Tibetan Mastiff Facts

tibetan mastiff facts

This ancient breed of dog (records show their presence in 1121 BC) proudly stands as one of the strongest dogs today. Marco Polo described them as “tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion. “Known in Tibetan as ‘Do khyi’ meaning ‘home guard’ which indicates it’s use as a protector of homes and livestock. Tibetan Mastiff is protection dog, that said it is not most suitable for livestock herding (some other breeds do much better job). It is classified as a primitive breed and still exhibits characteristics and adaptations necessary for it to survive in the high altitude and severe colds in Tibet.

tibetan mastiff puppy

tibetan mastiff puppies

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Intelligent and ferocious, aided by their relatively large size. The first Western traveler to have encountered Tibetan mastiffs was Marco Polo. They were used to guard Lhasa. In 19th century England, King George owned a pair. Today, Tibetan Mastiff falls into high price breed and currently holds a record as most expensive dog (some breeds sold between one and two million dollars).
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Comment extracted from Lynn, March 18th 2011: As an owner of a Tibetan Mastiff I have a few comments to make:This is an extremely special breed, that is NOT suitable for everyone. An owner with previous large breed experience would be recommended. This is a primitive breed. They are classed as guardian dogs NOT guard dogs as regarded in western society. They are very very loyal to their family…slow to warm to strangers, very protective and self thinkers. They were breed to be self thinkers and could survive on their own protecting their territories, flocks, mountain passes etc. Those that have been bred by Western breeders over the last 20 – 45 years are more suited to western owners. The information from our breeder is that those that are currently being bred in China are still quite primitive. They are not your typical family pet. Do not get one because you think they are cute and cuddly! They are to be revered and they are very strong both in body and spirit…strong willed.Tibetans as a large primitive breed have special temperaments. They are slow to mature, can be construed as extremely stubborn and slow, and have different estrus cycles, etc. They are very intelligent and do things on their own time after thinking it thru & deciding that they think it is appropriate. They are very alert at night and can be night barkers. They are not vicious, but protective.Our beautiful girl was from the very first litter born in British Columbia and was a gift from the breeder. We adored her. We lost her a few years ago with a blood disorder and miss her still!!! Her loss has left a huge hole in our lives. We were soo very blessed to have had her as a family member.Any and every dog is a life long commitment that comes with a lot of responsibility. If you would like a challenge and have the time for a very very special dog then perhaps you might like to consider this very ancient and unique breed. Regards. Lynn.

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My favorite dog – the Tibetan Mastiff from aww

Got to help groom this "little" guy today. Four months old and he’s already 56 lbs! 🐶💖🛁 Everybody meet Rocco, the Tibetan mastiff! from aww

3 week old Tibetan mastiff pups having their first play! from aww

 

35 Comments on “Tibetan Mastiff Facts”

  1. just to see this dog i wanna cry, don’t get me wrong but i think that to own a HUGE size dog you must be a strong, and firmed voiced person, i wanted to get a cane corso (which is also from the mastiff family) but after many research, it requires lot of training and socializing in order for him not to turn aggressive, so my husband bought me a boston terrier instead, but my respects to the mastiffs owners, they must have a handful owning a dog that type.;)

  2. As an owner of a Tibetan Mastif I have a few comments to make:

    This is an extremely special breed, that is NOT suitable for everyone. An owner with previous large breed experience would be recomended. This is a primitive breed. They are classed as gaurdian dogs NOT guard dogs as regarded in western society.

    They are very very loyal to their family…slow to warm to strangers, very protective and self thinkers. They were breed to be self thinkers and could survive on their own protecting their territories, flocks, mountain passes etc. Those that have been bred by Western breeders over the last 20 – 45 years are more suited to western owners. The information from our breeder is that those that are currently being bred in China are still quite primitive.

    They are not your typical family pet. Do not get one because you think they are cute and cuddly! They are to be reveered and they are very strong both in body and spirit…strong willed.

    Tibetans as a large primitive breed have special temperaments. They are slow to mature, can be construed as extremely stubborn and slow, and have different estrus cycles, etc. They are very intelligent and do things on their own time after thinking it thru & deciding that they think it is appropriate. They are very alert at night and can be night barkers. They are not vicious, but protective.

    Our beautiful girl was from the very first litter born in British Columbia and was a gift from the breeder. We adored her. We lost her a few years ago with a blood disorder and miss her still!!! Her loss has left a huge hole in our lives. We were soo very blessed to have had her as a family member.

    Any and every dog is a life long commitment that comes with a lot of responsibility. If you would like a challenge and have the time for a very very special dog then perhaps you might like to consider this very ancient and unique breed.

    Regards

  3. On a recent trip to Italy, I was introduced to a breeder of theese particular breed of dogs. The owner was very excited for me to see the dogs he was so proudly breeding. But, on this particular day, the dogs wanted no part of being introduced to someone new. Everytime an attempt was made to go near them, they very nervous, barked, and sneered to let me know I was not welcome and I was glad to not have met them that day as well… I am not so sure I would be alive today, those dogs would have ripped me limb from limb. These dogs are difinitely not for people who want a cute and cuddley pet.

  4. indeed a gorgeous, intelligent, loyal, loving dog but NOT for a novice or even a half-hearted owner. they are bred to guard and KILL anything it percieves as a threat to the flock (it’s family). there is a HUGE responsibility AND liability with owning a TM.

  5. antone wrote:
    they do look vivious

    They’re not, just protective! Mine is great with kids, and the last thing anyone would think about him is that he’s vicious. That one was probably just mad. Red (My dog) is the most relaxed, easy going dog anyone could ask for.

  6. Dee wrote:

    These dogs are difinitely not for people who want a cute and cuddley pet.

    Our family has one, and he is the most laid back, easy going dog in the world. He’s the perfect fit for the description “cute and cuddly”. He’s not vicious, just protective of his territory, and his family. The dogs you saw were probably just being protective, because you were intruding on their territory. Another reason he would be perfect as the “cute cuddly dog” is that he is wonderful with children. If these were vicious animals, then he wouldn’t be. Maybe try actually getting to know one before you comment on their temperment.

  7. all of your comments scare me, these are protective dogs and as such are not suited well for families- they protect you from everyone, not just those that pose a threat…. guard dog, protector, yes….. family pet, no!!!!! do your research, i love my tm’s but would never say they are good for families- unless you live in the middle of nowhere and don’t need to worry about your neighbors, strangers, and others getting bit. they may be good with kids, but do not differentiate between those they need to protect you from, and those they do not… and they do bite children, and adults, trust me. therefore everyone outside your family is at risk- this is not a DOG you can train, it is an ANIMAL to be managed

  8. It concerns me when people who don’t have any experience with or own a Tibetan Mastiff make comments in this forum.

    If you have a Tibetan and you have had great experience with them as a family dog, that is wonderful!!! You have been blessed to have such a special majestic breed.

    Please be aware that these are ‘Guardian’ dogs, with a deep bred natural instinct to protect! Please know the difference between guardian and guard dogs.

    Yes, they will be protective, yes they may bite when provoked!
    I would NOT consider them to be vicious when in their home with their families. But, yes when they are guarding protectively, you must be aware of the potential for protective behavior. It is a natural instinct in this breed. They do not display ‘classic’ friendly, jump up and down, fetch, cuddly behavior. Mine did not run beside bicycles, and play ball like a Lab, terrier or poodle. She displayed a solid, reserved, calm tail waving, loving behavior with her family. She was intelligent enough to differentiate and remember those that she was familiar with such as extended family and close friends… greeting them with a majestic and solid warmth. Intruders, beware!

    Our girl, Jemma, was raised with children, taken on holidays, socialized as much as possible, taken camping, etc. Yet, she was always on guard, would gaurd her home, campsite, and her family. She was very wary & reserved of strangers, and she really spooked with banging or loud noises, flying plastic bags, etc.

    I work at home and she was always with me. Because I have clients coming and going into my studio in the house all of the time this was an area that we focused on, so that she knew what was expected of her and she knew how to handle these new people in her environment. I also always informed clients that I had a large dog and would they prefer her to be absent…. respecting their apprehension or fear of dogs. During client meetings she would lay beside me and turn her head or roll over and emit a very deep throaty warning growl and show her protective nature to any one who stood above me or moved to me. This was her way of saying: “I am here doing my job, and you are presenting me with behavior that I am prepared to act on.” Warning given. To me that was to be expected as it was in her nature to be protective!!! I was also very pro-active in her training and socializing. I always made sure and reinforced that I was the alpha in her environement. I also trusted her and knew her strengths and her weaknesses. We invested in professional dog training sessions…from puppy hood to advanced adult training. She was very bored with these, after the puppy training and was a challenge to even the very experienced dog trainer. I also never put her in a potentially compromising situation.

    The pictures of the Tibetans with the fierce aggressive toothy, fighting faces, may be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Those pictures do show their size and temperment when they are ultimately provoked and put in a situation that calls upon the deep fierceness that lies within what appears to be a gentle giant.

    Our Tibetan came from a very responsible breeder who bred for the calmest nature and dogs that would be compatable with a family who understood their history/genetic traits; more suitable for our Western lifestyle. Our breeder was responsible & had known our family for a long time. He understood that we were very experienced, commited dog owners, and capable of loving and owning large breed dogs. We were extensively screened.

    If you are potentially considering this breed, please do your research. Please don’t bring a Tibetan home if you are looking for a fierce fighting machine attack dog…that is not what they are. They are protectors, self thinkers, and slow to mature. If you have a hobby farm, with some sheep or goats, or a llama or two…they might be a wonderful fit. For the most part, Western/North American bred Tibetans are not bred to be agressive fighters!!! They are bred to be companion, guardian dogs. If you want one with a primitave agressive nature, then you may want to research Tibetans from Chinese breeders/sellers.

    Remember that a dog is a commitment for the life of the animal, and as an owner you bear all responsibilites for its health and well being, as well as its actions.

    I hope this helps clear up some misconceptions about this wonderful breed of dog. My comments are solely based on my research and experience as a owner of this breed.

  9. Sara wrote:
    all of your comments scare me, these are protective dogs and as such are not suited well for families- they protect you from everyone, not just those that pose a threat…. guard dog, protector, yes….. family pet, no!!!!! do your research, i love my tm’s but would never say they are good for families- unless you live in the middle of nowhere and don’t need to worry about your neighbors, strangers, and others getting bit. they may be good with kids, but do not differentiate between those they need to protect you from, and those they do not… and they do bite children, and adults, trust me. therefore everyone outside your family is at risk- this is not a DOG you can train, it is an ANIMAL to be managed

    You clearly have little experience with these dogs. Although protective, my Tibetan mastiff has never attacked anyone. He is payed back, and very well behaved, but he can sense threats. He wouldn’t dream of attacking a regular passerbye, but if someone was harming his family he would protect us. This said, he is not like this with most people. We have brought ours into elementary schools, and he’s been walked by kindergartners. Your comment offends me, because my dog is most definitely a trainable dog, not a manageable animal.

  10. SPLITZCHIK13 all I can say is, you are assuming the risk, not me:) A true Tibetan Mastiff will think for himself in all situations; good luck with that! Unfortunately I have good and bad experiences, thus my warning to the average dog lover. I am in it for the long haul, and a harsh warning would have made me think twice before jumping in~ best wishes

  11. A Tibetan Mastiff is not for everyone as its been stated lots of times here. It requires a strong ruleset and a kind hand to raise them properly. Stubborn as hell and very protective. Most mastiff breeds are “lazy”. Tm’s requires lots of exercise when they come of age. If not, that energy will build up and they will most likely become over protective/agressive.

    That said, it’s a beatiful dog and you wont get a better family friend.

  12. @SARA
    A dog that growls at a bypassers/guests is most likely overprotective no matter what breed, thats not the dogs fault but the owners. TM’s need challenges and strong leadership. I take mine (Kido) into the mountains atleast twice a year, letting him explore and use his muscles climbing etc. He guards me and the ones i travel with like a pack, never straying too far. We stay together (if bring others along the on the trip) or he will make sure that we do 🙂 (pushing, shoving and occasionally running into the ones that fall behind).

    Strangers are met with an alertness. Then it is up to me to say if its friendly or hostile (never heard him growl at strangers since he was 17months). They need a strong leader or they will take over and “protect” as they see fit.

    At home (live in a small town in an appartment) I train with him atleast 30mins everyday (TM’s are stubborn and if they resist, dont push them. Go on to another part of your training and come back to the thing you were doing later at that day or training session).
    If raised properly they are friendly but alert. A very good family dog, but they do require alot of training. Not recommended for new dog owners.

  13. I applaud Lynn for her excellent explanation of the Tibetan Mastiff. As an owner of Chow Chows for the past 18 years, I have heard all of the “vicious, one person, not family friendly, etc” comments from everyone who never met MY Chow Chows. They are the most well behaved, friendly, loving dogs and everyone who walks into my home wants to take them home with them. No one ever believes that this is the same “bad” breed of dog they were told about. It takes a strong person to own this breed. You must be the alpha, or, yes, they will do as they please. But that goes for any breed that is improperly trained.
    If you’re the type of person who believes in “bad breeds”, you’re probably better suited for a “family friendly” breed such as a Labrador. My Chow Chows were properly trained & very well socialized from a very young age, and because of that, they are excellent family AND people friendly dogs.
    Sadly, many breeds are deemed vicious by people who have had a bad experience with that breed. It is unfair and, in my opinion, the ignorant & misinformed statements made by some people is what causes certain breeds to be viewed as unfriendly, and because of that, they end up in shelters with no chance of being placed with the proper type of owner.
    I would love to own a Tibetan Mastiff, and I know I have the patience & skill to do so. The people who can’t handle strong breeds have no business making them a part of their family.
    For those people who want a dog for protection purposes, buy a gun or call ADT instead. A dog is NOT a security system, nor should they be viewed or trained as such, with perhaps the exception of police or military trained dogs.
    I will always believe this about ANY breed of dog: There are no bad dogs, just bad owners. Kudos to all the responsible owners of any breed out there.

  14. Thank you Ali. This is exactly how I feel about my Tibetan Mastiff. Also, everyone is saying they need lots of exercise, while mine barely needs 2 walks a day. And short ones at that, and he is the least aggressive dog I’ve ever met. He does show the TM traits of being stubborn, and protective, but aggressive is the exact opposite of Red.

  15. I have never heard of this dog. I used to raise chows, and this looks like a big chow. I’ve heard many times how aggressive chws are, but every dog has the ability to be a bad dog. My chow had a cat personality. She wasn’t a big dumb lap dog. She was very sophisticated.
    I’m curious if these dogs need to live in cold climates

  16. Lynn, it’s always nice to see others who cherish their furry family members and aren’t afraid to educate others with their knowledge of certain breeds who are unfairly targeted as being bad.
    My Chows are real homebodies. I have a nice size yard that is fenced in and they are more than happy in their own space. When we walk them, they do enjoy it, but after about a 15 minute walk, they just want to go back home. They’re also great dogs if you live in an apartment too, because they don’t need tons of space, and 15 or 20 minute walks are sufficient for them, especially when it’s hot and they get older. Of course, puppies and younger dogs always have more energy, but even when they were younger, they were always content with a few short walks. That’s not to say they don’t need play time, but you can easily entertain their play needs indoors if you don’t have a yard or live near a dog park. Experience, patience, & socialization are essential to handle this breed, and an owner who is confident, commanding & loving will have no problem training a Chow to be the best dog they could hope for. Any dog could be that way. It all depends on the owner. People need to do their homework on a breed to suit their lifestyle and personality and not base their choices on cuteness, rumors, or the need for protection or love. Those important things are too often ignored and result in innocent dogs ending up homeless. People need to be less selfish and make the needs of the animal they want to become a part of their lives their first priority.

  17. Once I was being chased by three Tibetan Mastiffs down a street late at night and they were really fast like so fast that they moved like sonic anyway one tryed to bit me so I did a barrell roll and another tryed to tackle me and i did ninja flip and roundhouse kicked him in the face the dogs then stopped in front of me and said “you have strong technique we can teach you our dog-fu” and i said “no i don’t need it but thanks” then they dissapeared into the shadows and i went home and ate pizza with my mom

  18. Shanxi Longcheng Tibetan mastiff breeding base (Huibin kennel) is a professional Tibetan mastiff breeding kennel that comes from china. We have rich breeding experiences of this breed. There are many top quality puppies and healthy adults available every year.

  19. Dears,

    Kindly I need to buy one of these magnificent dog Tibtan Mastiff so any one can he help me ready to transfer him money by credit card + my address but only I need one person.

    Only the best

    Kirkuk-Iraq

  20. Your information is straight with no inclination towards extremes.
    Very effective communication about a relationship, not pet.. ..
    Touching.. ..
    Thanking you for share.

  21. What are the dimensions how tall or long how much do they weigh I am in awe with this breed someone please enlighten me if I may ask

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