Tibetan Mastiff Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
By Michele Welton.
Copyright © 2000-2015
This powerful, rugged breed with the solemn expression is not inclined to play fetch or frisbee or frolic in the yard with you. Indeed, the Tibetan Mastiff was developed strictly for working purposes, and his instincts to perform that work are ingrained. Livestock guardians bond with flock animals, as well as their own families, with fierce possessiveness, making their own decisions about who is a friend and who is a foe, what is a threat and what is not.
In other words, these strong-willed, self-reliant dogs will attempt to take control of every situation unless you are an assertive leader who demands respect.
The Tibetan Mastiff is serious and dignified, calm and quiet -- unless provoked. Aloof with strangers, he will remain watchful every moment they are on his property. This breed is typically patient with his own children and other family pets, but requires careful introduction to those outside the family.
The Tibetan Mastiff often prefers to be outdoors where he can view and patrol his territory. However, despite his bulk, this breed is remarkably agile, skilled at climbing and jumping, and requires a six-foot-high fence. Tibetan Mastiffs also have a deep, impressive bark which they tend to use freely, especially at night when they are most attentive. And they sometimes dig deep holes to lie in.
All in all, most Tibetan Mastiffs are "too much dog" for the average household. Very few people really have the facilities or skills necessary to manage this breed and keep him happy.
If you want a dog who...
- Is large, rugged, and powerful, with a thick coat that comes in a variety of colors
- Has a solemn expression, carries himself with a dignified presence, and is not inclined to play fetch or Frisbee
- Is calm and quiet indoors (as an adult)
- Loves the great outdoors, especially in cold climates, and needs some room to romp
- Looks imposing, so makes an effective deterrent, but is not usually aggressive unless provoked
A Tibetan Mastiff may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- A large dog who takes up a lot of space in your house and car
- Protective instincts that are firmly ingrained, requiring ongoing socialization, supervision, and control to prevent excessive suspiciousness or aggression toward other people
- Aggression toward other animals
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Slobbering water
- Heavy shedding
A Tibetan Mastiff may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Tibetan Mastiff
If I was considering a Tibetan Mastiff, I would be most concerned about...
- Providing the proper balance of exercise. Young Tibetan Mastiffs need enough exercise to keep them lean and healthy, but not so much that their soft growing bones, joints, and ligaments become over-stressed and damaged. Adult Tibetan Mastiffs need more exercise to keep them in shape, but not in hot or humid weather for fear of overheating.
Since you have to minimize their exercise, young Tibetan Mastiffs can be very rambunctious. They will romp with uncoordinated gawkiness all over your house. You need to substitute extra quantities of companionship and supervision. Otherwise, left alone, young Tibetan Mastiffs become bored and destructive -- and their powerful jaws can literally destroy your living room.
- Providing enough socialization. Tibetan Mastiffs have ingrained protective instincts and are very watchful with other people. They need extensive exposure to friendly people so they learn to recognize the normal behaviors of "good guys." Then they can recognize the difference when someone acts abnormally. Without careful socialization, they may be suspicious of everyone, which could lead to aggression and biting. Some Tibetan Mastiffs go in the opposite direction -- without enough socialization, they become fearful of strangers, which can lead to defensive biting.
- Animal aggression. Tibetan Mastiffs were bred to keep strange animals away from "their" flock and property. Some Tibetan Mastiffs will not tolerate another dog of the same sex, and some won't tolerate the opposite sex either. Many Tibetan Mastiffs have strong instincts to chase and seize cats and other fleeing creatures. If anything goes wrong in the breeding, socializing, training, handling, or management of this breed, it is capable of seriously injuring or killing other animals.
- The strong temperament. Tibetan Mastiffs are not Golden Retrievers. They have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Tibetan Mastiffs are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your mastiff to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Tibetan Mastiff Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Barking. Tibetan Mastiffs are guardian dogs and they are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. Tibetan Mastiffs should NEVER be left outside in your yard, unsupervised, unless you have no neighbors for miles around. The time for "outside guard dogs" has passed in our crowded society. They annoy everyone within earshot.
- Heavy shedding. Tibetan Mastiffs shed a LOT. At least once a year, for several weeks, you'll find hair and fur all over your clothing, upholstery, carpeting, under your furniture -- even in your food. Make sure you're REALLY up for this.
- Slobbering. Some Tibetan Mastiffs, especially those with loose jowls, tend to slobber or drool, especially after eating and drinking.
- Finding one and paying the price. Tibetan Mastiffs can be hard to find, and many breeders are charging $1200 and up.
To learn more about training Tibetan Mastiffs to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Tibetan Mastiff the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Tibetan Mastiff. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Tibetan Mastiff might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Tibetan Mastiff home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Tibetan Mastiff...
When you're acquiring a Tibetan Mastiff PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Tibetan Mastiffs who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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