Aradhya loves sharing information about wildlife, animals and pets—especially dogs.
Tibetan mastiffs are ancient domesticated dogs. These dogs are large, strong, and powerful mountain dogs whose traditional purpose was to protect livestock and help for herding. They look like a lion, and nowadays, Tibetan mastiffs are one of the most demanded dogs in Asian and European countries and are a trending fashion and status symbol in China, which makes their price quite high. But if you want to adopt a Tibetan mastiff, some other factors must be considered apart from their demand, status, price and lion-like appearance. You must consider their nature, temperament, living, and grooming requirements. Only then may you decide whether they are really suitable for you.
Tibetan mastiffs are courageous, fearless, tempered, and intelligent dogs and very loyal to their family and owner. But they are not very friendly to other pets and strangers. They are also stubborn, strong willed, and dominant dogs that need lot of physical exercise and daily walks. Tibetan mastiffs are not well adapted to apartment living, they are excellent door guards, but don't like to be indoors and they need a very confident and firm owner to prevent them becoming wilful and stubborn. They are not recommended for inexperienced or weak owners.
These dogs are mountain dogs and suitable for cold weather, but they don’t do well in warm weather. Also, their availability is not common and pure breed dogs are not available at many places. But still, many people are fascinated with Tibetan mastiffs and really want to have them. For such people, it’s advisable to check for other breeds that look very similar to this breed. This article covers other breeds from which you can choose from.
1: Nepali Mountain Dog or Himalayan Sheep Dog
Nepali sheep dogs are native to Nepal and are related to Tibetan mastiffs. They are very popular and demanded in India, Pakistan, and Bhutan. These dogs are very alert, intelligent, and can be an excellent guard dog. Nepali sheep dogs are also known as Himalayan sheep dogs or Bhotia mastiffs. Bhotia should not be confused with Bhutan's Bhutia sheep dog.
Nepali sheep dogs are available only in India and Nepal. These giant dogs are very powerful and courageous, and they need lot of outdoor exercise. Like Tibetan mastiffs, they are also very dominant and territorial dogs and not suitable for apartment living or for first time owners. They are herding category dogs, but they are very much appreciated as a working or companion dog. Compared to Tibetan mastiffs, this breed is smaller and friendlier.
Nepali Mountain Dog VS Tibetan Mastiff
|Nepali Sheep Dog||Tibetan Mastiff|
21 to 28 inches
61 to 72 cm
32 to 48 kg.
61 to 72 kg
Friendly, playfull, loyal
Fearless, aggressive, protective, intelligent
10 - 13 yrs
10 - 14 yrs
2: Bangar Mastiff
This distinct breed was developed recently in an Indian town called Tehri Garhwal. The part of town where they were developed is known as Banger, which is where they got their name Bangar mastiff or Bangara mastiff.
In 1963, a retired Indian army major, W.V. Soman, was asked to act as a judge at a dog show in Mumbai. He noticed that all the dogs on show were imported pedigree breeds and he didn’t find a single native Indian dog breed. He set about changing this by publishing a detailed list of Indian breeds, stating, "My work will only be fulfilled if we see the pedigreed dogs of Indian origin in dog shows in India." Later, he created these native Indian mastiff dogs. Native Bhotia dogs were the genetic source for these dogs. Those dogs were used by local people for herding yak, sheep ,and to protect the villagers from ferocious wild animals like leopards and wolves.
Bangar mastiff dogs are very friendly, alert, courageous, and very loyal to their owner and family. They have very similar muzzles like Tibetan mastiffs but are comparatively less hairy and smaller in size. They are well suitable to apartment living and very friendly towards other pets and guests, but must be well socialized at an early stage.
Bangar Mastiff Vs Tibetan Mastiff
|Bnagara Mastiff||Tibetan Mastiff|
India, Bangar District
22 to 26 inches
61 to 72 cm.
36 to 48 Kg
61 to 71 Kg.
Low or Average
Loyal, protective, gentle
Fearless, aggressive, and protective
12 - 15 years
10 to 14 years
3: Indigenous Mastiff or Himalayan Guard Dog
Himalayan mastiffs are native Indian dogs from the region of Himalaya. They are also known as a Himalayan guard dog or indigenous Tibetan mastiff. These dogs could be located in the Laddakh region of Himalaya. They look very similar to Tibetan mastiffs but their behaviour is entirely different. Indigenous mastiffs are calm and lovable dogs who love to please their master and their companions and like to be around its owners and family.
Usually, they are very friendly and gentle, but if something goes wrong, they could be very ferocious. They are very courageous and dynamic warriors, who are known to fight till death. A full grown male Himalayan mastiff is capable if taking down two wolves alone. Himalayan mastiffs are very devoted to their owner and very protective to their family. They are reserved with other pets and dogs and don't like their company much. They have long, dry, double-coated fur and are available in colours black, black with yellow tans, red, dark grey, or grey black tanned. Some rare dogs have mixed colours but white colour is not common.
Tibetan Mastiff vs Himalayan Indigenous Mastiff
|Indigenous Mastiff||Tibetan Mastiff|
28 - 38 Inches
61 -72 cm
60 + Kg,up to 90 kg
42 - 62 Kg
Friendly, loyal, alert, courageous
Fearless, aggressive, protective
10 - 12+ Yrs
10 - 14 Yrs
4: Gaddi Kutta or Indian Panther Hound
Gaddi dogs are native Indian dogs from the Himachal state of North India. They are considered to be one of the oldest descendants of Tibetan mastiffs. Gaddi dogs were bred for hunting purposes, but multi-talented Gaddi dog are widely used by local shepherds, mostly by the Gaddis (the tribe of the same name). These dogs are reputed to be strong enough to repulse attacks by snow leopards and are very intelligent to herd stray sheep and goats back to their pens. Gaddi dogs are also called Mahidant mastiffs, Indian leopard hounds, and Bhotia dogs.
These dogs are not as giant and powerful like Tibetan mastiffs. However, Gaddi dogs have higher stamina, speed, and entirely different personalities and temperament. They are gentle, calm, friendly, intelligent and very alert, loyal, and protective of their family.
Tibetan Mastiff Vs Gaddi Kutta
|Gaddi Dog||Tibetan Mastiff|
22 - 28 inches
24 - 29 inches
28 - 38 Kg
60 - 71 Kg
Friendly, intelligent, active, protective, very athletic
Fearless, aggressive, protective
10 - 13 Yrs
10 - 14 Yrs
5: Pyrenean Mountain Dog
Pyranian mountain dogs are natives of Spain. They are from the southern slopes of the Pyrenees mountain from where they got their name. They are also known as great Pyrenees, chien de montagne des Pyrenees, or Pyrenean mastiffs. They are mostly available in a white colour and have a thick undercoat and coarser outer coat. Pyrenean dogs are strong, huge, elegant and gentle, well balanced, and have powerful rear legs. Asiatic mastiffs are their genetic source and they share a lot of similarities with them.
Pyranian mountain dogs were domesticated and endorsed by Spanish people to guard sheep and assist in herding. Only five to six Pyranian dogs were able to herd about 1000 sheep. This breed was kept under observation as they were endangered and on high alert to be extinct.Fortunately, they are now growing and are out of being endangered.
Tibetan Mastiff Vs Pyrenean Mastiff
|Pyrenean Mastiff||Tibetan Mastiff|
28 - 34 Inches
24 - 29 Inches
42 - 60 Kg.
60 - 71 Kg
Intelligent, elegance and gentle
Fearless, aggressive, protective
8 - 13 yrs
10 - 14 Yrs.
6: Caucasian Mountain Dog
These dogs originate from a Russian region called Caucasus. They were commonly used to protect flocks as well as premises against wolves and other wild animals and strangers in the mountains of Caucasus. This is where they got their name Caucasian mastiff or Caucasian mountain dog. They are well recognised with other names like zhaul zhali (Chechen, Ingush).
They are very dominant dogs and need an owner with an alpha character. Even though they are very protective of their family and owner, they can be extremely wilful dogs and usually can’t be trusted with strangers or guests. They may have aggressive behaviour toward strangers. These mountain dogs have very strong and powerful muzzles and are a courageous, strong, and active dog. They don't tolerate dogs or pets into their territories, and they are well known for dog fights and wolf hunting. These dogs are strictly not recommended for apartment life as they need lot of exercise and early socialization. Otherwise, they can become disparaging, vicious, and aggressive.
Tibetan Mastiff Vs Caucasian Mountain Dog
|Caucasian Mastiff||Tibetan Mastiff|
Russia, Caucasian Mountains
25 - 32 Inches
24 - 29 Inches
50 - 62 Kgs
60 - 72 Kgs
Aggressive, Courageous, Alert
Fearless, Aggressive, Protecive
9 - 13 Yrs
10 -14 yrs
7: Newfoundland Dog
Newfoundlands are giant and gentle dogs of the working category, originating from Newfoundland, Canada. Most kennel clubs accept only black, white, and black colored Newfoundlands, but some dogs are also available in brown and grey colors. Basically, they were created and groomed as a working dog for pulling nets for fisherman and hauling wood from the forest.
To perform their assignments, they have to be a good swimmer, strong, and sturdy. And that's the basic nature of Newfoundland dogs. They are excellent swimmers, obedient, and responsive. Newfoundland dogs make a good family pet.
Newfoundland vs Tibetan Mastiff
|Newfoundland Dog||Tibetan Mastiff|
21 - 28 inches
24 - 29 Inches
45 - 70 kg
60 -72 kg
Fearless, agressive, protective
8 - 10 years
10 - 14 years
Dogs Like Tibetan Mastiff
© 2014 ARADHYA
Claudia on February 22, 2020:
Why putting photos in this article with the way overbreeded Tibetan mastiff? The TM with the Newfoundland dog have nothing to do with a original TM.
ARADHYA (author) on July 06, 2018:
Actually Bangar Mastiffs are developed from Bhotia dogs. But they are a separate breed. Request you to read their history.
Gaurav on June 24, 2018:
Bangar Mastiff is no different breed .
It is the Bhotia dog only. I'm from Tehri Garhwal and Bhotia dogs are common all across Uttarakhand.
The only variation I've seen is that some have long coat while some have short.
ARADHYA (author) on May 01, 2018:
Thanks dear Sarah!
sarah on April 25, 2018:
thank you so much for posting some awesome photos of these wonderful breeds. it means a lot to us all in such circumstances. the videos are great for those who decide on which dog breed they should be looking for and l hope this website helps them along with finding the right pooch .
ARADHYA (author) on May 01, 2017:
Hi Ashish Mokana,
Thanks for sharing the link for nice videos for Indigenous dogs. They are really great dogs.
Ashish Mokana on April 30, 2017:
Thanks for your reply. It was nice knowing that you have been in Nepal and your love with the indigenous dogs. Check out the video of pictures of tibetan mastiffs found in Nepal.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdHFkQ1d2x0
ARADHYA (author) on April 23, 2017:
First thanks for stopping by and reading my article.
I too have been in Nepal for 2 months vacation i spent time in Pokhara, Kathmandu and other tracking places.
As dogs are my interest, i was observing closely all the stray and pet dogs.
I agree "in Nepal, the numbers of pure tibetan mastiff are dropping"
I remember I saw, a full grown black dog roaming freely on street that was much bigger and hairy than most of other dogs.
When i enquired about that dog from locals,
they told me these dogs are known here as "Pahari kukur".
And they are like that (Tibetan mastiffs), but now days .. those dogs are dropping there demand and population. But Don't know why.
Deffinitly they are intelligent, gently and healthy dogs - but they are courageous and strong- so they are commonly mistaken as aggressive.
Which is completely wrong. But yes they are strong, courageous, and protective and need a good socialization at early stage.
Ashish Mokana on April 21, 2017:
I am from Nepal and have seen the most of the dogs described by you. I don't agree because tibetan mastiff currently seen and sold is not a pure dog and has been widely mixed with other breeds (hairy) to look like a lion and bigger. If you check the photo of pure tibetan mastiff 20 years back, they look lot different.
Secondly, nepal sheep dog, bangar mastiff, indigenous mastiff and gaddi are similar dogs. In Nepal, we can still see the bhote kukur (tibetan mastiff) in pure forms in remote high altitude areas where there are no any other breed of dogs. The bhote kukurs are used by yak and cattle herders. The size of these dogs vary as they were not selectively bred like in west but mostly the sheep herders use more agile, smaller and clever dog for their purpose. The larger dogs are kept for guarding home which are few as they don't serve much purpose. The coat also varies as per altitude.
However, in Nepal, the numbers of pure tibetan mastiff are dropping, as they get mixed with other imported breed of dogs and become mutt in areas where the roads are easily accessible.
So understanding and preservation are must for these breeds.
ARADHYA (author) on August 06, 2014:
Anusha Jain from Delhi, India on August 06, 2014:
Really good work on this one. Interesting as well as useful information :)
ARADHYA (author) on August 05, 2014:
Every one has own interest or need for having pet.
If you like a dog for protection and guard. Then deff. these dogs are the best choice. :).
Katina Davenport from Michigan on August 05, 2014:
Very intimidating looking dogs. I would hate to burglarize a home where those dogs are. Great information. Voted up.
TIBETAN MASTIFF ! A POWERFUL DOG BREED
DOG BREEDSWorking Dogs
Tibetan Mastiff a powerful, heavy, but athletic dog breed like a Great Dane, but he is built to combine strength and agility. The body of the dog is slightly longer than they are tall. Their walk is slow and deliberate, while its trot is powerful and light-footed.
Originally this dog is used as guard dogs for livestock and property, Tibetan Mastiffs can still be found performing that role, but they also enjoy life as a family companion and show dog like Mastiff.
Also Check : Bull Mastiff !
- Life expectancy: 11 – 14 years
- Origin: Tibet(China) / Nepal
- Temperament: Intelligent, Independent, Reserved
- Height: Male: 25–26 Inches, Female: 20–24 Inches
- Weight: Male: 90–150 pounds, Female: 70–120 pounds
- Colors: Black, Black & Tan, Brown, Brown & Tan, Red Gold, Blue gray
- Group:working Group
Tibetan Mastiff – guard dog or family pet?
Is a Tibetan Mastiff better as a guard dog than a family pet?
Or, can this gentle giant also be happy in the house?
In short, the Tibetan Mastiff is a special dog which requires a specific home environment in order to thrive.
They are not recommended for novice dog owners.
These dogs tend to be territorial because of their guard dog breeding.
And their strong-willed nature may make it harder to get them to do what you want.
Proper socialization and training can help to squelch some of a Tibetan Mastiff’s territorial behavior.
But again, their independent personality type may make this easier said than done.
Giving them a job to do which puts their instincts to good use can also help to direct their behavior appropriately.
However, a Tibetan Mastiff who isn’t socialized from a young age may very well become aggressive and potentially dangerous to humans.
Aggression toward other dogs and animals may also be amplified and prevent them from being housed with other dogs.
A Tibetan Mastiff is possibly better suited to being a guard dog than a family pet.
Best Mastiff Dog Breeds
Though rare, there are more mastiff dogs than presented in this list. In addition, there are those that have gone extinct many years ago. Let us know in the comments section below, which of these mastiff breeds are your favorite?
1. Tibetan Mastiff
Highlights: Brave, Independent, Reserved
One of the biggest dog breeds in the world, the Tibetan Mastiff personifies nobility. Although they give off the impression of being aloof, never mistake this for docility, especially if you are a stranger wandering on their territory.
Tibetan Mastiffs love being independent, and make it evident to their owners. So, do not waste your time throwing objects and expecting them to fetch. Instead, take them out for a long walk twice a day, and chart a fresh route every time.
While providing a dose of adventure, the practice also prevents them from becoming territorial. Inherently strong-willed, they can wander off if left unattended in the backyard. And to earn their loyalty and respect, treat them as equals and maintain consistency.
Highlights: Loving, Devoted, Courageous
Quiet but alert, the Bullmastiff is easily the best home-protector. For a working family, this cross-breed of a Bulldog and a Mastiff is an ideal option. They can stay alone at home for hours at a stretch. Nor do they require much grooming.
With a Bullmastiff around, be prepared to wipe the drool frequently. Past the slobber, the canine turns out to be truly trustworthy and affectionate. Confident by nature, Bullmastiffs can assume charge unless handled with firmness and consistency.
And despite being mellow, they are far from lazy while often excelling in agility competitions. The hybrid is particularly heat sensitive, so hot and humid weather can lead to heatstroke and severe exhaustion. As such, they should remain indoors when its hot.
3. English Mastiff
Highlights: Dignified, Confident, Good-natured
Big and burly, the iconic English Mastiff is just as soft within. Never creep up on this dog unless you wish to be knocked over. And while they’re always vigilant, English Mastiffs are also truly sensitive and resent loneliness.
These dogs value the family, and do not mind space constraints as long as the owners are around to provide daily exercise. Constant drooling comes as a part of the package with the English Mastiff. So does flatulence, though this can be minimized through diet options.
This Mastiff also snores and grunts, which is something you must accept. Their apricot, fawn or brindle coats shed sufficiently to warrant regular cleaning. On the bright side, they’re a loyal dog breed that seldom barks.
4. Argentinian Mastiff
Highlights: Friendly, Happy, Respectful
More famously known as the Dogo Argentino, the Argentinian Mastiff is the descendant of the Cordoba Fighting Dog. Large and muscular, this canine makes an ideal big-game hunter that can overwhelm even aggressive boars.
But after having finished with the hunt, they instantly transform into happy family-loving dogs. Argentinian Mastiffs value their independence, but respond well to positive training. That being said, they treat smaller animals as prey, unless socialized from an early age.
This breed requires daily exercise – both physical and mental. Invest in a lint roller because Argentinian Mastiffs shed moderately. Otherwise their short white coat looks neat with regular brushing and occasional bathing.
5. Dogue de Bordeaux
Highlights: Affectionate, Kind, Courageous
Nicknamed the DDB, this Mastiff breed is a perfect option for a family with older kids. Being a gregarious dog, they belong with people in a loving home. No matter what might be going on at home, they manage to remain calm and collected.
However, much of the calmness dissipates as soon as an intruder arrives. Physically, a Dogue de Bordeaux balances a massive head on a muscular physique. Particularly eye catching are the deep facial wrinkles that bear a serious but inquisitive and comical expression.
Although massive dogs, the breed cannot withstand extreme temperatures. They also require consistent training and plenty of socializing to be able to accept smaller animals, children and strangers. Still, they’re formidable guard dogs.
6. German Mastiff
Highlights: Loving, Gentle, Reserved
Popularly known as the Great Dane, German Mastiffs stand tallest among all canines. They are kind-hearted, loyal and affectionate, making them a great option for all families. Though, you’ll still want to supervise their interactions with small kids.
Gentle Giants that they are, German Mastiffs sport a muscular build. Their short thick coats range from lighter hues like brindle and fawn to dark shades, like black, blue or harlequin. In this breed, the eye color matches that of the coat.
With medium-length ears that may or may not be cropped, the German Mastiff will require much grooming. From coat-brushing and nail-trimming, the obedient canine enjoys it all. But do keep a vacuum cleaner handy because they shed in moderation.
7. Alangu Mastiff
Highlights: Fierce, Protective, Confident
Known as the mighty Bully Kutta, Alangu Mastiffs excel as guard dogs. Native to India, they are inherently muscular, agile and sharp. This mastiff dog revels in protecting livestock for farmers who take command.
However, due to their aggressive streak, they are not recommended for first-time dog owners. Alangu Mastiffs sport a short coat which could be fawn, brindle or red. Bathing this breed can be rather fun – simply hose them down in the backyard for a quick wash.
Alternatively, sponge it with a damp cloth, paying special attention to their paws. Overall, this mastiff breed enjoys good health. Still, age-related blindness and arthritis are some concerns that the owners must look out for.
8. Abruzzese Mastiff
Highlights: Friendly, Brave, Even-tempered
An Abruzzese Mastiff loves having a purpose. They could vary from running a simple errand to something more responsible, such as herding and protecting livestock. Not having any chore will make this canine restless and anxious.
Maybe this is why they prefer wide open spaces to cramped urban settings. But with the right environment, they tend to get along well with humans. Sporting a thick white coat developed for high altitudes, Abruzzese Mastiffs will require intensive grooming.
Courtesy an independent lineage, the breed dislikes being “ordered” around. Instead, make it seem as though you’re entrusting them with a task. Give them a point of focus and keep them occupied, particularly when they are indoors.
9. American Mastiff
Highlights: Proud, Protective, Calm
Dignified is how the slightly shy American Mastiff may come off. Despite the huge build, this dog stops short of being aggressive. At the same time, they can be very protective towards the family. So, even the slightest hint of threat triggers their combative instinct.
The breed comes in apricot, brindle or fawn colors. There may or may not be white markings on their feet, chest, chin or nose. Particularly distinct are their amber eyes, rounded ears and wide rectangular head (as seen with many mastiffs).
However, features that set this mastiff apart from others are the relatively tight skin and a dry mouth. With an American Mastiff, establish yourself as the head of the pack. Having set the hierarchy, be consistent and the good-natured dog will oblige.
10. Dutch Mastiff
Highlights: Playful, Charming, Sociable
I had to throw in this curve ball because it’s ironically funny. Despite the name, the Dutch Mastiff is neither Dutch nor a Mastiff. Rather, it’s the Chinese Pug. Though having originated from China, they do share their lineage with the Tibetan Mastiff.
When these dogs first appeared in the Netherlands, they were called Dutch Mastiffs or Dwarf Mastiffs. Of course, they’re not your typical “mastiff” dogs. However, they were called this due to the mastiff-like wrinkles and body contours.
Not exactly athletic, the Dutch Mastiff enjoys short walks to remain fit. In the home, they will be loving and intelligent with a mild temperament. After all, they were bred to be lap dogs by the Chinese royalty, so they’re happiest in your lap.
11. Brazilian Mastiff
Highlights: Protective, Obedient, Strong-willed
Known as Fila Brasileiro, the Brazilian Mastiff walks with a straight-backed camel gait. Fila, a Portuguese word, translates to “hold, arrest, grab.” True to their name, these dogs will hunt by grabbing, holding and arresting the prey.
Another Portuguese word associated with them is “ojeriza,” meaning highly distrustful, which they are. As such, the phrase that best describes this large-eared breed is “as Faithful as Fila,” which indicates the strong protective instinct of this mastiff.
Their desire to protect is so intense that even early socializing will have minimal impact. That said, they do not fit well with most families. A distinctive feature of a Brazilian Mastiff is a band of white on an otherwise fawn, brindle or black loose-fitting coat.
12. Caucasian Shepherd
Highlights: Dominant, Calm, Alert
Bold, sturdy and sharp, the Caucasian Shepherd comes across as the ideal protector. And for many generations, this mastiff dog breed has assisted shepherds in the Caucasus Mountains to herd and guard livestock.
Nowadays, this protective streak expresses itself through guard duty work with the military or the police personnel. Even so, training this independent and intelligent dog isn’t a walk in the park. It should be entrusted to someone highly experienced.
The mastiff breed sports a double coat which could be long, short or medium. Color options range from solid white and cream to fawn, tan or red. Their distinctive features include white markings against a dark coat and a dark facial mask.
13. Canary Mastiff
Highlights: Determined, Calm, Courageous
True to the Molosser lineage, Canary Mastiffs sport a muscular physique. Thanks to their short coat and graceful gait, this mastiff breed is often described as cat-like. Balanced and confident with owners, they can just as easily turn aggressive towards strangers.
Presa Canarios, as they are typically called, require daily exercise to stay fit. From casual walks to games and agility training, the canine enjoys physical activity both indoor and outdoor. Since they are prone to obesity, pay extra attention to their diet.
Canary Mastiffs need an occasional bath, as with most double-coated mastiffs. But their nails grow very fast and must be trimmed to avoid splitting or cracking. Other aspects that require regular cleaning are their ears and teeth.
14. Japanese Mastiff
Highlights: Vigilant, Fearless, Intelligent
The intrepid and sensitive Japanese Mastiff sports a large black nose perched on a broad head. Small high-set ears, dark brown eyes and powerful jaws set in a scissor grip completes their looks. Also, the dense yet short coat could assume a number of colors.
So long as the owner remains in control, this canine remains attentive and obedient. Also known as the Tosa Inu, they believe in maintaining silence courtesy of their ancestral legacy. That being said, you can count on them to react to intruders.
The Japanese Mastiff will be stable and low-energy, but still requires daily exercise. You may want to take them out for walks or hikes frequently. And while indoors, engage them with mild exercises like rolling and fetching games.
15. Italian Mastiff
Highlights: Calm, Reserved, Courageous
Italian Mastiffs emanate an aura of cool competence. Add to it an imposing and intimidating appearance and you have yourself a canine bodyguard. The large head, alert expression and muscular frame further strengthen this impression.
What comes as a surprise is that the Cane Corso, another name for the breed, is just as eager to please. Establish yourself as being in charge, and the assertive and independent canine will happily fall in line – even with the kids.
Because Italian Mastiffs shed throughout the year, regular brushing for removal of dirt and debris is a must. They love flexing their physical prowess and mental faculties. However, you must watch out for bloating and stomach issues.
16. Korean Mastiff
Highlights: Friendly, Patient, Loving
Who says lapdogs have to be small? The huge and wrinkled Korean Dosa Mastiff loves being a lapdog. While most mastiffs were bred to be guard dogs and protectors, the Dosa Mastiff was developed to be a sweet and calm show dog.
It may be hard to believe given their serious and vigilant expression, but this affectionate giant likes to laze around. Thanks to this laid back mind-set they fit comfortably into any domestic setting with loving owners.
As an owner, you’re bound to fall in love with this majestic, dignified and friendly canine. And just because they’re kind-natured doesn’t mean they aren’t loyal and protective. In addition, this compliance also explains why they are easy to train.
17. Neapolitan Mastiff
Highlights: Trainable, Protective, Stubborn
You can’t help but admire a Neapolitan Mastiff. Also known as a Mastino, this large canine will effortlessly combine power with grace. While lumbering towards you, they inspire awe along with safety and confidence. Though, strangers may not agree.
As young puppies, the Neapolitan Mastiff is very active. However, as they grow older, lazing or lounging around takes precedence. It’s worth noting they tend to overheat and have delicate knees. Therefore, limit their activities to prevent injuries.
Avoid getting into a tug of war with this canine. Once your Mastino defeats you, training would become an impossible chore. They also drool, slobber and shed moderately, thus keeping you on your toes for most part of the day.
18. Pyrenean Mastiff
Highlights: Calm, Gentle, Independent
Balanced and gentle, the Pyrenean Mastiff represents knighthood in the canine world. The big yet muscular frame emanates authority which few would want to challenge. But the thick white double-coat bearing dark patches tones down the aggression.
The coat is both long and beautiful, though it requires frequent brushing because they do tend to shed. And in case you get tired of sorting out the endless mats and tangles, get in touch with a professional grooming service.
Pyrenean Mastiffs do not believe in too much exercise. That being said, they enjoy a daily dose of mental and physical stimulation. Assign them a task and they’ll proudly take on the job. In fact, that’s when they’re the happiest.
19. Spanish Mastiff
Highlights: Loving, Intelligent, Sweet-natured
Bold and beautiful Spanish Mastiffs guard the Merino livestock and guide the herd through the meadows. They’ve been around since the Middle Ages, accompanying nomadic shepherds to greener pastures. Today, this mastiff still undertakes this responsibility.
On one hand, they come across as being nobility personified. At the same time, they unleash enormous reserves of strength while defending loved ones. Spanish Mastiffs love attention, so treat obedience sessions as the time to bond and build trust.
A judicious combination of indoor and outdoor exercise works well for this breed, despite being a relatively calm mastiff breed. Though, never leave them outdoor on their own without having them in a safe enclosure.
20. Turkish Mastiff
Highlights: Steady, Bold, Hard-working
Aksaray Malaklisi or the Turkish Mastiff gets its name from Aksaray, an Anatolian city. Malaklisi, the second half of the name, derives from the Turkish word “malak,” which translates to lips in honor of their perpetually dropped black lips.
Descendants of the Molossus breed, Turkish Mastiffs sport a bigger build as compared to their Anatolian cousins, the Kangal Shepherd. They’re also related to the English Mastiff, from whom they seem to have inherited their athleticism.
However, their legs are longer and stronger than both parent breeds. Because of their stamina and sharp instincts, Turkish Mastiffs naturally qualify as guard dogs. Their usual routine entails protecting and herding livestock for farmers.
21. Gaddi Kutta
Highlights: Territorial, Brave, Calm
A close cousin of the Tibetan Mastiff, the Gaddi Kutta believes in being just as courageous. With their head nestled in a thick mane, confidence and razor-sharp instincts, they perfectly fit the role of fearless guard dogs and protectors.
Because this mastiff breed maneuvers the treacherous Himalayan terrain with ease, they assist the farmers in herding and protecting cattle. Weighing 13 stones, the Gaddi Kutta grows to an imposing height of 34 inches.
They sport a dark brown and black fluffy overcoat, with a tinge of tan on the face and belly. The Gaddi also shed heavily at least twice a year. Although meticulous by nature, the Gaddi Kutta requires lots of grooming.
22. South African Mastiff
Highlights: Obedient, Confident, Dominant
Pronounced “boo-r-bull,” the Boerboel – an Afrikaans word – translates to farmer’s dog in the English language. In South Africa, the mastiff earned his name by defending homesteads from wild animals. They’re intimidating, confident and territorial dogs.
First-time dog owners might find training this dog truly challenging. The South African Mastiff requires an assertive, consistent and experienced owner. They also need daily exercise and feel most comfortable in large spaces.
So, a spacious backyard with a patient and confident owner is most ideal for them. The smooth coats bear a natural shine. But the most distinct features include white spots on the face and neck and dark patches on their paws.
23. Sarabi Mastiff
Highlights: Friendly, Vigilant, Brave
The Sarabi Mastiff hails from the Iranian Province of Sarab. Being muscular and heavy-boned, they make perfect guardians for livestock. That being said, the aggressive mastiff can be just as loving and amiable with family members.
The proactive Sarabi Mastiff requires plenty of daily exercise. Though, be warned that without this crucial aspect can frustrate the canine. From then on, they are prone to display unpleasant and destructive behaviors in the home.
Coat length of the Sarabi Mastiff is either short or medium and they shed in moderation. Their dark yellow almond-shaped eyes contrast well with the brown/black coat. Typical of this breed, the black mask and hanging upper lip complete the appearance.
24. Anatolian Mastiff
Highlights: Confident, Reliable, Reserved
Still a popular dog in Turkey, the Anatolian Mastiff or Kangal Shepherd dog, is a powerful and proud mastiff type dog. Having been working dogs for thousands of years, they’re some of the most respected breeds in their motherland.
In the past, they were guardians of sheep flocks. As such, expect the territorial and protective nature of the Anatolian Mastiff to shine through. Given their 100 to 150 pound frame, there will be few intruders that would dare mess with one.
In addition, these mastiff dogs are not afraid of anyone. They were, after all, bred to protect the sheep against large bears, wolves, lions and native jackals. So it’s safe to say that they’re only recommended for strong, firm and experienced owners.
So tell us in the comments section: which type of mastiff dog breed is your favorite? And which would you like to keep?
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About the author
Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.
Tibetan Mastiffs: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Tibetan Mastiff temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books
This powerful, rugged breed with the solemn expression is not inclined to play fetch or frisbee or frolic in the yard with you.
Indeed, the Tibetan Mastiff was developed strictly for working purposes, and his instincts to perform that work are ingrained. Livestock guardians bond with flock animals, as well as their own families, with fierce possessiveness, making their own decisions about who is a friend and who is a foe, what is a threat and what is not.
In other words, these strong-willed, self-reliant dogs will attempt to take control of every situation unless you are an assertive leader who demands respect.
The Tibetan Mastiff is serious and dignified, calm and quiet -- unless provoked. Aloof with strangers, he will remain watchful every moment they are on his property. This breed is typically patient with his own children and other family pets, but requires careful introduction to those outside the family.
The Tibetan Mastiff often prefers to be outdoors where he can view and patrol his territory. However, despite his bulk, this breed is remarkably agile, skilled at climbing and jumping, and requires a six-foot-high fence. Tibetan Mastiffs also have a deep, impressive bark which they tend to use freely, especially at night when they are most attentive. And they sometimes dig deep holes to lie in.
All in all, most Tibetan Mastiffs are "too much dog" for the average household. Very few people really have the facilities or skills necessary to manage this breed and keep him happy.
- Is large, rugged, and powerful, with a thick coat that comes in a variety of colors
- Has a solemn expression, carries himself with a dignified presence, and is not inclined to play fetch or Frisbee
- Is calm and quiet indoors (as an adult)
- Loves the great outdoors, especially in cold climates, and needs some room to romp
- Looks imposing, so makes an effective deterrent, but is not usually aggressive unless provoked
A Tibetan Mastiff may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with.
- A large dog who takes up a lot of space in your house and car
- Protective instincts that are firmly ingrained, requiring ongoing socialization, supervision, and control to prevent excessive suspiciousness or aggression toward other people
- Aggression toward other animals
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Slobbering water
- Heavy shedding
A Tibetan Mastiff may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Tibetan Mastiffs have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Tibetan Mastiff to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of the Tibetan Mastiff
If I was considering a Tibetan Mastiff, I would be most concerned about.
- Providing the proper balance of exercise. Young Tibetan Mastiffs need enough exercise to keep them lean and healthy, but not so much that their soft growing bones, joints, and ligaments become over-stressed and damaged. Adult Tibetan Mastiffs need more exercise to keep them in shape, but not in hot or humid weather for fear of overheating.
Since you have to minimize their exercise, young Tibetan Mastiffs can be very rambunctious. They will romp with uncoordinated gawkiness all over your house. You need to substitute extra quantities of companionship and supervision. Otherwise, left alone, young Tibetan Mastiffs become bored and destructive.
In other words, you must teach your Tibetan Mastiff to respect you. A dog who respects you will do what you say and will stop what he's doing when you tell him "No." Read more about Tibetan Mastiff Training.
About the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.