What You Should Know
About the Tibetan Mastiff

© Lyse Stormont and Kathleen McDaniel 2008


"Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice."
Author: Anton Chekhov


Beautiful But Challenging


For many Tibetan Mastiff breeders, owners and fanciers, there is simply no other breed that captures the beauty, nobility or the magic of the Tibetan Mastiff breed. But the Tibetan Mastiff breed is NOT for everyone so please ensure that you thoroughly investigate the true character and requirements of the breed. Acquiring a TM is a lifetime commitment so it is important that you prepare yourself before making the huge decision to welcome one of these dogs into your home. While there are too many aspects of the Tibetan Mastiff to explore in any document, the following is a quick guide to help you determine whether the Tibetan Mastiff might be the right dog for you, your family and your lifestyle.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff is a primitive GUARDIAN breed.

The powerful Tibetan Mastiff is a naturally protective and territorial dog. This means he will guard your property (house, yard, car, other pets, etc.) and your person. It also means that he will be typically suspicious and reserved with new people and situations. A securely fenced yard is a must!

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff is a highly INDEPENDENT and INTELLIGENT breed.

The Tibetan Mastiff exhibits an extremely independent, stubborn nature and a wondrous depth of intelligence and character. He does not tend to show any of the attributes of the more obedient/trainable breeds that can be taught to perform simple or complex routines. Leash training is a must. While other more domesticated, people-pleasing breeds may enjoy fetching games, the primitive Tibetan Mastiff focuses on his working abilities which include guarding, alerting through barking, patrolling and basic territorial/dominant behavior. This breed has been bred for thousands of years to do so and it is unwise to think that you will change that.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff requires an INTERACTIVE RELATIONSHIP with his owner.

Committed and interactive owners are required to teach boundaries and guide a dog through the steps of basic dog manners. The Tibetan Mastiff is considered to be a challenging breed to care for and lifelong training requires dedicated work. Respect and patience are the essential keys to this breed.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff needs SOCIALIZATION.

Because his guarding tendencies are instinctual the Tibetan Mastiff needs a great deal of socialization. He needs to be introduced to many people, places and different situations right from early puppy-hood and well into the first two years of his life. Appropriate socialization leads to confident, well-adjusted and reliable dogs.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff requires a FENCED YARD.

This is a guardian breed and it is neither wise nor responsible to allow a guardian breed to be loose on your property, be it a surrounding open yard or acreage. Not only do these dogs have a strong tendency to roam but they are also very protective of their home, yard and family. No breeder wants to get the call that a puppy that s/he has bred has been hit by a car, is lost, has been attacked by a wild animal or stray dog, or has bitten a stranger or UPS driver.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff can be DESTRUCTIVE, an ESCAPE ARTIST and a nuisance BARKER.

Destructive behavior due to boredom or anxiety is not uncommon for the Tibetan Mastiff. Solid and secure containment areas are a must with this breed. When left outside overnight, nocturnal barking as well as barking in general are common complaints.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff is SENSITIVE to change.

The Tibetan Mastiff thrives on routine and familiarity. Frequent arguments, loud voices, turbulent, excited lifestyles and/or professions (i.e. military life) that result in numerous disruptions can tend to undermine the confidence of this breed. The resulting unbalance can lead to over-protective, reactive behavior and health issues.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff is a SLOW-MATURING breed.

Although the Tibetan Mastiff is a large-to-giant breed, it has a relatively long lifespan. Ten to fourteen years is typical. The breed is very slow to mature. While it is usually agreed upon that females mature quicker than males, both genders can take up to 4-7 years to fully mature to their physical potential.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff is affected by the changing of the SEASONS.

The Tibetan Mastiff normally sheds his wooly undercoat only once in the springtime and bitches typically reproduce only once a year. He may become very inactive during the warmer months and his feeding patterns may change.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff loves a COLD climate.

The Tibetan Mastiff does not typically do well in extremely hot and humid conditions. This does not mean that he cannot live in warmer climates but it does mean that he should be provided access to air-conditioned facilities during the summer.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff is generally tolerant of CHILDREN and OTHER PETS.

The Tibetan Mastiff does best with adult-supervised children who have been taught to be respectful and who show consideration for the dog's space. Extra care should be shown for visiting children as children's play may seem threatening or alarming. The Tibetan Mastiff seems to do best with other household pets when he is introduced to them as a puppy but may or may not welcome strange pets into his home or property.

checkThe Tibetan Mastiff can be SAME-SEX AGGRESSIVE.

If you currently own a dog and are considering adding a Tibetan Mastiff as a second dog, it is best to consider getting a puppy or dog of the opposite gender. Same-sex aggression is often a reality when two males or females vie for dominance. Neutering/spaying does not guarantee that same-sex adult dogs will live in harmony with each other.


Printable PDF Version

Visit Our Tibetan Mastiff FAQ


Other Helpful Articles About the Breed

Tibetan Mastiff Puppy to Adult
Tibetan Mastiff After 6 Months
Proper Containment for the Tibetan Mastiff
Invisible Fencing and the Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan Mastiff and Growth Rates


TMBRN Brochure / Hand Out

Tibetan Mastiff Info Brochure in PDF format


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