Height: 25-28 inches
Weight: 140-170 pounds
Coat Type: Long, heavy and thick
Known as a livestock guardian and home guardian, the Tibetan Mastiff is a very ancient breed that originated in the nomadic cultures of Central Asia. Also known as Do-khyi, Tsang-khyi, Bhote Kukur and Zang Ao, this breed has different names that signify same meanings, such as “home guard”, “door guard”, “big ferocious dog” and “bankhar”. The dog is a courageous, even-tempered, alert and self-confident breed. Due to its high intelligence, Tibetan Mastiff is tagged as a quick learner. The canine makes a fierce family protector. The life expectancy of a Tibetan Mastiff is long, about 15 or more years. Read on further to know more about the Tibetan Mastiff breed.
The Tibetan Mastiff has been in existence as early as 1100 BC. It is known to have descended from Tibetan dogs, a source of the majority of Molossuses and Mastiffs across the world. The present Tibetan Mastiffs have been in existence in the Himalayan Mountains in Tibet for centuries. They were used to guard the property, families and tents, while people were out to graze the flocks. These dogs were exported to the United States from India, Nepal, Ladakh and Afghanistan in the 1970s. Since then, the breed has gained popularity in both the United States and England. The American Tibetan Mastiff Association was formed in 1974; however, the breed was first recognized by the American Kennel Club only in 2006.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a large, massive dog well-balanced with its short legs and sturdy built. It has a broad and heavy head that is wrinkled and strong. The muzzle is broad and square, while the nose is large and black. The medium almond-shaped eyes are slightly slanted, deep-set and brown in color. The ears are pendant and V-shaped and hang close to the head. It has a muscular neck that is arched with a moderate dewlap, which is more prominent in males than in females. The tail is feathered and curls over the back. The dog has a double coat that is thick and bulky. The undercoat is soft, short and dense, while the outer coat consists of longer and harsher hair. The coat can be found in colors of black, brown, blue-grey, cream, sable, grizzle and gold, with or without tan markings. The dog can also have white markings.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a fearless, protective, patient and gentle breed. Calm and thoughtful, the breed is loyal to its owners. Though the dog tends to bark at night when left outdoors, it is quiet indoors. Since it is ferocious against wolves, leopards or any prey that approaches the flock, the dog makes an outstanding flock guardian. The dog loves to please its owners and makes a great companion for kids. However, the dog is reserved with strangers and can distrust if not properly socialized. With good exercise, the dog does well in an apartment.
The Tibetan Mastiff is subject to a number of health issues, such as hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, skin conditions, eye disorders, heart problems, allergies, autoimmune problems and ear infections. The dog is also prone to Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy (CIDN), a genetic problem that is fatal.
The Tibetan Mastiff requires regular brushing. The coat gets thicker during the winter season. Around this time, for a month the canine undergoes extensive shedding and hence should be brushed and combed regularly. The dog should be bathed only a few times per year as and when necessary.