Breed Organization The American Tibetan Mastiff Association Website:
http://www.tibetanmastiff.org Native Country Tibet Other Names Do-Khyi, Tsang-Khyi, Bhote Kukur, 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
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
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).
History 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.
Behavior 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.
Health 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.
Advice This breed should not be kept as a house dog.
The Tibetan Mastiff needs exercise and room to run. Weekly brushing