Breed of the Month–Tibetan Mastiff

1June 2013

Tibetan Mastiff

Color:  Rich black and blue, with or without tan markings, shades of gold and brown
Height:  Males:  26 inches/ Females:  24 inches
Weight:  Males:  100-160 lbs/ Females:  75-120 lbs
Life Span:  13-16 years

Breed Health Concerns:  Skin problems, hip dysplasia, and thyroid problems.

Coat:  Double coat.  Sparse undercoat (summer), soft undercoat (winter).  Coarse, thick, long, straight outercoat.
Country of Origin:  Tibet (China)

Visit the American Kennel Club for breed standards and more information.

The Tibetan Mastiff is thought to be the ancestor of many of today’s mastiff-type dogs, but the breed’s true origin is unknown.  In Tibet this dog has been used for centuries to protect homes and villages.  In the 1970s the breed began to establish itself in the United States, due in large part to President Eisenhower receiving two of them as gifts in the 1950s from the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan Mastiff is large and intimidating and take’s his guarding job very seriously.  This breed is naturally aloof with strangers and must therefore be consistently socialized.  The Tibetan Mastiff is independent minded, but gentle and affectionate.  Training is essential for this large, powerful breed.  This is a breed of dog that I would not necessarily recommend for first time dog owners.

The Tibetan Mastiff needs space but should not be exercised with too much intensity.  The Tibetan Mastiff’s body is slow to mature, and therefore must not be over exercised as a puppy.  An adult Tibetan Mastiff will definitely enjoy his time outdoors and has a coat that resist most types of weather.

The thick double coat of the Tibetan Mastiff requires regular brushing and combing.

The Tibetan Mastiff requires socialization early and often, to make sure his protective instincts do not get out of control.  Training this breed requires patience and respect, as he is an independent thinker.  Using positive reinforcement methods will help keep this breed tuned in to his owner.