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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff

Origin: Tibet

AKC Group: Working

Height: 24 inches (Male)

Weight: 75 pounds (Male)

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Male height: 
24 inches
Male weight: 
75 pounds
Fairly long, thick and double coated.
Black, brown and blue/gray, all with or without tan markings, and various shades of gold.

In his native land, the Tibetan Mastiff was raised to be a fierce protector of whole villages for many centuries. The villagers and lamas would keep the puppies tied up for several months and encourage aggressive behavior. The dogs would be constricted by day but let loose at night to patrol. Unchallenged, they could get along with others, but challenged, they were fierce and fearless. For many years Tibet was closed to Westerners, isolating the modern development of the Tibetan Mastiff. It was the British who refined and kept the breed alive; there are very few in Tibet even today. The breed began to be established in the United States in the 1970s; the American Tibetan Mastiff Association (ATMA) was formed in 1974, and the breed is now recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

A large, intimidating dog who takes his job of guardian seriously, the Tibetan Mastiff also has a soft and companionable side. His strength and fearlessness are tempered with loyalty and devotion. He is extremely protective of those he loves and needs an experienced owner who understands how to train and socialize him properly. He is tuned in to the emotions and feelings of his family. The Tibetan Mastiff is playful and cuddly as a puppy and will benefit from lots of interaction with family members and participation in family activities.
At home: 
The Tibetan Mastiff does not typically do well in an apartment. He needs space and is amazingly agile when it comes to escaping from confining areas. He must be kept on a leash at all times when not in a secured area, as it is not likely that he will come when called. A fenced-in yard is necessary. He can be active outdoors but typically settles down inside. The Tibetan Mastiff prefers the cold and will tend to slow down and eat less in very hot weather.
Because he's slow to mature, it's important not to overexert the growing Tibetan Mastiff. He must have room to romp, and he should be exercised regularly, but being big doesn't mean that he has to be exercised with great intensity.
Some Tibetan Mastiffs can be picky eaters, especially the males. They should be fed a high-quality food twice a day.
The Tibetan Mastiff's long history with humans has almost programmed him to understand what is expected of him by those who care for him. On the other hand, his strong guardian instincts make him naturally aloof with strangers, so he can seem to be shy or fearful when he is simply assessing the situation. He is an independent thinker and a large dog, and training him requires respect and understanding.
The Tibetan Mastiff is naturally suspicious of strangers. He likes children but must be socialized from an early age to accept strange children. He can get along with other pets when socialized to them but may be territorial with strange dogs.
The average life span of the Tibetan Mastiff is 13 to 16 years. Breed health concerns may include hip dysplasia; skin problems; and thyroid problems.
Fun fact: 

Some Tibetan Mastiffs have white markings on the chest, which Tibetans believe signify a brave heart.

Grooming blurb: 
The Tibetan Mastiff's thick double coat needs regular attention. It should be brushed regularly with a slicker brush to keep shedding under control, and during shedding season (spring/summer), he may need to be brushed every day.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.