The Tibetan Mastiff is a powerful, well-built dog with good bone and a solemn but kindly appearance. The coat is heavy with a thick ruff around neck and shoulders and a thick well-feathered tail, but no professional grooming is needed to keep it in order. It is shed once a year, usually in late spring or early summer, and the undercoat comes out in large tufts of wool.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a companion dog as well as being a good watch and guard. It should deter strangers with its impressive presence and aloof air: it is protective of its own people and property. It likes being a member of the family but also enjoys the outdoor life. It must be sound and active and it should be totally reliable in temperament. When young it is often high spirited and headstrong and it needs sympathetic but firm handling.
There is a big difference between a bouncing puppy and a determined adolescent weighing in at 9 stone, and ground rules need to be established as soon as the puppy reaches its new home. The Tibetan Mastiff is usually calm and unobtrusive in the house except at the approach of strangers. It is an excellent family dog being loyal and adaptable, and it is gentle, protective and patient with small children (provided they return the compliment). It is intelligent, able to think for itself, assess a situation and take appropriate action. It can be subject to bouts of uncontrollable barking, the reason for which is obvious to the dog but not always to the owner.