Tibetan Mastiff – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Tibetan Mastiffs are large and powerful dogs who prefer experienced dog owners. Could they fit into your life? Could you provide for this breed? Read on and get your answers on Tibetan Mastiff.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
2 feet to 2 feet, 2 inches tall at the shoulder
75 to 160 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Before you learn more about the powerful Tibetan Mastiff, you should know that mastiffs are the most commonly banned dog breed in the States.

That being said, if you are thinking about getting this specific breed, make sure that you can own Tibetan Mastiff in your state.

Another important thing to know is that Tibetan Mastiff is a pricey breed to get and later on to maintain.

That being said, be sure that you can handle also financially own a pricey Tibetan Mastiff.

This large and aloof dog is an ancient breed of strong guarding instincts. They are best-known thanks to their size and dense coat.

With their humans, they will be gentle and soft, but also highly territorial and protective around strangers.

This is a large dog or usually 26 inches of height, and over 100 pounds – therefore, this is a breed for someone who can physically keep them calm on walks, and on a leash.

For a massive breed, the Tibetan Mastiff is light-footed and will always show supreme agility. Will grooming this breed will be a demanding job? Simply said, yes.

This breed is double-coated, with a heavy, and wooly undercoat. Although their coat requires minimal grooming, he will shed during the year. In general, larger dogs will require more time for brushing.

All in all, they should be shown naturally, no clipping or trimming is acceptable, but only to shape the feet and provide a clean appearance.

Quick Facts

Real name: Tibetan Mastiff
Origin: Tibet
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 75 to 160 pounds
Height: 2 feet to 2 feet, 2 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10 to 14 years
Litter Size: 6 to 12 puppies
Color: Range of colors, including solid black, black and tan, various shades of red
Coat: Long and double coat

Tibetan Mastiff History

Tibetan Mastiffs are large and powerful dogs that are mostly known as great guard dogs.

Originally from Tibet, the Tibetan Mastiff was first introduced to the Western world in 1847, only to reach States in the 1950s.

Thanks to the science and many DNK tests available nowadays it has been proven that mastiff-type dogs originated in Tibet some 5,000 years ago. Therefore, there are no doubt that the powerful Tibetan Mastiffs in fact a descendant of those dogs.

Dog historians believe that modern Tibetan Mastiffs spent centuries isolated in the Himalayan mountains, where they were used to guard property.

The popularity of these dogs is linked with Queen Victoria and her affection toward dogs.

She was the one responsible for the breed’s popularity within Europe.

Queen Victoria was given this giant dog in the mid-1800s, and soon afterward these dogs were imported to England.

In no time the breed’s standard was created and breeding started. Even Marco Polo wrote his thoughts on these dogs, saying that the Tibetan Mastiff is as “tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion.”

As for the States, this breed first arrived in the 1970s when these lion-like dogs were imported from Nepal, India, Ladakh, and Afghanistan.

They are considered to be rare in Tibet today. The AKC registered the breed in 2006.

Tibetan Mastiff Physical Appearance

Mastiff dogs are in general easy to spot – they are very large.

Among Mastiff-type dogs, the Tibetan Mastiff is among the largest. They always come with a long and thick coat and a heavy and soft undercoat that is often wooly. This is why they are better suited for more cold areas, than places with hot temperatures.

Their coat is always straight and never silky or wavy, which only adds to their distinctive look.

These dogs are massive with sturdy bone structures. Interestingly, their bodies are slightly longer than tall.

Their heads are strong and large, but in proportion with the rest of the body.

The nose is black, while the eyes are brown. Their feet are cat-like, while the tail is feathered.

As for the color, they come black, brown, and blue-gray. In some representatives of the breed white markings may be present. It’s not uncommon to hear that there are two Tibetan Mastiff types.

Some breeders have labeled this breed into two types, although they all come from the same litter.

Tibetan Mastiff Personality

Tibetan Mastiffs are intelligent dogs who are equally stubborn and sensitive.

They are so sensitive that they can easily catch on to people’s moods. Just like with any other dog breed, training and early socialization are the key when it comes to a well-behaved dog.

This is especially important when you have a large size dog who loves to be the leader, and is a bit independent.

These large dogs are great protectors and they have a strong sense of self-awareness. To animals of any size that they see as intruders, they can be dangerous.

By their nature, they are not as aggressive as they are protective. They do not like putting their family at any sort of risk.

Tibetan Mastiffs can live outdoors, but they can stay indoors even if they are alone. However, these giant dogs will do their best with other dogs as companions.

As mentioned earlier, Tibetan Mastiffs are rare and as such, they are very expensive. Plus, owning this breed is financially demanding – consider this before you get this dog.

Tibetan Mastiff Training

Tibetan Mastiffs are intelligent and independent dogs who are easy to train if you have experience with dogs.

To be precise, this breed is only for those who have experience with handling large size dogs.

Tibetan Mastiffs are loyal dogs and as such, they will adore reward-based training methods. No dog should ever experience any harsh training methods.

If you feel like you need support during the training sessions think about hiring a professional dog trainer or enrolling your pup in puppy classes.

Dogs love reward-based training sessions. To get the maximum out of training, make training sessions short, fun, consistent, and packed with treats.

They will get along with children of any age, as long as they know how to behave around dogs.

Children must respect the dog’s space, know when to approach them and when not to disturb them (like when they are eating, sleeping, or drinking water).

Tibetan Mastiffs can fight off bears if trained properly. Did you know that Tibetan Mastiffs are among 25 dogs that look like bears?

What About Exercising Your Tibetan Mastiff?

Spanish Mastiffs are not overly active dogs, but they still need exercise.

The best way to keep a dog well-behaved and healthy is to provide a regular exercise regime.

Spanish Mastiffs will be most active while puppies. However, puppies tend to get easily hurt if overexercised.

They are still growing and their joints are more prone to injuries. For example, your home should always be puppy-proof to avoid the most common injuries.

Puppies are curious and they are the first ones to explore everything. Chewing jacks seems normal to them. That being said, it’s obvious that dogs love to explore.

To keep their mind busy and their body strong, you should provide regular exercise.

Do Tibetan Mastiffs need a lot of exercises? They need a minimum of an hour of exercise every day. Regular walks aren’t included in this exercise regime.

Tibetan Mastiff Grooming

Do you enjoy brushing dogs or does it sound like too much work for you? You may love it or not, but you will have to do it.

Don’t look at it as something negative, or something that will waste your time off, but look at it as an opportunity to bond further with your dog.

Dogs love brushing sessions. They see it as a way of affection. After all, they are creatures of body language.

Tibetan Mastiffs do not require any special grooming routine compared to other, dogs. They should be brushed regularly and the rest of the grooming practice should be implemented property.

In fact, grooming is basic care and should include the following:

  • Monthly nail trimming or grinding
  • Bathe time when needed
  • Regular brushing
  • Weekly gums and eye check

The Tibetan Mastiff is a breed that requires moderate grooming.

If you feel like grooming this breed is too much work, think about hiring a professional dog groomer. This may be a bit pricey, but it will save you time and energy.

Still, make sure that you do the brushing, for the bonding part.

How long should you brush your Tibetan Mastiff? A brushing session of about 30-minutes should be enough to remove all of the dead hair and eventual tangles.

Tibetan Mastiff Health

If you choose to deal with responsible dog breeders, you can expect to have a healthy Tibetan Mastiff.

Responsible breeders will always present you with medical documentation on the puppy, show you the facilities, and let you meet the bitch, if not both parents.

They will also ask you a lot of questions to help you choose the dog whose energy will easily match yours.

When it comes to dogs’ health it’s important to note that no matter how great care you might provide, dogs still get sick.

That being said you should know that as a large size dog, the Tibetan Mastiff is prone to health conditions that are often seen in large size dogs, such as bloat and hip and elbow dysplasia.

This doesn’t mean that your Tibetan Mastiff will get any of these conditions.

It just means that you should be well-aware of these issues and keep regular veterinarian check-ups as an effective prevention tool.

Some of the other issues that may be seen in this breed include autoimmune thyroiditis, seizures, and canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy.

Is Tibetan Mastiff For You?

Tibetan Mastiffs are serious and powerful dogs who can thrive only with experienced dog owners.

They are large, rugged, and always come with a thick coat that protects them from the harsh weather.

They come in a variety of colors, and their rich coat that only adds to their overall intimidating look.

Under that coat, they’re true soft giants who love spending time outdoors and indoors.

Unless provoked they are far from being aggressive. If you have experience with large size dogs and you want a rugged and powerful dog, this is the breed to consider having.

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