The millenary origin of the Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the oldest and most imposing dog breeds in the world. Their existence is believed to date back to about 8000 years BC, when the first dogs of this breed were associated with the nomads of ancient Mongolia. These dogs were an important part of the lives of the ancient inhabitants of the Himalayas, where they were seen as faithful companions and loyal guards.

The origin of the Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is a dog much admired for its physical and mental strength. This brave and loyal creature accompanied the nomads to guard the herds and protect their temples from invaders. In 1931 there was a breed standard registered with the Tibetan Dog Breed Association, which is recognized worldwide. In addition, when applying to the Council of International Dog Breeders’ Federations (FCI) to register the breed, Tibetan breeders taught their dogs to perform the expression “pray” to demonstrate their devout commitment to their culture.

The Tibetan Mastiff has also suffered many hardships throughout its history. During the 19th century, the breeding of this breed was considered dangerous and was banned in more than ten countries. And as conflicts raged in Tibet, the Tibetan Mastiff was almost eradicated, until, in 1966, a special program was adopted to protect and keep the breed alive.

History of the Tibetan Mastiff

It is a dog admired for its physical and mental strength, for its great ferocity against invaders or strangers.

A loyal dog of which notable men such as Marco Polo and Aristotle speak.

Aristotle thought it was a cross between a tiger and a dog. Due to its physical characteristics.

A dog that was used in the war accompanying the armies of Genghis Khan who carried a dog for each soldier, and served as a support to his companion.

This specimen only became known when India was occupied by the British, with Queen Victoria receiving a specimen in 1947.

Later, some specimens were brought to Europe for circuses because of their resemblance to lions, becoming great attractions.

Although it is a very common dog in Tibet, helping many families to take care of the herds, owning such a dog is very expensive.

China has made an effort to keep this breed as pure as possible, creating certified breeders for the preservation of the breed.

Physical characteristics of the Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is a giant dog, slightly longer than tall. Adult males measure at least 66 cm and females about 61 cm, their weight can range from 36 to 72 kg or more. This breed has a particularly large head, deep-set eyes, erect ears and an imposing poise. Its legs are thick and muscular, with a large, broad and pronounced chest. These dogs have a physical and mental endurance that has made them very reliable guardians throughout the ages.

Behavior of Tibetan Mastiffs

By its nature, the Tibetan Mastiff is a protective creature. These dogs strive to get along well with other members of their family, including children, as long as these interactions are positive and they are taught from a young age. From four months onwards, early training is recommended to ensure that the relationship between dog and child is good and controlled.

Tibetan Mastiffs are also characterized by their intelligence and curiosity. These dogs are highly intelligent and loyal to their owners, which makes them excellent watchdogs. However, their protective behaviors can become a bit excessive, so care should be taken when socializing them. It is important to remember that keeping a Tibetan Mastiff requires a great deal of commitment on the part of the owner.

Among its most important physical characteristics we have:

  • Its size, the Tibetan Mastiff is a large breed dog that can weigh up to 100 kilos, and reach a height of up to one meter.
  • Its coat, in colors ranging from brown to reddish brown and black, with details between the eyebrows, chest and legs in yellow or black and white.
  • Its body is longer than it is tall.
  • Its bark is loud and deep, similar to the roar of a lion, due to the capacity of its diaphragm.
  • He is a strong dog in general, but in his old age he can suffer from joint and bone problems due to his weight.
  • It is a healthy dog considered one of the purest breeds in the world.
  • He moults twice a year and it is advisable to brush him to keep his coat healthy.
  • It has a territorial character, affectionate with children and extremely protective, it does better living in the countryside than in the city as it needs space.

To this day he continues to tend herds in Tibet and build his character forged over the centuries.

It is a rare breed of dog even in international competitions.

Image courtesy of The Westminster Kennel Club (, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Attribution 2.0 Generic