Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed Information and Personality Traits


A large guardian dog with an ancient past. Smart and independent, the Tibetan Mastiff is protective of their family and is kind and loving with the people closest to them.

The Tibetan Mastiff is a large guardian dog with an ancient past. It is smart, independent and protective of its family. It’s also an extremely muscular yet agile dog that’s territorial and intimidating towards strangers. It feels mostly at home on large properties they can guard.

The Tibetan Mastiff (or Do-Khyi in Tibet) is the grandfather of all Mastiffs. It’s a reserved, independent and intelligent dog breed that’s affectionate to its family.


Tibetan Mastiff at a glance
The Tibetan Mastiff dog Breed


Weight Range:

Male: 41-68 kg
Female: 32-54 kg

Height at Withers:

Male: minimum 66 cm
Female: minimum 61 cm


Large, heavy boned and muscular dogs that are powerful yet very agile and fast. This dog breed has expressive brown eyes and a noble dignified look. It also has all the features of a true guard dog: Its head is broad, heavy and strong and it has vice-grip jaws to match. Perfect for cool climates, the Tibetan Mastiff has a very thick coat with a feather-duster curled up tail.


Exercise Requirements: Short bursts throughout the day – can be work-related.
Energy Level: Moderate – conserves energy between activities.
Longevity Range: 10-12 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Moderate to high.
Tendency to Snore: High – and loudly.
Tendency to Bark: Moderate – mostly as a warning.
Tendency to Dig: High. Also digs holes to lie in.
Social/Attention Needs: Moderately playful. Not open to strangers.

Bred for:

Guarding people and livestock.


Length: Medium
Characteristics: Thick double coat – can shed a lot.
Colors: Brown, black and tan, red-gold, brown and tan, blue-grey, red gold sable, blue-grey and tan.
Overall Grooming Needs: Moderate – high. Brush daily during yearly moult.

Club recognition:

AKC Classification: Working dog
UKC Classification: Guardian 
Prevalence: Less common

If you want a guardian and have lots of outdoor space, a Tibetan Mastiff might be for you

Tibetan Mastiffs are impressive, formidable guard dogs. Their lineage dates back to around the late 1200s and they are considered the great grandfathers of the Mastiff family.

They are loyal and due to their watchful nature around family members, children and property, they are perfect protectors.


This dog breed is moderately easy to train and independent – so they are happy to entertain themselves. They also enjoy social time with the family and will get along with other family dogs if introduced early in their training.

If you have regular visitors, however, beware that your Tibetan Mastiff may not be welcoming. Being a natural guard dog can make them aloof towards strangers and potentially intimidating if they don't trust someone.

Living With:

A wide-open area is the best choice for Tibetan Mastiffs – either on a farm or in a house with a large garden or yard. Like other large dogs, they do need regular exercise – although, this can be obtained during their guarding duties.

In fact, Tibetan Mastiffs enjoy focussing on work-related tasks and are more active in cooler weather. They do lack endurance, however, so don't expect to go for long runs; they tend to opt for short bursts of exercise instead with rests in between.

Also, despite these dogs being giants, their appetites aren't particularly enormous. Tibetan Mastiffs only eat when they are hungry and it’s fairly common for them to skip meals entirely. In fact, when females are in season, they can often refuse to eat for a week or more – despite the associated weight loss.

Recommended Diet:

Puppy: Hill's Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Adult: Hill's Science Diet Adult Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Large Breed Dry Dog Food

Mature: Hill's Science Diet Adult 6+ Senior Large Breed Senior Dry Dog Food


These dogs were used as noble guardians and companions of Tibetan villagers and nomads. They helped to protect families and livestock and were the traditional guard dogs of Tibetan monasteries.

The dog breed is so ancient it’s hard to say when the Tibetan Mastiffs came to be – particularly since the Tibetan plateau was isolated for so long.

However, there are some accounts of early travellers seeing large dogs that may have been Tibetan Mastiffs (or its forbearer) as far back as the 1200s. Some travellers were also given Tibetan Mastiffs as gifts – which they took back to the Middle East and Europe to breed.

Health Concerns:

Tibetan Mastiffs are a relatively healthy dog breed. However, as with all breeds, there are a number of ailments to look out for. These include:

  • Hypothyroidism: a medical condition that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone which plays a vital role in regulating various metabolic processes in the body. Possible signs include: thinning coat, lethargy, weight issues, slow heart rate and changes in behaviour, such as dullness.
  • Hip Dysplasia: an orthopedic condition that alters the inner workings of the hip joint.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: a condition that affects the elbow joint and is caused by abnormal growth and development of the bones in the elbow, leading to joint instability.
  • Eye anomalies: Conditions can include Entropion (in which the eyelid rolls inward toward the eye) and Ectropion ( in which the eyelid margin turns outward away from the eye)

It is advised that any prospective pet parents are aware of potential health challenges faced with this dog breed before ownership. Please think carefully before bringing any new dog home.