Quite rare today, the Tibetan Shakhi Dog is related to other Tibetan, Nepalese and Central Asian breeds. A valued guardian of camps and villages, it also makes a capable herder and an excellent hunting dog. Some confusion exists regarding the Shakhi name, which is very similar to Sha-Khyi. The Kongpo is an actual breed, whereas the term Sha-Khyi is used to describe any hunting dog in Tibet, from certain pariah-like hounds to certain varieties of the Tibetan Mastiff. Traditionally, there have been two types within the Shakhi breed, separated by size and colour. The variety used for hunting duties is usually white with red, brown or black markings and is leaner than the slightly taller Congkhi watchdogs, which have fuller coats and mastiff-like features. The breed was in danger of extinction during the 20th century, but has fortunately survived in sufficient numbers, due to common crossings between the types within the Kongpo breed. Light frame and strong musculature allow this high-drive Molosser to achieve great speeds when chasing away predators or hunting wild boars, but presently only a small number of these dogs are used for hunting in Tibet and are mostly employed for herding and guarding. The Conghi is a typical light mastiff, although some specimens have erect ears.
The Shakhi has a true spitz tail and a rough, dense, weatherproof coat. It comes in a variety of lighter shades, mostly white, fawn and bicolours with some darker patching. The average height is around 22 inches.