Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff Temperament and Personality



Tibetan Mastiff  Temperament and Personality


Raising a dog is a huge responsibility. The moment you decide to welcome a canine into your life, there’s no turning back. You are most likely to dedicate a huge portion of your time, energy, and resources to this dog ownership journey. However, the love and commitment you invest in this dog-owner relationship are pure and eternal. If you want to experience a different kind of fulfillment in your life, consider owning and raising a Tibetan Mastiff Dog breed. 


Fuzzy, intelligent, and independent – these are just some of the numerous outstanding features of this breed. Tibetan Mastiffs are not just adorable furry creatures but are also fearless and protective. Although they may be stubborn and overwhelming at times, one thing is for certain. The Tibetan Mastiff is indeed an incredible breed. If you want to know more and understand everything about the Tibetan Mastiff, read on! 



About the Tibetan Mastiff

Just a fair warning: if you are a novice or first-time pet parent, a Tibetan Mastiff may be a challenge. However, if you think you are calm, persistent, and driven, then raising this dog might be just for you. The truth is, it takes patience, commitment, love, and tolerance to raise a Tibetan Mastiff.


With proper training and handling, you can expect to experience first-hand the incomparable love, loyalty, and protection this dog can offer. The Tibetan Mastiff’s commanding and imposing characteristics that may be deeply rooted from its ancestors in Tibet can ensure safety and security for you and your family. 


It is important to note that Tibetan Mastiffs are considered a guardian breed; thus, owners need extensive knowledge. He may also have to send this “gigantic canine” to dog obedience classes, protection training, and intensive socialization training. This furry friend is tough to tame, but with patience, proper handling, and lots of attention, they’ll eventually submit themselves to their owner. The Tibetan Mastiff breed requires a courageous and firm owner who will serve as the rightful leader of the pack.  



National Breed Clubs and Rescues

The American Tibetan Mastiff Association (ATMA) is the leading and the only national Tibetan Mastiff Breed club that the AKC or American Kennel Club recognizes. Founded in 1974, the members of ATMA have been dedicating their time and resources to preserving this guardian breed.


The organization is also dedicated to promoting healthy and active Tibetan Mastiff dogs all across the globe. If you are an owner, fancier, or simply an enthusiast of the Tibetan Mastiff who wants to get engaged in preserving the breed, please click this link to sign up. 



large fluffy dog in the snow



Tibetan Mastiff Care

Every dog owner should know and learn the importance of providing a safe and clean habitat for your furry friend. And while most owners consider excessively domesticating their dogs and letting them roam around the house and play with children, this is perhaps a bad idea. Despite providing them tons of behavior-and-socialization training, the breed’s protective instincts will always be a part of them. 


The guardian dog’s guarding instincts are significantly high during nighttime, causing them to bark whenever they sense or hear something – even a single scratch. It is best to restrain your dog at night or provide a solid fence to keep them from roaming during nighttime. 


As with any companion dog, a Tibetan Mastiff should live indoors. It is also best for them to have safe access to a spacious, securely fenced yard where they can freely roam around and play. During the summer season, provide them shade, plenty of food, healthy treats, and lots of freshwater to stay hydrated. 



Tibetan Mastiff Grooming

Contrary to popular belief, grooming Tibetan Mastiffs does not require extensive time, resources, and effort. These guardian dogs have a low-maintenance double coat that only needs weekly bathing, brushing, and grooming. The topcoat is thick and coarse, while the undercoat is soft and wooly. During the dry and warm seasons, the undercoat becomes thinner and softer.


In the summer and spring months, the annual shedding usually happens. This breed needs regular, heavy brushing, ideally 3-4 times a week, to control the shedding. When grooming these giant dogs, make sure to check for mats or tangles in the tail, mane, and breeches. Bathing regularly may not always be necessary since the breed possesses zero to minimal odor.


You may bathe your Tibetan mastiff once or two times a month and using a beneficial shampoo will keep the coat haelthy and full. When it comes to dental hygiene, brush their teeth 2-3 times a week to prevent tartar buildup. But if you have more time, you can do it daily. Trimming the nails may be done 2-3 times a month or when needed. Ear hygiene is necessary to prevent ear obstruction, swelling, or inflammation.


Ask your vet about the proper way of cleaning the ear since this is a sensitive part of their body. Successful and effective grooming can be achieved when you fill it with lots of praises and rewards. It is best to start proper grooming while your canine is still a puppy, so it won’t be difficult for them to tolerate human touch. 





Tibetan Mastiff Exercise

Tibetan Mastiffs don’t require heavy workouts. Strenuous exercises will exhaust them easily. They need mild-moderate exercises that are typically in the form of systematic activities. Instead of giving structured plays such as chasing a ball or playing fetch, offer them organized, work-related activities or tasks such as patrolling their territory.


They can tolerate a half-hour walk or 15-20 minutes of structured play in the yard or an open field. The Tibetan mastiffs should never be left all day indoors since they can get so destructive. If you are living in a small apartment, Tibetan Mastiff ownership might not be for you. They love going to open fields or the countryside but are not interested in playing on the grounds.


These huge canines conserve their energy and enjoy taking a nap. 


Related Article: How Often Do You Walk Your Dog



Tibetan Mastiff Training

Like any other giant dog, Tibetan Mastiffs are clever, stubborn, and naturally overprotective. Without proper training and obedience skills, they cannot follow simple commands and can become aggressive. Engaging them early in dog training and basic dog obedience programs can prevent hostility, disobedience, and rebellion. 


It is best to begin training the Tibetan mastiffs while they are still a puppy. They may be naturally stubborn and independent but are highly intelligent. Introduce leash training early because this is beneficial for his overall health and wellbeing. Never let your Tibetan mastiff walk off-leash and always keep them guarded. 


As an owner, you need to consistently impose superiority in your relationship throughout your dog’s lifetime. You also have to learn how to physically restrain your canine whenever they show signs of violence. Never show fear or hesitation, even in public, when confronting a Tibetan Mastiff. Show him that you will always be the “boss.” 


Since Tibetan Mastiffs are naturally aloof and territorial, they cannot easily accept strangers. They value their property so much that they often resort to showing strange, violent behaviors to anyone entering their territory. But with proper and adequate socialization skills, they can be like other calmer breeds, accepting, and friendly to strangers invading their so-called “personal space.” 



Tibetan Mastiff Health

Generally speaking, the Tibetan Mastiff dog breed is fairly healthy and claims an impressive life expectancy of 10-15 years. However, like other dog breeds, they are also vulnerable to certain dog conditions that may impair their general health and wellbeing.


These are some of the most common health conditions that impact Tibetan Mastiffs and other large dogs:


  • Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)


Also called hip dysplasia in dogs, CHD is a hereditary medical condition that happens when the ball and socket joints of the hip rub against each other, causing lameness, joint issues, and impaired physical activities. X-ray screening is required to diagnose such a condition. When your Tibetan Mastiff has hip dysplasia, provide him supportive treatment such as modifying their diet, reducing stress, and giving them enough rest and sleep. Lastly, remind yourself that dogs with dysplasia should never be bred.


  • Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is another genetic disorder in large dogs that involves multiple abnormalities in the elbow joint, causing laxity. Lameness and impaired physical activities are the most common signs of this condition. When your canine becomes unwilling to walk or run, suspect that he may be suffering from this condition. Immediately bring him to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.


  • Panosteitis
    Panosteitis or osteomyelitis is a skeletal condition in canines that causes inflammation of the long bones. This is more common in large dog breeds – including the Tibetan Mastiffs. Treating panosteitis may include analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Osteochondritis  Dissecans or Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD or OD)


This is an orthopedic medical condition in canines mainly caused by a disruption in normal bone formation. OCD is an inherited disorder that affects cartilage’s normal growth and development in large dog breeds such as the Tibetan Mastiff. This usually takes place in the elbow, shoulder, hip, or ankle.


The most common sign of OCD is limping or lameness, which usually worsens after long periods of rest or inactivity. Treatments may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and traditional open surgery. 


  • Polyneuropathy or Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy


CIDN is a genetic disorder that affects the peripheral nervous system of the canine that impairs the transmission of nerve impulses. CIDN causes chronic loss of strength in the canine’s legs, leading to paralysis. This is considered an irreversible condition or a disease with no effective treatment yet. However, selective breeding may help prevent this condition. 


  • Autoimmune Hypothyroidism 


Autoimmune hypothyroidism is a disease in the endocrine system that typically affects middle-aged and senior Tibetan Mastiffs. This is mainly caused by decreased levels of thyroid hormones that may lead to restlessness, sudden weight gain, and flaky skin. When your Tibetan Mastiff has been diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism, allow him to undergo medication treatments prescribed by the vet. 


When buying a Tibetan Mastiff, it is best to find an excellent breeder in town. This is to make sure the puppy has sufficient medical records and is in excellent condition. Only a trusted and reliable dog breeder can ensure your puppy is generally healthy and free from any disease or condition.



big black dog sleeping



Tibetan Mastiff General Appearance

The Tibetan Mastiff dog breed is a large but not a giant breed. It possesses a fresh and clean aura that’ll attract any dog lover. The Tibetan Mastiffs are athletic, strong, independent, and smart. The breed’s hallmarks are the tail and head. The tail is shorter than the body, while the head is wide and impressive.


The almond-shaped, slanted eyes give the canine an impression of being watchful and curious. The tail and britches are heavily feathered. Tibetan Mastiffs have a double coat that is significantly thick. The topcoat is coarse, while the undercoat is soft and wooly. The typical colors of the Tibetan Mastiffs are black, tan, brown, blue, and grey.


They possess noticeable white markings on their feet and chest. They also have tan markings in any of these areas: around the eyes, above the eyes, throat, sides of the muzzle, and lower part of the forelegs. The gait of this large dog is sturdy, athletic, powerful, and balanced. 





Tibetan Mastiff Size

The average height of an adult male Tibetan mastiff ranges from 26-28 inches, while the female mastiff ranges from 24-26 inches. The average weight of the male is 100-150 pounds while the female is 70-120 pounds. In general, Tibetan Mastiffs are muscular dogs that possess exceptional strength and power. 



Tibetan Mastiff Personality

The Tibetan Mastiff dog breed has a complex temperament. They can show love and tenderness but can also display an excessive desire to guard and protect. Tibetan Mastiffs are loving and sweet yet can become stubborn and overly independent. They feel the need to constantly communicate with their guardians and can even sense the current feelings and emotions of their owners accurately. 


With enough precautions, these dogs can treat children pretty well – playing with them, enduring their tricks, and guarding them at all times. It is important to note that you should not leave them alone with your kids. Tibetan Mastiffs have an innate capability of knowing the vulnerability of children, thus giving them plenty of love, affection, and security. However, they can get overwhelmed by the child’s playfulness or stubbornness. 


Shouting, loud discussions, and quarrels can also heighten their curiosity levels and increase their stress levels. Tibetan Mastiff puppies are hyperactive and extremely playful, but they become more sedentary and inattentive as they age. They prefer work-related activities rather than structured plays. They can get used to this kind of lifestyle and may even tolerate lying at your feet all day long. 


The mastiff is fond of receiving attention and praise from their owner. They would always try to please their owners to feel better. Acknowledging all their good works and accomplishments can reinforce good behavior such as obedience and patience. Tibetan Mastiffs always perform their duties seriously and with preciseness and sharpness.


They are extremely dedicated and loyal to their owners. This is perhaps one of the reasons why they are aloof to people they barely know, including some family members. Socialization of the mastiff needs to be formed and established at an early stage of their life. When they lack basic socialization skills, they tend to become highly territorial and aggressive.


You can start introducing them to your friends and bring them to the park, store, or any crowded place. Regularly take him on a walk to develop his social skills. Tibetan Mastiffs are generally a quiet breed that can peacefully endure isolation and inactivity without hesitation. Nevertheless, they can also get ferocious and turn into irritating creatures, especially at night when they do nonstop barking.



three mastiff puppies



Tibetan Mastiff Feeding

The feeding part can get a little tricky. Although they are large, they might show a little interest in food. Most Tibetan Mastiffs have smaller appetites compared to other large dog breeds. They eat scantily and may sometimes go on food strikes for a significant amount of time. 


As an owner, you have to make sure they are getting enough nutrients from their food. Give them high-quality dog food that is packed with essential nutrients necessary for their general health and well-being. Avoid overfeeding as it won’t solve any “hunger issues” you might falsely perceive. 


If your canine has a good appetite, do not overfeed. Overfeeding may only lead to various health issues and disorders. Always pay attention to your canine’s weight and Body Mass Index. Make it a habit to examine their overall health and general appearance. If they are overweight, they cannot perform basic activities and tasks effectively. Remember, their health is equally important as yours. 


When feeding your mastiff, consider the following factors:


  • Your canine’s metabolism
  • Weight 
  • The quality of foods you are giving
  • The age, size, and length of your dog
  • The kind and amount of exercise your dog is getting 
  • Your primary goal – gain, lose or maintain weight


While numerous available dog food products in the market offer excellent results, it is still best to consult your vet or a nutritionist. You can also check out your preferred raw dog food calculators provider for the best and most proper feeding guidelines. 



Are the Tibetan Mastiff Dogs Aggressive?

Contrary to what people know, the Tibetan Mastiffs are not aggressive dogs. They are initially bred to guard. Their guarding abilities are beyond exception; they are included in the list of the most reliable guard dogs in the world. They instinctively treat strangers with distrust. When they see their guardians talking to people they don’t know, they look them in the eyes but without showing aggression.


However, when they know their owner is in danger, they will fearlessly show their best defense. Since they are highly intelligent dogs, they can assess the situation before making decisions. They even know how to differentiate between good and bad people. After assessing the degree of perceived threat, they will make a move based on their willful decisions. They can guard your territory all day and can serve the ultimate security services you can ever receive in your life. 



Is the Tibetan Mastiff a Dangerous Dog?

The Tibetan Mastiff is not a dangerous dog. However, they can turn into a dreadful beast that any stranger could wish never existed when provoked. They can bark all night, annoying neighbors and destroying their peace. But they do it on purpose – they want to keep their owners safe and guarded at all times.


When they are angry, they can turn into dangerous dogs. With scary eyes, frightening grin, and scruffy fur, they can turn your worst nightmare into reality. Bear in mind that the mastiffs are born to protect rather than to please. This should be a reason for you to never confine them in your apartment or any small, closed space.


Let them walk into the streets or roam around your garden to maximize their potentials. Leash training is essential, especially when they are getting bigger. This is the only way for you to soothe them when they are faced with people or situations that they may perceive as a threat. No matter how you involve them in obedience and behavior training, they will still be guard dogs.


They live to protect and serve their masters. Never be confident of their restrained behavior when they are in crowded places. Remember, many things can provoke a large dog. 





More about Tibetan Mastiffs

Here are some trivia and fun facts about the Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed:


  • Despite their huge size, mastiffs have cute, cat-like feet that make them agile and nimble.
  • The first-ever Tibetan Mastiff came to England in the 1800s.
  • The legendary Marco Polo had a great encounter with a Tibetan Mastiff, and he described it as “tall as a donkey with a voice like a lion.”
  • Most Tibetan Mastiff puppies are born in January and December.
  • In ancient Tibet, Tibetan Mastiffs were kept to guard Shamballa (Buddhist haven) and monasteries. 

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