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Bhote Kukur

Bhote Kukur

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Breed Organization
The American Tibetan Mastiff Association
Native Country
Other Names
Tibetan Mastiff, Tsang-Khyi, Do-Khyi, Bangara Mastiff
Life Expectancy
Approximately 10-14 Years
Litter Size
Average 3-8 Puppies
Breed Group
Working Group - AKC
Breed Appearance
The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a primitive breed. It typically retains the hardiness which would be required for it to survive in Tibet and the high-altitude Himalayan range, including the northern part of Nepal, India and Bhutan. Instinctive behaviors including canine pack behavior contributed to the survival of the breed in harsh environments. It is one of the few primitive dog breeds that retains a single estrus per year instead of two, even at much lower altitudes and in much more temperate climates than its native climate. This characteristic is also found in wild canids such as the wolf. Since its estrus usually takes place during late fall, most Tibetan Mastiff puppies are born between December and January.

Its double coat is long, subject to climate, and found in a wide variety of colors, including solid black, black and tan, various shades of "red" (from pale gold to deep red) and bluish-gray (dilute black), often with white markings.

The coat of a Tibetan Mastiff lacks the unpleasant "big-dog" smell that affects many large breeds. The coat, whatever its length or color(s), should shed dirt and odors. Although the dogs shed somewhat throughout the year, there is generally one great "molt" in late winter or early spring and sometimes another, lesser molt in the late summer or early fall. (Sterilization of the dog may dramatically affect the coat as to texture, density, and shedding pattern.)

Breed Description
Head: Thick and strong. Massive skull. Pronounced stop. Square muzzle. Strong jaws. Broad nose. Thick lips.
Ears: Medium size, drop, triangular.
Eyes: Medium size, oval, set slightly oblique and well apart. Any shade of brown.
Body: Strong, with length being slightly greater than height. Strong, arched neck without dewlap and with a thick mane. Deep forechest. Moderately deep and broad brisket.
Tail: Medium to long length, not reaching beyond the hock joint. Richly clad and curling over the back.
Hair: Fairly long, thick, straight, and harsh. Never silky, curly, or wavy. Dense, thick, rather woolly undercoat.
Coat: Jet black, black and tan, brown, shades of gold or gray, gray with gold markings. Tan and gold markings above the eyes, on the lower legs, and the tip of the tail. White spot on the chest is permissible. Small white markings on the feet are tolerated, though not preferred.
Size: Dog: approx. 66 cm (26 in).Bitch: approx. 61 cm (24 in).
Weight: 55 to 80 kg (121.5-176.5 lb).

This is an ancient breed. It has been theorized that an early Tibetan dog is the ancestor to all Molossus breeds, although this is disputed by most experts. A highly questionable study at Nanjing Agricultural University's Laboratory of Animal Reproductive Genetics and Molecular Evolution in Nanjing, China, found that while most common dog breeds genetically diverged from the wolf approximately 42,000 years ago, the Tibetan Mastiff genetically diverged from the wolf approximately 58,000 years ago.

This rustic, hardy, even-tempered dog is affectionate, but not demonstrative, and can have a stubborn streak. He is very distant with strangers and can even become aggressive. A guardian dog to the core, he is particularly vigilant at night. His loud bark can strike fear in the heart of even the hardiest soul. Firm, patient training must start very early. The Tibetan Mastiff does not reach full maturity until the age of three or four, and the bitch cycles only once per year.

The breed has fewer genetic health problems than many breeds, but cases can be found of hypothyroidism, entropion, ectropion, skin problems including allergies, autoimmune problems including demodex, missing teeth, malocclusion (overbite, underbite, wry mouth), cardiac problems, seizures, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataract, and small ear canals with a tendency for infection. As with most large breeds, some will suffer with elbow or hip dysplasia.

Canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy (CIDN), an inherited condition, appeared in one of the prominent lines of Tibetan Mastiffs in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, known carriers were bred extensively and are behind many lines still being actively bred. Because the mode of inheritance appears to be as a simple recessive, continued inbreeding can still produce affected puppies.

Hypothyroidism is fairly common in Tibetan Mastiffs, as it is in many large "northern" breeds. They should be tested periodically throughout their lives using a complete thyroid "panel". (Simple T2/T4 testing is virtually useless.) However, because the standard thyroid levels were established using domestic dog breeds, test results must be considered in the context of what is "normal" for the breed, not what is normal across all breeds. Many dogs of this breed will have "low" thyroid values but no clinical symptoms. Vets and owners differ on the relative merits of medicating dogs which test "low", but are completely asymptomatic. Some researchers think that asymptomatic hypothyroidism may have been adaptive in the regions of origin for many breeds, since less nutrition is required for the dog to stay in good condition. Therefore, attempts to eliminate "low thyroid" dogs from the Tibetan Mastiff gene pool may have unintended consequences for the breed.

This breed should not be kept as a house dog. The Tibetan Mastiff needs exercise and room to run. Weekly brushing is required.

Flock Guardian, Guardian Dog, Pet.

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