The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the oldest breeds of dogs - more than five thousand years old. The purity of the breed has remained intact thanks to isolation of area where it lives. In ancient times, the Chinese traders who passed through snowy mountains, took with them their dogs to keep them from attackers. In long transitions these dogs were crossbred with various representatives of Western dogs. The only breeds that remained intact were those who lived very high in a snowy mountains was the Tibetan mastiff – a huge dog, prepared for harsh climatic conditions. These dogs were used to guard temples from attacks and help hunters in pursuit of big game. Performances and their courage made them valuable to ancient Romans. In natural conditions today, Tibetan mastiffs can be seen only in the Himalayas. But worldwide, they are one of the most attractive dogs, which cannot go unnoticed because of their attractive appearance. In the XIX century the breed was almost extinct but thanks to work of English breeders managed to be preserved.
The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the largest dogs in the world. Males reach a height of 81 cm and females are ten centimeters lower. Males weigh 60 to 82 kg, females reach up to 60 kilograms. The Tibetan Mastiff has a large head with a dark nose and wide snout. Jaws are well developed and very powerful. Upper lips are slightly baggy. Eyes are oval, dark in color, filled with dignity. Ears are triangular and dropping. Coat on the head resembles a lion's mane. Chest is massive, limbs are large and muscular. Fur is rough and thick and should not be soft to the touch. Tail is bushy and covered with hair. Color of the coat is usually black with brown spots on paws and muzzle. Eligible are golden, gray and all shades of brown, including reddish and silver color. Some Tibetan mastiffs have a white star on chest.
Character and behavior
The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a primitive breed. They are known for their durability, which helped them to survive in Tibet, Nepal, India and Bhutan at high altitude. In the past, these dogs were used as night guards and were placed freely in nomadic villages to protect people from predators and intruders. They are not afraid to stand up against large predators such as wolves or leopards.
Training and education
The Tibetan Mastiff is a very clever dog that is able to make decisions in critical situations. Therefore, its training has to be firm and at the same time understanding and delicate. If you punish it, it might show aggression, or just clam up and then you will need a long time to return its trust in you. Even after learning a commands, the Tibetan Mastiff can refuse to execute any of them. It is not in its stubbornness, it is just sometimes the dog assess a situation differently and considered it more appropriate not to do exactly what it is required of it.
The Tibetan Mastiff does not suffer from genetically determined diseases. However, it is prone to hip dysplasia. Moreover, it may suffer from a reversal of lower eyelids, which requires a fine operation. Life expectancy is around 10-14 years.
Grooming and care
One of features of the Tibetan Mastiff is its cleanliness, which some say resembles a behavior of cats. It loves water and will gladly swim in a river, sea or pool. It will not mind to bathe, but this should not be done more than three times a year in order to avoid damage of the condition of the dog's coat. Fur needs daily brushing, to avoid compaction. The Tibetan Mastiff will feel best if you live in a house with a yard. In urban conditions, it is good to walk it on a leash because it is distrustful of strangers, and can cause panic.
Children and other pets
The Tibetan Mastiff allows kids to play a little rougher with it and would not mind being used as a horse. It can easily live with another dog or even a cat, if the two animals have grown up together.
The first Tibetan Mastiff, which appeared in England, was sent as a gift to Queen Victoria in 1847 by Lord Harding, who was hailed as Viceroy of India.
An interesting fact is that unlike most dogs, the Tibetan Mastiff does not accept one member of family for the leader of the pack. It treats all family members equally.
Puppies for sale of this breed are still hard to find. The most expensive Tibetan mastiff ever sold is Hong Dong - a dog with a giant family tree, which has become a property of a rich Chinese for 1. 5 million euros.