Tibetan Mastiff, also known as the Do-Khyi, is an ancient breed who served as both a herding dog and a guardian dog for the nomads of Tibet and a watchdog at the Tibetan monasteries. There are many varieties of this breed (from the sheep-herding varieties to the heavier-boned Mastiff ones), as working performance and physical soundness were historically much more important than physical characteristics.
The large Mastiff variety of this breed (the better-known variety) stands from 24 to 30 inches tall and weighs 80 to 160 pounds. The head is broad and heavy, with a broad muzzle, medium-sized eyes, and pendant ears. The body is strong, with a deep chest and a medium-length tail that is carried high and curled over the back. The undercoat is wooly, while the outer coat is thick and dense. The coat may black, blue, or brown, with or without tan markings. This Tibetan Mastiff dog breed’s coat requires twice weekly brushing for most of the year. However, the coat does shed, and when it does, daily brushing will help keep the hair in the house under control.
The Tibetan Mastiff is not an overly active dog breed and will do well with daily walks and a chance to play in the yard. Tibetan Mastiff puppies are more active than adults and, without exercise, can be destructive. Socialization is very important, as this breed is quite watchful and protective. These dogs should meet a variety of people and other dogs, both in a puppy class and out on walks. Training can be challenging, as these dogs can be quite independent and sometimes stubborn. However, if the training is firm and structured, yet fun and upbeat, this breed can be trained.
Tibetan Mastiffs need experienced dog owners. They are protective, and the owners must have control. They can be good with children but may not understand rough play. They are good with other family dogs but will not tolerate strange dogs. Health concerns include hip and elbow dysplasia, eye problems, and thyroid disease.