For many Tibetan Mastiff breeders, owners and fanciers, there is simply no other breed that captures the beauty, nobility or the magic of the Tibetan Mastiff breed. But the Tibetan Mastiff breed is NOT for everyone so please ensure that you thoroughly investigate the true character and requirements of the breed. Acquiring a Tibetan Mastiff is a lifetime commitment so it is important that you prepare yourself before making the huge decision to welcome one of these magnificent dogs into your home. While there are too many aspects of the Tibetan Mastiff to explore in any document, the following is a quick guide to help you determine whether the Tibetan Mastiff might be the right dog for you, your family and your lifestyle.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a primitive guardian breed. The powerful Tibetan Mastiff is a naturally protective and territorial dog. This means he will guard your property (house, yard, car, other pets, etc.) and your person. It also means that he will be typically suspicious and reserved with new people and situations, so take extra care when introducing new people to your Mastiff.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a highly independent and intelligent breed. Mastiffs exhibit an extremely independent, stubborn nature and a wondrous depth of intelligence and character. He does not tend to show any of the attributes of the more obedient/trainable breeds that can be taught to perform simple or complex routines. Leash training is a must. While other more domesticated, people-pleasing breeds may enjoy fetching games, the primitive Tibetan Mastiff focuses on his working abilities which include guarding his territory, alerting perceived dangers through persistent barking, patrolling and basic territorial/dominant behavior. This breed has been bred for thousands of years to behave this way, so it is not only unwise to think that you will change this, but would be frustrating as well.
The Tibetan Mastiff requires an interactive relationship with his owner. Committed and interactive owners are required to teach boundaries and guide the dog through the steps of basic dog manners. The Tibetan Mastiff is considered to be a challenging breed to care for and lifelong training requires dedicated work. Respect and patience are the essential keys to being successful with this breed.
The Tibetan Mastiff needs socialization. Because his guarding tendencies are instinctual the Tibetan Mastiff needs a great deal of socialization. He needs to be introduced to many people, places and different situations right from early puppy-hood and well into the first two years of his life. Appropriate socialization leads to confident, well-adjusted and reliable dogs. This may not seem that important while you are enjoying him as an adorable pup, but once he begins to get some age, it will be impossible to train him, as he can be very stubborn.
There are qualities to Tibetan Mastiffs that may only be tolerated by the most dedicated, patient pet owner. Mastiffs can be destructive, an escape artist and a nuisance barker. Unless you are prepared to face the challenge of this behavior it is best to avoid bringing this breed into your home, as it may end up being too frustrating and unrewarding for you and your family. Destructive behavior due to boredom or anxiety is not uncommon for the Tibetan Mastiff. Solid and secure containment areas are a must with this breed. When left outside overnight, nocturnal barking is a common complaint.
The Tibetan Mastiff is sensitive to change. Mastiffs thrive on routine and familiarity. Frequent arguments, loud voices, turbulent, excited lifestyles and/or professions (i.e. military life) that result in numerous disruptions can tend to undermine the confidence of this breed. The resulting unbalance can lead to over-protective, reactive behavior and health issues.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a slow-maturing breed. Many people are familiar with the huge size of the full-grown Mastiff, but most do not realize this could take several years before your dog reaches his full size. Although the Tibetan Mastiff is a large-to-giant breed, it has a relatively long lifespan. Ten to fourteen years is typical. The breed is very slow to mature. While it is usually agreed upon that females mature quicker than males, both genders can take up to 4-7 years to fully mature to their physical potential.
More than most breeds; the Tibetan Mastiff is affected by the changing of the seasons. The Tibetan Mastiff normally sheds his wooly undercoat only once in the springtime and bitches typically reproduce only once a year. He may become very inactive during the warmer months and his feeding patterns may change. The Tibetan Mastiff loves a cold climate, so owners who live in colder regions may find this appealing. The Tibetan Mastiff does not typically do well in extremely hot and humid conditions. This does not mean that he cannot live in warmer climates but it does mean that he should be provided access to air-conditioned facilities during the summer to avoid dangerous health conditions.
The Tibetan Mastiff is generally tolerant of children and other pets. Mastiffs do best with adult-supervised children who have been taught to be respectful and who show consideration for the dog’s space. Extra care should be shown for visiting children as children’s play may seem threatening or alarming. The Tibetan Mastiff seems to do best with other household pets when he is introduced to them as a puppy.
The Tibetan Mastiff can be same-sex aggressive. If you currently own a dog and are considering adding a Tibetan Mastiff as a second dog, it is best to consider getting a puppy of the opposite gender. Same-sex aggression is often a reality when two males or females vie for dominance. Neutering/spaying does not guarantee that same-sex adult dogs will live in harmony with each other.
As with any pet, great patience, excellent care and a good understanding of the breed will help you choose the right breed for you and your family and help make your experience a happier one.