There two types of Mastiffs dogs and if you want Tibetan Mastiffs as a pet companion for your home and family, then you need to know what kind of dog you want to adopt. There are two types of this Tibetan dog: the Tsang-Khyi and the Do-Khyi breeds. These two dog breeds have the same ancestors but have slightly different roles as a pet companion.
First things first, what are Tibetan Mastiffs and where did they originate? These dogs are originally from the region of Tibet, and the Tibetan people bred the dog to serve as a guard dog for individuals and their flock. There is little-documented history concerning this Tibetan dog breed, and it was only on the 19th that their history is on the record.
Despite the “Mastiff” term in the dog’s name, it is not an actual Mastiff. Various types of Mastiffs are real Mastiffs dog breeds like the Bullmastiff, English Mastiff or German Mastiff. These dogs have no relation with the Tibetan Mastiff dog except for the name. Despite being a large dog in size, its lifespan is long. Normally a large dog breed has a maximum of 9 years, but the Mastiff can live 10 to 14 years.
The Tibetan developed two types of Mastiff dog. There’s the Do-Khyi breed which accompanies Tibetan nomads and villagers and the Tsang-Khyi breed which is exclusively the companion of Buddhist monks and lamas. The Tsang-Khyi and the Do-Khyi breeds may have similar origins, but their role in human society and their physical traits are different from one another.
Do-Khyi Tibetan Dog
The Do-Khyi breed is a dog companion of the Tibetan villagers and nomads. The name Do-Khyi means “dogs which may be tied” in the Tibetan language. You can find these dogs living alongside the villagers who are their masters, while some accompany Tibetan nomads in their wanderings.
The primary purpose of the Do-Khyi breed is to guard the flock of their village or nomadic masters. Because of the dog’s role a guardian it tends to be very protective hence it is dangerous to enter the territory of its owner without permission.
If you want your Mastiff dog to behave and be friendly to strangers or other people, then your pet will need socialization training to curb its overprotective personality. A young Tibetan Mastiff dog needs Socialization training as soon as possible since an adult Mastiff is very hard to train.
Tibetan Mastiffs are big dogs, and pure breed Mastiffs tend to be bigger. According to one observer in 1880, a three-year-old pure breed Mastiff from its nose point to the root of its tail has a measurement of four feet. The three-year-old Mastiff’s height was two feet ten inches at its shoulders. Current Do-Khyi breeds are 2.2 feet in height for males while females are 2 feet.
A Do-Khyi’s double long thick coat comes in a variety of different colors. Colors like blue, black, brown and gold are the coat’s primary colors. Markings on the dog’s chest and feet are white. Some Do-Khyi Mastiffs have sable or brindle pattern in their coat.
Do-Khyis are not just in Tibet, but also in Mongolia and the region of the Himalayans. The dry climate high altitudes areas of these places are where the dog thrives.
Tsang-Khyi Tibetan Dog
The Do-Khyis are one of the types of Mastiffs that you can find in Tibet. The other dog breed is the Tsang-Khyi dog. The name Tsang-Khyi translates from Tibetan to the English language as “dog from Tsang, ” and unlike its Do-Khyi dog kindred it is a monastery dog.
The Tsang-Khyi resembles like a lion due to their size which is 26 to 31 inches at the shoulders and thick coat hair. The bones of the dog are heavier that a Do-Khyi and it has more wrinkles than its kin. Nomads and villagers in Tibet are the Do-Khyis masters while the Buddhist monks and lamas are the Tsang-Khyis masters. Some descriptions (which is recorded by Marco Polo) states that the “dogs are as big as a donkey.”
Unlike the Do-Khyi dog, the Tsang-Khyi dog guards the Buddhist monks and lamas themselves while the former guards flock along with livestock. Because of its particular role, the Tsang-Khyi is not suitable for outdoor work like guarding flock and cattle. The dog’s physical traits are what make it impractical as a working companion for nomads and villagers. Tibetan villagers along with nomads prefer a leaner dog that does not eat much as a guardian and the Do-Khyi dog for the job. Nevertheless, the Tsang-Khyi is still a guard dog and a primitive one as well. It will fiercely defend the monk or lama that is its master.
Some of the legends about the Tsang-Khyi states that these dogs are Rakshasas (demons in Buddhist lore) in disguise. Should a person threaten the safety of the monk or lama that the dog guards, the Rakshasa sheds its Tsang-Khyi disguise to protect its master. This legend does have a basis in truth. Another observer records that “the most savage dog we had yet seen. Like some monstrous, moth-eaten, four-legged, frothing gorilla, it had black pieces of wool hanging from its shoulders nearly to the ground. It was as big as any Saint Bernard.” From this description, you can see why the Tsang-Khyi is a formidable guard dog.
Currently, there are no Tsang-Khyis being bred as pets outside of Tibet. The Do-Khyi is the only Tibetan Mastiff dog that is a popular pet companion abroad. The Tsang-Khyi is only suited for dog owners who can afford to feed them and keep them indoors at their home. Most Tsang-Khyi dogs are gifts to a monastery as a merit reward for the giver.
That’s all the info about the Tsang-Khyi and the Do-Khyi breeds. The Mastiff dog breed that you choose as a pet depends on your preferences concerning dogs. If you want a large indoor dog and can afford to pay for large amounts of food to feed it, then the Tsang-Khyi is the dog for you. On the other hand, if you want a large lean dog that can guard your home and your family then the Do-Khyi is the Mastiff you seek.
Regardless of what types of Mastiffs you have be it a Do-Khyi or a Tsang-Khyi you need to train, socialize and housebreak the dog. The dog is brave, courageous, calm and loyal to its family as well as owner. However, the dog can be stubborn and independent as well as territorial. You need to be firm and confident when reining in the Mastiff’s behavior. But don’t be harsh with training and disciplining the dog so use encouragement and some loving instead.
One final thing to remember, make sure that you don’t buy a Tibetan Mastiff from a pet store, puppy mills, and breeder who don’t have health guarantees or clearances on their Mastiffs. The chances are high that the dog you’re getting has defects, genetic problems, and undesirable personality. Get a Mastiff from a breeder with a good reputation and credential to ensure that your future pet is a healthy dog.
Once you have your very own Mastiff, have fun training and caring for it. Sure taking of Mastiff can be a challenging experience, but it all will be worth it.