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Tibetan Mastiff dog breed profile

You’ll want to plan out mental and physical games for this active dog breed.

Whether your dog is a purebred Tibetan Mastiff or a Tibetan Mastiff mix, learning about the breed can explain a lot about your pet's personality, habits and overall health. Or maybe you're looking to adopt a Tibetan Mastiff and want to do a bit of research first — we can help with that.

If you’re out for a walk and spot a furry, large-sized animal with a huge mane walking past you – don’t worry, it’s not a lion. “The thick fur around Tibetan Mastiffs’ necks can resemble a mane making this breed look like the king of the jungle,” Dr. Aliya McCullough, DVM, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, says.

These big dogs can usually be calm and gentle, but there are some scenarios where they require (and will likely enjoy!) a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Here's what you need to know.

Tibetan Mastiffs’ size

These large-breed dogs usually weigh between 70 to 150 pounds and can be up to 26-inches tall if you measure from their shoulders to the ground, Dr. McCullough explains. 

Do Tibetan Mastiffs shed?

Tibetan Mastiffs usually shed their fur, which can be colored black, black and tan, brown, cream, red gold, brown and tan, blue-gray, cream sable, red-gold sable and blue gray and tan, Dr. McCullough says.

“This breed has heavy double-coated fur that’ll require weekly brushing to remove loose fur and debris,” Dr. McCullough adds. “Once a year, just before summer, Tibetan Mastiffs have a seasonal heavy-shedding period that’ll need further grooming with a de-shedding brush to remove loose fur from their undercoat.”

What are Tibetan Mastiffs’ personalities like?

Originally, Tibetan Mastiffs were bred to guard peoples’ livestock and property, Dr. McCullough explains. That background has bled into their relationships with people and strangers nowadays. 

“They can be calm and gentle with family members but may be standoffish or territorial with other dogs and strangers,” Dr. McCullough says. “Tibetan Mastiffs are very smart, independent and, at times, stubborn. Training and early socialization are especially important for this breed.”

Check out the temperature before taking this breed for some daily exercise, as their heavier coat might make it more difficult to be active in warmer weather. And don't be surprised if they thrive in cooler temperatures as their fur will keep them warm.

On days these dogs can’t go outside for longer, exercise-filled periods, make sure they’re being mentally stimulated with plenty of attention and puzzles. These dogs get easily bored — which can cause them to act out — so even on days when they are exercising, make sure their minds are being worked, too.

RELATED: Basset Hound dog breed profile

Common health issues that Tibetan Mastiffs face

Certain health issues affect Tibetan Mastiffs more than other dog breeds. You should consider these conditions and bring them up at your pet’s first (or next) vet visit to ensure you’re taking the proper steps to delay or prevent them from affecting your dog. 

Elbow dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is essentially the abnormal development of an elbow due to things like protrusions, thick and weak cartilage and improperly-fitting joints, Dr. McCullough says. Unfortunately, it’s an inherited condition passed from parent to puppy. 

You can spot this condition if your pup’s limping or has a stiff gait, pain or muscle loss. Veterinarians usually recommend surgery or treatments to manage arthritis (which is often a consequence of elbow dysplasia). Treatments can include maintaining a healthy weight, low-impact exercise, joint supplements, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicine, Dr. McCullough adds. 

Hip dysplasia

When one or both of a dog’s hip joints become loose, they’re experiencing hip dysplasia. “The symptoms include lameness, a swaying or bunny-hopping gait, rear leg muscle atrophy, difficulty laying down or getting up and reluctance to jump or use the stairs — but some dogs might not show obvious signs,” Dr. McCullough says.

The treatment options for hip dysplasia depend on the severity of the case but can include pain medications, joint supplements, steroids, acupuncture, physical or laser therapy and sometimes surgery, Dr. McCullough adds.

Ectropion and entropion

Entropion happens when a dog’s eyelid rolls inward, and ectropion means the eyelid is rolling outward — surgery can often correct the conditions. Look for eye discharge, conjunctivitis and inflamed outer-eye surface if you think your dog has either version of this condition. 


This condition occurs when there are insufficient thyroid hormones (which control the body’s metabolism) because the immune system is destroying the thyroid gland for an unknown reason, Dr. McCullough shares. 

You might notice weight gain, lethargy, decreased appetite, hair loss, skin darkening, weakness or gastrointestinal upset if a dog has hypothyroidism. Veterinarians usually prescribe synthetic thyroid medication to treat this condition.

Tibetan Mastiff for adoption

Are you interested in adopting a Tibetan Mastiff, Tibetan Mastiff mix or any pet at all? We think every pet deserves a home and encourage you to check out our shelter partners

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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