Facts About
Tibetan Mastiff Dogs
There's More To Them Than Just A Pretty Face!

by Ken Alden

The Tibetan Mastiff became one of the most sought after dog breeds after it was formally recognized by the American Kennel Club. This breed is known for weighing up to 150 pounds and, with a thick coat and mane, sometimes looking similar to a lion.

Interesting Facts About Tibetan Mastiff Dogs...

  • Tibetan Mastiffs originated in Tibet several centuries ago
  • Once used as a guard dog for livestock, this breed is still considered one of the most loyal, protective dog breeds. 
  • At 150lbs they’re known for being agile, quick, and powerful. 
  • They thrive with other dogs, cats, and children yet are banned in multiple countries.

The Tibetan Mastiff is a relatively rare dog breed, so you might not know too much about the breed. To help you out, we’re going to go over 20 of the most interesting facts about the Tibetan Mastiff. Read More Below...

Pro-tip: Ever try lifting a Tibetan Mastiff? Their weight can hurt not only your back but their joints when they hop down from cars, sofas or even your bed. To protect your back and theirs check out the best Mastiff ramps on Amazon.com now.

Facts about Tibetan Mastiff dogs

Where Do Tibetan Mastiffs Come From?

The history of this breed traces back to Tibet, an area of Asia that sits at the base of the Himalayas. After the breed’s physically strong body and an incredible desire to protect was recognized, the Tibetan Mastiff earned his role as a guard dog shortly after its discovery. 

For centuries, the this dog successfully kept Tibetan villages safe and was used as a guard dog to protect livestock from outside threats. The breed was also known for being chained up during the day and let loose at night to fulfill his guard duties.

Despite the name, the Tibetan isn’t actually a Mastiff at all. The breed is actually considered to be more of a mountain dog if anything.

tibetan mastiff facts

This dog has a rich and long history which deserves further exploration which is why we wrote this page which will go into further detail.

What Are Tibetan Mastiffs Bred For?

In the early days of the breed, the Tibetan Mastiff was bred purely as a guard dog. The breed was extremely successful at keeping livestock safe and keeping predators away from their sheep, cows, and chickens.

Yet, this dog was also recognized for his friendly and jovial personality. Today, the Tibetan Mastiff still remains one of the best guard dogs, but he also has earned the title as an incredible family dog as well. 

They’re also bred because they yield breeders a ton of money. A Tibetan Mastiff puppy usually costs a few thousand dollars. 

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Good With Other Dogs And Cats?

This pooch will generally do well with other dogs and cats, as long as they’re living in the same home. But, some Tibetan Mastiffs struggle to assert their dominance with dogs of the same sex, so choosing a dog of the opposite sex would be best to keep the peace.

Since this breed has a relatively low prey drive and was only trained to guard property against predators, there’s very little risk of your Tibetan Mastiff harassing your beloved cat. If you know anything about cats, the cat will be the one to torment your pal instead. 

Proper socialization is key here. As long as you train your Tibetan Mastiff on how to play and interact with other dogs properly, there should be no issues. Puppy classes are an absolute must for this breed.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Aggressive Or Dangerous? 

Tibetan Mastiffs are usually not aggressive, though they might be on edge if they feel as if there’s a threat. So, don’t be surprised if your dog begins barking or lunging if there’s a stranger on your property. They’re only really aggressive if they’re attacking a predator.

For the most part, the Tibetan Mastiff is a pretty good dog without a history of many violent tendencies. It just might take a little time for this dog to get to know new people and animals before he trusts them enough to let them close.

tibetan mastiff learn more

If your around this breed much, or are considering getting one as a pet, then knowing fully about their temperament is important. Here's an article which goes into greater depth.

How Long Do Tibetan Mastiffs Live?

According to the American Kennel Club, the life expectancy of this dog is between 10 and 12 years. Yet, that obviously all comes down to how healthy you keep your Tibetan Mastiff during his lifetime. 

Large breeds like this are prone to conditions like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Both conditions involve a wearing away of the hip and elbow joints, which might make it uncomfortable for your Tibetan Mastiff to move around.

Tibetan Mastiffs are also prone to obesity, but mostly because they’re likely to develop hypothyroidism. This condition slows down their metabolism and causes weight gain, which can put excess stress on their joints and other organ systems.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Good Guard Dogs?


The Tibetan Mastiff has continuously been bred due to his innate desire to protect his family and his property. You might notice that this dog is always on high alert and barks at any new strangers that begin to approach.

But, your Tibetan Mastiff won’t attack unless he’s trained to attack, so don’t expect to just bring a guard dog home and have it be that easy. Even if you don’t train him to attack, your pal will still alert you of any dangers by barking or howling.

Pro-tip: Tibetan Mastiff anxiety, aggression, destructive chewing, jumping up, fearfulness, and other behaviors can be controlled with the right training program.

Here’s a great course that addresses these issues along with many other dog training basics: Check it out now!

Do Tibetan Mastiffs Bark A Lot?

Unfortunately, this breed is one of the worst offenders when it comes to barking and howling. The breed is known for having a very loud and powerful bark, which will likely catch you off guard the first time you hear it.

For the most part, your Tibetan Mastiff will only really bark if he notices a threat that he wants to alert you of. However, they’re also known to bark out of boredom, loneliness, or just to get attention from you and your family.

So, it’s important that you train your Tibetan Mastiff not to bark when he’s a puppy and hope this behavior continues into adulthood. Positive reinforcement will be most effective at getting rid of this behavior.

Do Tibetan Mastiffs Bite?

Despite their size and sometimes scary appearance, this breed isn’t any more prone to biting than any other dog breed. They’re generally pretty friendly, though they might be a little wary of new people and dogs. 

The bite of this dog is very powerful, though. There have been plenty of instances where Tibetan Mastiffs have attacked humans and led to extreme injuries like biting off hands, severe brain damage, and even death.

To avoid any possible accidents, make sure you’re keeping your Tibetan Mastiff on a leash and use a heavy-duty harness that’s capable of holding back his immense size and weight. You know he’s friendly, but freak accidents happen sometimes.

Do Tibetan Mastiffs Shed A Lot?

Tibetan Mastiffs have a thick and fluffy coat, but they don’t seem to shed all that much. In fact, this breed is known for only having one intense shedding period every year.

That means caring for your Tibetan Mastiff’s coat should be a breeze. You’re probably going to be able to get away with only brushing him once a week, though a few times a week would be best to keep his coat looking smooth.

You might notice that your Tibetan Mastiff’s coat gets a little tangled and knotty. So, more frequent brushing might be best if this seems to happen a lot.

tibetan mastiff image

Just how bad do they shed? They are a large, hairy dog...so will it be like, really bad? Be prepared for the answer.

How Fast Can A Tibetan Mastiff Run?

The Tibetan Mastiff is a very large dog, but they’re also very fast and agile. They’re known for being able to run up to 20 miles per hour, though likely only for short distances. 

That’s because this dog tends to overheat in hot and humid weather. He might be a great jogging or walking partner on shorter trails, but he definitely isn’t cut out for really long jogs or runs.

How High Can A Tibetan Mastiff Jump?

Even though the Tibetan Mastiff is rather large and bulky, that’s exactly what gives him the ability to jump decently high. His muscular and powerful legs allow him to propel his body through the air with very little effort. 

While we don’t know exactly how high this dog can jump, we do know that they can clear anything lower than a 6-foot fence with a little effort. So, make sure you’re fencing in your yard and choosing a fence that’s a little higher than you think it needs to be.

Wondering Just How Much This Breed Sheds?
Check Out This YouTube Video!

How Big Do Tibetan Mastiffs Get?

According to the American Kennel Club, male Tibetan Mastiffs range from 90 (40 kg) to 150 pounds (68 kg) while females are a little smaller at 70 (31 kg) to 120 pounds (54 kg). Both sexes are very similar in height, with males being about 26 inches at the shoulders and females measuring in at 24 inches (60 cm).

But, remember that Tibetan Mastiffs are much more prone to obesity and conditions like hypothyroidism. So, it’s possible that your Tibetan Mastiff will end up much larger than the AKC’s recommendations.

How Smart Are Tibetan Mastiffs?

Well, obviously smart enough to keep an eye on their property and defend it against threats and predators. However, Tibetan Mastiffs are also known for being emotionally intelligent and being able to get a read on their owner’s feelings.

That means your pal will be able to sense when you’re angry, sad, happy, or any other emotion. 

Yet, the Tibetan Mastiff is a pretty independent breed at the same time. They tend to do well when it comes to thinking for themselves and knowing exactly what to do in plenty of situations.

Pro-tip: Tibetan Mastiff's (and their owners) love dog crates…and for good reasons. Crates keep dogs from mischief while you're away, are perfect for house training, for traveling by car, and provide the dog a place to de-stress. Check out the best Mastiff crates on Amazon.com now.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Illegal In The US?

As of right now, this breed is legal in the United States, though this might vary on a city by city basis. So, make an effort to read up on the codes in your town to see if Tibetan Mastiffs (or any breed for that matter) is banned.

However, the Tibetan Mastiff is currently banned in a few countries throughout the world. These countries include Ukraine, France, Germany, and a few other smaller nations.

The reason they’re banned is most likely due to their physical size, strength, and bite force. Though, this dog is usually not aggressive or violent unless provoked to an extent.

Is A Tibetan Mastiff A Good Family Dog?

The Tibetan Mastiff would make a great fit for most homes. First off, they do seem to get along well with other pets, including dogs, cats, and even smaller pets.

The breed is rather obedient, so it’ll be easy to train your Tibetan Mastiff the rules of the home, and the basic commands. He might even take up a job as your family’s guard dog or watchdog on his own.

What’s even better is that the breed is considered a “gentle giant.” So, your Tibetan Mastiff definitely understands just how big he is and will be gentle with your children, no matter how small they are. 

In fact, this dog will treat your kids like his own and protect them from dangers.

tibetan mastiff cartoon

So does this breed make for a good pet? This article of ours answers that question in great depth.

Just how good are Tibetan Mastiffs around kids or even babies? If you're thinking of bringing one home, or are wondering if you can trust the one that's in your home, you'd be wise to read this article.

Can A Tibetan Mastiff Live In An Apartment?

A Tibetan Mastiff would not enjoy living in an apartment. This breed is physically large, so he needs a lot of space to run around and play, even when he’s spending a lot of his time indoors.

The Tibetan Mastiff also craves physical activity and loves to spend time outdoors. So, it’s best that you have a large fenced-in backyard where he can run around and let off any pent-up energy he has.

Another thing to consider is how destructive this breed can be. If he’s left alone too long in a tiny apartment with nothing to do, he might begin tearing the place up or making his own chew toys out of your expensive furniture.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Hypoallergenic?

Hypoallergenic dogs are dog breeds that don’t really shed all that much. Even though this dog doesn’t shed all that much, the breed does experience an intense shedding period on a yearly basis. 

For that reason, the Tibetan Mastiff isn’t a hypoallergenic dog and wouldn’t make the best fit in a household where somebody has dog allergies.

Can A Tibetan Mastiff Live In Hot Weather?

Your Tibetan Mastiff’s thick and voluptuous coat is what would have made him thrive in the cold temperatures of the Himalayas. That means the Tibetan Mastiff will do best in cooler environments, though warm places might be okay too.

The issue comes with high heat and humidity. When it becomes hot and humid, the thick coat of the Tibetan Mastiff will cause him to overheat and puts him at greater risk for heatstroke. facts about tibetan mastiff dogs

So, make it a point to limit your Tibetan Mastiff’s time outside when it’s especially hot and humid. Make sure he has enough access to water and that he doesn’t exercise too intensely.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Related To Lions?

The Tibetan Mastiff is in no way related to lions, but their neck and mane might make them appear as if they’re lions. In fact, a zoo in China recently tried to claim that a Tibetan Mastiff was a lion, which came as a major disappointment to zoo-goers.

On the other hand, some people have actually tried selling Tibetan Mastiff puppies that they described as having “lion’s blood.” Some of these puppies have actually sold for several million dollars each, though there’s no proof that they’re any part lion.

What Do Tibetan Mastiffs Eat?

The Tibetan Mastiff is a large dog, meaning he’s going to eat a ton of food on a daily basis. However, since the Tibetan Mastiff is prone to obesity, you need to make sure that you’re feeding him according to his weight. 

Overfeeding tends to be a huge issue with larger dogs, but that’s especially concerning with the Tibetan Mastiff, who is already prone to obesity and hypothyroidism. So, keep an eye on your Tibetan Mastiff’s weight and how much you’re feeding him. 

Food made specifically for large breeds would be ideal.

Facts About Tibetan Mastiff Dogs...Conclusion

This dog is a breed most often recognized for his majestic coat and his huge physical size. In fact, this allowed them to thrive as guard dogs in the Himalayas and Tibetan villages. Here’s what you need to know about the Tibetan Mastiff.

  • They’re very loyal and serve as great family dogs and guard dogs.
  • They don’t shed too much and are generally easy to care for.
  • They tend to get a little destructive and might bark a lot.
  • They get along well with kids, dogs, and cats.
  • They do best in cool or warm climates, not hot or humid.

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About Author

About the Author...

Ken Alden, a dedicated Mastiff owner for over eight years, is acclaimed for his expertise in care, grooming, and training. Read more About Me and my dog Shadow.

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