One of the world's most ancient breeds. Used by Tibetans for centuries as a home and village guardians. They are sometimes tied up and deter trespassers by barking. These are called Do-Kyi or "Tied dog".
The Tibetan Mastiff should be a dog to which the adjective "impressive" applies. A TM is a dog which has often been called 'massive'; the main part of the dog warranting such a description is the head, which should be massive on a typical TM. To complement a massive head and to provide balance, the dog must be well boned and never, in any way, be capable of being described as refined. A well feathered tail should be carried over the back. The thin air in Tibet calls for the dog's large frame to be supported by a wide chest allowing lots of room for an efficient cardiac and pulmonary system, very necessary for a large, heavy dog. A male TM should stand at least 26" (66cms) and a bitch 24" (61cms). The predominant colour is Black and Tan but solid Black; Grey, with or without Tan markings and Gold dogs are also seen frequently. White markings on any part of the dog should be minimal. The TM has a double coat, the undercoat being shed in summer when dogs present a very different
look, but even then the dog should still obviously be a substantially built animal.
In general Tibetan Mastiffs are a long lived breed with relatively few health problems. Some dogs have been found to have some degree of Hip Displasia but this is not a real problem within the breed since most owners take their responsibilities towards the future of the breed seriously and are aware of the risk of using high scoring dogs in breeding programmes. It is recommended in the UK that all dogs are hip scored and eye tested but other countries have actual requirements that this is done before dogs can be bred from. Epilepsy has become a topic for discussion recently but the extent to which it is prevalent within the breed is unknown. Naturally other illnesses and diseases have seen the early demise of some dogs but not more so than in other breeds.
Characteristics and Temperament.
A typical Tibetan Mastiff can be aloof and wary of those it does not know but, by nature, a TM is not aggressive. Any form of aggression is never to be condoned. They are quite loyal to their owners and can be very protective towards them and their possessions. A TM will often guard something which it considers needs guarding, but which isn't always apparent to others and this needs to be watched for whenever the dogs are in a public area. Other dogs are generally tolerated fairly well, but the TM is a very dominant dog and will not accept being challenged by another dog. TMs seem to have a great affinity with children and they are treated with great care by these large dogs, provided the child is taught to respect them. It is important to bear in mind though, that the TM is a very large and powerful dog with a very strong will and an independent way of thinking. It is not easily biddable and not necessarily liable to respond immediately to any commands. They need to be understood in order for them to become the loving pet every dog is expected to be. ATM bitch comes into season only once a year, making this a breed unattractive to puppy farmers.
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