What is a Tibetan Mastiff?

  • 26/11/2010

The breed of Tibetan Mastiff dogs, can trace its roots back to ancient times and hails from Tibet and neighboring nomadic regions. The history of the breed can be tracked back to as early as the Bronze or Stone ages, and it is thought these dogs are descendants of the common Mastiff breeds of today.

A Tibetan Mastiff is a giant breed of dog, heavier in structure than a normal Mastiff and is more of a mountainous type of animal. The dog has a sturdy build with a large, wide head making it look much bigger than dogs of similar size and stature. A Tibetan Mastiff has a double coat with colors that range from a solid black, to black and tan, with different shades of gold, gray and brown. The coat of a Tibetan Mastiff also has patches of white on the chest or paws. This particular member of the Mastiff family has a much smoother brow than other family members and a drier mouth and a double coat prone to shedding once per year.

Because the Tibetan Mastiff is a social dog, it will revel being in the company of its owners and other canines. With its large stature and size, the dog has a need for space and is not well suited to live in a small home or apartment. The breed is easy going, but has an aloof nature when confronted with strangers. A Tibetan Mastiff is also a highly adept sheep guard and keeps any potential threats at bay, and are also good nocturnal guards. In some instances, a Mastiff has been an effective village guard.

A Tibetan Mastiff is easy to take care of when it is not shedding, which normally occurs on a weekly basis. However, there is a period of shedding that takes place during the spring and early summer, usually during the months of April through July, and the period lasts for about 6-8 weeks. This occurs to remove the undercoating, which will fall out in large clumps. During this time period, a Mastiff will need daily combing and grooming. The winter coat will grow in between August and September.

When they are puppies, a Mastiff should have an adequate and nutritious diet to ensure healthy bone and joint development. You might also provide the puppy with vitamin supplements if necessary, otherwise the extra vitamins could be harmful, so checking with a veterinarian is recommended. Protein while important in the diet, should never be more than 22% of the total diet.

When in comparison to other members of the Mastiff family, a Mastiff has a significantly lower occurrence of genetic health problems. However, the dog might suffer from entropion (forward folding eyelids), hypothyroidism ( an under active thyroid gland), skin conditions such as allergies, malocclusion (misaligned teeth), tooth loss, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and cardiac conditions. It might also suffer from smaller ear canals which can result in ear infections. Like other large breeds, a Tibetan Mastiff can also incur problems like hip and elbow dysplasia.

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