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 Tibetan Mastiff Dog
Be mindful the your small, cute teddy bear of a puppy will grow into a 75 to 160 pound dog. The Mastiff’s size makes him unsuited for apartment living.
Tibetan Mastiffs are usually active in the morning and evening. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to exercise them during these times, this may not be the breed for you.
They are generally calm indoors.
The Tibetan Mastiff should not be left to live outside. He’s a companion dog and thrives in the presence of his family.
Because of his protective nature, a Tibetan Mastiff should never be walked off leash. Vary his walks so he doesn’t become territorial over a specific route.
Tibetan Mastiffs are highly intelligent, independent, and stubborn, yet sensitive to human moods. They will become upset if you yell at or discipline your children or argue with your spouse. They enjoy your company but are never fawning.
This is not the breed for people who wish to compete in dog sports such as agility or obedience.
Tibetan Mastiffs who are left outdoors at night will bark to let you know they’re on the job so don’t leave them outdoors at night. On the upside, they are generally quiet during the day.
Tibetan Mastiffs shed little, except for once a year. a They require weekly brushing, except during their seasonal shed, when they should be brushed more frequently.
The Tibetan Mastiff needs early socialization that should continue throughout his life. Without it, he can be inappropriately aggressive toward dogs and people he doesn’t know. Socialization helps him learn discrimination, which is essential for a guardian breed.
The Tibetan Mastiff is not recommended for a timid or first-time owner. This breed needs a confident trainer who is consistent and firm but also loving. The Tibetan Mastiff is strong-willed and will test whether you really mean what you say.
Tibetan Mastiffs can become bored without proper physical and mental stimulation. This can lead to destructiveness, barking, and other negative behaviors. If you’re interested in owning a Tibetan Mastiff, please bear in mind that you’ll lose at least a few items to his sharp teeth before he reaches three years of age.
Tibetan Mastiffs can do well with children if they’re raised with them, but they can mistake the yelling, screaming, and playing of children as a sign of aggression that requires action on their part. They may not warm up to neighborhood kids. They are not recommended for homes with young children.
Never buy a Tibetan Mastiff from a puppy mill, a pet store, or a breeder who doesn’t provide health clearances or guarantees. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases and of sound temperament.
Specification of Tibetan Mastiff Dog
70 to 150 pounds
10 to 12 years
large (61-100 lbs.)
brown / chocolate / livergold / yellowblackbluegray
bicolorblack and tanliver and tanblue and tan
easy to groomtolerates being alonehighly territorialhigh potential for weight gaincold weather tolerantstrong loyalty tendencies