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Originating in the lower Himalayas, this breed is regarded as one of the oldest in existence, with Chinese records showing appearances as far back as 100BC! Originally used as a faithful working dog, herdsmen bred them to protect livestock and property. Their power and strength meant that they were able to guard livestock from such fierce predators as wolves and leopards, and their giant stature meant that they were also favoured by kings and tribal chiefs as a status symbol.

In modern times, this loyalty to their owners means that they are highly respected as pets. Their height, weight and unique appearance combined with the reliability and affection they can offer makes Tibetan Mastiffs highly sought after and prized pets.


Average of 12 to 15 years



Due to their long history of working closely with people, Tibetan Mastiffs are believed to form a close bond with their owners. Their large size means that owners need to be ready and committed to their Mastiff’s needs for feeding, training, and exercise.


The head is broad, heavy and powerful. Proportions from occiput to stop, and stop to the end of the nose, range from equal lengths to a muzzle that is slightly shorter than the length of the topskull.



The skull is slightly off square, wide from ear to ear and slightly rounded, showing a strongly defined occiput. The stop is moderate, but well-defined.



Tibetan Mastiffs have very expressive eyes, of medium size and mostly a dark brown in colour. Their eyes are wide set, almond to diamond in shape with a slight slant.



Ears are of medium size, triangular, pendent, and set between the level of the skull and the eye, hanging close to the head. When alert, their ears are carried forward. Ear leathers covered with soft, short hair.



Fairly broad, well padded, and blunt and square in appearance. The lips are well-developed, with moderate flews that cover the line of the underjaw. The Tibetan Mastiff is a dry mouthed breed.



The mouth should contain a full complement of strong, white teeth which will meet in a scissors bite, and fit tightly and maintain a strong chin. The jaws are particularly strong.



The neck of this species should be strong and well-muscled, slightly arched. With little dewlap.



Tibetan Mastiffs boast strong boned muscular forequarters with well-laid shoulders. Strongly boned, straight legs.



Slightly longer than the  tall in proportion, with a strong, straight back. The chest is quite deep and wide in more mature dogs. Ribs are nicely sprung in a heart shape. Brisket reaches below the elbows. Strong, slightly arched loin.



Powerful, muscular, with moderate angling and strong, low-set hocks. Hindlegs, seen from behind should be parallel. Single or double dewclaws may be present.



Quite large, strong, with thick pads, rounded and compact. Having good feathering between toes.



Medium to long. Set on high. Loosely curled over back to one side and well feathered.



Powerful and exhibiting both purpose and agility. Measured and deliberate when walking. At speed will have a tendency to single-track.



The Tibetan Mastiff is double coated, with males carrying noticeably more than females. The outer coat is harsh in texture, thick, heavy and stands off the body, ranging from fairly short to moderately long. The undercoat is dense and woolly in cold climates and becomes sparse in warm weather.



Ranging from a rich black, with or without tan; to slate grey, with or without tan; and rich golden.


Height and Weight

Dogs: (26 to 30 inches). Bitches: (24 to 28 inches). Dogs range from 45 kgs to 72 kgs + . Bitches range from 34 to 54 kgs +. Weight must be in proportion to height.


Any deviation from the above description will be penalized in accordance to the extent of the deviation.


  • Dogs under 25 inches (63.5cm) at 18 months or older, females under 23 inches (58.5cm) at 18 months or older.

  • Undershot or overshot bite.

  • All other coat colours (e.g., white, cream, wolf sable, brindle) and markings other than those specifically described.  

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