The Tibetan Mastiff can attain tremendous sizes.
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 2 Section 2 #230
||Group 6 (Utility)
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Tibetan Mastiff is a rare, very large
The Tibetan Mastiff is among the largest breeds. Its sturdy bone structure
and large, wide head makes it appear considerably more massive than other dogs
of a similar height. It can reach heights up to 31 inches (80 cm) at the
although the standard English breed is typically in the 25 to 28 inch (61 to 71
cm) range. The largest of the breed weighs nearly 220 pounds (100 kg), but the
English standard dogs are more typically between 140 to 180 pounds (64-82 kg).
Its double coat is long and usually all black, although it can also have areas
of tan or gold, and coat colors of Gray, gold, and brown are also possible.
Unlike many other Mastiffs, it has a smooth rather than wrinkled brow and
lacks their large
The native strain of dog, which still exists in Tibet (though sparsely), and
the English breed are very different in temperament. Elizabeth Schuler states,
"The few individuals that remain in Tibet are ferocious and aggressive,
unpredictable in their behavior, and very difficult to train. But the dogs bred
by the English are obedient and attached to their masters."
As a sheepdog and guard dog, it is ferocious in its ability to tackle even
a domestic dog, it requires at least a yard; it is not an appropriate dog for an
apartment. Still, the modern English breed is generally easy-going although
mildly aloof around strangers. Through hundreds of years as a guard dog, the
breed has developed a tendency to bark at sounds during the night, so leaving it
outside at night with nearby neighbors is not usually recommended. The Tibetan
Mastiff is usually good with children in a family home.
Like most herding breeds, they are intelligent and learn quickly.
Obedience training is imperative, since this is also a strong-willed dog
with powerful jaws, strong muscles, and a tremendous body.
Socialization is also critical with this breed because of their natural
caution around strangers and guarding instincts.
Like most very large breeds, its life expectancy is relatively short, usually
not more than 10 or 11 years. The breed has a higher incidence than normal of
skin problems including
underbite), cardiac problems,
progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and small ear canals with a tendency for
infection. As do most giant breeds, some suffer from elbow or
dysplasia, although this has not been a major problem in the Tibetan
Canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy (CIDN), a rare inherited
appeared in one genetic line in the early 1980s but it is believed that this
problem has been eliminated and appeared in no other breeding lines.
This is an ancient breed, descended from very early large Tibetan dogs from
which most, if not all, of today's
Molossuses are descended. Some of the modern breeds thought to have Tibetan
Mastiff ancestry include the
even the toy dog
breed, the Pug, which
itself was a well-established breed before the 1500s.
encountered the large Tibetan dogs in his travels and described them as "tall as
a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion." They were used as guard
dogs outside the sacred city of
The breed originated in
Tibet as a
guard dog and it still makes an excellent
but, by the early
century, this dog had become nearly extinct in its homeland.
breeders took an interest in it and developed the Tibetan Mastiff in their own
country during the first half of the 19th century.
King George IV owned a pair, and there were enough of the breed in England
in 1906 to be shown at the 1906
Crystal Palace show. Subsequently, however, the breed lost favor and nearly
died out in England, as well.
Today there are many active breeders, although the breed is still uncommon.
The breed has suffered from inbreeding over many generations because of the
small number of the original stock, but today's reputable breeders work hard at
reducing the genetic problems.
- Alderton, David (1984). The Dog.
- Fogle, Bruce, DVM (2000). The new Encyclopedia of the Dog. Doring
- Palmer, Joan (1994). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds.
- Schuler, Elizabeth Meriwether (Ed.) (1980). Simon & Shuster's Guide
| Teddy Roosevelt Terrier
| Tenterfield Terrier
| Thai Bangkaew Dog
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| Tibetan Mastiff
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| Tibetan Terrier
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