The Breed Standard for The Tibetan Mastiff


GENERAL APPEARANCE: Powerful, heavy, well built, with good bone. Impressive; of solemn but kindly appearance.

CHARACTERISTICS: A companion, watch and guard dog, slow to mature only reaching its best at 2-3 years in females and at least 4 years in males.

TEMPERAMENT: Aloof and protective.

HEAD AND SKULL: Fairly broad, heavy and strong. Skull massive, with strongly defined occiput and stop. Proportions from occiput to stop and stop to end of nose equal, but nose may be a little shorter. Muzzle fairly broad, well filled and square, viewed from all sides. Broad nose, well pigmented, well opened nostrils. Lips well developed with moderate flews. Some wrinkling, in maturity, on head, extends from above eyes, down to corner of mouth.

EYES: Very expressive, medium size, any shade of brown. Set well apart, oval and slightly slanting.

EARS: Medium size, triangular, pendant, carried low, dropping forward and hanging close to head. Raised when alert. Ear leathers covered with soft, short hair.

MOUTH: Scissor bite - Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. Upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Level acceptable. Essential that dentition fits tightly, to maintain square form of muzzle.

NECK: Strong, well muscled, arched. Not too much dewlap. Shrouded by thick upstanding mane.

FOREQUARTERS: Well laid shoulders, muscular, strongly boned. Straight legs with strong, slightly sloping pasterns, and well covered all over with strong hair.

BODY: Strong, with straight back, muscular, almost imperceptible croup. Chest rather deep of moderate breadth, with reasonable spring of rib, to give heart-shaped ribcage. Brisket reaching to below elbows. Body slightly longer than height at withers.

HINDQUARTERS: Powerful, muscular, with good angulation from well bent stifle and strong low set hocks. Hindlegs, seen from behind, parallel. Removal of dewclaws (single or double) optional.

FEET: Fairly large, strong, compact. Cat-feet having good feathering between toes.

TAIL: Medium to long, but not reaching below hock joint. Set high on line with top of back. Curled over back to one side. Well feathered.

GAIT - MOVEMENT: Powerful, free, always light and elastic. At speed will tend to single-track. When walking appears slow and very deliberate.

COAT: Males carry noticeably more than females. Quality of greater importance than quantity. Mainly fairly long, thick, with heavy undercoat in cold weather which becomes rather sparse in warmer months. Hair fine but hard, straight and stand-off. Never silky, curly or wavy. Heavy undercoat, when present, rather woolly. Neck and shoulders heavily coated, giving mane-like appearance. Tail bushy, densely coated, hindlegs well feathered on upper rear parts.

COLOR: Rich black, black and tan, brown, various shades of gold, various shades of grey, also grey with gold markings. Tan ranges from a very rich shade, through a lighter colour. White star on breast permissible. Minimal white markings on feet acceptable. Tan and gold markings - appear above eyes, on lower part of legs, and tip of tail.

SIZE: Male Dogs : 66cms (26 inches) minimum. Bitches : 61 cms (24 inches).

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which this fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Please note this is the present CKC recognized standard


One of the best TM's I have ever seen- from Tibet. Note Yak in background


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