The Tibetan mastiff is a large, solidly built purebred dog that you will not pass unnoticed. It is also a dog that you do not just buy. As an owner, it is good to be firmly in your shoes for several reasons. This becomes clear when you know all the breed characteristics of this dog. What kind of breed is it exactly, what are the characteristics of this breed and what should you take into account when purchasing such a dog?
Origin of this Breed
The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient Eastern breed of dog, also called Do-Khyi (Tethered Dog). It is believed that this dog was able to develop without significant influences from other breeds. This probably has to do with the fact that Tibet was closed off from the outside world until the annexation of China in 1950.
What does strengthen the assumption of purebreds is the fact that this dog can be found unchanged from the current image on old tapestries and paintings. Furthermore, accurately described stories about this dog (in image and behavior) can be found in the messages of Marco Polo who traveled through Asia around 1271.
These dogs are large, robust in build, and have a straight back. The dog is very powerful. As with all dog breeds, the male is slightly larger and heavier than the female:
- The male has an average height of 66 centimeters and a weight of 60 to 75 kilograms.
- The bitch has an average height of 61 centimeters and a weight of 45 to 60 kilograms.
This coarsely built dog has a large, stout-looking head with a heavy, powerful neck. With this large head, you would expect larger ears, but the ears are relatively small. Because the hanging ears have much longer hair, this is not immediately noticeable. The ears appear larger – and therefore more proportioned – than they actually are.
The eyes are round and not very large, dark brown in color, and give a ‘faithful’ look. The huge head of hair on the head stands upright. This only makes the head look even more impressive.
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These dogs have long, fine, and straight hair. It is a full and thick coat. The coat is quite voluminous all over the body and this is partly due to the undercoat that this dog has. In terms of color, there are several options according to the breed standard, namely:
- black-light brown
- brown-light brown
- red/gold colored
- blue grey
An additional advantage of this dog’s coat is that it has hardly any odor. The ‘dog smell’, so typical for many people, is therefore hardly perceptible with this dog.
The tail has the same full, fanning head of hair as the head. The tail looks heavy because of these long hairs. The full tail falls slightly arched over the rear part of the back.
The Tibetan mastiff is an intelligent, independent, self-confident, headstrong, and sometimes a little stubborn dog. The dog has a calm and gentle character, is watchful when necessary, and is very loyal to the boss. It is not a dog that will quickly approach other people. He’s more likely to stay in the background unless you stumble into his territory unexpectedly. The dog is good at deciding who to approach and who not to approach. It is an extremely good yard guard.
What type of owner suits the Tibetan Mastiff?
This dog is said to not be for everyone, especially the novice dog owner. You need to know how to handle it in terms of character and because of its strong and massive body. After all, it’s not a dog that you pick up if he doesn’t immediately respond to your commands. In other words, as a boss, you have to be fairly dominant and strong. It is also important to be consistent in your behavior and never act cruelly or compulsively. To keep the dog manageable, good training (from a young age) is very important. This way you prevent a frustrated dog and/or owner.
Health aspects and care
With this dog, you have to take into account that he needs to be brushed well at least once a week. If you go out with the dog a lot, brush it more often. This prevents all kinds of dirt from accumulating in the coat and tangles from forming.
Although the dog is not high in its energy level, it certainly needs at least one hour a day to be able to exercise properly. Think of a brisk walk.
Furthermore, this dog also needs sufficient space to move in the immediate living environment. Keeping this dog in a small enclosed apartment is not a good thing for the animal. A smaller house, but with free access to an outdoor area, for example, is possible.
This is not a through-bred breed, so there are no genetic defects. Like many large dog breeds, this dog can also suffer from hip dysplasia. To prevent this as much as possible, the official breeders are obliged to have the dogs tested for this. All dogs in the breeding programs must therefore be tested negative. Dogs that test positive are not allowed to be bred. The dog is generally in good health and, despite the fact that this dog is of a large size, can certainly live to be about 14 years old.
If you like a big, tough, and imposing-looking dog, then this Tibetan mastiff is right for you. Such a dog is in most cases not really suitable for the novice dog owner. If you are going to buy this dog, realize that it is above all an independent and headstrong dog. This in combination with its size means that this dog is not always easy to handle. However, with preferably some experience, good training in combination with consistent behavior from the owner, you go a long way.