The Tibetan Mastiff – Most Scariest Dog Breed in 2022
The Tibetan Mastiff is the biggest dog in the world! A Tibetan Mastiff’s size can be 100 kg! (over 15 stone!) which makes it one hell of a guard dog. In fact its primary use with man, including the Tibetans, has been to protect livestock and the family against wolves, bears, leopards and even tigers! It is usually tied outside during the day but allowed roam, freely, at night so it protects the whole territory. (In Tibet this dog is called Do-Kyi.)
Tibetan Mastiff Size and Appearance
Tibetan Mastiffs were officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1930, however it’s still rare to find a mastiff puppy who is registered as KC.
In their native land this dog never weighs more than 90 kg as it simply costs too much to feed, but some breeding kennels have bred dogs to be 115 kg!
There are 2 types of “look” in a Tibetan mastiff puppy and both can come from the same litter. The taller, broader types are kept for more stationary positions whilst the leaner type is used for more active roles. They are shown in 2 separate types as well, a lion head (a smaller head but with a great mane of hair from the head to shoulders) and a tiger head (larger head but shorter hair).
In fact, a zoo in China once tried to pass off a Tibetan mastiff as a lion, much to the outrage of their visitors!
They have a long double coat, perfect for snowy climates, and come in a variety of colours, from black and tan, to shades of red and gold and can also have white markings. Interestingly they lack the “doggy” smell a lot of large breeds have.
Their coat also self cleans and sheds dirt!
Living with the Biggest Dog in the World
These dogs were bred over many, many years to be guard dogs and will show these characteristics.
Western strains of the breed are more docile however, in general, they are difficult to transform into a homely pet.
The Tibetan Mastiff temperament naturally wants to be on alert all night and will bark at any sound. If you can find one as a puppy it is a much easier training ground but will set you back a fair price!
When you look for a Tibetan Mastiff for sale you can expect the price to be between £1500 – £6,000 in the UK.
A Territorial Mastiff
Although very loving and loyal to their family they are territorial against strangers, which is hard to train out of. They are particularly stubborn and a fearless protector (great against a tiger!).
Strict obedience training is recommended, along with lots of socialisation for your Tibetan mastiff puppy – before 6 months.
Often, even though owners follow these recommendations, it is met with little success, simply because of generations of guarding instinct selectively bred into them. If this dog believes he is right you will never persuade him otherwise! His only job is to defend his family against whatever he feels is a threat and nothing will ever change that.
In fact, they are so territorial it is advised to take them on different walks every day! This so that they don’t start claiming the territory as their own.
Problems can start at a year old and increase in severity until 3 years of age, therefor you must nip in the bud any unwanted behaviours.
They are certainly not for the faint hearted and without proper direction can end up an extremely dangerous animal.
Tibetan Mastiff Health Problems
Because of the intensity of the in-breeding when these dogs were found by westerners, they can suffer many health problems. This ranges from skin problems to epilepsy and they tend to live short lives. However, healthy lines and, possibly, the original dogs, may live over 10 years.
Hip dysplasia is common, as with all large breeds, and also thyroid problems, as is common with northern breeds. It is advised that their thyroid is tested throughout their entire life, (although it will read lower than on the “normal” spectrum for domestic dogs). A clever trait which means Tibetan mastiffs are able to maintain good condition on little nutrition.
These dogs are thousands of years old and believed to have diverged from the gray wolf 58,000 years ago.
This would be another 16,000 years before other domestic dogs!
Primitive breeds of dogs keep a single heat season, like their wolf ancestors. This means they only breed once a year, rather than twice a year in domestic dogs.
Interestingly, much like the Tibetan terrier and Tibetan spaniel this breed isn’t actually from the mastiff family. It was so named because of its large size but it would be better to refer to it as a mountain dog.
In fact the Tibetan mastiff’s genetics are very similar to the Rottweiler, Great Pyrenees, Burmese Mountain Dog, St Bernard and Leonberger. This Tibetan dog could well be an ancestor!
Tibetan Mastiffs could well have brought about these amazing breeds!
These dogs live at such high altitudes even their blood has evolved over the years!
They posses a much higher level of haemoglobin than other breeds which insures they can get enough oxygen from the thin air. This is thought to come from crossing them with Tibetan wolves a long time ago.
These giant mountain dogs may have been given as gifts to early travellers crossing Tibet, which might be how they came into Europe.
The Tibetan Mastiff is truly a fantastic and interesting breed. Though very rarely seen from it’s native land, he still serves the people of Tibet today and what a fine job I bet he does!