About Tibetan Mastiffs
Legendary Guardian of the Himalayas


The Tibetan Mastiff originated from the Himalayan Mountain Regions of Tibet. They are an ancient breed that dates back to 1100 B.C.. They have served as; livestock guardians from marauding predators (commonly snow lions); guardians of villages, homes and mansions (especially woman and children), caravans; and monasteries where they would guard from the outside against intruders. The Tibetan Mastiff is considered to be one of the ancestors of the Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, Dogue de Bordeaux, Great Dane and many others.




The Tibetan Mastiff is not really a mastiff at all, but was named such upon first importations from Tibet due to its' impressive size. It is actually more of a rugged mountain dog. The Tibetan Mastiff is a courageous, powerful, heavy, well-built dog that is also agile in movement. They have an impressive, solemn, but kindly appearance. As part of the working group, the Tibetan Mastiff is a Livestock Guardian Breed that will be "on duty" 24/7. They are extremely agile with a powerful, but purposeful movement. The Tibetan Mastiff has a pronounced neck and shoulder that is thickly coated that looks like a mane.


The TM is a loyal companion, watch and guard dog. Although the TM is patient, gentle and loyal, The TM is also independent, powerful, and courageous and prefers to think for itself. Protective and aloof and wary of strangers- this is a true guardian breed. They will want to know where their flock is (human or livestock) and will watch over it (flock and/or territory) protecting it from what they perceive may be a threat. The TM is not a cuddly teddy bear and fetch and retrieve games are not for him. Good with older, considerate children due to their size. If used as livestock guardian or in a house with other pets, it is best to get the TM used to them at a young age.

Height/ Weight

Height: males 66-76+ cm. (26" to 30"+); females 61-71+ cm. (24"-28"+).
Weight: Males' kg. + (100-160 + lbs.); females kg. +(75-120 + lbs.)
Health Problems: Hypothyroidism, dysplasia, entropic/extropic, epilepsy, canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy.


Obedience classes from the start are a must. The TM looks to its' owner for respect and expects it in return. You must be the confident pack leader with this dog. Firm, unwavering, repeated, consistent discipline from you is expected. TM's are not easily trained and often do not do as well in obedience classes. Best with experienced owners.

Living Conditions

Best suited to country living due to size and nocturnal vocalizing. Fenced property is an absolute must. Can be destructive to relieve monotony-especially likes to chew wood. The colder the better as this breed wears a weather-resistant double coat. This breed loves the snow and tolerates heat.


The Tibetan Mastiff requires a moderate level of exercise. Although they are not as active as many of the sporting breeds, they aren't coach potatoes either. Due to their high level of intelligence, monotony needs to be avoided.
Life Expectancy

8-14 yrs. Slow to mature, females 2-3 years, males at least 4 years.


The Tibetan Mastiff has no doggy smell and requires little or no bathing (unless he gets into something disgusting). An occasional brushing through of the thick double coat to remove dead hairs is recommended. Those allergic to dog hair often find they are not affected. The dogs do not shed much-except during the spring when they moult their undercoat profusely (and need a daily brushing) and retain their sleek summer coat of guard hairs. Dogs brought up in a house with central heating and/or air conditioning will notice this may affect their coat development.
The best time to start a grooming routine is as soon as you acquire your pup.

If made a routine since puppy hood, the TM and owner will find that grooming time is a wonderfully relaxing time that is just as enjoyable for the owner as it is for the TM. Grooming should be done in a non-stressful environment without time constraints if possible.

Grooming also is an excellent step in preventative medicine. It is during this time that you can assess any questionable problems that may be found before they become big (and often expensive) problems. Checking for hot spots, tooth decay, eye infections, parasites, lumps, cuts, embedded or impaled grasses-sticks-etc. in ears, skin, eyes, foot pads etc. are all essential to keep your TM comfortable, happy, and in good health. If in the city, you will ant to check for things like asphalt, tar, gum, glass and the like in their pads. If you are in the country, you will want to double check for burrs, sticks, seeds, moulds, thorns or anything else in their environment that may endanger the comfort or health of your TM.

In males, you will want to check their penis and sheath for signs of inflammation or infection. In females, you will want to check the vaginal opening for signs of infection (especially if your female is in heat) especially foul smelling discharge.

Note: TM's are extremely sensitive to fleas and skin irritations caused by the bites. Due to the high altitude in Tibet from where the TM comes from, where fleas do not live, no immunity was formed against the saliva of the flea.

The TM is a double-coated breed consisting of longer-straight, coarse hairs (especially along the spine, hackles and 'mane') and a thick undercoat that may range from cottony to wooly consistency. Some TM's carry a much denser coat then others and are more prone than other TM's to matting. Once per year (usually in the spring) the TM will 'blow coat'. This is when the undercoat will come out profusely in large clumps. Daily brushing/combing during this time is recommended.

Clipping or shearing of the TM's coat to keep it cool in the summer is not recommended as their coats act as an insulator in the summer as well as the winter months. Small mats may be taken out with a de-matting comb.

A show dogs' coat should never have any cutting done to it except to clean up the feet.

Basic grooming tools for your TM are large nail clippers, large pin brush, and medium to fine metal comb, de-matting rake, a large pin brush and possibly a slicker brush for finishing touches. When brushing or combing, start at the bottom and work upwards and from back to front. Ensuring that you are getting down to the skin and moving outwards. When finished, your TM will shake and his fur will naturally fall into place beautifully.



There are some dry shampoos on the market that may be a better choice for simple touch-ups or when using water is not a good idea (after whelping, when extremely cold and there is a good possibility of your TM being in a draft when wet or still damp.

Your TM should be combed out with a metal comb to remove all mats before bathing, as once bathed, many of the mats will 'felt' and become much more difficult to remove.

American Kennel Club

As of January 2007, the Tibetan Mastiff is eligable to compete as a fully recognized breed in AKC

Canadian Kennel Club

As of July 01, 2007, the Tibetan Mastiff is considered a Listed Breed in the CKC and may enter all events , including conformation, and earn a CKC championship and is treated the same as a fully recognized breeds (earning group placements, Best in Shows, Top Ten dogs along with the Working Group dogs). There no longer is a Misc. class in CKC conformation .


 FCI & CKC Breed Standard

American Tibetan Mastiff Association Breed Standard

Tibetan Mastiff Club of America Breed Standard

United Kennel Club Breed Standard




Goldilocks and Kasar- the Tibetan Terrier. Kasar sentry duty day shift, Goldilocks sentry duty night shift!

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