Did you know?
When Marco Polo first saw these large Tibetan dogs in his travels, he described them as “tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion.”
Dogs’ lives are too short…their only fault, really. – Agnes Sligh Turnbull
An ancient and rare breed, the Tibetan Mastiff has been a guardian and protector of nomad flocks, villages, and the monasteries of Tibet for hundreds of years. His name is “Do-khyi” in Tibetan, meaning ‘tied dog’.
This massive dog claims many descendants including the Newfoundland, the Great Pyrenees, the Dogue de Bordeaux, and the Great Dane among others. Originally bred to protect livestock from wolves, leopards, and other predators, his fierceness and fearlessness is legendary.
Males of this breed stand at least 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 100 pounds when full grown. Their coats are thick and weather-resistant. They may be black and tan, solid black, slate grey, or golden. Due to their size, they should have a large fenced property to run and play in. As a guardian, he will patrol his property and quickly sound the alarm when he detects something amiss. Since he is naturally a nocturnal guardian, leaving him outside at night may draw some complaints from the neighbours.
Photos displayed courtesy of Barbara McLuskey, Michewa, Ontario
The Tibetan Mastiff evolved in an unforgiving climate. He had to adapt to the harshest environment and perform his guard duties often without human direction. As a result, he is an intelligent, independent, courageous, and aloof dog capable of making his own decisions and acting on them.
A perceptive animal who is naturally wary of strangers, this Mastiff requires early and careful socialization to new people and situations. This temperament will not suit everyone. Boredom can result in destructive behaviour. He needs a strong, confident, and patient owner willing to train and socialize a large, strong dog with a stubborn streak!
Barking may be an issue with this breed. He barks to warn others that he is ‘on the job’ – particularly if left out at night.