Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed
The Tibetan Mastiff is among the largest breeds. A powerful dog with a sturdy bone structure. It is a very large dog with a broad, massive head and a heavy, dense, medium-length coat. The bear-like head is wedged-shaped with a wide, blunt muzzle. The upper lip usually covers the lower lip. The nose is large and generally black. The teeth form a scissors or level bite. The v-shaped, thick-leathered ears hang down. Mature dogs, particularly males, tend to have moderate dewlap. The body is slightly longer than tall and the legs are heavy-boned and powerful. Marco Polo described it as "tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion." The muzzle is lighter than that of the English Mastiff, with an extremely strong jaw. Rear dewclaws should be removed, but front dewclaw removal is optional. The coat forms a heavy ruff around the neck. The hair on the head is short. The plumed tail curls over the back in Spitz fashion. The Tibetan Mastiff is usually black, sometimes with gold or tan markings, though he may also come in chocolate, blue & tan, sable, gold, cream, or red, with or without tan markings. Some also have white markings.
Noble and impressive: a large, powerful, heavy, well built dog, well muscled, with much substance and bone, and of solemn but kindly appearance. The Tibetan Mastiff stands well up on the pasterns, with strong, tight, cat feet, giving an alert appearance. The body is slightly longer than tall. The head is broad and impressive, with massive back skull, the eyes deep-set and almond shaped, slightly slanted, the muzzle broad and well-padded, giving a square appearance. The typical expression of the breed is one of watchfulness. The tail is well feathered and carried over the back in a single curl falling over the loin, balancing the head. The coat and heavy mane is thick, with coarse guard hair and a wooly undercoat. The tail and britches are well feathered.
The Tibetan Mastiff has been used primarily as a family and property guardian for many millennia, and is aloof and watchful of strangers, and highly protective of its people and property.
The Tibetan Mastiff is very protective and territorial. Even-tempered, calm and thoughtful. Dignified and very loyal to its own family. It is by and large loving with children but, distrusts and is reserved with strangers. Brave and fearless when properly socialized. Somewhat strong-willed and very determined, but with a desire to please. Patient and highly intelligent it was bred to take initiative.
As a flock guardian dog in Tibet, it is tenacious in its ability to confront predators the size of wolves and leopards. As a socialized, more domestic Western dog, it thrives in a spacious, fenced yard with a canine companion, but it is not an appropriate dog for apartment living. Still, the Western-bred dogs are generally more easy-going, although somewhat aloof with strangers coming to the home. Through hundreds and hundreds of years of selective breeding for a protective flock and family guardian, the breed has been prized for being a nocturnal sentry, keeping would-be predators and intruders at bay, barking at sounds throughout the night. So, leaving a Tibetan Mastiff outside all night with neighbors nearby is not usually recommended.
Like all flock guardian breeds, they are intelligent and stubborn to a fault, so obedience classes are recommended since this is a strong-willed, powerful breed with great size potential. Socialization is also critical with this breed because of their reserved nature with strangers and guarding instincts. They are, however, excellent family dogs and are unlikely to cause any harm to children.
Prone to hip dysplasia, skin conditions, thyroid problems, ear infections, and an unusual genetic problem called Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy (CIDN). CIDN symptoms usually appear at 7-10 weeks. If a puppy has this condition, he will die before 4 months of age. There is no test currently known for the disease and carriers can only be identified through mating. Ask the breeder about CIDN history in their lines and avoid lines with evidence of the disease if you would like to breed your dog.
Weight: 100-200 pounds (45-90 kg)
Height: 25-31 inches (60-79cm)
Coat: double coat, long hair with thick inner coat
Activity level: Moderate
Learning rate: High
Temperament: Companion, aloof and protective
Guard dog ability: Very High
Watch-dog ability: Very High
Life span: 10-14 years