The Tibetan Mastiff, or Do-khyi, is a large working dog from the Himalayas. Tracing the breed’s history back to antiquity, it acted as the guardian and companion of the Tibetan villagers and nomads, as well as being the traditional guardian of the Tibetan monasteries. Some accounts by travelers to the region, dating as far back as the late 1200s, describe a large dog that may have been a representative of one of the landraces used to establish the Tibetan Mastiff as a standardized breed. These accounts mention the natural strength and physical and mental impressiveness, which is evident in the Tibetan Mastiff today. Even its deep bark has been described as a unique and highly treasured feature of the breed. Many cynologists consider the Tibetan Mastiff the forefather of all large mountain and mastiff breeds. The Tibetan Mastiff was first recognized by the AKC in 2007. Some of the Tibetan Mastiff’s talents are livestock guardian and home guardian.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a powerful, heavy, but athletic dog, the Tibetan Mastiff is built to combine strength and agility. Its body is slightly longer than tall. Its walk is slow and deliberate, while its trot is powerful and light-footed. The whole appearance is impressive, with a solemn but kindly expression. The coat, which is noticeably heavier in males than in females, is thick and fairly long, especially around the neck and shoulders. The tail is densely coated and the hind legs well feathered on the upper parts. The hair is coarse, straight and hard, standing off from the body. It carries a heavy undercoat in cold weather, but little undercoat in warm weather. This combination of coat types allows the Tibetan Mastiff to endure the extremes of Tibetan weather.
As befitting their long past as a solitary sentry and protector, Tibetan Mastiffs are independent, strong willed, and territorial. They are aloof toward strangers but devoted to their family. Proper socialization is essential so that they will accept strangers and not become overly suspicious. They are gentle and patient with their children, but may guard their home against visiting children who may appear to be threatening the family children. They are generally good with other dogs and are rarely dog aggressive. (In Tibet, they were often kept with Lhasa Apsos.) Most Tibetan Mastiffs are good with other animals.
Features of Mastiff Dog
Mastiffs need daily exercise, but take into account the age of the dog and the temperature. Mastiffs can overheat easily.
Without exercise and stimulation, Mastiffs can become bored and destructive.
The Mastiff is considered a breed with a short lifespan, but some Mastiffs have lived to 18 years of age. A dog is a lifelong commitment, and if you are drawn to the breed because of the chance of a short lifespan, you may want to reassess your choice.
Mastiffs drool and are prone to gassiness, but other than that, they are fairly clean. If their drool would bother you in any way, this may not be a breed for you.
Mastiffs are not the best choice for families with very young children or frail senior citizens. A Mastiff can easily knock down a child or adult who’s unsteady.
Mastiffs can do quite well in apartments and homes with small yards if they are exercised properly, but they are not really recommended for smaller dwellings because of their size. The ideal living environment for a Mastiff is a house with a large yard.
Mastiffs can have strong protection instincts and need to be properly socialized with both people and animals. If they are not properly socialized they can become fearful of new situations and shy of strangers, which could lead to biting.
Socializing your Mastiff to other animals will help ensure that your Mastiff has a happy, healthy life. If Mastiffs are not properly trained and socialized they may develop aggression toward other animals, and their size and strength make them dangerous if they don’t know how to interact with them.
Mastiffs have an easy-care coat, but they shed heavily.
When Mastiffs reach adulthood and overcome their clumsiness and energy, they are wonderful companions who are calm, quiet, well mannered, and self-assured. They make excellent watchdogs, although they tend to not bark as much as other breeds.
Mastiffs need training so they can be easily managed in spite of their size. Mastiffs are not recommended for new or timid owners. They respond best to positive reinforcement, especially if it involves lots of hugs and praise.
Mastiffs snore, snort, and grunt–loudly.
Mastiffs tend to be lazy and need daily exercise to keep from gaining too much weight.
All dogs thrive when they are with their family in the house, and the Mastiff is no exception. They should sleep and live in the house, not in the yard. A Mastiff who is tied up in a yard away from their family will pine away or become destructive.
To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store that sources animals from mills.
Specification of Mastiff Dog
extra large (101 lbs. or more)
children seniors dogs cats families
gentle friendly protective
easy to traineasy to groomprone to health issueshighly territorialhigh potential for weight gainapartment-friendlystrong loyalty tendencies