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Can You Own a Tibetan Mastiff in the US? Facts & FAQ

Written by: Cassidy Sutton

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

beautiful Tibetan mastiff

Can You Own a Tibetan Mastiff in the US? Facts & FAQ

The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world and one of the largest. A fully-grown Tibetan Mastiff will range between 70 to 150 pounds, and protective instincts are hot-wired into their DNA. These two facts combined can be a problem for an untrained Mastiff. It’s one of the reasons why the breed is banned in many places.

Luckily, there are no federal laws banning any breed in the US. You only have to check with your city and county before adopting one.


Why Are Tibetan Mastiffs Illegal in Some Places?

The Tibetan Mastiff is thought to be the grandfather of all Mastiffs, and most likely the source of all working dog breeds. These giant, fluffy beasts guarded the Tibetan mountains alone, so their independent, strong-willed personalities are no surprise.

Tibetan Mastiffs are very territorial with strangers. They can meet any intruder with surprising agility and stealth, even at almost 150 pounds. Tibetan Mastiffs aren’t aggressive, though—no more than any other dog. It’s their power and large size that have stirred opinions on banning the breed. An untrained Tibetan Mastiff can become a public safety issue quickly.

tibetan mastiff standing in snow
Image By: mojahata, Shutterstock

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Rare?

Tibet Mastiffs are quite rare. This is a breed so ancient that no one really knows how long they’ve roamed the Earth. We only know where they’ve been based on skeletal remains and ancient documents.

Much like the dog, Tibet was an isolated place before China took over. Many animals roaming the Himalayas were unknown for centuries. The AKC didn’t recognize the breed until 2006.

Even after making the US their home, Tibetan Mastiffs are only the 137th most popular breed out of 200. They’re not the most popular dog, and that’s because a lot of Americans like family-friendly dogs. The Tibetan Mastiff doesn’t have the temperament for small children and several animals.

Remember, they roamed the Himalayas alone for centuries. They’re not exactly couch dogs. On top of that, female Tibetan Mastiffs go into heat only once per year. So, if you want a puppy, you’ll be on a long waiting list.

divider-dog paw

How Much Does a Tibetan Mastiff Cost?

You can expect to pay between$2,000 and $6,000 from a breeder in the US. A top bloodline Chinese Tibetan Mastiff can cost up to $12,000. It’s shocking, but for a rare dog breed, these prices make sense.

Your chances of finding this highly sought-after breed are slim to none, unfortunately. Costs for veterinary care, food, and general supplies will also need to be considered.

Tibetan mastiff puppy
Image Credit: Kat_marinina, Shutterstock

The Best Environment for Tibetan Mastiffs

Tibetan Mastiffs can live in most places, but they are most active in cooler weather. Hot, humid environments year-round could be dangerous for this breed without proper accommodations.

The nice thing about Tibetan Mastiffs? Their wild instincts tell them to conserve energy, so they’ll have short bursts of energy when they see fit. Structured play isn’t their thing, but give them a job and they’ll do just fine.



Tibetan Mastiffs have roamed the Earth for centuries, virtually unknown except to Tibet. It’s no wonder why they’re so in tune with their wild side. At 150 pounds, this breed can maul anyone he sees fit. Only responsible dog owners should care for this breed, even if the dog is legal in your city.

Featured Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

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