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  • Tibetan Mastiff

  • Area: Shangrila
  • The Tibetan Mastiff (Do-khyi) is an ancient breed and type of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) originating with nomadic cultures of Central Asia.

Names and etymology

The Tibetan Mastiff also known as Do-khyi (variously translated as "home guard", "door guard", "dog which may be tied", "dog which may be kept"), reflects its use as a guardian of herds, flocks, tents, villages, monasteries, and palaces, much as the old English ban-dog (also meaning tied dog) was a dog tied outside the home as a guardian. However, in nomad camps and in villages, the Do-khyi is traditionally allowed to run loose at night and woe be unto the stranger who walks abroad after dark. 'Bhote Kukur' in Nepali means Tibetan Dog. In Mandarin Chinese, the name is 藏獒 (Zang'Ao), which literally means Tibetan Mastiff or Tibetan "big ferocious dog". In Mongolia it is called "bankhar", meaning "guard dog". But there is an another type of Mastiff in Mongolia, called Mongolian Mastiff (Mongol Bankhar) which is bigger than Tibetian Mastiff and have darker color. The molosser type with which the modern Tibetan Mastiff breed is purportedly linked was known across the Ancient world by many names.

Description

Appearance Illustration of a Tibetan mastiff skull by Frédéric CuvierCurrently, some breeders differentiate between two "types" of Tibetan Mastiff:
The Do-khyi and the "Tsang-khyi". The "Tsang-khyi" (which, to a Tibetan, means only "dog from Tsang") is also referred to as the "monastery type", described as generally taller, heavier, more heavily boned, with more facial wrinkling and haw than the "Do-khyi" or "nomad type". Both "types" are often produced in the same litter. Males 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.
The heaviest TM on record may be one weighing over 130 kg (286.6 Lbs)[citation needed] but dogs bred in the West are more typically between 140 lb (64 kg) to 180 lb (82 kg)—especially if they are in good condition and not overweight.
The enormous dogs being produced in some Western and some Chinese kennels would have "cost" too much to keep fed to have been useful to nomads; and their questionable structure would have made them well-nigh useless as livestock guardians.
The Tibetan Mastiff is considered a primitive breed. It typically retains the instincts which would be required for it to survive in Tibet, including canine pack behaviour. In addition, it is one of the few primitive dog breeds that retains a single oestrus per year instead of two, even at much lower altitudes and in much more temperate climates than its native climate. This characteristic is also found in wild canids such as the wolf.
Since its oestrus usually takes place during late fall, most Tibetan Mastiff puppies are born between December and January. Tibetan Mastiff at an international dog show in Poland.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, the rarest being solid white. The coat of a Tibetan Mastiff lacks the unpleasant "big-dog smell" that affects many large breeds. The coat, whatever its length or color(s), should shed dirt and odors. Although the dogs shed somewhat throughout the year, there is generally one great "molt" in late winter or early spring and sometimes another, lesser molt in the late summer or early fall. (Sterilization of the dog or bitch may dramatically affect the coat as to texture, density, and shedding pattern.) Tibetan Mastiffs are shown under one standard in the West, but separated by the Indian breed standard into two varieties:[citation needed] Lion Head (smaller; exceptionally long hair from forehead to withers, creating a ruff or mane) and Tiger Head (larger; shorter hair). Temperament The native type of dog, which still exists in Tibet, and the Westernized purebred breed can vary in temperament - but so can dogs of identical breeding, within the same litter, raised in the same household. 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." However, other observers have found the dogs remaining in Tibet to be quite approachable under the right circumstances - and some Western-bred dogs to be completely unapproachable.