Tibetan Mastiff dog breed information profile includes history, appearance, size, temperament, lifespan, health, training of Tibetan Mastiff dogs and puppies.

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All About Tibetan Mastiff Dogs and Puppies

What do you get when you cross a Teddy Bear with a Woolly Mammoth? Probably, you would get something that closely resembles the Tibetan Mastiff!

This ancient giant dog breed from Tibet is legendary for it’s great size, courage and strength, as well as for it’s gentle soul, loyalty and love for it’s owners. Tibetan Mastiffs have served man for many centuries as guardians of home and hearth; whether for Tibetan Monasteries, families, caravans, and even entire villages.

The Tibetan Mastiff is an enchanting dog breed with a rich history. It is not the breed for everyone; in fact it’s best suited to only a few very devoted dog lovers with the resources to provide for this very large breed and it’s special requirements for care and keeping.

Tibetan Mastiff History

Marco Polo described a dog he encountered during explorations of the far east in the 13th century, as being as big as a donkey and as fierce as a lion. The dog he was describing is thought to be the legendary Tibetan Mastiff, an ancient breed that has served as guard to Tibetan monasteries, as well as protector of families, homes, caravans and even entire villages over the centuries in it’s native Tibet.

Tibetan Mastiff lineage can be found in several of today’s popular dog breeds, including the Newfoundland Dog, the Great Pyrenees Dog, the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Great Dane Dog and many others.

The Tibetan Mastiff has served man for many centuries, and is renowned for being a patient, gentle, stable, devoted and loyal dog breed, in addition to being extremely intelligent and courageous.

Tibetan Mastiff Appearance

The closest canine relative to a “Woolly Mammoth” the Tibetan Mastiff is a big, lovable lug of a dog with a fairly thick, medium length, double coat that keeps this guardian dog breed comfortable in extremes of weather.

Usually, Tibetan Mastiffs have either a black, black and tan or golden coat, but variations can occur within these ranges.

Tibetan Mastiff Temperament

Tibetan Mastiffs are not the breed for everyone, in fact they are probably a breed that is best suited for only a few, very responsible dog owners.

The Tibetan Mastiff can be quite headstrong, often preferring to make it’s own rules rather than follow orders. This attribute is likely a fallback to ancient times when the Tibetan Mastiff had many important duties over which he alone was in charge. It’s hard to be an employee when you’re used to being the boss!

As can be expected from the Tibetan Mastiffs centuries served as a guardian dog, this breed tends to be wary and suspicious of strangers. Tibetan Mastiffs will be as aloof with visitors as they are affectionate and loving with their family members. These giant dogs have a tendency to bark excessively to warn away intruders, particularly at night, so is not a great choice if you live in close proximity to neighbors and others who may pass by your home. This breed is better suited to country living than an urban setting.

That being said, those who choose this delightful breed as their canine companion will find that this is a breed like no other; a patient and loving spirit, a trusted and loyal friend, and a courageous and unwavering protector of hearth and home.

Being an intelligent dog breed with a job to do, the Tibetan Mastiff is easily bored and can be known to resort to finding his own entertainment when left idle for long periods of time. Imagine how many pairs of shoes a dog this size could chew up in a day! Tibetan Mastiffs are known to have a fondness for chewing on wood. This combined with a remarkably strong jaw and teeth can definitely wreak havoc on home furnishings left untended.

When left alone, the Tibetan Mastiff is best put in charge of sentry duty in the back yard or, if in a country setting, to patrol the “back 40”. And be sure to post plenty of warnings on your property that a ferocious guard dog is on duty!

Tibetan Mastiff Exercise Info

Tibetan Mastiffs require a fair amount of attention and exercise to keep them occupied. Because of giant size and tendency to bark at night, the Tibetan Mastiff is best suited to country living. Securely fenced property is an absolute must for this breed.

Tibetan Mastiff Grooming Info

If you like brushing, you’re in for a treat! The Tibetan Mastiff will provide you with many hours to enjoy this activity. Having a medium thick, double coat that grows mid length, the Tibetan Mastiff needs frequent brushing, especially during spring, when he sheds his winter coat.

Other grooming duties that are recommended for the Tibetan Mastiff include keeping the long, somewhat pendulous ears clean using some cotton balls and an acidifying ear cleansing solution, which can be picked up from your vet or local pet store.

Dental care is also important; try keeping your Tibetan Mastiff’s teeth clean by brushing, starting from puppyhood. Dental care chews for large breeds, and rawhide can also help with dental hygiene, and provide your Tibetan Mastiff with a form of entertainment during his day.

Tibetan Mastiff Training Info

When it comes to training, the Tibetan Mastiff can be a “hard nut to crack”. This breed was raised since ancient times to think for itself as it stood guard over it’s master’s property. It can be hard to take orders when you’re used to being the boss. Modern Tibetan Mastiff breeders are focused on improving the temperament and socialization of the Tibetan Mastiff to help him adapt to his new primary role of family companion.

Training your Tibetan Mastiff needs to begin at a very early age, and be constant and consistent. It’s best to enroll your puppy in obedience classes from a professional dog trainer, and to practice what you have learned often.

It’s important that your puppy be exposed to people from a very early age to counter the Tibetan Mastiff’s bred-in tendency to be suspicious of strangers.

Tibetan Mastiffs are the “night people” of the dog world – they prefer to sleep during the day and stay up all night, barking. Annoying as this may be, at one time it was the Tibetan Mastiff’s job – defending flocks of livestock and villages of people from predators, both human and animal. Curbing this tendency to bark at night can be a challenge, but not an impossibility.

With consistence and perseverance, your Tibetan Mastiff dog can be quite well behaved, but always keep in mind that this is a fiercely protective guardian breed that can be wary of strangers and highly protective of his home and family.

Tibetan Mastiff Health Info

Tibetan Mastiffs are very long-lived for such a large breed, from 10 to 14 years of age. This is a relatively healthy breed of dog with few health concerns in general. That being said, if you are considering the purchase of a Tibetan Mastiff puppy, always choose your breeder with great care.

Like all purebred breeds of dogs, Tibetan Mastiffs can be prone to certain hereditary disorders. Your best insurance against your puppy developing health problems is choosing a breeder who breeds selectively and responsibly, with the health, temperament and well being of her dogs and puppies placed first and foremost.

Health problems that can be prevalent in the Tibetan Mastiff dog breed include:

Entropion or Ectropion,
Skin problems including Allergies
Low immune system including Demodex
Missing teeth
Malocclusion (overbite or under bite)
Cardiac problems
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Small ear canals with a tendency for infection

As with most giant breeds, some will suffer with elbow or hip dysplasia, although this has not been a major problem in the Tibetan Mastiff.

Another concern includes canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy (CIDN), a rare inherited neural disease that appeared in one bloodline in the early 1980s. However, it is believed that this problem has been all but eliminated in contemporary breeding lines.

Again, choose your breeder wisely; there are no 100% guarantees when it comes to canine genetics, but a responsible breeder who health screens her breeding dogs is your best chance of a healthy, happy Tibetan Mastiff puppy.

Is the Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed The Right Choice For You?

While contemporary Tibetan Mastiffs are bred with temperament and socialization in mind, this breed still retains many of the qualities that have made it such a legendary guardian dog over the ages. Certainly, the Tibetan Mastiff is not an apartment dog, nor is it a dog for families living in crowded urban areas.

The Tibetan Mastiff is best suited to a family with a large yard and plenty of time and energy to devote to this very large and very lovable family companion. The Tibetan Mastiff’s many requirements; space, time, grooming demands, exercise needs, containment issues, training needs and more, certainly do not make the Tibetan Mastiff the dog breed for everyone. However, for those who are ready, willing and able to provide the right home environment for a Tibetan Mastiff, there is no more loving a dog nor rewarding a dog owning experience.

More Information about the Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed