The Tibetan Mastiff Club of Great Britain

Breed History


The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the World’s oldest purebred dogs, and originates from the Tibetan Plateau.

Although the TM, as it is more affectionately known here, is thought to have been around for up to 3000 years, it was not seen in the West until the eighteen/early nineteen hundreds, and only then in small isolated numbers.
Prior to this, the only knowledge of this so-called ferocious “Mastiff of Thibet” was the tales described by travellers to the region, including Marco Polo. Its main purpose would have been to guard the flocks, villages and monasteries.
Estimates of present numbers in the UK, which only started to appear significantly in 1982, are in the region of 400 -500 with approximately 50 puppies born per year.
The number of litters per year varies greatly although almost all puppies are whelped in the winter period from December to February. Tibetan Mastiff bitches usually come into season once a year, in the Autumn.
An adult male TM, which incidentally does not achieve full maturity until at least five to six years could weigh in the region of 55-73 kgs. (approx. 120-160lbs) and should stand 66cms (26ins) minimum at the withers.
An adult female will mature a little earlier, and should reach a minimum of 61cms (24ins) with her normally weighing in at around 36-46 kgs. (approx. 80-100 lbs.).

Acceptable colours in the UK are black, black and tan, grey, grey and tan, and gold. A small white star on the breast is acceptable.

One of the breed’s most recognisable features is the beautiful well-feathered tail which curls over the back and to one side.
For such a large breed, they have an excellent lifespan, on average ten to twelve years. On the whole health problems are minimal and the breed retains its natural characteristics.

Temperaments are generally very good and they can be excellent with children and other pets, although they can be stubborn and a little independent. They can be subject to bouts of uncontrollable barking, the reason of which is obvious to the dog but not always to the owner.
The noble Tibetan Mastiff, legendary guardian of the Himalayas, certainly does deserve more recognition and is well worth further investigation.