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Tibetan Mastiff
Characteristics, History, and Health

Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff, known as Do-Khyi in its native Tibet, is an ancient breed and one of the largest dogs in the world. The origin of the Tibetan Mastiff is unknown, but they are thought to have existed as far back as 1100 B.C. Their primary job was to protect sheep from predators, like wolves, leopards, and bears. Their ferocious and protective nature made them well-suited for this task. Trade along the Silk Road likely brought Tibetan Mastiffs to China, and from there, they spread to other parts of the world. They were considered a ""royal"" breed in China, owned only by the nobility. The breed was introduced to the United States in the 1970s.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Do-Khyi (meaning "tied dog" in Tibet), Thibet Dog, Thibet Mastiff, Tibetan Dog
Life Expectancy
10-12 years
Average Male Height
Minimum 26 inches
Average Female Height
Minimum 24 inches
Average Male Weight
90-150 pounds
Average Female Weight
70-120 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Black, Black & Tan, Brown, Cream, Red Gold, Brown & Tan, Blue Gray, Cream Sable, Red Gold Sable, Blue Gray & Tan
Coat Pattern
White Markings

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Tibetan Mastiffs may suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, eye disorders such as entropion and ectropion. Other conditions may include demyelinative neuropathy and seizures (though the latter not considered prevalent).

Personality and Behavior

Tibetan Mastiffs are great as protectors or sentries due to their strong-will, independence and their territorial nature. They are known for their loyalty and are typically good with their families, including children, but can be wary of strangers. They are intelligent, independent, and can be stubborn at times, which may make training more challenging. However, with consistent, positive reinforcement training, they can learn effectively.

Fun Facts

A Tibetan Mastiff puppy held the record for being the most expensive dog ever sold, purchased for a staggering $2 million in China in 2014.

Despite their large size and protective nature, Tibetan Mastiffs can be quite gentle and patient with children in their own family.

They are known to be "night barkers" if left outside, a behavior that harkens back to their days of watching over flocks at night in Tibet.