Tibetan Mastiff Breeder Tibetan Mastiff Breeder Tibetan Mastiff Breeder Tibetan Mastiff Breeder
Tibetan Mastiff Breeder Tibetan Mastiff Breeder Tibetan Mastiff Breeder Tibetan Mastiff Breeder
Tibetan Mastiff Breeder Tibetan Mastiff Breeder Tibetan Mastiff Breeder Tibetan Mastiff Breeder
Home | About | Sires | Dams | Puppies | The Breed | Hall of Fame | Gallery | News | Contact

The above links will lead you to learn more about the Tibetan Mastiff. The introductory write-up gives a brief overview of what to expect of the breed and the Standard gives more detailed information concerning structure, temperament and specific characteristics. Further, you will discover a little about the history of the TM and, finally, an interesting comparative chart of the Tibetan Mastiff (also known as the Dokhyi) and the Himalayan Sheep Dog or Gaddi.


Country of Origin:


General Appearance:

The overall picture created is that of a large, powerful dog, sturdily built and well-balanced with short legs, if compared to the body. His expression is alert and noble. The thick, heavily-feathered tail is carried high over the back, nicely balancing the head. The body is square with a distinctive double coat and a proudly worn ruff around the neck and shoulders extending to the occiput. Head is outstanding and massive with a powerfull and heavy muzzle which is squarish from all angles and flat from when seen from above.


Each Tibetan Mastiff has its own personality, but generally, the Tibetan Mastiff is very protective brave, loyal. and territorial dog. Its temperament is excellent with children of own family and Good with other pets if properly introduced.


Normally a healthy breed.


Excellent. One of the most highly adaptable breed of the world, can adapt to extreme climatic conditions hot or cold.

Guarding Potential:

Excellent. The Tibetan Mastiff is known for being a night-time barker, and has a booming voice. This can be a problem in packed neighborhoods. More mature dogs can develop restraint, but getting to that point can take a deal of patience. This is one area where a Tibetan Mastiff's stubbornness can defeat even the most determined owner.

Amount of Exercise:

Moderate. Jogging is too hard on the joints due to the breed's size. Be careful that the bones, muscles, and joints of the young dog are not overworked during the growing stage by overdoing physical exercise. It should never be over-exercised.

Amount of Grooming:

It should be brushed regularly. Give bath a few times per year only when very necessary.

Coat Type:

Body is covered with an undercoat of soft, short, dense wool with longer and harsher hair growing through it to form the outer coat. Hair are fine but hard, straight and stand-off. Never silky, curly or wavy. Heavy undercoat, when present, rather woolly.


Highly Intelligent but Aloof.


Average (Not a dog for Obedience Shows)


Dominating breed.

Urban Living:

Not recommended for apartments.

Outdoor Living:



Dogs minimum 26" (66 cm).
Bitches minimum 24" (61 cm).

<<Breed Menu

Our Views & What We Breed For

The General Appearance of the Tibetan Mastiff:

The Tibetan Mastiff is a large guardian breed and should present as strong and substantial, muscular and athletic, balanced and impressive. The Tibetan Mastiff head is a distinguishing characteristic of the breed and the most outstanding feature. It must be broad, powerful and expressive. The muzzle should be thickly padded with a clearly defined stop and is in direct proportion with the head. The prominent occiput should also be clearly defined. Eyes are almond-shaped. Forelegs should be strong and straight with slight angulation of pasterns. Rears legs should be moderately angulated with well let down hocks. Fore and rear legs, as well as neck and tail should be furnished with longer guard coat. Tail is to be carried over the back or hip and should create a balanced picture when viewed from the side. Proportions are slightly longer than tall.


The Tibetan Mastiff should not be of light colour as shades of cream, or light goldens, and should have minimum of white markings. Both being treated as faults. Permissible colours are darker shades of gold, black and tan, and shades of gray.


Coat should be thick and dense with a heavy undercoat in winter. Quality of coat has greater importance than quantity.

The Tibetan Mastiff & It's Sub-breeds:

Geographically, India shares her place on the map with her adjoining neighbouring countries of Tibet, Nepal and China and her long border extends from Jammu and Kashmir to Himachal Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh, now some parts known as Uttranchal to the Eastern Border States of India ( ie. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam etc). It was along these areas that Tibetan Mastiffs were bred to the regional/local dogs resulting in varied SUB-BREEDS. The variation in type includes features, size and colour and these main differences usually diverge in direct accordance to the specific region in which the Tibetan Mastiff was bred.

In Jammu and Kashmir the Tibetan Mastiff sub-breed is known as BAKARWAL DOGS. These dogs routinely have their ears cropped and overall size is somewhat smaller than the parent breed of TIBETAN MASTIFFS. These dogs are basically used as herding dogs for sheep and cattle and are extremely ferocious normally.

In Himachal Pradesh, the Tibetan Mastiffs were again bred to the regional dogs and the outcome is the sub-breed known as GADDI DOGS. These dogs are very large, high on their legs and may or may not have the typical outstanding head of a Tibetan Mastiff. They may have light colours and more white markings as compared to the requisite of the minimal white and darker colours of the Tibetan Mastiff. Used by nomads these dogs are primarily used for herding purposes and secondarily as watchdogs.

Previously a part of Uttar Pradesh, Uttranchal the sub-breed here is known as the BHOTIA. These dogs are very similar to the parent breed of TIBETAN MASTIFF. Size and bone are comparable to the Tibetan Mastiff with the only major differences being with colour, head and muzzle. The muzzle of the BHOTIA is not as heavy and substantial as that of a Tibetan Mastiff and the coat colour may tend to lighter shades of cream with more white markings.

The above SUB-BREEDS have originated from the TIBETAN MASTIFFS. It is of importance to note that as the genes go back to the parent breed of the Tibetan Masiff, they do tend, at times, to produce the parent breed of the Tibetan Mastiff!!!

Some who read the foregoing paragraphs may find them to be contentious but my opinions and beliefs are based on personal experience and my involvement with the Tibetan Mastiff breed extending back over two decades. I also draw upon my personal observation, factual information, knowledge of the history of the dogs in the mentioned areas along with the exchange of shared information with other TM breeders, owners and enthusiasts the world over that included Gp.Capt A. J. S. GREWAL, Mr.TENZING NORGAY, and Mr. P. S. SHANDILIYA, a noted K.C.I. Judge and TM breeder.

With very best regards,
Himmat Singh Sekhon

<<Breed Menu


Standard Diagram

General Appearance :

The overall picture created is that of a large, powerful dog, sturdily built and well-balanced His expression is alert and noble. The thick, heavily-feathered tail is carried high over the back, nicely balancing the head. The body is square with a distinctive double coat and a proudly worn ruff around the neck and shoulders extending to the occiput. Hair on the head is soft, silky and smooth.


He is a courageous dog with strong protective instincts. He has spirit, initiative and courage, with no trace of timidity although he does take the time to size up a situation before acting. The Tibetan Mastiff possesses an excellent memory, is intelligent and easily trained, faithful, gentle with children and obedient. Although aloof with strangers, he has a desire to please and is a good-natured family companion, playful on invitation and generally impressive by his dignity upon reaching maturity.


The Tibetan Mastiff is a strong substantial animal with a heavy frame possessing the structure and configuration to provide stamina, speed and agility. He should never be so heavy as to appear coarse or clumsy nor so slight as to appear racy.


Aloof and protective.


Skull massive, with strongly defined occiput and stop. The crown somewhat arched when viewed from the side, with a well-developed or pronounced occiput and definite sloping stop. Slight median line extending back over the forehead. There is a definite furrow extending from the stop to halfway up the skull which becomes a ridge and extends to the occiput. Fairly broad, heavy and strong.  Proportions from occiput to stop and stop to end of nose equal, but nose may be a little shorter.


The head is perhaps the most notable feature of the Tibetan Mastiff.   Head and shoulders must look substantial with a thick ruff, square and well-cushioned muzzle.  Some wrinkling, in maturity, on head, extends from above eyes, down to corner of mouth. The beauty of the head is emphasized by chiseling along the muzzle, around and beneath the eyes.

Nose and Muzzle :

Muzzle fairly broad, well filled and square, viewed from all sides; wide and blunt and well-cushioned when viewed from the front. Neither coarse nor snippy. Broad nose, well pigmented, well opened nostrils. Lips well developed with moderate flews. Muzzle is equal to 2/3 length of crown from stop to occiput. Clean cut, powerful and square in shape. The muzzle must have depth when viewed from the side.

Nose and lips black. Wide with well-developed nostrils. Upper lips pendulous. Lip line should not have the appearance of being coarse nor should the flews drop prominently at the corners of the mouth. Jaws strong and muscular, although the female's jaws may be lighter. Strong, well-set teeth, snugly overlapping in a tight scissor bite or level. Undershot and overshot bites are undesirable.


Very expressive, medium size, any shade of brown. Very bright, almond shaped, well-spaced with lower lid slanting upwards toward an imaginary point approximately at the base of the ears. Round or protruding eyes penalized. Set obliquely under moderately prominent supraorbital ridges. Eye rims black.


Medium size, triangular, pendant, tips rounded, carried low, dropping forward and hanging close to head. Raised when alert. Ear leathers covered with soft, short hair. When pulled forward, the tip of the ear reaches the inner corner of the eye on the same side. In the relaxed position, ears should hold their set and not cast backward. Leather is covered with short soft hair.


Scissor bite. Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e., upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Level acceptable. Essential that dentition fits tightly, to maintain square form of muzzle.


Strong, well muscled, should slope to withers giving the impression of strength and dignity. Dog exhibits a pronounced crest of the neck when at attention. The neck gradually increases in circumference as it approaches the shoulder. Moderate dewlap in mature dogs, more pronounced in males. Not too much dewlap. Shrouded by thick upstanding mane.


Should lie close to the body, long and moderately sloping, well-muscled without being coarse. Reach well up to point of withers.


Deep and of medium width with pronounced sternum, ribs well sprung out from spine and flattened at the sides to allow proper movement of the shoulders and freedom from the front legs. Heart and lung room are secured more by body depth than width.


In the following descriptions the anatomical components of the spinal column have been described separately, i.e. withers, back, loin and croup.

  • Withers - Slope onto a level back.
  • Back - Straight, short and very strongly developed without sag or roach.
  • Loin - When viewed from top, broad and muscular. Loin slopes slightly upward to moderately pronounced hips. Loin is taut and broad, although narrower than rib cage and with moderate tuck-up. Ratio of back to loin is approximately 1:2.
  • Croup - Must be full, slightly sloping but never so steep as to restrict rear movement and must continue imperceptibly to the tail root.


Moderately long. Profusely feathered with thick, long hair and carried forward in a plume over the back. Sometimes dropped at rest. Judges should see tail up at least once.


Strong, with straight back, muscular, almost imperceptible croup. Chest rather deep of moderate breadth, with reasonable spring of rib, to give heart-shaped ribcage, brisket reaching to below elbows. Body slightly longer than height at withers.


Well laid shoulders, muscular, strongly boned. Straight legs with strong, slightly sloping pasterns, and well covered all over with strong hair. The pasterns should be strong, sturdy and slightly sloping to give flexibility and spring for proper let-down of feet. The slope should not start at the joint but below it. The slope should always be sufficient to bring the heel of the pad under the center of gravity. Length of leg from ground to elbow should be 50-55% of total height at withers. A very short-legged dog is to be penalized.


Powerful, muscular, with good angulations from well bent stifle and strong low set hocks. Two thirds of rear leg is between hock and hip.  Upper thighs well-developed and slightly bowed from hock to crotch. As endurance is of greater consequence than speed, the stifle is slightly bent. Hind legs, seen from behind, parallel. Removal of dewclaws (single or double) optional.


Fairly large, strong, compact. Cat-feet having good feathering between toes. The second and third digits may be relatively longer but the foot should lose none of its compactness. The forefeet are larger than the hind feet, toes arched, pads thick and tough.


Should be free, agile and vigorous, showing great elasticity and spring in the smooth, powerful stride. When walking appears slow and very deliberate. From the standing position, as the Tibetan Mastiff moves the pads converge to a single track beneath the actual center of the dog. The marked single track gait of a well-built Tibetan Mastiff should never be mistaken for the gait fault of "moving close". The Tibetan Mastiff works at a canter and often uses the double suspension gallop. He must be sure of foot in any kind of going. Ability to turn quickly and initial spring are desirable qualities. Moving with head and tail held high, the whole appearance of the Tibetan Mastiff is one of great style, grace and beauty.


Body is covered with an undercoat of soft, short, dense wool with longer and harsher hair growing through it to form the outer coat. The coat texture is heavy around the neck, shoulders and down the back to the tail. Coat on legs, side and stomach is shorter in length and somewhat lighter in texture. It is that heavy texture of the neck and shoulders that gives the impression of a lion's mane. Tail bushy, densely coated, hind legs well feathered on upper rear parts. Males carry noticeably more than females. Quality of greater importance than quantity. Mainly fairly long, thick, with heavy undercoat in cold weather which becomes rather sparse in warmer months. Hair fine but hard, straight and stand-off. Never silky, curly or wavy. Heavy undercoat, when present, rather woolly. When in full coat, undercoat should be so dense as to make it almost impossible to see skin.


Dogs : 66cms (26 ins) minimum. Bitches : 61 cms (24 ins).


A dog with an uncontrollable or vicious temperament in the ring should be disqualified by judge. Overall shaggy coat, lack of symmetry and balance in movement, well-bent stifles, barrel legs or pigeon toes, mincing, shuffling, crabbing, weaving or a hackney action are all faults.


Male animals not have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

<<Breed Menu


Historical TM PhotoThe Tibetan Mastiff is considered to be one of the oldest breeds in existence today. However as accurate written records were not kept much of the earlier history is unknown. As early as the 13th century, Marco Polo told of seeing these Mastiffs in his Far East wanderings. Some believe they were used as guard dogs in China from 1000 BC. This is a breed which has remained unchanged for thousands of years as proved by bones unearthed from different eras, and from pictures as well.

The Tibetan Mastiff is a descendant of the famous Tibetan dogs that were the source of the majority of Molossuses and Mastiffs throughout the world. The ancient Tibetan Mastiff may have been in existence as early as the stone or bronze age. Mollossian dogs accompanied Alexander the Great from Tibet to Europe, and during this period helped to found many of today's other Mastiff breeds.

Tibet later closed its doors to western world, thus the breed developed for centuries in relative isolation. In the mid 1800's, a Tibetan Mastiff was presented to Queen Victoria of England. Later on more dogs were imported to England and the British began to refine and standardize the breed.

<<Breed Menu

Tibetan Mastiff vs. Gaddi

Tibetan Mastiff (Dokhyi)

Tibetan Mastiff

Himalayan Sheep Dog (Gaddi)


General Appearance:

Heavy squarish built with not too long legs, almost short compared to the body, heavy boned short thick neck with thick mane like coat.

General Appearance:

Heavy boned may have long legs.


Broad, massive, outstanding head with strongly defined occiput and stop.


Does not require an outstanding head.


Powerful, strong squarish muzzle which is never long thin and pointed. Very well defined stop.


Muzzle is not squarish and is pointed, long and thin and stop is not very prominent.


Strong thick and powerful mane like neck.


May be thin or thick.


Heavy thick and course with dense woolly undercoat . Medium in length should not be very long, neither flessy, silky nor wavy. Males carry noticeably more than females. Quality of greater importance than quantity.


May be short or long, curly or wavy.

Color and Markings:

Colours are 'black & tan', 'golden red', 'shades of brown, grey and gold' White is permissible only on the chest. Darker colours are preferred.

Color and Markings:

No restriction of colour or white markings.


Feathered, bushy, medium to long but not reaching below hock joint in length carried curled over the back.


Hairy tail carried same way as the TM but the length may be longer than the TM.


Compact, large strong paws.


May have loose paws.


Top of Page


Home | About | Sires | Dams | Puppies | The Breed | Hall of Fame | Gallery | News | Contact