The large Tibetan Mastiff is an independent breed with lots of intelligence. Its shaggy lion’s mane is a hallmark of this majestic dog. All over the world, the dog is gaining popularity, and as you’ll see later in this blog – some dogs are exceeding six-figures in cost.

The History of the Tibetan Mastiff

We know this breed hails from Tibet, but exactly how it came into being is a bit of a mystery. Why? Tibet has been quite isolated until modern times. What we do know, however, is that mastiffs are all derived from the Tibetan. These Himalayan canine guardians were likely given as gifts to people of the Middle East and other regions where they were bred, as well. It became an officially recognized breed by the American Kennel Club in 2006.

Breed Appearance

These big dogs stand at an average 26 inches at the shoulder and weight over 100 pounds. They were bred as powerful protectors with lots of muscle. Their ears are V-shaped, and their eyes are brown and expressive. Tibetans are often compared to lions because of their shaggy, sometimes reddish-toned manes. Believe it or not, these mastiffs don’t shed. Instead, their coats blow out once per year. Their tails curl over their bodies in a bushy, feathery tuft.

Caring for a Tibetan Mastiff

For the majority of the year, caring for a Tibetian Mastiff is not too difficult. Take a look below at how it is recommended to care for the breed.

  • Grooming – The Tibetian Mastiff is a double-coated breed. This means that they have a coarse coat of hair that protects a very thick, wooly undercoat. Their coat doesn’t require more than a weekly brushing usually. Though, once a year, the Tibetian Mastiff goes through a shedding period. This is sometimes called a “blowing” period because you’ll be likely to find clumps of fur everywhere if you do not take action. During this shedding period, you’ll have to brush them daily to keep up with how much fur they’ll shed. You should never have to trim their hair otherwise.
  • Feeding – Be sure to feed a Tibetian Mastiff a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age. This breed actually eats a bit less than you might expect considering their size. They can eat between two and four cups of food a day, though they have even been known to skip meals.
  • Exercise – As a guard dog, a Tibetian Mastiff should get more than enough exercise just patrolling their territory. That’s the way they like to workout too. They don’t need to be focused on an organized task and would rather just work hard throughout the day. These dogs will be more active in the winter as their double coat provides plenty of protection from the cold.

The Tibetan Mastiff Temperament

When it comes to the Tibetian Mastiff’s temperament, there have been noticeable differences between dogs who are used as livestock guardians and those who have been bred to live a more domesticated life. Working dogs exhibit more behaviors to help avoid conflicts. They may be much more mouthy to warn other animals or people away. They may also more readily use their scent to mark territory.

Dogs who live a more domesticated life are usually easier going and aloof with strangers. Even with domestication, the breed will still be very active at night and will bark at anything that catches their attention.

The breed is also very intelligent and strong-willed. This may also lead to a dog that is incredibly stubborn if not given appropriate obedience training. Tibetian Mastiffs should also be socialized very well. If not, they can take on a guardian role to protect their family at times that may not be appropriate.

Health Expectations

The Tibetian Mastiff is a fairly healthy breed as long as they come from a responsible breeder. The American Kennel Club says they should live anywhere from 10 to 12 years. They are also known to have fewer genetic health problems than most other breeds.

Most large dog breeds suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, and the Tibetian Mastiff is not different in that regard. They can also suffer from skin allergies and some autoimmune problems.

The breed often has hypothyroidism as well. The interesting part is that the dog may show no real symptoms of hypothyroidism. The thought is that in their native climate, nutritious food may be hard to come by. Some researchers believe that the Tibetian Mastiff’s asymptomatic hypothyroidism may actually be an adaptation to survive in such a climate.

A Famous Tibetan Mastiff

According to the New York Post, “A high-rolling Chinese businessman shelled out $1.9 million for a Tibetan mastiff in what could be the most expensive case of puppy love ever.” The publication states that Tibetan Mastiffs have become status symbols among many of China’s rich. Now that’s expensive! Tibetan Mastiffs are beautiful and deserve respect, but it seems as if there are some deals going on to make these breeds extra pricey in China. In the United States, a Tibetan Mastiff from a reputable breeder will go for around $3,000. It’s still a high price point, but this special breed is far rarer than the common Golden Retriever.