Intelligent and reserved, the Tibetan Mastiff originated from Tibet and is considered to be one of the most ancient breeds worldwide. There are Stone Age cave drawings in the Himalayas that prove that the Tibetan Mastiff’s ancestors have been around for thousands of years. The Tibetan Mastiff’s original purpose was to guard and protect and still very much provides exceptional protection against intruders. The breed is impressive in size and is described as a watchful but aloof guardian. With its kind expression, the Tibetan Mastiff also makes a great companion to those it feels loyal to. This large breed’s strong connection to his guarding instincts will often make it wary with strangers and constant training will help to curb these behaviors. The thick, water-repellent coat makes for a moderately simple grooming routine. Daily brushing is considered ideal to help with the upkeep of dead hairs. This canine has a moderate energy level and it is important to provide efficient mental and physical stimulation to allow for the personality of this giant breed to shine through. The Tibetan Mastiff requires patience when it comes to training but his eager, loveable mannerisms will make the obedience classes enjoyable for both dog and handler.
The Tibetan Mastiff has a long documented history worldwide. For instance, there are early written accounts from China in 1100 BC. Its ancestors are thought to have traveled with the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans. The Tibetan Mastiff has long been considered the guardian dog of Tibet. The genetic heritage of this great breed is foggy and much is unknown as to how the Tibetan Mastiff originated. There are rumors of the Tibetan Mastiff ranging back to the BC era but much documentation did not become known until the 1700s. In 1847, Lord Hardinge of India sent a Tibetan Mastiff to England. In 1873, the Kennel Club was formed with the first Stud Book containing pedigrees of 4,027 dogs. The Tibetan Mastiff was officially declared as such for the first time. The Tibetan Mastiff is considered to have been developed from basic stock from which modern working breeds such as mastiffs and mountain dogs were developed. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information available regarding the Tibetan Mastiff. In 1874, an additional two Tibetan Mastiffs were imported into England by the Prince of Wales and exhibited at the Alexandra Palace Show. After the show and through 1928, there were a few imports of Tibetan Mastiffs into Europe. In 1928, Hon. Colonel and Mrs. Bailey took charge of four Tibetan Mastiffs and in 1931, Mrs. Bailey founded the Tibetan Breeds Association. At this point, the Tibetan Mastiff had its first official standard for the breed. In the late 1950s, President Eisenhower inherited two Tibetan Mastiffs from Tibet, which were then taken to a farm in the Midwest. Additional imports of Tibetan Mastiffs occurred in the United States. The American Tibetan Mastiff Association was founded in 1974. In 2007, the Tibetan Mastiff became officially recognized by the AKC.
The Tibetan Mastiff has a thick coat with a heavy mane; the coat contains coarse guard hair with a wooly undercoat and thick density. It is non-water-repellent and may take a while to completely dry once wet. The hardy coat comes in a variety of color combinations such as black, black and tan, blue-gray, blue-gray and tan, brown, brown and tan, red-gold, red-gold-sable, cream, and cream-sable with white markings. The breed is a large, athletic breed that gives off a solemn but alert appearance, standing well on its pasterns and containing tight cat feet. The body of this giant is slightly longer than it is tall in height. With a broad and impressive head, the eyes of the Tibetan Mastiff are deep-set and almond-shaped and are brown in color. The muzzle is broad and squared and this strong dog carries the constant expression of a watchful dog. Its tail is well-feathered, densely coated, and is carried over the back in a curl.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a massive breed that requires moderate grooming. The double coat is maintained year round and sheds once a year around the spring or summer. During the shedding season, the Tibetan Mastiff must be brushed daily for at least 30 minutes to remove all of the dead hair. Brushing regularly will reduce the amount of mats on the thick coat. Bathing your Tibetan Mastiff can be limited to every few months if necessary. This breed is not hypoallergenic and is not recommended for owners with allergies. The large ears should be wiped and cleaned weekly to avoid debris buildup. The Tibetan Mastiff does not have a significant odor but odor may develop near the mouth due to drool; therefore, it is important to wipe the drool regularly to prevent accumulation of bacteria. The Tibetan Mastiff has moderate energy levels and requires regular exercise. It is an independent and intelligent breed who loves to remain active. Apartment living is not an appropriate fit for this dog due to its massive build and tendency to dig and climb. This gentle giant would fare best in a large home with an expansive area available for running around outside. The Tibetan Mastiff would benefit from walks outdoors, but is not a suitable jogging partner. The Tibetan Mastiff would be able to tolerate hot and cold weather due to its coat.