Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetan Mastiff


Tibetan mastiffs are intimidating to strangers but sweet and loving house pets around their families. Originating in the Himalayan mountains, these dogs are generally calm and laid-back but won’t hesitate to protect their family if there's a threat. Intelligent and brave, this guardian breed is wonderful for experienced pet owners.

Lifetime Care

Breed Profile


Male: 26 - 30
Female: 24 - 28



Male: 90-150
Female: 70-120


Life Span






of dogs

What is it?

If you notice your dog becoming more lethargic and gaining weight, they might have hypothyroidism. This occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.

Without the thyroid hormone, metabolism begins to slow, so food is not being processed as well and does not give the necessary energy to the cells. It also causes your dog to have problems regulating their temperature.

Hypothyroidism often occurs when something is attacking the thyroid gland, which is located in your pup’s neck. It could be caused by cancer, inherited defects, lymphocytic thyroiditis, or idiopathic atrophy.

Clinical signs:

Lack of energy/lethargy, obesity, change in coats/skin, intolerant to exercise, mental dullness, thicker skin


Replacement hormones

Average vet bill for Hypothyroidism


Reimbursement Rate

Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*


Your Net payment


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*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.


Canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy

of dogs

What is it?

Canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy, also known as hypertrophic neuropathy, is a condition that affects certain aspects of brain function. So far, it has only been found in Tibetan mastiffs.

It appears that this condition prevents a stable myelin sheath from forming. Myelin is a substance that surrounds the nerves and protects them. If the myelin is affected or diminished, it prevents signals from being sent to the nerves properly.

The inability of myelin to make a proper sheath is theoretically due to a defect in a certain cell group.

Clinical signs:

Signs of canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy are: weakness, poor motor skills



Average vet bill for Canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy


Reimbursement Rate

Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*


Your Net payment


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*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.


Hip dysplasia

of dogs

What is it?

Hip dysplasia is a term to refer to the malformation of the hip joint. As your puppy grew, the ball and socket of their hip didn’t form properly, which later causes pain and intermittent lameness. This doesn’t occur because of anything you or your pup did, though, since it’s usually inherited.

Since the joints aren’t properly formed, they grate against each other. Most cases of hip dysplasia occur in only one leg, but it is possible for it to happen in both.

Clinical signs:

Intermittent lameness, pain, less active, odd gait, limping, smaller range of motion,


Losing weight, anti-inflammatory medication, supplements, total hip replacement, femoral head ostectomy, double/triple osteotomy

Other risks:

It’s important to regulate your dog’s diet, especially when they are puppies. If a puppy grows too fast, they are more likely to develop hip dysplasia, so it’s important to buy dog food specifically for puppies.

If your pup is overweight, it can worsen hip dysplasia. They need a moderate amount of exercise. Too much or too little will also make things worse.

Behavioral problems

  • Aggression

Average vet bill for Hip dysplasia


Reimbursement Rate

Amount a Spot accident & illness plan would cover*


Your Net payment


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*Hypothetical reimbursement examples illustrate reimbursement of an eligible vet bill at the noted reimbursement rate, assuming the annual deductible had already been met.



Tibetan mastiffs are usually very calm, especially when hanging out indoors. They don’t have very high energy levels, and they tend to conserve the energy they do have so they can be prepared for any eventuality.


If someone threatens their family or herd, Tibetan mastiffs are confident, and they aren’t afraid to act. If the threat is big enough, they might ignore your commands and take the lead.


Although Tibetan mastiffs are difficult to train, it is usually because they don’t find it useful to learn commands. If they think you know what you are doing, they are more likely to listen to you.


While they are in the comfort of their own home, these large-breed dogs are much sweeter and more loving towards their family members. They take their job of keeping you safe seriously, but the home is where they can relax.


A Tibetan mastiff will always try to be the guardian of their families, and they take their family's safety pretty seriously. As long as you treat them properly, a Tibetan mastiff will remain with you for as long as you live.

Lifetime Care


Tibetan mastiffs have a medium-length double coat that sheds a lot, and they shed even more during the late spring/early summer season.

Coat colors

Brown, brown and tan, black, black and tan, blue-gray, blue and gray and tan, red gold, red gold sable, cream, cream sable


No, Tibetan mastiffs are not hypoallergenic.


Tibetan mastiffs require weekly brushing, and their teeth and ears should be cleaned often. Their nails also need to be clipped regularly.


Tibetan mastiffs are difficult to train. They don’t like obedience training, and they seem to have difficulty retaining commands. They will listen unless their instincts tell them not to do so. A professional trainer might be needed.

Lifetime Care Cost


Learn more about the cost of caring for a Tibetan Mastiff.

Tibetan mastiff: Dog Breed Information Guide 2022

Once you see a Tibetan mastiff for the first time, you’ll never forget them. These giant guard dogs carry themselves with dignity and quiet strength, but, despite their great size, they are extremely quick and agile.

Tibetan mastiffs look intimidating, but they are actually very sweet and loving towards members of their families. They are very gentle with family members, but they can be aggressive towards strangers if they perceive them as threats.

These dogs are not for the inexperienced, but they are definitely worth the work.

Before bringing a new furry family member into your home, it’s important to do your research. You need to make sure that you and your pup will be able to get along, so you need to learn about the breed’s personality, needs, and abilities.

At Spot Pet Insurance, we know how difficult it can be to adjust to a new pet. We want to help ease that transition by providing you with information about the breed you're looking to adopt. If a Tibetan mastiff isn’t for you, you can check out some of our other educational resources about dog breeds.

Before you make your decision, though, let’s learn more about the wonderful and interesting Tibetan mastiff.

The history of the Tibetan mastiff

As you’ve probably guessed, Tibetan mastiffs are from Tibet, a mountainous region in central Asia. They are one of the oldest dog breeds, although their true origin story is unknown. Remains of some large mountain dogs have been found in China that are thought to be from the 1100s BC, so these mastiffs may be descendants of those large dogs.

Rulers like Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun probably brought the large Tibetan dogs with them as they conquered land, and once they reached the Tibetan regions, they developed into the mastiff we know and love today.

Tibetan mastiffs lived with some nomadic tribes, but they ended up living in villages and monasteries as guard dogs. These villages and monasteries were usually in isolated areas in the mountains. Since Tibetan mastiffs were hardy and strong, they were able to live in some pretty harsh weather conditions.

Usually, they would roam through the monastery or village during the day, but they would be locked up at night so they didn’t get into trouble.

The breed was introduced to the Western world in the 1840s when Queen Victoria received a Tibetan mastiff as a gift from the viceroy of India. Then the Prince of Wales brought two Tibetan mastiffs to a dog show.

In the mid-1900s, China invaded Tibet, and, as a result, the breed’s numbers lowered significantly. Fortunately, some escaped by hanging out in isolated villages or making tracks for a neighboring country.

By the early 2000s, Tibetan mastiffs had been introduced to the Americas, and the American Kennel Club added them as a miscellaneous class breed in 2005.

What other health problems do Tibetan mastiffs have?

Tibetan mastiffs may also deal with any of the following health issues:

  • Elbow dysplasia

  • Entropion

  • Weight gain if not provided with sufficient exercise

How should you train a Tibetan mastiff?

Although Tibetan mastiffs can be sweet dogs, it’s important to understand the specifics of their care. They are actually pretty great with other dogs, but they can be aggressive around strangers if they aren’t socialized properly.

While Tibetan mastiffs make good listeners and are very smart, they aren’t very big fans of obedience training. They find it repetitive and boring. However, unless there’s something where the outcome isn’t certain, they will listen to you.

It might be helpful to seek out the advice of a professional trainer. Tibetan mastiffs will obey their own instincts when it comes to protecting their family, so if there is a threat, they will do anything they can to keep you and your family safe.

Are Tibetan mastiffs good with children? 

They’re also gentle giants that are known to do well with young children.

What kind of space is best for a Tibetan mastiff? 

Young mastiffs do have a tendency to be destructive when they are in enclosed spaces, and the same applies to adults, although they might not be as destructive as a younger Tibetan mastiff. They like living indoors, so it’s best to have a house if you’re going to adopt a mastiff.

What kind of exercise do Tibetan mastiffs need?

Tibetan mastiffs exercise by working. They prefer to patrol their territory, so going on a walk could be a great way to help them release some energy. They aren’t very active, though, since they prefer to conserve their energy, so a daily walk or two should suffice.

A fenced yard could also keep your mastiff well-exercised. They aren’t huge fans of games like fetch or frisbee, but they don’t mind walking around and making sure everything is safe.

You should always keep them on a leash when you’re out. They are smart, but they have difficulty remembering commands.

Tibetan mastiff: An introduction to the breed

Tibetan mastiffs are large dogs. They are actually classified as one of the giant breeds.

These dogs may be giant, but they’re surprisingly quick and agile. They look intimidating because of their size, but their faces have a sweet and intelligent expression. Tibetan mastiffs are great dogs, although they may not fit well into an apartment.

Their coats are very beautiful and fluffy, and their bushy tails add to their noble appearance. The Tibetan mastiff has a medium-length double coat that would protect them from the cold of the mountains they typically lived in.

Males can actually have longer and thicker fur around their heads and necks, making it look like they have a mane. Since it is a double coat, they shed quite a bit, but a weekly brushing should be sufficient.

When late spring comes, you should be prepared. Tibetan mastiffs shed a lot during this season since they’re trying to lose most of their undercoats.


  • Canine inherited hypertrophic neuropathy | PubMed

  • Hip Dysplasia In Dogs: Prevention, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment | akc.org

  • Myelin Sheath: What They Are, Their Function, & Damage From MS | webmd.com

  • Rankings of Dog Breeds Suffering From Hip Dysplasia | animaroo.com

  • Thyroid Disease in Dogs | akc.org

  • Tibetan Mastiff Cost: A Complete Guide (with Calculator) | PetBudget

  • Tibetan Mastiff Dog Dog Breed Hypoallergenic, Health and Life Span | PetMD

  • Tibetan Mastiff Dog Breed Information | akc.org