The Tibetan Mastiff

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Tibetan Mastiff
Avg Wt: Male 110 — 165 lbs
Avg Wtt. Female 95 — 120 lbs
Height:Male 25” — 26”
Height Female 23” — 24”
AKC Rank 2008 #126
Lifespan: 11—14 yrs
Group Working
Origin: Tibet

Dob Breed Info - The Tibetan Mastiff

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Breed Overview

Origin: Ancient times. Original function: Guarding. Today: Guarding, Companion. This dog enjoys barking loudly at night. Colors: Black, Brown, Grey with or w/o tan markings.

The Tibetan Mastiff, a strong guardian and polite family dog, is one of the more recent breeds to be added by the American Kennel Club to it’s long list. The Tibetan has been traced back to possibly 1100 bc and there are several stories from that point on. Tibet sealed off it’s exterior to outsiders so the breed continued on for many years in total obscurity. In the 1800’s, Queen Elizabeth received some of these dogs and the British started breeding and standardizing on their own. By the 1970’s, the breed arrived in America. This is a cherished dog for guarding villages, houses, sheep, cattle and families. Popularity rose somewhat in England and America. The AKC registered the breed in 2006.


The Tibetan Mastiff is trainable but only by a dominant, forceful, kind, considerate person. They are a little sensitive and do not take to harsh treatment. The best way is with clicker training and positive reinforcement. This works well on difficult and dominating type dogs.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Tibetan Mastiff puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Most Tibetan Mastiff puppies are relatively easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

There is NO excuse for chaining a dog
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This is a fearless, powerful and ferocious guardian of family and home. The Tibetan Mastiff requires an owner that is dominant and a consistent ALPHA leader. This is a no-nonsense dog. He’s very territorial as well as a fierce guardian and can easily become over-protective to the point that friends coming over to visit can be viewed as threats by the dog. As long as the Tibetan is in a house with dominating personalities, he can be a calm, polite and friendly family pet that gets along well with children.

This is a dog that must have heavy socialization starting young, at around 4 to 5 weeks old and continued on throughout his life. It’s up to the breeder to start the social and training work before you ever get the puppy, and then up to you to continue the work. Any ferocious dog with guarding instincts MUST be heavily socialized as a puppy! This dog easily becomes bored, extremely destructive and should not be left alone for long periods, something to consider if you work all day. Not a pet for the first time owner.

If you happen to get a Tibetan Mastiff with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Yes, Not known to be dog aggressive, especially is raised with and socialized with other dogs as a puppy.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

.Okay with other pets, and especially if raised with them.

Friendly Toward Strangers

If properly socialized, okay with people. Of not, could be a problem. It’s easy to tell if a Tibetan Mastiff has been properly socialized by the way he greets strangers. If he’s friendly and easy-going, he’s had a good social program in his background.


Moderately playful—for a big guy, this may be a surprise but he is quite playful. He likes to run, roll in the grass and play gamers of fetch.


Very affectionate. He loves his family and kids and isn’t afraid to show it.

Good with children?

If properly socialized as a puppy, the Mastiff can be gentle and patient with children. Excessively boisterously and rambunctious kids can be a bit too much. The children MUST be supervised. The Mastiff might view visiting neighborhood kids as an outside threat to his own “family” of children and attack.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Maybe. The Mastiff could be a good companion for seniors. This dog is large for a senior, BUT, he’s affectionate, loyal and fiercely protective and craves lots of human companionship, all of which fits the senior citizen profile. He’s easy to manage in terms of exercise—just get out and walk once a day and keep a hair brush handy.

Living environment

House with a medium to large fenced yard, farm or ranch is advised. The Tibetan Mastiff needs to get out and roam around, maybe even a short game of fetch, but not anything excessive.

Must live indoors and around people. Can NOT be stuck out in a yard. This breed does not have the temperament for that. He needs lots of human contact.

NO apartment living, NO condo.

Needs a moderate to cool climate. Can NOT take hot, humid weather

Energy level

Low energy. On a scale of 10, give this guy a 4.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate. A long walk is good. NO jogging! The Tibetan Mastiff is a heavy dog and joint damage can occur easily with too much exercise so take it easy. A brisk gamer of fetch is okay, but not prolonged.


Excellent watchdog. Runs in the heritage. Very alert breed.

Guard dog

Excellent guard dog. It’s in his bloodline.


Yes—sheds in the spring.


Brush two to three times a week with a stiff bristle brush and every day while shedding which is a short period in the spring. Brushing removes dead hair and the dog loves the extra attention.

The ears need to be cleaned frequently and excess wax and hair removed to prevent an environment for dirt and infection to set in.


Suggested Reading - Tibetan Mastiff

  • The book on the right is very rare and only a few are left in print. It is a 155 page hardcover "owners manual" which is now a very edition covering the care and raising of the Tibetan Mastiff.

  • The book in the center - "50 Games," offers a variety of simple to teach and execute games your dog will enjoy. It's great exercise and bonding for the two of you.

  • On the right is a soft cover book by the American National Red Cross which deals with dog health, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for dog first aid. It is of use to every dog owner. You get Vol 2 with a DVD included.

Tibetan Mastiff Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Tibetan Mastiff puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that REALLY know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training.
Tibetan Mastiff Breeders in the USA + Can. with puppies for sale. NOTE - As I write this, the site is showing 1 breeder for Canada and 3 breeders of the Mastiff for the USA. Go online and search for Tibetan Mastiff Breeders and also "puppies" for an expanded better selection.

Tibetan Mastiff Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Tibetan Mastiff Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Tibetan Mastiff Rescue At the timer of this writing, Petfinder is showing only 11 Tibetan's available for adoption. This number will change of course, but it is an indication that this is a rare dog in America. In event you do find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health records for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you will probably want to go online and search for Tibetan Mastiff Rescue groups, also kennels, shelters. and perhaps foster homes.

Dog Health Issues For The Tibetan Mastiff
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Tibetan Mastiff by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain, lameness, arthritis and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem.
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the dog's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the Tibetan Mastiff’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Atopic dermatitis's—Atopy. Hereditary. Shows at 1 to 3 years age. Skin allergy triggered by dust mites, pollen, poor quality foods and other garbage we put into the dog’s environment. Many breeds are prone to this including the Tibetan Mastiff. The dog will lick, rub, chew and scratch the infected areas. Allergens can also come from fleas, bacteria and yeast infections. See your vet. There are many treatments ranging from medicines, antihistamines, diets, bathing, cleansing the house of dust mites and so on.

  • Seizures—A serious disorder that usually shows up at ages 2 to 4 or 5 in dogs. The length and severity depends on the location in the brain the seizure occurs in. See vet immediately.

  • Otitis externa—Ear infections—Inflammation and infection of the outer ear, especially dogs with long, floppy ear flaps. Dirt and moisture collect and breed yeast and bacteria. Ear hair and wax contribute to the infection environment. If left untreated it can become a serious ear infection. If at home treatments with cleaning and meds don't work and the problem worsens, surgery might be the last resort.

    >li> Pyoderma—Skin disease. A bacterial infection that can appear on, in or under the skin and cause severe itching and scratching. Look for painful skin lesions, redness, pimples and open sores that are draining. This can be caused by some other problem in the dog so simple skin cremes may not be the answer. Appropriate testing will be done by the vet and medications will cure the problem.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision and can cause total blindness if not treated promptly.

  • Epilepsy - Brain malfunction which is basically a serious seizure disorder with no particular cause. It usually shows up in dogs at around 2 to 4 or 5 years of age.

  • Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy-- CIDN-- Puppies 7 weeks to around 9 weeks old can show up with this neurologic killer disorder. The puppy will die by the time it is 16 weeks old and there is no cure and no way to diagnose the problem.

Other health problems could occur with your Tibetan Mastiff. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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