Tibetan Mastiff, Breeders, Breed Clubs and Rescue
This is an ancient breed and can be traced back 2,500 years and there are many misconceptions about their origins. For example, it is claimed by some canine historians that the Tibetan Mastiff is behind some of the other modern mastiff breeds and they were first used to guard the homes of noblemen and monasteries. There is no evidence to support this.
What is known is that he was the dog of the Tibetan nomads, the Drukpas, and he guarded the encampments and the people. They were not used for protecting livestock; this was done by the Himalayan or Tibetan Sheepdog. They made their way out of the Drukpa encampments as the guarding abilities and imposing presence of the Tibetan Mastiff were recognised, though those who went out into the wider world would not have had the same forbidding presence.
The task of the Tibetan Mastiff was was to be protective and wary of strangers, barking a warning but never displaying unwonted aggression although appearing sufficiently ferocious to warn unwelcome visitors off. In the Drupka camps he was cared for by the women and children and they would lead him away when the visitor was a welcome one.
The Tibetan Mastiff has been seen in the west since 1834 and dogs of excellent type, which could compete with the best today, were sent to Queen Victoria and her son at different times during the 19th century. The first Tibetan Mastiff Standard was drawn up in 1934 by the Tibetan Breeds Association. One of the members of the Association was Mrs Bailey herself.
The Tibetan Mastiff gives an impression of being a powerful, heavy and well built dog with plenty of bone; he measures a minimum of 66cm in dogs and 61cm for bitches, and is heavily built, though not with the massive frame common in other mastiff breeds. He is usually black or black and tan, but can also be found in gold and shades of grey. The dogs carry a heavier coat than the bitches; it is fine but hard and stands off the body with an undercoat which varies according to the weather. When present, in cold weather, it is dense and woolly. A pin brush and rake are probably the best equipment to keep him smart.
He is generally good natured and will fit in with family life, but is strong-willed and independent and does not train easily; early socialising and training is vital. Like the majority of the working breeds the Tibetan Mastiff is not a breed for novices. A more demanding dog than most, if you think the Tibetan Mastiff may be the breed for you, contact the Breed Club and breeders who will be able to give you a closer insight into the breed.
Rescue and Re-homing
Contact your dog’s breeder first; if they are unable to help then contact the Breed Club.