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Is a Tibetan Mastiff a Good Breed (Everything You Need to Know About It)?

You're probably looking for a dog that treats protection as serious business. The Tibetan Mastiff might be a good match because of their protective nature, intelligence, and strength. But first-time dog owners must stay away because of this breed's innate stubbornness.
Is a Tibetan Mastiff a Good Breed?

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The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the few remaining primitive dog breeds. They’re not as domesticated compared to most dog breeds of today. Similar to wolves, this dog’s pack mentality is alive and kicking.

Taming one can be a challenging task but it’s worth the effort because they’re loyal to the core. They’re excellent watchdogs or herding dogs so having them on a big property is a plus. Protection is the first thing you’d see on their calling card.

You need to have enough experience and resources in dealing with this dog’s attitude, diet, and size. Though slower in growth pace, an adult’s size can give an imposing vibe. If this is your first rodeo in dog parenting, this ain’t the right time to get a Tibetan Mastiff.

How Popular Are Tibetan Mastiffs?

These massive canines are rare and expensive. They came from the mountainous regions of Tibet. In modern times, Tibetan Mastiffs gained popularity as the elite turned them into luxury dogs.

Back in the day, they were in the company of monks and served as protectors of monasteries. Aside from guarding the monasteries, they’re also watchdogs in Chinese imperial courts. They’ve been brought from Tibet to China as offerings or tributes to the empire.

But they have turned into some kind of celebrity pets because of a certain purchase. In 2014, a Chinese businessman bought a Tibetan Mastiff for a staggering price of 1.9 Million USD. It’s more or less a weird flex to display wealth and power.

The west took notice and saw their great potential in protecting big pieces of land. But interested owners were having trouble acquiring one due to their rarity and skyrocketing price. Purebreds are difficult to find because of expensive breeding costs.

Unfortunately, once the hype died down, they are being abandoned en masse in recent years. The population of stray Tibetan Mastiffs is growing in numbers. Aside from the betrayal they’ve felt, this current state could trigger their wild, dangerous nature once again.

The wilderness is nothing new to them and they’re smart and strong enough to survive. But it’s sad to see that their loyalty is now being taken for granted. And now, it’s transparent that money is the reason behind the hype and popularity.

When Did Tibetan Mastiffs Become Popular?

They’ve been roaming around the Tibetan mountains for ages. But they only got international attention during the 20th century. Before the 1900s, they were being imported by royal families in the west.

That’s partly a reason why there’s something regal about them. A Tibetan Mastiff’s mane looks similar to a lion’s and it added a touch of royalty. Because the royals love what lions symbolize.

At the start of the 21st century, the acquisition of a Tibetan Mastiff has grown stronger. Rich people will do a humblebrag by taking a Tibetan Mastiff with them. This is to let people know how rich and powerful they are.

In western countries, they’re being sought out for more practical reasons. But since these dogs are rare and difficult to breed, the prices are still ludicrous. Sadly, their popularity is on a steady decline and has resulted in high cases of abandonment.

What Country Has the Most Tibetan Mastiffs?

Tibetan Mastiffs came from the mountains of the Himalayas. The high altitudes of the region are their natural habitat. Most of their population can be found in China and Tibet.

They’ve been guarding the monasteries of Tibet, hence the name. But they’re not part of the Mastiff family. European visitors called them Mastiffs because of their size. They use the name to describe big dogs. Since a Tibetan Mastiff’s size is unmistakable and impressive, they got that name.

In the US and other western countries, their population is still low. This is due to the expensive costs of breeding, tests, and maintenance. They’ve managed to grow in such high numbers that it has started to cause problems within mountain villages. Their high population has resulted in attacks.

These dogs are primitive and in touch with their beastly side. The tamer types can be found in the US and other western countries but their numbers aren’t high. Those tame Tibetan Mastiffs are a result of domestication and possibly crossbreeding.

Though tamer than the ones from their homelands, their protective nature is still intact. So it’s important to add more time to training and domestication. This is to avoid aggression that can lead to unwarranted attacks.

How Rare Are Tibetan Mastiffs?

Tibetan Mastiffs are very rare and their current population is below 10,000. Back in the day, their population in Tibet was large enough to cause problems among Tibetan locals. Now, purebreds are very hard to find and expensive to breed and maintain.

Raising them has turned into a lucrative business. But their decline in popularity in recent times has led to high cases of abandonment. The hype has died down but their numbers are alarmingly low.

Experts suggest that experienced owners should adopt to keep Tibetan Mastiffs alive. Rescuers are doing their best to cope with the mass abandonment issue. This breed is strong enough to survive in the wild but their low numbers must be checked.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Good for First-time Owners?

First-time owners are not encouraged to adopt or raise a Tibetan Mastiff. Keeping one would be too much for newbie, inexperienced dog parents. If you have no prior experience with dogs, especially the large ones, you should look elsewhere.

This breed is too smart and stubborn for an unequipped owner to handle. Having a short fuse is not going to help either because it’ll take a lot of patience. Aside from patience, dealing with Tibetan Mastiffs would require experience and sufficient resources.

Going for a Tibetan Mastiff as your first dog can be dangerous. Take note that this breed is known for its territorial, aggressive tendencies. Moving clumsily in their presence can trigger a serious attack.

They might interpret silly, careless movements as a threat or a challenge. Being cautious is important when interacting with Tibetan Mastiffs. It’s also crucial for an owner to assume the role of a pack leader.

Tibetan Mastiffs will test your firmness and reliability. Being emotional is not advised if you want to earn their respect. These dogs are primitive so they still follow the old hierarchy of the animal kingdom.

Save a meeting with this breed for another time if you’re a first-time owner. Tibetan Mastiffs would be too much to handle for newbie dog owners. Don’t forget to ask an expert first before making a decision.

Is a Tibetan Mastiff a Good Family Dog?

Tibetan Mastiffs are great companions for your family. They are loyal and protective so he’ll keep an eye out for you and your folks. But they’re also strong-willed and stubborn.

Sign up for training classes to mitigate your Tibetan Mastiff’s stubbornness. Make sure that you’re not triggering his aggressive side to avoid an attack from happening. His behavior will depend on how you raise and treat him so be a responsible owner.

He’s a great pal for the people in your household. The downside is that unfamiliar friends and relatives should be cautious around him. Keep him under control when you’re having visitors.

They’re not very cuddly and affectionate so you can’t expect them to be super sweet. But their loyalty is unquestionable. They don’t easily warm up to people they don’t know so introduce them with care.

As far as your family is concerned, they will get along with your Tibetan Mastiff. Don’t let the kids test his patience, though, so be on the lookout. He can be tolerant with kids but a remarkable rascal’s actions can irk him too.

Is a Tibetan Mastiff a Good Dog for Kids?

Tibetan Mastiffs get along with the kids in your family. But letting a kid from the outside play near him can be risky. He can misinterpret an outsider’s actions as aggression.

Running and yelling can push his calm demeanor aside and cut his wild side loose. Even though a Tibetan Mastiff is a great and loyal companion, provoking him is not advisable. Don’t let your kids poke him when he’s resting and wants to be left alone.

Your Tibetan Mastiff can be tolerant to a certain degree. But letting kids test how far they can go with a Tibetan Mastiff is not encouraged. Teach the kids and your dog about respecting boundaries to prevent a catastrophic attack.

Remember that they can deal with children in your household to a point. An outsider’s presence doesn’t sit well with them. Avoid taking risks and keep your Tibetan Mastiff away from visitors.

But if you want him to socialize, warn your visitors about this breed’s behavior. Handle the introduction with care and vigilance. Keep them at a safe distance and calm your dog down when he’s showing signs of anger.

Let him know that the visitors are your friends. Remind the kids to be careful with their movements so no one gets hurt. But kids can be unpredictable so don’t let them play around without supervision.

Neutering and spaying are methods that can decrease the level of their aggression. Training is challenging yet an integral part of owning a Tibetan Mastiff. This breed can do the job of a service or therapy dog but it would require more focus.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Good With Babies?

Having a Tibetan Mastiff and a baby in your home at the same time is okay. As long as you don’t leave both unsupervised. It’s better and safer if you’re carrying your baby in the presence of your big dog.

Or you can make your baby stay in a crib for extra protection. Babies are too small compared to an adult Tibetan Mastiff. Though the chance of an attack is unlikely, the weight of your Tibetan Mastiff could crush a baby.

Do your best to prevent such a disaster from happening. Even puppies are not advised to get near a baby because puppies are prone to playful biting. Despite having vaccine shots, drooling and biting can still put a baby at risk.

Babies are too delicate to interact with dogs in general. Dogs are pretty tolerant of small children but you should always keep an eye out.

Your Tibetan Mastiff might try to be friendly or playful. But his size alone can harm your baby without intending to.

And if a child is throwing a tantrum, he might mistake this as aggression. Don’t leave them unsupervised and always ensure everyone’s safety during interactions.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Good With Toddlers?

Toddlers are at the age of being energetic and playful. Your Tibetan Mastiff can tolerate children’s behavior to a point. The risk of an attack is not high when it comes to children he’s familiar with. But the playful movements and sounds can still be misinterpreted.

Be watchful when your kids are playing near your dog. Reprimand anyone who’s trying to cross the line.

Your Tibetan Mastiff is a loyal and excellent companion for your family. Testing his patience is not a very good idea though. Keep in mind that he came from an independent, primitive breed.

If you’re not equipped to keep a Tibetan Mastiff, look for a more friendly dog. This breed is not known for being friendly. You can lessen the risks of attacks through neutering, spaying, and training.

Regardless of age, Tibetan Mastiffs are good family dogs. As long as boundaries are being respected and safety is being observed, it’s going to be okay. And also regardless of age, this breed won’t easily warm up to people from the outside.

Don’t let your guard down, though, and be vigilant. But not to a point of entertaining paranoia. Keep everything balanced and safe.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Good for Old People?

With proper training, Tibetan Mastiffs are capable of being good service and therapy dogs. They can do useful tasks and assist sick or old folks. Although they tend to be lazy at times, performing tasks will stimulate their mind and bodies.

Performing such tasks for seniors will help them fight boredom and assist an old person. It’s a win-win situation as long as your Tibetan Mastiff is willing.

Training is very important, though, as assigning an untrained dog can do more harm than good.

The delicate condition of old people in the company of a rowdy dog is not a great combination. So make your Tibetan Mastiff complete training before signing him up for such a job. Since seniors are more laid back, the company of a Tibetan Mastiff is usually good.

Make sure that your Tibetan Mastiff is familiar enough with the people he’s working with. They’re usually aloof towards unfamiliar faces. The proper and safe introduction is necessary to keep his hot head at bay.

If things had been taken care of, Tibetan Mastiffs could be very helpful. Don’t overlook the importance of training and socialization. When things are in the clear, he’s capable of being a competent service and therapy dog.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Good for People With Anxiety?

If they’ve been trained for the role of a service/therapy dog, Tibetan Mastiffs can help anxious people. But without training, this dog breed can be too much for a person who’s battling anxiety. Their strong-willed nature might cause difficulties for some people.

Someone who suffers from anxiety should consult a professional. Mental health and animal experts can give you helpful suggestions. You can also take notes from an experienced trainer regarding this specific situation.

The presence of a trainer in a meeting between a patient and a dog adds a layer of safety. If someone in your family is battling anxiety, always ask a professional. Tibetan Mastiffs are generally calm around family members.

But a Tibetan Mastiff can mistake panic attacks as signs of aggression. Without training and knowledge, a situation like this can quickly go south. Unless he’s qualified as a service/therapy dog, it’s better to keep him at a safe distance.

If he’s very familiar with an anxious family member, you can relax a little. Tibetan Mastiffs won’t attack family or pack members without provocation. They are intelligent dogs.

Try to make him familiar with a person’s condition. When a panic attack is happening, be calm, and firm, and make your dog do the same. But the best approach is to get some insights from the experts.

Again if he’s qualified as a service dog, you don’t have to worry that much. You can’t underestimate the capability of a domesticated Tibetan Mastiff. A peaceful, controlled environment and some training will help in lessening tension or anxiety.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Lapdogs?

Your Tibetan Mastiff would be too massive to fill the shoes of a lapdog. His head alone is already the size of a Poodle, Pug, or a Shih Tzu’s whole body. Besides, Tibetan Mastiffs are not known for being clingy.

Though they enjoy some petting, they’re not deliberately asking for it. They prefer to hang out with their owners without too much interaction. Your Tibetan Mastiff would rather do other activities not related to being a lapdog.

Although he’s up for it, which is unlikely, his size will not allow it. When he’s not napping on your floor, he’d be fulfilling his duty by watching your property. Tibetan Mastiffs excel as guard dogs and family companions.

But their size and weight don’t qualify them as lap or toy dogs. Being a lapdog is more suited for smaller dog breeds. You can try it with a Tibetan Mastiff puppy but not with an adult because they’re, well, big dogs.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Friendly With Strangers?

Known for being protective, Tibetan Mastiffs are not friendly with strangers. They’re excellent guards but not exactly very welcoming as hosts. You can expect your Tibetan Mastiff to be watchful and aloof towards visitors.

He didn’t come from the friendliest breed. Strangers can make him uncomfortable and an aggressive attack is also possible. Signing up for training is crucial when it comes to taming this primitive dog.

It’s also important to establish boundaries and your role as a leader. First-time owners are not encouraged to get a Tibetan Mastiff. This is due to their independent, stubborn, and sometimes, aggressive nature.

Training them can be a piece of work but earning their loyalty is worth it. Getting your Tibetan Mastiff neutered or spayed will decrease aggressive tendencies. Hormones do mess up with a mammal’s behavior and mood.

Your Tibetan Mastiff may not be the best candidate for congeniality. But your seriousness with training will give you better results and improve your dog’s social skills. Keep everyone safe when introducing your dog to your friends he’s not familiar with.

Tibetan Mastiffs do excel as watchdogs, but it’ll take some effort to make them sociable. They are territorial, sometimes to a fault, that they bark at everything that moves. Look for a more friendly dog breed if dealing with a Tibetan Mastiff is tedious for you.

Do Tibetan Mastiffs Get Attached to One Person?

A Tibetan Mastiff will get along with your family just fine. As long as boundaries are being respected, there’s no need to worry. But you have to focus on socialization and obedience training to help him adapt.

If you’re the one in charge of training him, he’s going to recognize you as a leader. He’s going to be okay with other family members but he would be more attached and closer to you. It’s common among dogs to favor one person over the others.

The more time you spend with him, the stronger your bond will be. But Tibetan Mastiffs are still independent despite having a pack mentality. He’s probably looking at your family as pack members and looks up to you as a leader.

But you can’t automatically assume this position as you have to earn his respect first. This is when training comes into the picture. After successfully training him, he would be more responsive to your commands.

The thing is, other family members can try to give commands but he won’t respond. In a way, Tibetan Mastiffs are dogs who stick to a single person so your supervision is vital. Make socialization a focal point if you want him to respond positively to your folks.

Though being social somehow goes against their nature, you can turn things around with effort. It’s going to take some work so you should look for another breed if you want the easy route. Despite the difficulties, this breed doesn’t falter when it comes to loyalty.

Why Do Some Tibetan Mastiffs Attach to One Person?

A Tibetan Mastiff’s attachment to a single person is dependent on the time and attention he received. If you and your dog spend a lot of time together, he’d be more attached to you. Because he recognizes you as a friend and a leader.

Although they’re not easy to tame or domesticate, they’d protect you at all costs when trouble arises. Loyalty and protection are a few of Tibetan Mastiff’s strong points. But they still try to keep their independence intact as it’s a part of their traits.

In some cases, the attachment could be caused by anxiety and stress. If you think that his attachment is not the healthy kind, you should seek professional help. This is to check if there are other underlying issues related to the attachment.

No matter how strong and independent they are, they’re still vulnerable to illnesses. Going for regular checkups will help in the early detection of health issues. A combination of medication, therapy, and therapy will ease the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

In more serious cases, surgery might be on the list of treatments as well. An aging dog is more vulnerable to diseases so the owner is expected to be observant so diseases can be prevented from advancing to a critical level.

Do Tibetan Mastiffs Need a Lot of Attention?

Tibetan Mastiffs are not the attention-seeking type. But they need to keep themselves occupied with activities that stimulate their mind and bodies. Boredom is the most common cause of their destructive, rascal-like behavior.

This breed is perfectly happy to lounge indoors or walk around your yard. But when things get a little monotonous, they would start making noises and mess with your stuff. Barking, digging, and chewing are very common with bored Tibetan Mastiffs.

You can avoid such scenarios by giving him a good amount of exercise or assigning him to perform tasks. This way, he’s going to use his pent-up energy on something healthy and productive. Provide him with toys that he can play with so your furniture will not become a target for chewing or scratching.

In general, they don’t need a lot of attention. But they hate the absence of their owners whom they consider pack leaders. They know how to mind their own business and be independent.

But due to their pack mentality, being left alone for long periods can lead to boredom. And the boredom problem leads to another as this can trigger aggressive or destructive behavior. Solve this issue with playing, exercise, and other creative, engaging activities.

How Much Does It Cost Per Month to Own a Tibetan Mastiff?

The average monthly expenses for a Tibetan Mastiff is around 200 USD. His first year is usually more expensive because of tests and vaccines to keep him in top shape. It can cost you 6,000 USD during the first year.

As time goes on, the cost of maintenance will get significantly lower. From the second year onwards, your Tibetan Mastiff’s yearly expenses would be around 2,000 to 3,000 USD. The average lifetime cost of keeping one is about 32,000 USD.

The costs may vary depending on his lifestyle and needs. Tibetan Mastiffs who were born with defects or health issues may need more resources to keep them afloat. Getting a dog of this breed is already costly in the first place.

So you have to be aware of their needs before making a plunge. Getting pet insurance will help you save money and get the best treatment for your dog. Owning one is not something you can consider low-cost, but this breed’s loyalty is priceless.

If this is your first go-around in dog parenting, try a different breed. Tibetan Mastiffs are more suited for experienced owners. Having the resources is also important because they’re pretty big.

You need funds for food, grooming, and medical checkups. Signing up for training ain’t free either so keeping them is costly and time-consuming. As one of the most expensive breeds, the expenses are not surprising.

Is It Better to Get a Boy or Girl Tibetan Mastiff?

If you want an easier-to-train Tibetan Mastiff you can’t go wrong with a female. They’re more energetic, sociable, and responsive to commands. Because females are fine with being docile compared to their male counterparts.

Males are more dominant, hardheaded, and territorial. Female Tibetan Mastiffs are protective, too, but they can adapt better and mature faster. It’ll take more work and time to train a male to follow commands.

Like most mammals, the males are the protective, dominating type. With more focus on obedience training, you can keep their stubbornness under control. It’s more challenging but not impossible.

If you’re looking for a watchdog who can guard a big area of land, you can go for a male Tibetan Mastiff. They are dominant from the get-go. Adult males are stronger and bigger but a bit lazier than females.

Male and female Tibetan Mastiffs have slight differences but the choice is still up to you. The gender will slightly become irrelevant when they’ve been neutered or spayed. Because those methods will regulate the hormones that make them restless.

Should I Get a Tibetan Mastiff?

Getting a Tibetan Mastiff is suited for experienced and capable owners. Being green in the dog-parenting world does not qualify you to own one. Aside from being equipped with enough experience, you also need resources.

Remember that they’re from a rare and expensive breed. The monthly expenses aren’t something to laugh about either. Making them live in a cramped apartment would be torturous for all parties involved.

Apartments are too small and confining for a big dog like a Tibetan Mastiff. You need to provide a decent space that will accommodate its size. Your funds must be sufficient for his nutritional and other health needs.

Getting pet insurance is a good idea in saving some bucks when he needs medical help. This will also offer your dog the best treatments available at a more reasonable price.

You should also consider the climate in your area if you plan to own one. They have weather-resistant coats but their bodies cope better with colder climates. Their double coats are more suited for lower temperatures. Because they’re native to the cold mountains of the Himalayas.

They can still tolerate some levels of heat but they’re more built for cold weather. When the temperature goes up, they cope by shedding their thick winter coats. Get a grooming kit ready when this happens, but the shedding only happens once or twice a year.

They’re not hypoallergenic, so that’s another thing to consider. If you have a family member who has allergies, having a Tibetan Mastiff around can be difficult. But if you insist on keeping him, make sure that everyone is protected with distance and medications.

There are more factors to consider but all in all, they’re great companions for seasoned owners. If this is your first rodeo, try your luck on a cheap and low-maintenance dog first. Once you’re familiar with the challenges of being a dog owner, you can try introducing yourself to this giant pooch.