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Breed Profile: Tibetan Mastiff


Photo of Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed - Tibetan Mastiff Picture Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images




The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient guard dog of Tibet, the Himalayan Mountains and surrounding areas of central Asia. Early history is unclear, but traces of these dogs go back as far as 1100 BC. TMs were kept as guardians of homes and monasteries and protectors of women, children and livestock. TMs were likely owned by many historical figures such as Genghis Khan and Buddha.

Tibetan Mastiffs were introduced to Europe in the mid-to-late 19th century, then to the US in the mid-20th century. The breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 2006. Purebred TMs from the original Asian lines are extremely rare.


70-170 pounds


Black, brown, or bluish-gray (all can be with or without tan markings,may also have some white markings)

Health Problems:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed:

The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the largest, oldest and most unique dog breeds. This giant dog is a powerful and protective guardian that is gentle and affectionate to its family.

The TM has a fully, woolly coat that requires routine grooming, mainly consisting of hair brushing about 3-4 times per week. This breed does not routinely shed, but does blow its coat once a year (in the warmest months). During this time, the TM has an extremely high shedding rate and requires hair brushing daily or even several times a day.

The TM is a highly intelligent dog that has a mind of its own and is said to have a human-like understanding of people. This may explain its independent spirit and strong-willed tendencies. Proper training and socialization is of utmost importance. TMs cannot be allowed to walk or roam off-leash, as they will go their own way to explore. They are also known to have a fondness for barking and destructive chewing (especially wood). This is likely due, in part, to boredom. In addition to training, plenty of exercise is essential to keep your TM healthy and stimulated, avoiding boredom.

The Tibetan Mastiff is a natural protector that may not do well in homes with frequent visits from strangers. This breed is loyal and affectionate to its established family members and can get along with children if well-socialized (preferably, gentle older children). TMs are not recommended as outdoor dogs, where they tend to bark and dig. They are much more content as house dogs. If you decide that the beautiful Tibetan Mastiff is right for your household, you are in for a quite unique and rewarding experience.

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