The Tibetan Mastiff Club of Great Britain

GUIDE FOR PROSPECTIVE PUPPY OWNERS

Whilst the prospect of adding a new puppy, particularly a Tibetan Mastiff puppy, to your household is an exciting thought please take some time to consider your decision with a critical eye.

The majority of Tibetan Mastiffs are born in the Autumn/Winter and whilst this can seem a long time to wait it does enable you to do the necessary research.

Choosing your breeder

A responsible breeder will want to know as much about you as possible;
Why do you want a TM?
What experience do you have with dogs?
What is your family set-up?
Who will look after the dog in the main?
Do you have children or other dogs?
Do you wish to show or breed?

You may wonder why all the questions?
A responsible breeder will want to ensure that all their puppies go to the right homes and the extra time taken in the beginning will help to achieve this.
These and many other questions should be asked by any good breeder asked – if they are not you should ask yourself why.
Equally importantly if you feel uncomfortable answering any of the questions asked of you then perhaps you should think more deeply about your decision to own a TM.
Tibetan Mastiff puppies are seriously appealing but they grow very quickly and there are few things as destructive as an unhappy or bored adolescent Tibetan Mastiff!

Your responsibilities

Compared to many large dogs Tibetan Mastiffs are, on the whole, a healthy breed.
However this does not mean you should not do your research and ask as many questions of the breeder as they ask of you.
It is strongly recommended that all TMs bred from have the following health tests;
Hips scores.
Elbow scores.
Eye test.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia; Dysplasia means abnormal development and the relevant Hip and Elbow scores are produced by x-raying the relevant joints whilst the dog is sedated or under anaesthetic. The x-rays are then presented to a panel of Vets and allocated a score.

Hips: The degree of dysplasia is indicated by a score for each individual hip which will be between 0 and 53 and the lower the score the better.
These will be shown as a pair – for example 9/8 – this indicates that one hip has a score of 9 and the other hip has a score of 8.

Every breed registered by the Kennel Club has a breed average which varies yearly depending on the scores received. This information can be accessed on the Kennel Club website.

Elbows: The degree of dysplasia present is indicated by a grade assigned to each elbow on a scale of 0 to 3.
Zero being the best and three being the most severe and, once again, the lower the better.
Please be aware that only the highest grade of the two elbows is taken as the elbow grade for that dog. Therefore a dog with a recorded score of “2” could potentially have a score of 2 for EACH elbow.
The minimum age for elbow grading is one year, and each dog is only ever graded once under the scheme. Advice to breeders is to use only those dogs with grades of 0, wherever possible.

Eye tests: These are conducted by a canine opthamologist and again details can be found on the Kennel Club website.

Care of your puppy

As detailed on our “Guidelines for Breeders” page when you take your puppy home you should receive as a minimum, a full diet sheet detailing how to feed your puppy, information about health, worming, inoculations and Kennel Club registration papers.

Once in your care you are, naturally, responsible for the care and rearing of your puppy however the breeder should be on hand and willing to offer support and answer as many questions as you may have. There are few things as frustrating as receiving a phone call from a new owner explaining that their adolescent TM is misbehaving and when questioned about the behaviour to be told “oh he did it soon after we got him but he was only little so we didn’t mind”.
If in doubt it is better to ring the breeder and ask – and if nothing else your breeder will welcome the update about how the puppy they spent many sleepless night looking after is progressing.

Your Tibetan Mastiff puppy will grow to be a large dog in a relatively short space of time and, because of this, it is easy to forget that they are still developing.
Over exercise can have a devastating effect on a young TM.
A trip in the car to a boot fair or farmers market will be hugely beneficial and allows your young TM to meet and interact with many different people and dogs in a short space of time.
Long walks and other canine activities will have to wait – it is that simple.
If in doubt talk to your breeder.