The Tibetan Mastiff Club of Great Britain

Health Links

In response to the very clear moves being made by the Kennel Club, at Crufts and in the media, to address the issues raised during 2009 about genetic health problems in pedigree dogs in the UK, the TMCGB are have added this section on the club website, which will be dedicated to health.
The intention is not to pick out certain articles as suggested reading by reproducing them on the website, but to provide links to information on as many areas of research as it is felt would be useful and understood readily by all TM owners and those interested in our breed. Obviously the genetic process is an extremely complex subject, and breeders may well be aware of much which will be linked, but we hope to make information easily accessible for those who wish to recap, as well as those new to the subject. There were many more requests for a genetic seminar than members who actually attended the event, so perhaps this format for providing help and advice may prove more effective. This can seem to be an intimidating topic and hope that the web site links will allow people to delve into the information at their own speed and convenience.
We have also been made aware of a service available free of charge to obtain the coefficient of inbreeding (COI) percentages and list of common ancestors for proposed matings that a breeder may wish to consider. It is based on a Tibetan Mastiff database of over 13,000 dogs worldwide, going back many generations (usually to Nepali or Tibetan imports), and has been offered by Judy Steffel, an American breeder of Dokhyi Apsos, who has for many years been gathering data on TMs. This link appears below.
It has been very clearly demonstrated by research in recent years, that line breeding, although beneficial in fixing type, can seriously compromise longevity and general fitness in dogs, in direct relation to the level of inbreeding.
With the significant increase of fresh blood into the UK, it should now be possible to consistently aim for a low level of inbreeding in our litters, and to perhaps regain the frequency of seeing our dogs live into their teens, as they were once routinely expected to, but in recent generations so rarely do. Perhaps the ability to verify the COI of each proposed mating might add another dimension to our breeding decisions, and help us regain that early vigour in the breed.
Of course the health issues covered by the web links will not be limited to genetic problems, but will include all areas of ensuring the well being of our dogs, including dietary advice, routine medical care and exercise, and perhaps even training, taking into account the particular needs of the TM temperament.
Much of this advice has been provided by breeders directly to those who have bought their puppies, and this should certainly continue, but an easily accessed refresher may be helpful to owners who have not kept in close contact with the breeder, and also to those considering owning a Tibetan Mastiff for the first time. It will also provide alternative ideas and suggestions, as there is never just one right way to tackle any aspect of canine care.
If anyone knows of a site on the Internet with advice or information which they feel would benefit other owners and breeders, do please let us know, as this will always be a work in progress, and links will undoubtedly be added as new informative works are brought to our attention. We shall divide them into general categories of subject matter, but there will undoubtedly be many crossovers, and browsers can do as much or as little research on a subject as they wish.
There will of course, also be the facility to challenge any inclusion if it is felt that it contains information that is false, misleading or detrimental. It will not however be allowed to be used to block the inclusion of subject matter to prevent puppy buyers discovering the possibility of potential genetic issues in the TM. That would entirely contradict the spirit of open understanding of genetic problems, and it must be remembered that it was the wholesale denial of these facts which caused the media storm in the first place, but of course no article naming individual dogs in connection with health issues would be allowed.