• ABOUT THE BREED
  • TESTING
  • HIGH C.O.I. ?
  • HISTORY OF THE BREED
  • LIFE EXPECTANCY
  • EXERCISE
  • SIZE AND APPEARANC

The Tibetan Mastiff, as it is a primitive breed of dog, has a set of unique characteristic related solely to the breed. For example, many Tibetan Mastiffs shed their coat once a year, generally in the spring, lasting approximately four weeks.

Tibetan Mastiffs are a clean dog breed and very easily house trained. Lacking the usual canine smell, the fact they do not continual shed has led to Tibetan Mastiff becoming known as a hypoallergenic dog, generally suited to anyone with allergies to dog hair.

When a Tibetan Mastiff is shedding its coat egular grooming in long periods is required. This is to ensure that any loose hair from the undercoat is brought up through the oute coat and not left to become dirty and matted. Although time consuming, it is a very easy process and simply requires a soft but firm downward stroke to the Tibetan Mastiff's coat. Due to the nature of the coat, some owners use a hair dryer to aid the process, as this helps to loosen any hair that may have become slightly knotted in the coat.

The Tibetan Mastiff can live in an apartment life if they are very well exercised. They are not very active indoors.

Temperament

The native type of dog, which still exists in Tibet, and the Westernized purebred breed can vary in temperament—but so can dogs of identical breeding, within the same litter, raised in the same household. Elizabeth Schuler states, "The few individuals that remain in Tibet are ferocious and aggressive, unpredictable in their behavior, and very difficult to train. But the dogs bred by the English are obedient and attached to their masters." However, other observers have found the dogs remaining in Tibet to be quite approachable under the right circumstances—and some Western-bred dogs to be completely unapproachable. Some Western and Asian breeders are seeking to create a replica of the legendary dog which they identify as the "true Tibetan Mastiff" or "Tsang-khyi". Some breeders appear to select primarily for appearance (great size, profuse coat, heavy wrinkling, jowls, haw) while others also select for "soft" temperament (in the West) and fierce temperament (in Asia where the dogs' "ferocity" is much vaunted and encouraged). As a flock guardian dog in Tibet and in the West, it is tenacious in its ability to confront predators the size of wolves and leopards. As a socialized, more domestic dog, it can thrive in a spacious, fenced yard with a canine companion, but it is generally not an appropriate dog for apartment living. The Western-bred dogs are generally more easy-going, although somewhat aloof with strangers coming to the home. Through hundreds of years of selective breeding for a protective flock and family guardian, the breed has been prized for being a nocturnal sentry, keeping would-be predators and intruders at bay, barking at sounds throughout the night. Leaving a Tibetan Mastiff outside all night with neighbors nearby is not recommended. They often sleep during the day to be more active, alert and aware at night. Like all flock guardian breeds, they are intelligent and stubborn to a fault, so obedience training is recommended (although only mildly successful with some individuals) since this is a strong-willed, powerful breed. Socialization is also critical with this breed because of their reserved nature with strangers and guardian instincts. They are excellent family dogs—for the right family. Owners must understand canine psychology and be willing and able to assume the primary leadership position. Lack of consistent, rational discipline can result in the creation of dangerous, unpredictable dogs(although this is true of virtually every dog breed). Newspaper reports have suggested that a pair of these Mastiffs have killed tigers while guarding sheep in the highlands of Nepal. SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Mastiff

You want to make sure the parents of your new puppy have passed their tests for OFA. Ask how many times the x-raays were submitted and if they passed on the first submittal. Please go to this link to learn more about re-submitting x-rays and getting better results the second time. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061130170734AA6nnH5

HIP DYSPLASIA

Although hip dysplasia is sometimes thought to be hereditery, new research conclusively suggests that environment may also plays a role. Environmental influences might include excessive weight, injury at a young age, too much exercise on hip joint at a young age, ligament tear at a young age, repetitive motion on forming joint (i.e. jogging with puppy under the age of 1 year). Once a puppy leaves a breeder, it is the owners job to protect the puppy from these environmental conditions that could cause hip dysplasia. Many times, breeders are quick to judge other breeders, when in reality, they have no control what the new owner has done to their new family member.

Many breeders disagree on the effects of high Coincidence of Inbreeding (C.O.I.). Basically this means that you are breeding close relatives to one another. One new breeder in Alaska is quick to point fingers and "elude" to high incidence of inbreeding causing defects in their dogs; while this same breeder is breeding relatively high C.O.I. (21.37%) this year for their first litter of Tibetan Mastiffs. Why? Whether you agree with their accusations or not; why are they breeding C.O.I.'s close to those that they are blaming for problems? This is how many of the breeders in the Tibetan Mastiff community operate. Very, very hypocritical. This would be a question you would want to have a conversation about with both the breeder and your vet.

HISTORY OF THE BREED
The history of the Tibetan Mastiff – the large guardian dog of Tibet – is hidden in the mists of legend, along with the people of the high Himalayan Mountains and the plains of Central Asia. Accurate records of the genetic heritage of the dogs are non-existent. Even so, history has reserved a special place for the Tibetan Mastiff. They are considered by many to be the basic stock from which most modern large working breeds, including all mastiffs and mountain dogs, have developed. Even though a great deal has been written about them since the 17th Century, there are few specific details available. Earliest written accounts place a large dog around 1100 BC in China. Skulls of large dogs date from the stone and bronze ages. Ancestors of today's Mastiff breeds are believed to have accompanied the armies of the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans and later, traveled with Atilla the Hun and Genghis Khan as far west as Europe. During these centuries, it is believed that the Tibetan Mastiff remained isolated on the high plateaus and valleys of the Himalaya to develop into the magnificent animal so highly prized by the people of Tibet. Today in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and other Himalayan regions, a pure Tibetan Mastiff is hard to find, though they are still bred by the nomads of the Chang-Tang plateau. They are bred and live at an average altitude of 16,000 feet, and some are brought to the Barkhor, the market that surrounds the Jokhang Temple, the holiest temple for Tibetan Buddhists, for sale. Although Tibetan Mastiffs are traditionally kept tied to the gates of the house or monastery, or tied to stakes in the nomad camps, they are let loose at night. In addition, when the flocks are moved to higher pasture, the Tibetan Mastiffs were traditionally left behind to guard the tents and the children The dogs are expected to defend the flocks of goats, sheep and yak, the women and the children and the tents of their masters against predators such as wolves and snow leopards, as well as human intruders. Prior to the early 1800's, few Westerners were allowed into Tibet so little was known about Tibetan dogs. In accounts of visits to Tibet by early travelers, very little mention was made of the dogs they encountered. Marco Polo wrote of the dogs in Tibet being as large as donkeys, and Jesuit missionaries in the 17th Century, wrote of the ferocious, huge dogs ("Many of the Thibetan dogs are uncommon and extraordinary. They are black with rather long glossy hair, very big and sturdily built, and their bark is most alarming" I. Desideri, 1712). In 1800 Captain Samuel Turner, in his "An account of an Embassy to the Court of the Teshoo Lama in Tibet" mentioned his experience with huge dogs ("The mansion stood upon the right; on the left was a row of wooden cages, containing a number of huge dogs, tremendously fierce, strong and noisy. They were natives of Tibet; and whether savage by nature, or soured by confinement, they were so impetuously furious, that it was unsafe, unless the keepers were near, eve to approach their dens."). In 1847, Lord Hardinge, Viceroy of India, sent a "large dog from Tibet" called "Siring" to Queen Victoria. England had its first dog show in 1859; and in 1873, The Kennel Club was formed with the first Stud Book containing pedigrees of 4027 dogs. In the official classification made by The Kennel Club (England), the "large dog from Tibet" was officially designated the "Tibetan Mastiff" for the first time. Two more Tibetan Mastiffs were brought into England in 1874 by the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and they were exhibited at the Alexandra Palace Show, December 1875. From then until 1928, there was a trickle of imports into England and Europe. In 1928, the Hon. Colonel and Mrs. Bailey imported four Tibetan Mastiffs which they obtained while Colonel Bailey was on duty as Political Officer in Sikkim, Nepal, and Tibet. In 1931 Mrs. Bailey formed the Tibetan Breeds Association in England and the first official standard for the breed was adopted by The Kennel Club. It was also the standard used by the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). In the late 1950's, two Tibetan Mastiffs were sent from Tibet to President Eisenhower. They were taken to a farm in the midwest and nothing more was heard of them. Beginning in 1969, several Tibetan Mastiffs were imported from Nepal and India into the US. The American Tibetan Mastiff Assoication was formed in 1974, with a dog imported from Nepal, Jumla's Kalu of Jumla as its dog #001. The first National Specialty Match was held in the USA in connection with the California Rare Breeds Dog Association in October 1979 and the first National Specialty Show was held in 1983. The close relationship of the Tibetan Mastiff with man throughout the centuries has given the dog a almost uncanny "human" understanding. Generations of working as a guardian of yak, sheep and, more importantly, women and children, requiring always a protector and not a killer, has produced a disposition and temperament of controlled strength, initiative, and fearlessness, tempered with patience, loyalty, and gentleness. At the April 2006 Board Meeting the Tibetan Mastiff became eligible for AKC registration on September 1, 2006 and was eligible to compete in the Working Group at shows held on and after January 1, 2007. There will be an open registry for the breed until August 31, 2009. At the August 2004 Board Meeting the Tibetan Mastiff was approved to compete in the Miscellaneous Class this became effective January 1, 2005. In December 2003 the AKC Board approved the eligibility of some Foundation Stock breeds, which meet certain criteria, for competition in AKC Companion Events (Obedience, Tracking, and Agility), effective January 1, 2004. The breeds must have a minimum of 150 dogs with three generation pedigrees recorded in the FSS®, a national breed club with members in at least 20 states, and an AKC approved breed standard. The Tibetan Mastiff was one of 20 breeds who met the requirements. Requests by breed clubs to have their breeds compete in the various Performance Events would be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Tibetan Mastiff was recorded in the AKC Foundation Stock Service in 1996. source: http://www.akc.org/breeds/tibetan_mastiff/history.cfm

Life Expectancy Unlike most large breeds, its life expectancy is long, some 10–14 years. The breed has fewer genetic health problems than many breeds, but cases can be found of hypothyroidism, entropion, ectropion, skin problems including allergies, autoimmune problems including demodex, missing teeth, malocclusion (overbite or underbite), cardiac problems, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataract, and small ear canals with a tendency for infection. As with most large breeds, some will suffer with elbow or hip dysplasia, although this has not been a major problem in the Tibetan Mastiff. Another concern includes canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy (CIDN), a rare inherited neural disease that appeared in one bloodline in the early 1980s.
Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) takes many forms, e.g., the femoral head ("ball") may not fit well into the acetabulum ("socket"); the ligament connecting the two may be lax, allowing dislocation; there may be no femoral head at all. Not all forms cause clinical signs. Very active, well-muscled dogs with no femoral heads may show no impairment. Their owners may be unaware of their dogs' "hip dysplasia" unless/until there is a reason to x-ray the hips.
As with all dog breeds, hip dysplasia is caused by the interaction of genes and environment. Inheritance of CHD appears to be polygenic, i.e., it is caused by more than one gene. Mode of inheritance (dominant, recessive, dominant with incomplete penetrance, etc.)has not been determined but may be different in different breeds. Rapid growth and weight gain in puppies may trigger or exacerbate a genetic tendency to all sorts of skeletal problems. Many TM breeders recommend against feeding "puppy food" and especially against feeding "large-breed" puppy food, as these concoctions may contain too many calories, leading to fat puppies. Some breeders and owners believe that supplementation with Vitamin C may prevent the development of CHD even in dogs with the genes for it.
Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy is an inherited condition that appeared in one of the prominent lines of Tibetan Mastiffs in the early 1980s. CIDN affect the peripheral nervous system. Nerve fibers are unable to transmit impulses from the spinal cord to the muscles because of the breakdown of the myelin sheath. Starting at approximately six weeks of age, affected pups begin to lose the ability to walk or even stand. Progression of the condition can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks.[3]
Because this condition is inherited as a simple autosomal recessive, it is virtually impossible to completely eliminate it from the gene pool. One known carrier was bred to over 30 times, producing at least 134 direct descendants. Many descendants of this dog are still being bred so there is always the risk—however slim—of producing more affected puppies. Breeders need to be cautious about pairing up any two descendants of this dog.
Hypothyroidism is fairly common in Tibetan Mastiffs, as it is in many large "Northern" breeds. TMs should be tested periodically throughout their lives using a complete thyroid "panel". (Simple T2/T4 testing is virtually useless.) However, because the standard thyroid levels were established using domestic dog breeds, test results must be considered in the context of what is "normal" for the breed, not what is normal across all breeds. Many TMs will have "low" thyroid values but no clinical symptoms. Vets—and owners—differ on the relative merits of medicating dogs who "test low" but are completely asymptomatic. Some researchers think that asymptomatic hypothyroidism may have been adaptive in the regions of origin for many breeds, since less nutrition is required for the dog to stay in good condition. Therefore, attempts to eliminate "low thyroid" dogs from the TM gene pool may have unintended consequences for the breed.
In affected dogs, symptoms may include decreased activity and playing, increased sleeping, weight gain, poor skin and coat condition such as flaking and scaling, a "yeasty" smell to the coat, frequent ear infections, and negative changes in temperament. Fortunately, this condition is easily treated by the use of daily thyroid supplementation.
Osteochondritis Dessicans is a skeletal defect in which the cartilage lifts off the bone, becomes thickened and cracked, causes inflammation and pain, and in severe cases degeneration of the joint. This conditions strikes males more than females. Keeping an affected puppy lean may help but surgery may be required to relieve pain.
Panosteitis is inflammation of the bones that strikes young dogs. The animal will become lame in one leg and then the inflammation will shift to a different leg. This is one condition that corrects itself over time, and only pain medication is needed.
Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD) is a condition that affects young large breed dogs. It is very painful and prognosis is fair to poor due to recurring episodes of the condition. Clinical signs of HOD include fever, lack of appetite, and depression. Lameness may vary from mild to severe. With multiple limbs affected, the dog may be reluctant to stand or walk. HOD may be mistaken for Panosteitis without proper diagnosis.
Treatment is only supportive. Intravenous fluids are usually required to keep the patient hydrated. Nutritional support is provided with a feeding tube if the dog refuses to eat for five or more days. Pain is controlled with narcotics and NSAIDs. Antibiotics are used if the dog has signs of pneumonia or other bacterial infections. If the bones become twisted due to growth plate damage, corrective surgery may be indicated. Because the distemper vaccination has been implicated, inoculation should be delayed until the pet has been in remission for a couple of months. Information from http://www.vetsurgerycentral.com/hod.htm
Ear Infections can be serious and the dog should be taken to the vet if you see it shaking its head or scratching more than normal. Tibetan Mastiffs have pendant ears, making them more prone to ear infections. The vet needs to determine the cause, and may prescribe antibiotics and/or ear drops. Some ear infections are contagious to other dogs if they involve mites or some bacteria.
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Mastiff">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff needs to be taken on daily walks. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as in a dog's mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Be careful that the bones, muscles, and joints of the young dog are not overworked during the growing stage by not overdoing the physical side of its life. However they will still need to walk each day to satisfy their migration instinct.

SOURCE: http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/tibetanmastiff.htm

Height: 25-28 inches (61-71 cm.)
Weight: 140-170 pounds (64-78 kg.)

Appearance
Illustration of a Tibetan mastiff skull by Frédéric Cuvier
Currently, some breeders differentiate between two "types" of Tibetan Mastiff: The Do-khyi and the "Tsang-khyi". The "Tsang-khyi" (which, to a Tibetan, means only "dog from Tsang") is also referred to as the "monastery type", described as generally taller, heavier, more heavily boned, with more facial wrinkling and haw than the "Do-khyi" or "nomad type". Both "types" are often produced in the same litter.
Males can reach heights up to 31+ inches (80+cm) at the withers, although the standard for the breed is typically in the 25 to 28 inch (61 to 72 cm) range. The heaviest TM on record may be one weighing over 130 kg (286.6 Lbs)[citation needed] but dogs bred in the West are more typically between 140 lb (64 kg) to 180 lb (82 kg)—especially if they are in good condition and not overweight. The enormous dogs being produced in some Western and some Chinese kennels would have "cost" too much to keep fed to have been useful to nomads; and their questionable structure would have made them well-nigh useless as livestock guardians.
The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a primitive breed. It typically retains the instincts which would be required for it to survive in Tibet, including canine pack behaviour. In addition, it is one of the few primitive dog breeds that retains a single oestrus per year instead of two, even at much lower altitudes and in much more temperate climates than its native climate. This characteristic is also found in wild canids such as the wolf. Since its oestrus usually takes place during late fall, most Tibetan Mastiff puppies are born between December and January.[2]

Its double coat is long, subject to climate, and found in a wide variety of colors, including solid black, black & tan, various shades of gold, blue/gray, chocolate brown, the rarest being solid white.
The coat of a Tibetan Mastiff lacks the unpleasant "big-dog smell" that affects many large breeds. The coat, whatever its length or color(s), should shed dirt and odors. Although the dogs shed somewhat throughout the year, there is generally one great "molt" tibetan_mastiff_moltingin late winter or early spring and sometimes another, lesser molt in the late summer or early fall. (Sterilization of the dog or bitch may dramatically affect the coat as to texture, density, and shedding pattern.)
Tibetan Mastiffs are shown under one standard in the West, but separated by the Indian breed standard into two varieties:[citation needed] Lion Head (smaller; exceptionally long hair from forehead to withers, creating a ruff or mane) and Tiger Head (larger; shorter hair).
SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Mastiff

Photo of our TM molting in the spring.
It looks bad but in my opinion it's easy to deal with
this than shedding all year round.

link