The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.
Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.
The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
The Furry Critter Network
Tsang-Khyi Breed Description
Tibetan Mastiff, Bangara Mastiff, Bhote Kukur, Do-Khyi
Approximately 10-14 Years
Average 3-8 Puppies
The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a primitive breed. It typically retains the hardiness which would be required for it to survive in Tibet and the high-altitude Himalayan range, including the northern part of Nepal, India and Bhutan. Instinctive behaviors including canine pack behavior contributed to the survival of the breed in harsh environments. It is one of the few primitive dog breeds that retains a single estrus per year instead of two, even at much lower altitudes and in much more temperate climates than its native climate. This characteristic is also found in wild canids such as the wolf. Since its estrus usually takes place during late fall, most Tibetan Mastiff puppies are born between December and January.
Its double coat is long, subject to climate, and found in a wide variety of colors, including solid black, black and tan, various shades of "red" (from pale gold to deep red) and bluish-gray (dilute black), often with white markings.
The coat of a Tibetan Mastiff lacks the unpleasant "big-dog" smell that affects many large breeds. The coat, whatever its length or color(s), should shed dirt and odors. Although the dogs shed somewhat throughout the year, there is generally one great "molt" in late winter or early spring and sometimes another, lesser molt in the late summer or early fall. (Sterilization of the dog may dramatically affect the coat as to texture, density, and shedding pattern.)
Head: Thick and strong. Massive skull. Pronounced stop. Square muzzle. Strong jaws. Broad nose. Thick lips.
Ears: Medium size, drop, triangular.
Eyes: Medium size, oval, set slightly oblique and well apart. Any shade of brown.
Body: Strong, with length being slightly greater than height. Strong, arched neck without dewlap and with a thick mane. Deep forechest. Moderately deep and broad brisket.
Tail: Medium to long length, not reaching beyond the hock joint. Richly clad and curling over the back.
Hair: Fairly long, thick, straight, and harsh. Never silky, curly, or wavy. Dense, thick, rather woolly undercoat.
Coat: Jet black, black and tan, brown, shades of gold or gray, gray with gold markings. Tan and gold markings above the eyes, on the lower legs, and the tip of the tail. White spot on the chest is permissible. Small white markings on the feet are tolerated, though not preferred.
Size: Dog: approx. 66 cm (26 in).Bitch: approx. 61 cm (24 in).
Weight: 55 to 80 kg (121.5-176.5 lb).
Originally these dogs were used to protect Buddhist monasteries and monks of Tibet from animals such as bears, wolves and snow leopards.
The Tibetan mastiff is a phenotypically distinct dog breed that was bred as a flock guardian in the high altitudes of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateaus.
Meer Izzut-oollah (1872) wrote: “The dogs of Thibet are twice the size of those seen in India, with large heads and hairy bodies. They are powerful animals...During the day they are kept chained up, and are let loose at night to guard their masters' house.”
In the early 20th century,the Prince of Wales, George, introduced a pair of Tibetan mastiffs, and enough of the breed were available in England in 1906 to be shown at the Crystal Palace show. However, during the war years, the breed lost favor and focus and nearly died out in England.
The breed has been gaining in popularity worldwide since 1980. Although the breed is still considered somewhat uncommon, as more active breeders arose and produced adequate numbers of dogs, various registries and show organizations (FCI, AKC) began to recognize the breed. In 2008, the Tibetan mastiff competed for the first time in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
Since AKC recognition, the number of active breeders has skyrocketed, leading to over-breeding of puppies, many of which are highly inbred and of questionable quality. Initially, the breed suffered because of the limited gene pool from the original stock. By 2015, due to excessive breeding and unsuitability of the breed as a pet in urban situations, prices in China for the best dogs had fallen to about $2,000, and both lower quality and crossbreed dogs were being abandoned.
In 2011, a DNA study concluded that there was a genetic relationship between the Tibetan mastiff and the Great Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain Dog, Rottweiler and Saint Bernard, and that these large breed dogs are probably partially descended from the Tibetan mastiff. In 2014, a study added the Leonberger to the list of possible relatives.
As a flock guardian dog in Tibet, and in the West, it uses all the usual livestock guardian tactics (e.g., barking, scent-marking perimeters) to warn away predators and avoid direct confrontations.
As a socialized, more domestic dog, it can thrive in a spacious, fenced yard with a canine companion, but it is not an appropriate dog for apartment living. The western-bred dogs are generally more easy-going, although still somewhat aloof with strangers. Through hundreds of years of selective breeding for a protective flock and family guardian, the breed has been prized for being a nocturnal sentry, keeping would-be predators and intruders at bay, and barking at unidentified sounds throughout the night. Leaving a Tibetan mastiff outside all night with neighbors nearby is not recommended. They often sleep during the day, making them more active, alert and aware at night.
Like all flock guardian breeds, they are intelligent and stubborn to a fault, so obedience training is recommended (although it is only mildly successful with some individuals) since this is a strong-willed, powerful-bodied breed. Unless they are to be used exclusively as livestock guardians, socialization training is also critical with this breed, because of their reserved nature with strangers and guardian instincts. They can be excellent family dogs – depending on the family. Owners must understand canine psychology and be able and willing to assume the primary leadership position. Lack of consistent, rational discipline can result in the creation of dangerous, unpredictable dogs. The protectiveness of Tibetan mastiffs requires alertness and planning by the owner, in order to avoid mishaps when the dog is merely reacting as a guardian. The breed is not recommended for novice dog owners.
Flock Guardian, Guardian Dog, Pet.
he breed has fewer genetic health problems than many breeds, but cases can be found of hypothyroidism, entropion, ectropion, skin problems including allergies, autoimmune problems including demodex, missing teeth, malocclusion (overbite, underbite, wry mouth), cardiac problems, seizures, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataract, and small ear canals with a tendency for infection. As with most large breeds, some will suffer with elbow or hip dysplasia.
Canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy (CIDN), an inherited condition, appeared in one of the prominent lines of Tibetan Mastiffs in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, known carriers were bred extensively and are behind many lines still being actively bred. Because the mode of inheritance appears to be as a simple recessive, continued inbreeding can still produce affected puppies.
Hypothyroidism is fairly common in Tibetan Mastiffs, as it is in many large "northern" breeds. They should be tested periodically throughout their lives using a complete thyroid "panel". (Simple T2/T4 testing is virtually useless.) However, because the standard thyroid levels were established using domestic dog breeds, test results must be considered in the context of what is "normal" for the breed, not what is normal across all breeds. Many dogs of this breed will have "low" thyroid values but no clinical symptoms. Vets and owners differ on the relative merits of medicating dogs which test "low", but are completely asymptomatic. Some researchers think that asymptomatic hypothyroidism may have been adaptive in the regions of origin for many breeds, since less nutrition is required for the dog to stay in good condition. Therefore, attempts to eliminate "low thyroid" dogs from the Tibetan Mastiff gene pool may have unintended consequences for the breed.
The Tibetan mastiff was able to adapt to the extreme highland conditions of the Tibetan Plateau very quickly compared to other mammals such as the yak, Tibetan antelope, snow leopard, and the wild boar. The Tibetan mastiff's ability to avoid hypoxia in high altitudes, due to its higher hemoglobin levels compared to low-altitude dogs, was due to prehistoric interbreeding. In 2020, a genomic analysis indicates that a ghost population of an unknown wolf-like canid which is deeply-diverged from modern Holarctic wolves and dogs has contributed the EPAS1 allele found in both Himalayan wolves and dogs, and this allows them to live in high altitudes.
"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"
If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)
Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network
Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. RescueShelter.com is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.