independent breed. There are no relationship markers between these breeds. So much for the original Do Khyis.
Today we see mainly the new Do Khyi. In the USA, but also in China, Great Danes and Mastiffs were crossed by various breeders. The result was huge, “new” Do Khyis. Especially in China, within the last 30 years, he has become a status symbol, a fashion dog. Especially the super rich of China like to adorn themselves with the new Do Khyis, making them almost priceless dogs, which often change hands for six-figure sums.
Basically, however, this breeding line should not be supported. Because of their gigantism these dogs are hardly able to walk or to live at all. In fact, these unserious breeders, traders and owners have managed to turn an indestructible guard dog into an extremely vulnerable, barely viable, gigantic dog.
European dog breeding has also taken up the Tibetan Mastiff. And here, too, it was not possible to proceed in an unprejudiced and responsible way. The starting point was a small, but extremely healthy and resistant breeding base. Many breeders fell victim to the demands of show judges. They got involved in supporting the giant growth as well as wrinkling in the muzzle area as well as the eye area, emphasizing it. Unfortunately, not for the good of the animals.
Surely there are other breeding lines today. To find them, however, requires patience and good knowledge of the situation. Why is this so important? Well, strictly speaking, it was not necessary to cross new traits or new potential into the Tibetan Mastiff. Because he was almost perfect, in perfect health and had a pleasant, balanced nature. So-called improvements, as demanded by various breed judges, are simply neither necessary nor beneficial to the animals.
This dog breed was recognized by the FCI in 1961. In 1967, the International Club for Tibetan Dog Breeds was founded under the umbrella of the VDH. Only a few puppies are born each year, maybe one or two dozen. This is another reason why Tibetan Mastiffs are so precious.
The colors of the Tibetan Mastiff
The Do Khyi has a so-called double coat, a rough outer coat and a thick, insulating undercoat. The upper coat is relatively water repellent. Those who think they are doing their dog some good by reaching for the dog shampoo more often should be stopped. Because neither the fur nor the skin does it good to come too often in contact with shampoo. The following colors are possible:
- Gold in all conceivable shades, gladly also with markings.
- Blue – slate gray. This color combination is conceivable with badges.
- Black with badge
- Deep black
What are the requirements of the Tibetan Mastiff?
He is easy-footed, likes to be left alone once in a while and can also stay alone for a longer period of time. Regarding his upbringing and socialization, it should be noted that he can be quite stubborn due to his independence and only learns when he feels like it. Thus, his owner must not only be experienced, but also master the balance between loving and consistent-dominant upbringing.
Various tasks can be envisaged based on his abilities. So mantrailing as well as training as a rescue dog should be considered. And of course, training as a guard dog would not be out of reach.
The Tibetan Mastiff and his health
Basically, the Tibetan Mastiff has a very good health. No wonder, because he has always been used to be outdoors. This is also what he demands from his current owner. And this favor should be done for his health. As with all large dog breeds, as they age, they can develop problems with their elbows and hips.
Whether there is a basic tendency to HD or ED or arthrosis can only be found out by blood test or sonography. It is worthwhile to have these parameters checked regularly by a veterinarian. Then, if there is any outbreak, it is possible to intervene immediately.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Tibetan Mastiff
As with many large dogs, negative references can come from the immediate environment, because not everyone has understanding for large, independent dogs. This also applies to the owner himself. Not every dog owner is suitable for an independent, self-contained dog. However, it has the advantage that you do not have to take care of the dog all the time.
Surely he can do various dog sports great. But he also wants to have time for himself and “his thoughts”. As a family dog he is fantastic, because he knows exactly who belongs to the pack and with whom he has to let know. For the little ones, there is no better chaperone than this dog.
The perfect person for a Tibetan Mastiff
- Is experienced with dogs
- Is not afraid of big dogs and the reactions of his environment to this size
- Takes on the big task of training and socializing the dog well
- Is happy to have a new member of the family who loves all family members, even the smallest ones, and can cope well even with stressful days
- Owns a large yard that is suitably fenced in
- Is interested in the preservation of the original breed
Buy the puppies of the Tibetan Mastiff
If you are seriously interested in this dog, first of all it is important that you find a reputable breeder who is engaged in breeding the original Tibetan Mastiff. For the sake of the dog, you should refrain from any breeding that deals with gigantism, excessive eye bulge growth and also leftzen growth. In addition, you should exercise patience.
Only a few puppies of this dog breed see the light of day each year. Thus, the waiting list at most breeders is relatively long. The next item on the checklist to consider is the question of the space you have available.
Not only that there must be plenty of space in the house for such a large dog. The garden should also have a certain size. The Tibetan Mastiff is only too happy to roam his territory alone once in a while to check if everything is alright. Since he does not necessarily have to spend time with his owner all the time, he preferably needs a personal retreat in the garden.
Incidentally, the garden must have a very sturdy, rather high fence that delimits the entire area. This dog would otherwise look around the community once independently. An idea, however, only he finds good. With it the list would be already worked off. And one more thing: Such a large dog can of course cause a stir with the neighbors and other dog owners.
Certainly, one should not act according to the neighbors. But you should still deal with these thoughts. Once the dog is there, it is too late for that.
First equipment for the Tibetan Mastiff
- Dog collar
- Dog harness
- Dog leash, additionally possibly a drag line
- Water and food bowl, if possible easy to clean
- Dog bed / blanket for the resting place
- Long hair brush
- Undercoat brush
- comb / lice comb
- possibly clippers (but these should only be used if you really know how to use them).
- dog food
- possibly toys
- possibly treats
Dog food for the Tibetan Mastiff
This dog is wonderfully light footed. Not only can he tolerate any food, but he can adapt to any food concept with ease.
The puppies of the Tibetan Mastiff are offered for 2000 pounds and more. However, a serious interest in this dog should not be about what price it is offered for. Rather, the main focus should be on finding a reputable breeder who is more interested in preserving the positive qualities and characteristics of the dog. In order to limit inbreeding as much as possible, it is necessary to make sure that no ancestor appears twice in the pedigree. This is not necessarily easy. However, the more attention is paid to this, the greater the chance that one can not only call a fantastic dog with very good qualities his own. Also one can contribute by this attentiveness to the fact that the breeding lines are freed from inbreeding and the future can access a larger breeding basis. Since there are only a few puppies per year, one should contact the chosen breeder in good time so that he can put the request on his waiting list.
As the name suggests, the home of this dog is found in Tibet.
If we assume a healthy, as pure as possible breeding line and a very good attitude and care over the years, the Tibetan Mastiff can live 10 to 15 years.
Animals that come from a breeding line of gigantism have to expect a much shorter life expectancy.
The minimum height for males is set at 66 centimeters, and for females at 61 centimeters. In terms of weight, no specifications have been set by the FCI standard. It should also be noted that the fact that various breeders are addicted to gigantism, average data would be falsified anyway. A healthy, normally bred Tibetan Mastiff with a shoulder height of 70 centimeters would probably weigh about 50 kilograms. However, this is only a vague assumption, which has no claim to correctness.
There is no concrete data available on this question. In addition, it must not be forgotten that especially with the breeders who tend to gigantism, stillbirths and increased mortality of the puppies must be expected.
In addition to its role as a guard and protection dog, the Tibetan Mastiff has also been used as a hunting dog. In modern times, this potential is no longer pursued. Certainly, a well-developed hunting instinct is still present. It is important to take care during training as well as socialization not to further strengthen the hunting instinct. An experienced dog trainer is a great help here.
Since in principle only dog-experienced people should keep the Tibetan Mastiff, they should ideally also already have experience with minimizing the hunting instinct. Since the Tibetan Mastiff is loyal and devoted to its owner, this should not be a problem for the experienced dog person. Of course, it is also important to work out the needs that this dog has for its housing conditions.
The prerequisite for the occupation as a family dog is the good education and socialization of the Tibetan Mastiff. Once this is done, the Tibetan Mastiff is a family dog par excellence! He has a very high threshold of irritation and a low sensitivity to pain. His patience is almost infinite. This makes him a perfect contemporary even for the smallest ones, a great nanny.
If older children are present, it makes sense for them to attend dog school together with him. Not only so that the children learn the correct way to handle dogs, but also so that this dog correctly performs all commands with them. Even if he is devoted to his adult owners, as an independent dog, he must first learn that the children can also be his alpha at times.
Let’s face it, can we really imagine relegating such a large dog to an apartment or even to the city? This dog should not be kept in a cramped apartment.
Even the busy city is not the optimal environment for him, despite the high threshold of irritation. No, let’s just leave the Tibetan Mastiff where he actually belongs: In a spacious house with a large, well-fenced garden, where he can move around independently. This is his territory, his territory over which he can rule.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a dream of a dog, that can hardly be denied. However, you should think carefully whether you simply want to be a fan of this animal or whether you actually want to own one. Various requirements must be met in order to keep it reasonably species-appropriate. The purchase price is quite high. The selection of the breeder must be done with care, in order to stop the gigantism and the “fashion breedings”.
Certainly it is not a dog for the beginner and certainly the assistance of an accomplished dog trainer is useful. But the experienced dog person will fulfill a dream with this dog and own a great family and companion dog, with which also various dog sports can be done successfully. In short: A fantastic dog!