What You Should Know Before Getting a Tibetan Mastiff Puppy
Have you ever dreamt of having a pet bear? While owning a bear is illegal in most countries, Tibetan Mastiffs are the next best thing. Or, even better, one might say. These amazing dogs can offer everything you’d want from a dog – fun playtime, cozy snuggles, and a faithful and unyielding protector. Are they easy to take care of, however, or are there some things you should know before getting a Tibetan Mastiff?
What are the key characteristics that make Tibetan Mastiffs special?
Tibetan Mastiffs are a truly ancient dog breed. Skulls and skeletons of this breed have been found in human settlements ever since the Stone and Bronze Ages. So, Tibetan Mastiffs are not just “man’s best friend”, they are our oldest friends too!
And this shows in their behavior – Tibetan Mastiffs are incredibly social and love their human families very much. They are fun to play with and adorable to snuggle with.
And, of course – they are absolutely massive! This is very important as it leads to quite a few challenges that are specific to this breed.
The 9 things you should know before getting a Tibetan Mastiff
1. Tibetan Mastiffs are very intelligent and easy to train
As most working dog breeds, the Tibetan Mastiff is highly intelligent. This is fantastic for people who love to play and interact with their pets as you can teach your Tibetan Mastiff lots of games, tricks, and even working tasks.
There is one drawback to dogs with high intelligence that most people ignore, however, and that’s boredom. Breeds as intelligent as the Tibetan Mastiff need frequent mental stimulation and attention otherwise they can get bored, anxious, depressed, and even develop some destructive tendencies toward your furniture!
Needless to say, that’s not ideal, especially for such a massive and powerful breed!
What can you do?
Give your Tibetan pal as much attention and love as you can! Several hours of playtime per day are a must, both indoors and outdoors. And if or when you have to be outside, make sure that:
- You’ve exhausted your Tibetan Mastiff with exercise and playtime so he doesn’t get bored.
- You’ve left him plenty of toys and puzzles at home to keep busy with. Dog separation anxiety is no joke!
- You’ve made sure someone will keep him company, whether it’s another family member, a friend, or a dog walker.
Note, for that last point, that Tibetan Mastiffs can be distrustful toward strangers so you’ve got to pick and introduce your dog to his dog walker very carefully.
2. These gigantic dogs are not suitable for apartments
If you live in an apartment you should probably forget about getting a Tibetan Mastiff. The average male Tibetan Mastiff can easily get as tall as 26 inches or 66 cm and as heavy as 150 pounds or 68 kg!
Even if you have a large apartment or condo, you’ll still need to make sure that it’s spaciously furnished too. Otherwise, your pet bear won’t have enough space to move around and will constantly be knocking stuff down.
Additionally, why Tibetan Mastiffs are not the most hyperactive breed, they still need a fair amount of outdoor exercise, so a house with a fenced yard is a must.
Note that the yard has to be fenced, however – while Tibetan Mastiffs are not the best jumpers, they are so massive and strong that they can get through most inadequate fences.
3. This breed is calm at home and playful outside
Tibetan Mastiffs are very energetic and playful animals but they are also relatively calm and gentle when they are home. This is a perfect combination for most people who want an active pet to play with but also don’t want their home destroyed by these Tibetan bears!
4. While they look like fluffy bears, Tibetan Mastiffs don’t shed as much as you might think
Unlike many other double-coated furry breeds, the Tibetan Mastiffs don’t shed that much and are relatively easy to groom.
What does this mean, how “relatively easy” is it to grom them?
Weekly brushing is usually for this breed and baths are typically only necessary when they’ve got especially dirty outside. Avoid clipping or shaving their coats tho – they need them to protect their sensitive skin.
As for shedding, male Mastiffs typically blow their coats only once per year and females sometimes do it twice. In those 1-2 months, you can expect a LOT of loose dog hair in the air but the rest of the time things should be fine.
5. The Tibetan Mastiff is not a fan of strangers
While they’re not dedicated guard dogs, Tibetan Mastiffs are still uneasy with strangers. This may sound a bit superfluous at first but it’s arguably one of the most important things you should keep in mind with this breed.
Because they are massive and incredibly powerful. So, if you don’t address their distrust toward strangers as soon as possible, you can expect some accidents to happen.
What can I do?
Socializing your pup while he’s still young and small is an absolute must. This means introducing him to strangers, guests, kids, and other pets basically every day for the first few months. Make sure that each of these introductions is pleasant for the dog too! This will achieve two things:
Your Tibetan Mastiff will learn who your friends are and know to trust them.
The dog will also understand that meeting new people and inviting them into your home is not a bad thing.
Even after proper socialization, you can still expect a Tibetan Mastiff to be uneasy with guests so you should be careful. But if the dog isn’t even socialized well then inviting guests at home at all may be a bad idea.
6. This loyal and gentle breed is great with kids – as long as they are a part of the family
As with any other breed, you’ll need to know how to introduce your pet to a baby and vice versa. Once the proper introductions are done, however, Tibetan Mastiffs are incredibly gentle and loving toward kids from their own “pack”.
This last part is crucial, however, as Tibetan Mastiffs can be as distrustful toward other people’s kids as they are toward other people in general. So, inviting kids at home to play with your child can be tricky or even dangerous if you haven’t trained your Mastiff properly. Even then, constant supervision is basically a must.
7. These dogs have absurdly powerful jaws and love to chew
Like most other Mastiff breeds, the Tibetan Mastiff has an incredibly powerful bite – over 550 PSI (pounds per square inch) by most estimations.
What does this mean for you if you only want ya Tibetan as a pet?
Naturally, if you want a Tibetan as a family pet you’re not picking this breed for its bite force. However, it’s still something you should be mindful of. These dogs are easily powerful enough to chew through wooden doors, chain link fences, and even break through concrete!
So, as we mentioned above – training is an absolute must with this breed.
8. Female Mastiffs usually have only one heat cycle
If you don’t intend on spraying or neutering your Tibetan and you actually want to reproduce him/her, you should know that this is a tricky process. Tibetans mature very slowly and usually reach “adult status” after 3-5 years of growth. Females, in particular, often have only one or, at most, two heat cycles in their lifetime. So, getting new Tibetan puppies from your own dog can take some careful planning.
9. Tibetan Mastiffs are moderately healthy but have a few common health issues you’d need to watch out for
As one of the oldest dog breeds in the world, Tibetan Mastiffs don’t have too many genetic problems due to inadequate and unethical breeding techniques. That being said, they do suffer from some health issues from time to time. The most common problems to look out for include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Thyroid problems
- Ear infections
- Skin conditions
- Canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy (CIDN)
To avoid these and other problems you should make sure that you get your Tibetan puppy from a reputable breeder. When you do so, always ask for a health certificate for both the pup and its parents – this way you can ensure that you’re getting a dog from a healthy stock.
After that, it’s all a matter of good care, monitoring for symptoms, and going on routine vet check-ups.
Who are Tibetan Mastiffs “right” for?
Tibetan Mastiffs are fantastic dogs and make for phenomenal family pets. They do require an experienced owner, however, as training and socializing them is absolutely crucial. So, Tibetan Mastiffs are first and foremost recommended for people with experience.
The next most important criterion is the physical space you have available – if you don’t have a large and spacious home with a big and fenced yard, you should probably get a smaller dog.
How to prepare for getting a Tibetan Mastiff?
Since space and experience are the two most important things for owners of Tibetan Mastiffs, your priority should be to maximize them before you get such a dog. If you haven’t owned a dog before but you are adamant about getting a Tibetan Mastiff, get as much know-how as you can beforehand. If you need to refurbish your home or fence your yard – do so.
Aside from that, Tibetan Mastiffs are just like any other dog. Except bigger!