Tibetan Mastiff

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Tibetan Mastiff

HomeDog Breeds > Tibetan Mastiff
Place of Origin: 


Other Name: 

Do-Khyi or Do-Kyi

Original Function: 

guard dog, herder


Primary Current Function: 

guard dog, companion

Date of Origin: 



The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient breed that has remained unchanged for thousands of years due to its remote origin in Tibet, where it has been uninfluenced by other breeds. Stone Age cave drawings in the upper Himalayas have proven the primitive nature of these large guard dogs.

Tibetan Mastiff Breed Health

Major concerns: 

hip dysplasia, CIDN

Suggested tests: 


Avg Size of Female: 

Height: 25-28 inches, Weight: 140-170 pounds

Occasionally seen: 


Avg Size of Male: 

Height: 25-28 inches, Weight: 140-170 pounds

Life span: 

15 or more years

Minor concerns: 

thyroid, ear

Tibetan Mastiff Breed History

The mastiff was used to guard Tibetan monasteries and was allowed to roam free in the village to protect it from intruders and thieves. The dogs’ deep bark could be heard all through the night, ensuring that everything was safe and all would be well in the morning. In Tibet, the Tibetan mastiff is known as the Do-Kyi, which means “tied dog” or “gate dog”, because they were often tied at the entrance of the home they were guarding. Tibetan mastiffs were believed to accompany the armies of the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans and also later traveled with Atilla and Ghengis Khan into Eastern Europe. When the Chinese first occupied Tibet, this breed almost died out and could only be found in remote areas. In the 18 th century, the public first saw these dogs held captive in zoos in cities such as London and Berlin. It wasn’t until recently that these dogs spread into the Western World. The breed still retains many of its primitive aspects, making it a unique pet choice that is not for everyone.

Tibetan Mastiff Breed Appearance

This large and powerful breed is muscular and agile, but without refinement. The TM has a bear-like head framed by a furry mane. It has a wide blunt muzzle with a dignified expression with a tail that curls over its back. This mastiff is double coated with a wooly undercoat and long, hard outer coat. The fur is straight or with a slight wave colored in chocolate, blue & tan, sable, gold, cream, or red, with or without tan markings.

Tibetan Mastiff Breed Temperament

The Tibetan Mastiff is a natural guard dog that is territorial and highly protective of home and family. It is strong-willed and courageous, while maintaining a calm manner. It is also intelligent and adaptive with an exceptional memory. Once introduced to someone, it will rarely forget that person.

Tibetan Mastiff Breed Maintenance

The Tibetan Mastiff needs weekly brushing. It keeps its double coat all year and sheds once around the Spring or Summer. During shedding, the TM’s coat must be brushed every day for 30 minutes. Because of its large size, this breed requires enough room to exercise itself, so apartment living is not appropriate. The yard should be well fenced, because Tibetan mastiffs are diggers and climbers and may try to escape. Centuries of being guard dogs have made this breed into a night barker; however if kept indoors, it will remain quiet. The Tibetan Mastiff enjoys walks, but it does not like jogging or playing with balls. Because of its strong-willed nature, this mastiff requires training as well as proper socialization.

Tibetan Mastiff Ratings & Reviews

Huge and lovely - July 28, 2015




Lion is a Tibetan Mastiff. He is a very big animal with a thick, heavy coat, which makes him look even bigger. He is very affectionate and needs a lot of attention. Overall, he is a great dog, but I wouldn't suggest getting one if you live in an apartment.

Review Tibetan Mastiff