Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed
Nicknames: Bhote Kukur, Zang’Ao
|Right Breed For You?||Extremely independent and intelligent, the Tibetan Mastiff may have its own agenda, so for safety, they should be kept contained when exercised. Apartment life is not recommended for this dog. Although active while outdoors, they are usually fairly quiet in the house. Prospective owners should note – the breed is highly protective of their family and property, so it may be difficult to bring people into your home. Finally, they shed their coat only once a year, but regular brushing is still required.||Discount Pet Supply Recommendations|
||Medium to Heavy Shed|
|Height:||25 to 28 inches|
|Life Span:||10 and 14 years|
|Litter Size:||6 and 12 puppies|
|Hair Length:||Medium, Long|
|Color:||Black, brown, and blue/grey, all with or without tan markings, and various shades of gold|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI|
For many Tibetan Mastiff breeders, owners and fanciers, there is simply no other breed that captures the beauty, nobility or the magic of the Tibetan Mastiff breed. But the Tibetan Mastiff breed is NOT for everyone so please ensure that you thoroughly investigate the true character and requirements of the breed.
Acquiring a TM is a lifetime commitment so it is important that you prepare yourself before making the huge decision to welcome one of these dogs into your home. While there are too many aspects of the Tibetan Mastiff to explore in any document, the following is a quick guide to help you determine whether the Tibetan Mastiff might be the right dog for you, your family and your lifestyle.
The powerful Tibetan Mastiff is a naturally protective and territorial dog. This means he will guard your property (house, yard, car, other pets, etc.) and your person. It also means that he will be typically suspicious and reserved with new people and situations. A securely fenced yard is a must!
The Tibetan Mastiff exhibits an extremely independent, stubborn nature and a wondrous depth of intelligence and character. He does not tend to show any of the attributes of the more obedient/trainable breeds that can be taught to perform simple or complex routines. Leash training is a must. While other more domesticated, people-pleasing breeds may enjoy fetching games, the primitive Tibetan Mastiff focuses on his working abilities which include guarding, alerting through barking, patrolling and basic territorial/dominant behavior. This breed has been bred for thousands of years to do so and it is unwise to think that you will change that.
In general, dogs carry noticeably more coat than bitches. The quality of the coat is of greater importance than quantity. Double-coated, with fairly long, thick coarse guard hair, with heavy soft undercoat in cold weather which becomes rather sparse in warmer months. Hair is fine but hard, straight and stand-off; never silky, curly or wavy.
A heavy undercoat, when present, rather woolly. Neck and shoulders heavily coated, especially in dogs, giving mane-like appearance. Tail and britches densely coated and heavily feathered. The Tibetan Mastiff is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet. Dogs are not to be penalized if shown with a summer coat.
Tibetan Mastiff is considered to be one of the oldest breed in existence today. However as accurate written records were not kept much of the earlier history is unknown. As early as the 13th century, Marco Polo told of seeing these Mastiffs in his Far East wanderings. Some believe they were used as guard dogs in China from 1000 BC. This is a breed which has remained unchanged for thousands of years as proved by bones unearthed from different eras, and from pictures as well.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a descendant of the famous Tibetan dogs that were the source of the majority of Molossuses and Mastiffs throughout the world. The ancient Tibetan Mastiff may have been in existence as early as the stone or bronze age. Mollossian dogs accompanied Alexander the Great from Tibet to Europe, and during this period helped to found many of today’s other Mastiff breeds.
Quoted from Hutchinson Popular & Illustrated Dog Encyclopedia published by Hutchinson & Co., Ltd., in 1929:
“The Tibetan Mastiff is certainly one of the most ancient breeds of dogs; it originates from the Central Tablelands of Asia, but is also found in Arabia and Syria, which regions it must have reached by following the invaders. Very probably it was Tibetan Mastiffs that were presented to Alexander by an Asiatic King to combat lions and elephants, and which became famous in the arenas and circuses of decadent Rome. In Asia, the part played by the Tibetan Mastiff is to guard the women, children and cattle.”
The native type of dog, which still exists in Tibet, and the Westernized purebred breed can vary 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.”
Others claim that the ferocity of those in Tibet is due to selective breeding and their training as guard dogs rather than companion dogs, as reflected by their Tibetan name, “tied dogs.” Many breeders throughout Asia are now seeking to preserve and breed the larger, original, more protective Tibetan Mastiff while Western breeders have sought to stabilize the temperament, in both size varieties.
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.
The Western-bred dogs are generally more easy-going, although somewhat aloof with strangers coming to the home. Through 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. Leaving a Tibetan Mastiff outside all night with neighbors nearby is not recommended. They often sleep during the day to be more active, alert and aware at night.
Like all flock guardian breeds, they are intelligent and stubborn to a fault, so obedience training is recommended (although only mildly successful) since this is a strong-willed, powerful breed. Socialization is also critical with this breed because of their reserved nature with strangers and guarding instincts. They are excellent family dogs.
Newspaper reports have suggested that a pair of these Mastiffs have killed tigers while guarding sheep in the highlands of Nepal.
The Tibetan Mastiff does best with adult-supervised children who have been taught to be respectful and who show consideration for the dog’s space. Extra care should be shown for visiting children as they play may seem threatening or alarming. The Tibetan Mastiff seems to do best with other household pets when he is introduced to them as a puppy.
Unlike most large breeds, its life expectancy is long, some 10-14 years. The breed has fewer genetic health problems than many breeds, but cases can be found of hypothyroidism, entropion or ectropion, skin problems including allergies, low immune system including demoded, missing teeth, malocclusion (overbite or underbite), cardiac problems, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataract, and 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.
The Tibetan Mastiff is ideal for those with little time to dedicate to grooming, as he is a low maintenance dog. You can keep his coat in good condition by brushing on a weekly basis, although this will need to be increased during periods of heavier shedding. Some Tibetan Mastiffs may have thicker coats that tend to matt, which means that slightly more time will need to be put into effective grooming. The Tibetan Mastiff is a medium shedder, and may therefore prove unsuitable for those with allergies.
It is also essential that the dog’s ears, eyes, and nails are also maintained. The ears should be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent ear mites and other infections. The eyes should be cleaned as well. The nails should be clipped when necessary. Be careful to not cut the quick as this can cause bleeding and is somewhat painful. Using a dog nail clipper equipped with a safety guard will prevent this problem.
To make grooming easier for this massive breed it is important to start getting them used to it as young puppies. Have the Tibetan Mastiff stand while you brush and clip the nails. It may be a challenge to begin with but the dog should adjust to the grooming becoming a natural thing. It is important not to use force with this dog, but be patient. It may take longer, but it is important that the dog does not view these things as scary. Do no rush, it is alright to let the dog take some time to get used to things.
Young Tibetan Mastiffs need enough exercise to keep them lean and healthy, but not so much that their soft growing bones, joints, and ligaments become over-stressed and damaged. Adult Tibetan Mastiffs need more exercise to keep them in shape, but not in hot or humid weather for fear of overheating.
Since you have to minimize their exercise, young Tibetan Mastiffs can be very rambunctious. They will romp with uncoordinated gawkiness all over your house. You need to substitute extra quantities of companionship and supervision. Otherwise, left alone, young Tibetan Mastiffs become bored and destructive — and their powerful jaws can literally destroy your living room.
The Tibetan Mastiff exhibits an extremely independent, stubborn nature and a wondrous depth of intelligence and character. He does not tend to show any of the attributes of the more obedient/trainable breeds that can be taught to perform simple or complex routines. Training on a dog leash is a must.
While other more domesticated, people-pleasing breeds may enjoy fetching games, the primitive Tibetan Mastiff focuses on his working abilities which include guarding, alerting through barking, patrolling and basic territorial/dominant behavior. This breed has been bred for thousands of years to do so and it is unwise to think that you will change that.
Committed and interactive owners are required to teach boundaries and guide a dog through the steps of basic dog manners. The Tibetan Mastiff is considered to be a challenging breed to care for and lifelong training requires dedicated work. Respect and patience are the essential keys to this breed.
Because his guarding tendencies are instinctual the Tibetan Mastiff needs a great deal of socialization. He needs to be introduced to many people, places and different situations right from early puppy-hood and well into the first two years of his life. Appropriate socialization leads to confident, well-adjusted and reliable dogs.
Destructive behavior due to boredom or anxiety is not uncommon for the Tibetan Mastiff. Solid and secure containment areas are a must with this breed. When left outside overnight, nocturnal barking is a common complaint.