Majestic Tibetan Mastiff

Breeds, last updated 24th, May 2017, DrAn

The Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient giant breed dog whose origins are traced back to the nomadic cultures of Central Asia. It is the closest thing to a lion that you can legally own. A truly majestic dog the Tibetan Mastiff is one of my personal favourites.

Brief History

They were originally used as a guard dog for herds, flocks, palaces, monasteries and villages in parts of central Asia.Their territory ranged mainly the Himalayas and a much more suited name would have been "himalayan Mountain Dog".In the mid-1800s Queen Victoria was presented with a Tibetan Mastiff. After that the British wrote down a standard for the breed and imported many dogs and started breeding them. In the 1970s, Tibetan mastiffs were imported from India, Nepal and Afghanistan to the US and used as stock dogs for the breed. 

The Tibetan Mastiff is not a true Mastiff and the term Mastiff was used to signify it was a large dog. Like the Tibetan spaniel are not a true Spaniel and the Tibetan terrier not a true terrier. The early Western visitors seem to have misnamed many breeds.

Two varieties of Tibetan Mastiff are now distinguished by the breeders as the Do-Khyi and Tsang-Khyi. The latter, Tsang-Khyi is considered the monastery type – larger and taller and the Do-khyi is considered as the nomadic type. Both can occur in the same litter and the differentiation was made by the breeders for monetary purposes.

Appearance and temperament

Tibetam Mastiff Price

Tibetan Mastiff is a large breed dog classified under the working dog group by the AKC. Males can reach heights up to 32 inches (81.28 cm) at the withers. They are courageous, Fearless, calm and thoughtful. They are very loyal and protective of their family. If you are planning to get one, remember that you will have trouble bringing friends home. The original breed that still exists in Tibet is considered to be ferocious and aggressive, unpredictable in their behaviour, and very difficult to train. Selective breeding is being carried out to develop more calm temperament. The dog is mainly bred to improve its appearance. The larger, the more expensive is the trend followed by the breeders.

As a socialised and more domestic dog, they can do fairly well with a large back yard and a companion dog. But they are not suited for apartment life. They are very good Night Watchmen keeping would be predators and intruders at bay. They bark throughout the night at sounds and will get you into trouble if your neighbour is a spoil sport. They sleep during the day time so that they can be more alert and active at night.

They are extremely intelligent and stubborn. So early obedience training and an owner who can clearly maintain the alpha status is absolutely necessary. Owners must understand canine psychology and should be ready to take the leader of the pack position especially with large breed strong willed dogs like the Tibetan mastiff. They are excellent family dogs – but for the right family. Lack of consistent discipline can result in unpredictable and dangerous dogs.


Like all large dog breeds, the Tibetan mastiffs are also prone to Hip and Elbow dysplasias. Thyroid problems, skin infections and ear infections. Unlike other giant breeds, the Tibetan mastiff has a longer average life span of about 10-14 years.

The breed has a single oestrus per year unlike other dogs which go through two. This is similar to the wolves who also have a single oestrus cycle a year

The Tibetan Mastiff has a thick double coat originally produced for survival in the cold harsh Himalayan climate. They usually have two shedding per year, one bigger shedding during early summer or late winter and the other smaller molt in late summer. They are found in a wide variety of colours, including solid black, black and tan, various shades of "red" (from pale gold to deep red) and bluish-grey (dilute black).

Presently, the most expensive dog in the world is Tibetan mastiff. A red Tibetan Mastiff named Big Splash was bought by a person in Northern China for a whopping $1.5 million. Tibetan mastiffs are considered as a symbol of status in China. It is considered as a royal breed as it was owned by people like  King George IV, Queen Victoria and Genghis Khan.

Planning to buy one? Think about the following before you do.

The Tibetan Mastiff is not your average typical dog.

He is literally a giant who needs a lot of space.

He has a huge appetite.

He sheds heavily once a year for about a month.

Needs daily long walks and enough exercise to drain his energy.

He won’t be very inclined to playing fetch or Frisbee.

He is calm and quiet indoors and loves the great outdoors especially in cold climates.

Very aggressive towards other people and animals.

Barks a lot at all the sounds he hears or people he sees.

Is a great guard and ever loyal pal

And finally paying the price for one. They cost a pretty penny. And as they say Bigger the Dog Bigger the expenses. But if expenses are not an issue, then, Bigger the dog Bigger the fun.

Tibetan Mastiff price

So, in short the Tibetan mastiff is a very dignified, self-willed, adorable puffy giant of fun for the right person who can consistently maintain a leader status providing adequate obedience training from the beginning and not a good choice for the newbie dog owners.

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