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 About  Tibetan mastiffs

As The Book puts: A dog that is four Chinese feet long is a mastiff ", according to records of natural science, A dog that is four Chinese feet long is a mastiff, historical records of noble family: First mastiff dogs were called mastiffs, translated as wave in Shuowenjiezi, which means that the dogs that are at large are mastiffs, all the above help arrive at the conclusion: the fierce and intelligent dogs in great height and bit size can be called mastiffs.

Tibetan mastiffs----in ancient times enjoyed reputation of roaring-to-sky dogs, are also called Tibetan mastiffs, Foreign mastiffs, it is called " DoKhyi" in Tibetan dialect, meaning " the dog that is to be tied". They belong to the dog section, ranked as the second-class animals under the protection of the law, the national treasure, and one of the rare dogs of world. 

Tibetan mastiffs grow in China's Qingzang plateau of 3000-5000 meters high in altitude, in high and cold districts, they are generally accepted as the oldest and the rarest dogs in the world, whose characteristic is" as big as donkey, when running they are as swift as the tiger, roaring as loud as the lion, with good looking". There is the ancient parlance of " nine dogs equal to one mastiff ". they are considered the person's escort dog and the protective deity. In the endless blood mixis of the dog they played great function as the ancestry of many dogs in large size in the world, and being the unique dog unafraid of wild beast as put in the parlance of" one mastiff equals to three wolves", so Tibetan mastiff also enjoys the reputation of " the world breeding dog" and " eastern deity dog". The earliest records concerning mastiffs is in about 1121 BC., when a race leader in  western region of China gave it to the emperor Wu, its name was NGAU. This dog is four Chinese feet high, and was trained to hunt colored-skin mankind. 

But the earliest records about Tibetan mastiff is in the tourist notes by the well-know Marco Polo. In 1257 AD., he arrived in China. In Szechwan he met for the first time Tibetan local people and "dog from Tibet". He described that local people there bred such huge dogs, so fierce and brave, with size as big as donkey, barks as loud as the lion roars loud enough to shake hills and mountains. This story about Tibetan dogs first got published in 1300 AD., and Marco Polo became the first Westener to own a big dog from Tibet", and the dog the first to enter Europe. 

In 1774 AD., the British envoy once came to Tibet. He recalled in his memory: Once at Bhutan and boundary of Tibet he had caught sight of the Tibetan dog," huge, fierce and strong dog". 

The British zoologist £ңΣȣϣģǣӣϣ in 1842 AD. recorded in his book: Tibetan dogs are of various colors such as black, black brown, deep brown and more or less spots. 

 Genghis Khan once organized an army corps of 30,000 Tibetan mastiffs in his West marching, which army corps accomplished great success , and afterwards some mastiffs were discarded in the region, becoming the ancestor of various dogs. 

To investigate the origin of mastiffs, we have to take into consideration the ruthless survival environment of Tibetan mastiffs. In history, Tibet was a wide but sparsely populated area, isolated from the outside world for a long time; the local people believe in Tibetan Buddhist doctrine of being king to others and ahimsa, which is why the wildlife there can multiply greatly, wolf, fox, snow pig, snow leopard can be seen very easily. Tibetan mastiff that lives in this kind of environment is almost in half-wild state, giving them enough opportunities to prey for many wild animals, and to obtain the ample nourishment. Furthermore, frequent appearances of wild beast such as wolf and leopard also make it possible for them to have the important position in people's live because of their ability to fight against the attack from  wild beasts and their fierce temperament and strong physiques. Hence they get the reputation of "combining three beauties" and" having five virtues". 

" Three beauties" are: stern verve, the body mould of the stone carving, bold appearance as a head of all beasts. 

" Five virtues" refer to : abilities to herd horses, cows and sheep, to understand the host, to know good luck and disaster, to climb over ten thousand miles of snow mountain; they are seen by Living Buddha as his "personal mount" in reincarnation, by herd people as a faithful companion called " a dog from Heaven ". 

Along with change of time and the change of the history, Tibetan mastiffs distribute now mainly in the large nomad's areas, and foundamental number is decreasing year by year, in addition to the increase of both domestic and international demands, they are faced with a worsening survival crisis. It is estimated that now in the whole world there are about 300,000 mastiffs, but that of pure breed is very rare. It is incompletely estimated that in the United States the number is under 20, and Chinese Taiwanese fewer than 10, and the pure-bred mastiff nearly dies out. 

The existing problem of mastiff's survival has already caused extensive concern of the society. The condition that allowed mastiffs to grow and perish by itself has already got improved, and pure-bred mastiff breeding has also received much attention. Crying for the protecting mastiffs is getting increasingly louder, and there are more and more activities for protecting mastiffs. It is believable that by means of so many changes, there will be more and more people joining in the movement of caring for and protecting mastiffs.

Which type of dog do Tibetan mastiffs belong to

Tibetan mastiffs are thought to belong to nurse dogs. They were used to protect property and to herd sheep at the beginning, because they are fearful, powerful, swift and loyal to family in nature.Afterwards they were used to guard particular places, to defend  the monastery as the contribution , palaces and official residences, etc.. 

10 questions about Tibetan mastiff

1 Is Tibetan mastiff exclusive in Tibet? 
No. In China, there are mastiffs in regions such as Tibet, Qinghai, Szechwan, and Gansu provinces.

2 Is Tibetan mastiff as big as donkey in size? 
"Its body is as big as donkey, it roars as loud as lion," is what has been said about mastiff in
Marco Polos Travel Notes. But from the contrast between the photographs of mastiffs in earlier period and reference materials, together with inquiring members of geological team and senior citizens who have lived for long time in Tibet, we know that mastiff's body is not as great as donkey", possibly it is only a biggest dog Marco Polo saw. 

3Are Tibetan mastiffs and Tibetan dogs of the same kind? 
Mastiff is a kind of fierce dog in big size. " The dog that is four Chinese feet long is mastiff " ( from
Chinese big thesaurus ), so to call it mastiff is a kind of title given to a fierce dog; to distinguish Tibetan mastiff from Tibetan dog by the hair length, form of mouth, and color of the hair, etc. is not accurate, as mastiff is not an alternative dog. 

4 Does mastiff know only one host? 
These writings that appeared in the media as "mastiff knows only one host and even bites the host " obviously shows that the authors have no experience in feeding or that they have never bred mastiff at all. A dog biting its host can happen on any kind of dogs, we shouldn't regard the part as the whole; even to an adult mastiff, you will get along well with it so long as work hard to communicate with it. 

5Is there any wild Tibetan mastiffs? 
 Claims like " having seen herds of wild mastiffs in Tibetan areas; There is mastiff of superior quality in the unmanned areas " are totally false. Tibetan mastiff is similar to other house dogs in that it is to depend on mankind to survive, so in the unmanned areas there can't be any dogs, a few wild dogs seen occasionally are discarded by the folk people 

6Is it true that the bigger Tibetan mastiffs are in size, the heavier they are? 
The weight of an excellent mastiff is proportional to its figures, and a Tibetan mastiff should be strong and healthy not big and fleshy. An excellent male mastiff that is 68-75cm long should weigh 50-75 kilograms. A typical adult male mastiff should, when standing, be 68cm in height (from the ground to the height of its scapula, excluding hair length and thickness), about 50 kilograms in weight; an adult female mastiff is usually 63cm in height and 40kg in weight. Only a few male dogs can reach the height of 74cm, and extremely fewer can reach the height of more than 77cm. The weight of mastiff is not fixed, because they are affected by many factors, but healthy mastiff of in this height can weigh as much as 68-80 kilograms, some females in large size can reach the height of over 68cm and the weight of more than 62 kilograms. Although Tibetan mastiffs of more than 80cm higher and more than 80 kilograms heavier are claimed to have been spotted, there have no evidences of pictures nor documents to prove that! 

7Are mastiffs' bowlder eyes very precious? 
The bowlder eyes are not precious, in fact it is just a kind of heredity blemish

8Is it for the sake of beauty to put a red chaplet on it? 
Tibetan mastiffs that folk people breed mostly wear a chaplet, since it is the symbol of good luck, some even wear red packet of grains. 

9Is there any best" sample" of Tibetan mastiff? 
Some fanciers usually set one mastiff as the sample only. It is clear that the qualities of Tibetan mastiffs are different in different regions, for example, Tibetan mastiffs in Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet have their own characteristics. In addition, don't trust experts entirely. Simply speaking from the angle of breeding, because the heredity gene of mastiff is very unsteady, it can be a long way to stabilize the heredity gene. 

10Which kind of dog does Tibetan mastiff belong to? Tibetan mastiff should belong to house dog. It was kept to protect the property and to nurse herds at the beginning, because they are fearful, powerful, speedy and loyal to the family; later, they are kept to guard particular places, and to guard fanes and palaces and official residence devoted by Tibetan folk people as contribution. 


(c)2006 Shanxi Longcheng Tibetan Mastiff