A giant dog, slightly longer than he is tall, the Tibetan Mastiff dog is a powerful, muscular breed that is athletic and agile, with a dignified composure. Adult male dogs stand at a minimum of 66cm and females at a minimum of 61cm. The weight range is 36-72k-plus, depending on the dog's sex, height and build. The dense coat is quite long and there is a 'mane' around the neck and shoulders, which is more obvious in male dogs. The coat comes in a range of colours and markings - for full details, see the breed standard.
An ancient breed, thought to date back 3,000 years, the Tibetan Mastiff dog breed was used as a guard dog in his native country, protecting properties (including monasteries) as well as livestock. Marco Polo reported that the Tibetan Mastiff was as “tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion.” The breed is relatively new to the rest of the dog-loving world, only coming to the attention of breeders in the West a century ago.
A guard dog through and through, the Tibetan Mastiff is not a breed to take on lightly. He is wary of strangers and naturally protective of his family and property. Experienced handling, socialisation and training are needed, as with all guarding breeds. In the right home, he is a calm, affectionate, loyal companion.
Tibetan Mastiffs are generally a very robust breed. As with many breeds eye disorders and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems) can sometimes occur. Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore recommended.
An hour's daily exercise is required for a Tibetan Mastiff, though he will happily accept more if you can offer it. A Tibetan mastiff puppy should not be overexercised, as it is important to avoid putting strain on the muscles and joints of such a large, growing breed.
Giant-breed dogs, as well as having giant appetites, benefit from a different balance of minerals and vitamins, supporting different joint and cartilage needs. The Tibetan Mastiff is prone to bloating and stomach problems; try feeding smaller, more frequent meals to help minimise the risk.
The Tibetan Mastiff's double coat consists of a dense, woolly undercoat, which sheds in warmer weather, and a thick topcoat that is straight and hard-textured. The tail and back legs are well feathered. A brush through a couple of times a week is advised with daily grooming when the coat sheds.