Tibetan Mastiff



The Tibetan Mastiff (Do-khyi) is a very ancient breed and type of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) originating with nomadic cultures of Central Asia, and is especially identified with Tibet.

Tibetan Mastiff   Names and etymology
the Chinese name is 藏獒 (Zang'Ao), which literally means Tibetan Mastiff or Tibetan big ferocious dog. The English name is Tibetan Mastiff. The Tibetan names Tsang Khyi (large mastiff variety) and Do-khyi (generic for the mountain type) meaning 'tied dog', reflects its use as a home guard, much as the old English ban-dog (also meaning tied dog) was a dog tied outside the home as a guardian. 'Bhote Kukur' in Nepali means Tibetan Dog. In Mongolia it is called "bankhar", meaning "guard dog". The molosser type with which the modern Tibetan Mastiff breed is linked was known across the ancient world by many names.

Tibet  Tibetan Mastiff  History

 

This is an ancient breed, descended from very early large Tibetan dogs from which many of today's Molossuses are descended. nowdays we already know The first record of a Tibetan mastiff was in 1121 BC, when a dog trained for hunting was given to a Chinese emperor.[3] Marco Polo encountered the large Tibetan dogs in his travels and described them as "tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion." They were used as guard dogs outside the sacred city of Lhasa. In the early 19th century, King George IV owned a pair, and there were enough of the breed in England in 1906 to be shown at the 1906 Crystal Palace show. However, during the war years, the breed lost favor and focus and nearly died out in England. Gaining in popularity worldwide, there are more and more active breeders, although the breed is still considered somewhat uncommon. Initially the breed suffered because of the limited genepool from the original stock, but today's reputable breeders work hard at reducing the genetic problems through selective breeding and the international exchange of new bloodlines.

In 2008, the Tibetan Mastiff competed for the first time in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Health
Unlike most large breeds, its life expectancy is long, some 10-14 years. The breed has fewer genetic health problems than many breeds, but cases can be found of hypothyroidism, entropion or ectropion, skin problems including allergies, low immune system including demodex, missing teeth, malocclusion (overbite or underbite), cardiac problems, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataract, and small ear canals with a tendency for infection. As with most giant breeds, some will suffer with elbow or hip dysplasia, although this has not been a major problem in the Tibetan Mastiff. Another concern includes canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy (CIDN), a rare inherited neural disease that appeared in one bloodline in the early 1980s. However, it is believed that this problem has been all but eliminated in contemporary breeding lines.

Temperament
The native type of dog, which still exists in Tibet, and the Westernized purebred breed can vary in temperament. Elizabeth Schuler states, "The few individuals that remain in Tibet are ferocious and aggressive, unpredictable in their behavior, and very difficult to train. But the dogs bred by the English are obedient and attached to their masters." Others claim that the ferocity of those in Tibet is due to selective breeding and their training as guard dogs rather than companion dogs, as reflected by their Tibetan name, "tied dogs." Many breeders throughout Asia are now seeking to preserve and breed the larger, original, more protective Tibetan Mastiff while Western breeders have sought to stabilize the temperament, in both size varieties.

As a flock guardian dog in Tibet, it is tenacious in its ability to confront predators the size of wolves and leopards. As a socialized, more domestic Western dog, it thrives 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 somewhat aloof with strangers coming to the home. 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, barking at sounds throughout the night. Leaving a Tibetan Mastiff outside all night with neighbors nearby is not recommended. They often sleep during the day to be 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 only mildly successful) since this is a strong-willed, powerful breed. Socialization is also critical with this breed because of their reserved nature with strangers and guarding instincts. They are excellent family dogs.

Newspaper reports have suggested that a pair of these Mastiffs have killed tigers while guarding sheep in the highlands of Nepal.


Description

Appearance

Illustration of a Tibetan mastiff skull by Frédéric CuvierThe Tibetan Mastiff is among the largest breeds. It is found in a heavier mastiff "Tsang Khyi" type and a more moderately sized mountain "Dokhyi" type. Its sturdy bone structure and large, wide head and profuse mane and coat make it appear considerably more massive than other dogs of a similar height. It can reach heights up to 31+ inches (80+cm) at the withers, although the standard for the breed is typically in the 25 to 28 inch (61 to 72 cm) range. History records the largest of the breed weighing over 110 kg[citation needed] but dogs bred in the West are more typically between 100lb (45kg) to 160lb (72kg). The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a primitive breed and is one of the few primitive dog breeds that can retain a single oestrus per year instead of two in a native climate. This characteristic is still found in more primitive canids species like wolf. Since their oestrus usually takes place during late fall, most Tibetan Mastiff puppies are born between December and January.[2]

Its double coat is long, subject to climate, and found in a wide variety of colors including solid black, black & tan, various shades of gold, blue/gray, chocolate brown, with the rarest being white.

Like other types of mastiffs, the larger Tsang Khyi/Tiger variety has a heavier head and more pronounced wrinkling, while the moderately sized Dokhyi/Lion mountain type has a smoother brow with less jowling, giving them a drier mouth than other mastiff breeds. They are also hypoallergenic with a thick double coat that only sheds once per year in late Spring[citation needed].

Tibetan Mastiffs are shown under one standard in the West, but separated by the Chinese breed-standard into two varieties[citation needed] - Lion Head (smaller in size, exceptionally long hair from forehead to withers, creating a ruff or mane) and Tiger Head ( larger in size, shorter hair)


Tibet Tibetan Mastiff

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