Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff, also known as the Do-Khyi (“door guard” in Tibetan), is a large breed of dog which originated with the nomadic cultures of Tibet, India, Nepal, and Mongolia. The dogs are almost exclusively working animals. For centuries, they have been used by Central Asian nomads in the guarding of herds and camps and as a farm dogs.

Their lineage is unknown, but it is possible that the Tibetan Mastiff either originated from or was influenced by one of two dogs: The Central Asian Shepherd Dog or the English Mastiff. In Tibet, local legend has it that mothers would tell their children that the Do-Khyi would come and eat them!

The FCI recognized the breed in 1959 under the name “Tsang Apso,” but this was corrected to Tibetan Mastiff in 1975. In 1990, the USA recognized it as a non-sporting dog breed.


Breed Characteristics

The Tibetan Mastiff is a relatively new dog breed, only becoming more widely recognized and seen in the Western world once China opened its borders. During this time, dogs were removed from Tibet and bred with dogs from surrounding countries such as Nepal and Mongolia to create larger dogs better protected against predators. The original working dogs that came from Tibet were used as livestock guardians and as a means of protection for caravans and companions.

It is believed by some that the breed descends from or has been influenced by the Central Asian Shepherd Dog, which nomads had used in the region since the first century AD. Today, Tibetan Mastiffs are still used as herding dogs for protection and companionship in their homeland. They are incredibly loyal to their family but should be socialized at an early age so that they become accustomed to meeting strangers.



The Tibetan Mastiff is known for being strong-willed and independent, making them difficult to train. Puppies are generally not recommended for people with little to no dog experience due to their reluctance to be prepared. Because of this, puppies require early socialization and exposure to new stimuli to become more balanced adults.


Tibetan Mastiff  

The Tibetan Mastiff is a relatively large dog breed, with males being larger than females. They have solid bodies and possess great physical strength. The legs are muscular, and the chest is broad and deep. The head is large, with sparse hair on the muzzle, forehead, cheeks, and ears.

The Tibetan Mastiff is a fiercely protective breed which makes them an excellent guard dog. They are wary of strangers and alert their families when they detect anything suspicious. When it comes time to defend the family or property physically, they will attack without much warning, often giving their opponent little chance to fight back.


Behavioral Characteristics 

The Tibetan Mastiff is a breed that takes time to bond with its family. They are known as being somewhat aloof and independent, preferring the company of those they know to those they do not. It can take anywhere from 3 to 9 months for them to fully accept new people. Once they do, their protective instincts towards the family make them a formidable deterrent to anything they may perceive as a threat!

The Tibetan Mastiff is very stubborn and accepts only firm training methods. To train them successfully, it is recommended to be patient and consistent. They require a healthy balance of exercise and discipline to avoid any negative behavior.

The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a breed for experienced dog owners and not recommended for long-term, first-time dog owners. Those interested in adopting this breed must take special care to train them from a young age or be prepared to deal with their stubbornness and independence.

The Tibetan Mastiff can be pretty vocal, especially when they want something. Their voices are usually deep and loud, sounding more like a howl than anything else. They are known to make quite the scene when they want something, making them excellent watchdogs because they tend to bark loudly at strangers.

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