Standard Poodle

Tibetan Mastiff

Group: Working Dogs

Origin: Tibet

– Male: Minimum 26 inches (66 cm)
– Female: Minimum 24 inches (61 cm)

– Males range from 100 to 160+ lbs.;
– Females range from 75 to 120+ lbs.

Also Known As: Do Khyi and commonly referred to as TM

Tibetan Mastiff
Wangdi’s Sagwa of Everest
Photo credit: Everest North Reg’d Tibetan Mastiffs

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Breed Profile

The ancient breed of Tibetan Mastiffs gained fame for their legendary fierceness as the outside guardians of Tibetan monasteries while Tibetan Spaniels acted as lookouts, lying on the high monastery walls and barking to warn the monks and Mastiffs when anything approached. The Mastiffs also served as fearless protectors of homes, livestock, villages and caravans. In North America, Tibetan Mastiffs have been used as guard dogs, herding dogs, sled dogs, and as family companions. The breed is believed to be one of the ancestors of the Newfoundland, the Great Pyrenees, the Dogue de Bordeaux, the Great Dane, and many others. Still classified as a rare breed, the Tibetan Mastiff dates back almost three thousand years and is among the oldest of purebred dogs.

Though patient, gentle, stable and loyal, the Tibetan Mastiff is also independent, aloof and ready to fiercely defend. Those who know the breed will quickly point out that this is not the dog for everyone as he can be a real challenge even for experienced dog owners. He requires a fair amount of attention and exercise to keep him occupied, otherwise, as with many breeds, he may become destructive to relieve boredom. In addition, it should be stressed that the Tibetan Mastiff is a strong willed breed who requires early training and proper socialization with people and other animals. A very intelligent breed, the Tibetan can adapt to many different functions. However, he is an extremely independent thinker and generally does not show a great deal of interest in organized activities, such as obedience or agility. By nature he is a guardian and this instinctive ability makes him an excellent protector of the home. It must be stressed however, that this is not the breed for everyone. If you are considering adopting a Tibetan Mastiff, learn about the breed before bringing him into your home. Be sure that he will fit into your lifestyle.

He has a medium-length, thick and weather-resistant double coat that is either black, black and tan, or golden. The double coat is kept throughout the year with very little shedding except once a year (usually in Spring, depending on the climate) when he “blows” his coat. This period of shedding can last about eight weeks. The breed is slow to mature, with males reaching full maturity between the ages of four to five years and females a little earlier at three to four years.

Health Issues

The Tibetan Mastiff is generally a healthy and hardy breed, living an average of ten or more years. However, like all breeds, there are always some health concerns. The following conditions have been seen in Tibetan Mastiffs:

  • Autoimmune Hypothyroidism
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • CIDN or Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy — An inherited condition that affects the nervous systems of Tibetan Mastiff puppies. Puppies are born normal but by six weeks of age they begin to show weakness in the rear legs that gradually progresses to complete paralysis of the hind quarters. There is no treatment for this condition.

If you are considering the adoption of a Tibetan Mastiff puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

Tibetan Mastiffs are known to be naturally clean dogs with very little doggy odor. The coat is easily maintained with a regular, weekly brushing. The Tibetan Mastiff will shed or “blow” his undercoat once a year, usually in the Spring. During this time, daily grooming is recommended. Ears should also be checked and cleaned regularly.

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

The Tibetan Mastiff is strong-willed and an independent thinker. Early socialization and obedience training is a must for this breed.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Is the Tibetan Mastiff Right for You?
  • Tibetan Mastiff Info — Dedicated to the education of the Tibetan Mastiff breed.
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

Breed Listing

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

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