What You Should Know
About the Tibetan Mastiff
© Lyse Stormont and Kathleen McDaniel
"Knowledge is of no value unless you put it
Author: Anton Chekhov
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other Helpful Articles About the Breed
TMBRN Brochure / Hand Out
Mastiff Info Brochure in PDF format
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