Tibetan Mastiffs have large, big-boned frames covered in long, thick double-coats that usually come in brown, black and bluish gray, with possible tan/gold markings. Their broad heads have square muzzles, deeply set eyes and hanging V-shaped ears. They have muscular necks, deep chests, straight backs and well-feathered tails that sometimes carry over the back. Overall, the Tibetan Mastiff looks powerful and substantial.
Tibetan Mastiffs have a dignified manner around the house. Calm and gentle with family members, this massive canine makes for a cuddly pal and beloved friend. Respectful and caring with children, it can be slightly reserved and aloof around other dogs and strangers. The Tibetan Mastiff has an innate sense of protectiveness, but it does need proper training and socialization to mold those instincts. Overall, the Tibetan Mastiff has a strong sense of independence combined with a need for family time and affection.
Tibetan Mastiffs can live as long as 15 years. Common health problems include hip dysplasia, skin allergies and heart problems. In spite of its abundant coat, the Tibetan Mastiff is fairly easy to groom. Brush it regularly, but increase the amount of brushing during its shedding season.
Too big for apartment living, the Tibetan Mastiff needs elbowroom and a fenced yard—but keep in mind that it loves to dig. This dog appreciates a good daily walk, but should not be overexerted.
Though no one knows for sure when and where the Tibetan Mastiff originated, it is believed to be one of the very earliest large dogs, possibly the basis for all mountain dogs and mastiffs. For thousands of years, working in conjunction with the Lhasa Apso, the Tibetan Mastiff was charged with guarding Tibetan temples and palaces.