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Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Tibet is said to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, so it’s no wonder that the Tibetan Mastiff is such a cutie.  And while this dog looks like a living teddy bear, i.e., is one ball of fluff.  We should remember that he didn’t earn the name Mastiff for anything!


Not only is he massive, but he is also a very hard-working dog that is very powerful to boot!  If you are considering adopting a Tibetan Mastiff, you should know a few things about the breed before committing yourself to such a large dog.  This is why in this article, we wanted to look at what it might be like to own a Tibetan Mastiff and hopefully give you a better idea of whether or not this dog breed will be “right” for you.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Tibetan Mastiff Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Tibet (China)

Original Purpose: Guard Dog

Weight: 130 to 170 pounds

Height: 25 to 30 inches at the shoulder

Dog Breed Classification: Working group

Lifespan: 10 to 15 years

Origin of the Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed

The Tibetan Mastiff dog breed dates back nearly 1000 years, when nomadic herders first developed these dogs along the Himalayan mountains.  Over time these dogs began to be used as guardian animals protecting local monasteries and villages within Tibet.  These dogs would hold a role for centuries, essentially isolated from the rest of the world.

This isolation…

Would later threaten the breed to the point where they nearly became extinct due to the Chinese invasion of Tibet in the 1950s.  Fortunately, enough specimens could escape to nearby countries so the Tibetan Mastiff could survive.  Then starting in the early 1970s, many of these dogs were brought to the United States, allowing for the development of two organizations, the Tibetan Mastiff Club of America and the American Tibetan Mastiff Association, which has pretty much made it their mission to ensure that this magnificent animal will never face extinction again.

To date…

One of their main achievements on this front was to ensure that the Tibetan Mastiff received the recognition it deserved from the American Kennel Club, which it accomplished in 2007.

Physical Characteristics

Tibetan Mastiff Puppies will break the internet with their adorableness, especially if you see a pile of them. Cute to the next level.  When these guys grow into adult dogs, they are still attractive, but in an adult way.  Now at the risk of stating the obvious, we should point out that this dog is rather hefty! He may weigh more than you and almost definitely consider more than your child.


Because they have a double coat perfect for the winter weather of the Himalayas, they’re going to look even more significant than they are (which is saying something). The topcoat is almost like wool, whereas the undercoat is thinner and softer. They have a heavy mane resembling a lion (only black or brown).

You will find…

That most Tibetan Mastiffs are going to be either:

  • Black,
  • Brown,
  • Gold
  • or grey-blue.

A red Tibetan Mastiff is also possible but is much less common than other colors.

Personality or Temperament 

This is a powerful and strong-willed dog. Many people complain that this dog is too stubborn and challenging to train. However, that’s a bit of a quick judgment.  If you teach this dog as a puppy, he’s much more likely to respond. Of course, if you miss the puppy stage, it will be hard (or maybe even impossible). This early socialization will make or break your dog’s behavior, so sign your dog up for obedience school when he’s still a puppy.

By getting your dog…

To continue socializing with other animals and humans, including strangers, throughout their life, he’ll stay social and have less of a chance of being overly territorial.  One thing to note is that he’s not the ideal pup to be around young children like most big dogs. Although they can coexist with kids (especially if they’ve been around them since they were a puppy), they aren’t fond of kids. Never leave a young child alone with a Tibetan Mastiff.

Tibetan Mastiff Basic Care

This dog has more grooming needs than other dogs. Because of the fur type, you should bathe them once a month. Please pay special attention to the tail and mane for mats and tangles. Additionally, keeping their ears free of debris would be best. Ask your vet how to properly clean them to help you avoid inflammation of the ears or debris.

Potential Health Concerns

Like all purebreds, a Tibetan Mastiff is genetically predisposed to some health conditions. If you get a Tibetan Mastiff from the right breeder, you should be able to avoid all of these. However, still, any of these health concerns could happen, despite selective breeding:

  • Hip Dysplasia – common among most purebred dogs
  • Elbow Dysplasia – common for larger dogs
  • Canine-Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy (CIDN) – a severe condition affecting the nervous system. You will see this by six weeks old.
  • Hypothyroid – this is an endocrine disorder common in dogs. This will likely occur later in life. I will need daily medication to balance hormones for the rest of the dog’s life.

If your dog has any of these health issues, you must consider the associated costs. Hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia could both require surgery to correct the problem. CIDN has no real treatment options, but palliative care could be necessary. As mentioned, if your dog suffers from hypothyroidism, he’ll have to use medication for life.

Other health problems…

Not listed here could arise, all with their costs. Like all dogs, Tibetan Mastiffs can also get non-genetic health problems.  And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Tyler February 7, 2020, 12:51 pm

    Thank you i am thinking on getting one of these and your site will help me a lot

    • indulgeyourpet February 7, 2020, 1:26 pm

      Awesome! We’re glad we could help.



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