Tibetan Mastiff - Information and NZ Breed Standards

Membership ID

Tibetan Mastiff

General Information - Tibetan Mastiff


Extra large

8-10 years




Watchdog Ability:
Very high

Protection Ability:
Very high

Area of Origin:

Date of Origin:
Ancient times

Other Names:

Original Function:


The Tibetan Mastiff is descended from the famous Tibetan dogs that were the source of the majority of Molossuses and Mastiffs throughout the world. The ancient Tibetan Mastiff may have been in existence as early as the stone or bronze age. Mollossian dogs accompanied Alexander the Great from Tibet to Europe, and during this period helped found many of today's other Mastiff breeds. Tibet later closed its doors to Westerners, so the breed developed for centuries in relative isolation. In the mid 1800s, a Tibetan Mastiff was given to Queen Victoria of England. Soon more dogs were imported to England and the British began to refine and standardise the breed. In the 1970s, foundation stock was imported from India, Ladakh, Afghanistan and Nepal to the United States. The Tibetan Mastiff is very rare in their native land, though some dogs are now being exported from Tibet. The Tibetan Mastiff is an excellent livestock guardian - willing to fight fiercely against predators and intruders and they are also outstanding guard dogs for the home. In Tibet, dogs were often tied up from two months of age to enhance aggressive tendencies. One dog was sometimes used to guard an entire village. As a result of these practices and Tibetan selection of function, English-bred dogs are much more trainable and controllable than those from Tibet.


A natural family and guard dog, the Tibetan Mastiff is calm but highly protective and territorial. Tibetan Mastiffs should be trained to be mutually respectful of their owners. If another dog is to be introduced into the house, it should be of the opposite sex, non-dominant and spayed or neutered.


Tibetan Mastiffs are not suited for apartment life and require a medium sized yard. This breed should be brought indoors at night as it is a nocturnal barker, but will be quiet in the house. The Tibetan Mastiff is a digger and a climber and will try to escape, so requires a well fenced yard around its perimeter. Tibetan Mastiffs enjoy walks but are not suited for jogging. Its coat, whether long or short, needs weekly brushing, more so when shedding.

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