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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Tibetan Mastiff


Tibetan Mastiff Facts

  • Group
  • Working
  • Affiliations
  • AKC
  • Height
  • 24" - 26"
  • Weight
  • 140-180 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 10 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Black
    • Black / Tan
    • Tan
    • Brown
    • Silver / Grey
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Ok outdoors
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

None known.


The Tibetan mastiff originated in Tibet.

Date Of Origin

This breed developed thousands of years ago, however, it was rescued from near extinction in the past century.


The Tibetan mastiff is an ancient breed that was used to guard livestock and property in Tibetan villages, although the breed may have originally come from China. Although this breed is believed to be the progenitor of all mastiffs, it was not exported during modern times until 1847 when Queen Victoria received a Tibetan mastiff as a gift. The first Tibetan mastiff came to the U.S. as a gift to President Eisenhower.


This is a heavy, powerful dog that is longer than it is tall. The broad head is heavily wrinkled with a square muzzle and broad nose. The lips are moderately pendulous and the eyes are brown and slanted. The ears are drop. The long tail curls over the back. The double coat has a dense undercoat and a hard, straight outer coat. The neck, chest, tail and hind legs are feathered. The coat may be black, black and tan, brown, gold, gray, and blue, or gray, blue and tan, with tan markings above the eyes, lower legs, under the tail, on the muzzle, and around the eyes. There may be white markings on the chest and feet.


The Tibetan mastiff is a reserved and independent minded dog that is dominant and often stubborn, with what some call catlike behavior. It is very protective and makes a good guard. It should be supervised with children and other animals as it can be overprotective and May misinterpret benign interactions.


The Tibetan mastiff is an outstanding sheepdog, ferocious against wolves or leopards that try to approach its flock. It is also an excellent guard both of entire villages and of individual, isolated houses. Today it can be seen as a companion, however, it requires room to run and be free.

Health Concerns

Ectropion, entropion, hypothyroidism.

Additional Information

The Tibetan mastiff does best with a firm, dog experienced owner in a rural or suburban environment.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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