Tibetan Mastiff

Last updated
Tibetan Mastiff
WangdurivoiraTM.jpg
Tibetan Mastiff
Origin Tibet
Traits
Height Dogs 66 cm (26 in) [1]
Bitches 61 cm (24 in) [1]
Kennel club standards
FCI standard
Dog ( domestic dog )

The Tibetan mastiff (Tibetan: འདོགས་ཁྱི, Wylie: Do khyi,Chinese: 藏獒, Pinyin: Zàng áo, Nepali: Bhote Kukur) is a large Tibetan dog breed. Its double coat is long, subject to climate, and found in a wide variety of colors, including solid black, black and tan, various shades of red (from pale gold to deep red) and bluish-gray (dilute black), often with white and blue markings.

Contents

Name

Ten Prized Dogs series, Tibetan mastiff. Artwork depicting a Tibetan mastiff from the Qing Dynasty. Ten Prized Dogs 03.jpg
Ten Prized Dogs series, Tibetan mastiff. Artwork depicting a Tibetan mastiff from the Qing Dynasty.

The name Tibetan mastiff is a misnomer, as the breed is not a true mastiff. The term mastiff was assigned by the Europeans who first came to Tibet because that name was used to refer to nearly all large dog breeds in the West. Early Western visitors to Tibet misnamed several of its breeds, such as the Tibetan terrier, which is not a terrier, and the Tibetan spaniel, which is not a spaniel. A better name for the breed might be the Tibetan mountain dog or — to encompass the landrace breed throughout its range — the Himalayan mountain dog. [2]

The Tibetan mastiff is known in Nepali as Bhote Kukur (bhote means someone from Tibet and kukur means dog), in Chinese as Zàng áo (Cantonese: Tzong ngou meaning "Tibetan mastiff-dog") and in Mongolian as bankhar.[ citation needed ]

Tibetan mastiff from Ukraine 77 cm rise Aigrette Velikiy (Tsaluma say strazce z Tibetu x Legenda Tibeta vlastelin kolets).jpg
Tibetan mastiff from Ukraine 77 cm rise

Description

Appearance

Tibetan Mastiff at an international dog show in Poland Mastif tybetanski 2009 pl3.jpg
Tibetan Mastiff at an international dog show in Poland

Some breeders differentiate between two "types" of Tibetan Mastiff, the Do-khyi (-gs is not pronounced in Lhasa Tibetan) 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, and more heavily boned, with more facial wrinkling and haw than the Do-khyi type. Both types are often produced in the same litter with the larger, heavier pups being placed in more stationary jobs versus more active jobs for the Tibetan Mastiffs that are better structured and well-muscled.

The Tibetan mastiff is considered a primitive breed. It typically retains the hardiness which would be required for it to survive in Tibet and the high-altitude Himalayan range, including the northern part of Nepal, India [3] [ page needed ] and Bhutan.

Instinctive behaviors including canine pack behavior contributed to the survival of the breed in harsh environments. It is one of the few primitive dog breeds that retains a single estrus 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 and other wild animals. Since its estrus usually takes place during late fall, most Tibetan mastiff puppies are born between December and January. [4]

Its double coat is long, subject to climate, and found in a wide variety of colors, including solid black, black and tan, various shades of red (from pale gold to deep red) and bluish-gray (dilute black), often with white markings. Some breeders are now (as of 2014) marketing white Tibetan mastiffs. These dogs are actually very pale gold, not truly white. Photoshop is often used to make dogs of normal color(s) appear white in advertisements.

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 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: Lion Head (smaller; exceptionally long hair from forehead to withers, creating a ruff or mane) and Tiger Head (larger; shorter hair).

Temperament

The Tibetan mastiff is a livestock guard-dog Tibetan Mastiff.jpg
The Tibetan mastiff is a livestock guard-dog
Tibetan mastiff in Tibet Tibet-5805 - Tibet at 15,000 feet (2589963541).jpg
Tibetan mastiff in Tibet

As a flock guardian dog in Tibet and in the West, it uses all the usual livestock guardian tactics (e.g., barking, scent-marking perimeters) to warn away predators and avoid direct confrontations. [2]

As a socialized, more domestic dog, it can thrive in a spacious, fenced yard with a canine companion, but it is generally not an appropriate dog for apartment living. The western-bred dogs are generally more easy-going, although still somewhat aloof with strangers coming to the home. Through hundreds of years of selective breeding for a protective flock and family guardian, the breed has been prized for being a nocturnal sentry, keeping would-be predators and intruders at bay, barking at sounds throughout the night. Leaving a Tibetan mastiff outside all night with neighbors nearby is not recommended. They often sleep during the day, making them more active, alert and aware at night. [2]

Like all flock guardian breeds, they are intelligent and stubborn to a fault, so obedience training is recommended (although it is only mildly successful with some individuals) since this is a strong-willed, powerful-bodied breed. Unless they are to be used exclusively as livestock guardians, socialization training is also critical with this breed, because of their reserved nature with strangers and guardian instincts. They can be excellent family dogs – depending on the family. Owners must understand canine psychology and be able and willing to assume the primary leadership position. Lack of consistent, rational discipline can result in the creation of dangerous, unpredictable dogs. The protectiveness of Tibetan mastiffs requires alertness and planning by the owner, in order to avoid mishaps, when the dog is merely reacting as a guardian. The breed is not recommended for novice dog owners. [2] [3]

Health

Tibetan mastiff in Drepung Monastery. Lhasa, Tibet Tibetan Mastiff (2642055070).jpg
Tibetan mastiff in Drepung Monastery. Lhasa, Tibet
A Chinese-bred Tibetan mastiff Zangao.jpg
A Chinese-bred Tibetan mastiff

Many breeders claim a life expectancy of 10–16 years, but these claims are unsubstantiated. Some lines do produce long-lived dogs. Other, more closely inbred lines, produce short-lived, unhealthy dogs. The breed has fewer genetic health problems than many breeds, but cases can be found of hypothyroidism, entropion, ectropion, distichiasis, skin problems including allergies, autoimmune problems including demodex, Addison's disease, Cushing's disease, missing teeth, malocclusion (overbite, underbite, dry mouth), cardiac problems, seizures, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and small ear canals with a tendency for infection. As with most large breeds, some will suffer with elbow or hip dysplasia.

Canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy (CIDN), an inherited condition, appeared in one of the prominent lines of Tibetan mastiffs in the early 1980s. [5] Unfortunately, known carriers were bred extensively and are behind many lines still being actively bred. Because the mode of inheritance appears to be as a simple recessive, continued inbreeding can still produce affected puppies.

Hypothyroidism is fairly common in Tibetan mastiffs, as it is in many large "northern" breeds. They should be tested periodically throughout their lives using a complete thyroid "panel". However, because the standard thyroid levels were established using domestic dog breeds, test results must be considered in the context of what is "normal" for the breed, not what is normal across all breeds. Many dogs of this breed will have "low" thyroid values, but no clinical symptoms. Vets and owners differ on the relative merits of medicating dogs which test "low", but are completely asymptomatic. Some researchers think that asymptomatic hypothyroidism may have been adaptive in the regions of origin for many breeds, since less nutrition is required for the dog to stay in good condition. Therefore, attempts to eliminate "low thyroid" dogs from the Tibetan mastiff gene pool may have unintended consequences for the breed.

History

Tibetan dog from the 1850s 142. Thibet Dog.JPG
Tibetan dog from the 1850s

The Tibetan mastiff originated as a herding and guarding dog for the nomads of Tibet, and as a watchdog in Tibetan monasteries. [6] [2] [3]

The Tibetan mastiff is a phenotypically distinct dog breed that was bred as a flock guardian in the high altitudes of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateaus. [7] [8]

Meer Izzut-oollah (1872) wrote: [9]

“The dogs of Thibet are twice the size of those seen in India, with large heads and hairy bodies. They are powerful animals...During the day they are kept chained up, and are let loose at night to guard their masters' house.” [9]

In the early 20th century,the Prince of Wales, George introduced a pair of Tibetan mastiffs, and enough of the breed were available in England in 1906 to be shown at the Crystal Palace show. However, during the war years, the breed lost favor and focus and nearly died out in England.

Tibetan mastiff Tybetan Matt.jpg
Tibetan mastiff

The breed has been gaining in popularity worldwide since 1980. Although the breed is still considered somewhat uncommon, as more active breeders arose and produced adequate numbers of dogs, various registries and show organizations (FCI, AKC) began to recognize the breed. In 2008, the Tibetan mastiff competed for the first time in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Since AKC recognition, the number of active breeders has skyrocketed, leading to over-breeding of puppies, many of which are highly inbred and of questionable quality. Initially, the breed suffered because of the limited gene pool from the original stock.[ citation needed ] By 2015, due to excessive breeding and unsuitability of the breed as a pet in urban situations, prices in China for the best dogs had fallen to about $2,000 and both lower quality and crossbreed dogs were being abandoned. [10]

In 2011, a DNA study concluded that there was a genetic relationship between the Tibetan mastiff and the Great Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain Dog, Rottweiler and Saint Bernard, and that these large breed dogs are probably partially descended from the Tibetan mastiff. [11] In 2014, a study added the Leonberger to the list of possible relatives.

Admixture with an unknown wolf-like canid

The Tibetan mastiff was able to adapt to the extreme highland conditions of the Tibetan Plateau very quickly compared to other mammals such as the yak, Tibetan antelope, snow leopard, and the wild boar. The Tibetan mastiff's ability to avoid hypoxia in high altitudes, due to its higher hemoglobin levels compared to low-altitude dogs, was due to prehistoric interbreeding. [12] [13] In 2020, a genomic analysis indicates that a ghost population of an unknown wolf-like canid which is deeply-diverged from modern Holarctic wolves and dogs has contributed the EPAS1 allele found in both Himalayan wolves and dogs, and this allows them to live in high altitudes. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Bullmastiff Dog breed

The Bullmastiff is a large-sized breed of domestic dog, with a solid build and a short muzzle. The Bullmastiff is a mastiff type dog, and was originally developed by 19th-century gamekeepers to guard estates. The breed was created by crossing the English Mastiff with the now extinct Old English Bulldog. It was recognized as a purebred dog by the English Kennel Club in 1924.

Patterdale Terrier Dog breed

The Patterdale Terrier is a breed of dog descended from the Northern terrier breeds of the early 18th century.

Lap dog Dog breed

A lapdog or lap dog is a dog that is both small enough to be held in the arms or lie comfortably on a person's lap and temperamentally predisposed to do so. Lapdogs are not a specific breed, but is a generic term for a type of dog that is small in size and friendly towards humans.

Dog crossbreed Dog type

Dog crossbreeds, sometimes called designer dogs, are dogs which have been intentionally bred from two or more recognized dog breeds. They are not dogs with no purebred ancestors, but are not otherwise recognised as breeds in their own right, and do not necessarily breed true.

Lhasa Apso Dog breed

The Lhasa Apso is a non-sporting dog breed originating in Tibet. It was used as an indoor sentinel.

Tibetan spaniel Dog breed

The Tibetan Spaniel is a breed of assertive, small, intelligent dogs originating in Tibet. This breed is not a spaniel in the original meaning of the term; its breeding differs from other spaniels, and unlike true spaniels, which are gun dogs, the Tibetan spaniel is a companion dog. The spaniel name may have been given due to its resemblance to the bred-down lapdog versions of the hunting spaniels, such as the Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Kangal Shepherd Dog Dog breed

The Kangal Shepherd Dog is a breed of large livestock guardian dog in Sivas, Turkey. Originally the breed served people of Anatolia, where the Kangal continues to be a popular dog breed in Turkey. This dog is classified as the Anatolian Shepherd Dog by some canine registries. The Kangal has a more curly tail and its eyes look pulled back. The breed is of an early Mastiff type with a solid pale tan or sabled coat, and a black mask. According to official Kangal Shepherd Dog organisations in Turkey, including the Cynology Federation of Turkey and the Ankara Kangal Association, Kangals may also be brindle or feature a recessive black tan pattern; with or without a black mask; and/or with white markings.

Irish Water Spaniel Dog breed

The Irish Water Spaniel is a breed of dog that is the tallest of the spaniels.

Griffon Bruxellois A toy dog breed originally from Brussels, Belgium

The Griffon Bruxellois or Brussels Griffon is a breed of toy dog, named for their city of origin: Brussels, Belgium. The Griffon Bruxellois may refer to three different breeds, the Griffon Bruxellois, the Griffon Belge and the Petit Brabançon. Identical in standard except for coat and colour differences, in some standards they are considered varieties of the same breed, much like Belgian Shepherd Dogs.

Tibetan Terrier Dog breed

The Tibetan Terrier is a medium-sized breed of dog that originated in Tibet. Despite its name, it is not a member of the terrier group. The breed was given its English name by European travelers due to its resemblance to known terrier breeds. The Tibetan name for the breed, Tsang Apso, roughly translates to "shaggy or bearded ("apso") dog, from the province of Tsang". Some old travelers' accounts refer to the dog as Dokhi Apso or "outdoor" Apso, indicating a shaggy or bearded working dog which lives outdoors.

Dogo Argentino white short-coated muscular dog bred for big-game hunting

The Argentinian Dogo is a large, white, muscular breed of dog that was developed in Argentina primarily for the purpose of big-game hunting, including wild boar. The breeder, Antonio Nores Martínez, also wanted a dog that would exhibit steadfast bravery and willingly protect its human companion. It was first bred in 1928 from the Cordoba Fighting Dog, along with a wide array of other breeds, mainly bulldogs and terriers, including the Great Dane, Dogue de Bordeaux, Pointer, Bull and terrier etc.

Spanish Mastiff Dog breed

The Spanish Mastiff or Mastín Español is a breed of dog from Spain, originally bred to be a guard dog and whose specialized purpose is to be a livestock guardian dog protecting flocks and/or herds from wolves and other predators.

Boykin Spaniel Dog breed

The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized breed of dog, a Spaniel bred for hunting wild turkeys and ducks in the Wateree River Swamp of South Carolina, in the United States. It is the state dog of South Carolina, where it was discovered and further developed by hunters in the 1900s. 1 September is Boykin Spaniel Day in South Carolina.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of genetic diseases seen in certain breeds of dogs and, more rarely, cats. Similar to retinitis pigmentosa in humans, it is characterized by the bilateral degeneration of the retina, causing progressive vision loss culminating in blindness. The condition in nearly all breeds is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait, with the exception of the Siberian Husky and the Bullmastiff. There is no treatment.

Bakharwal dog Dog breed

The Bakharwal dog is found in northern India. It is an ancient working Indian dog breed found across the Pir Panjal Range of India, where it has been bred for many centuries by the Bakarwal and Gujjar nomadic tribes, as a livestock guardian dog and settlement protector. While the Bakharwal Dog is mainly found in India, it is found in smaller numbers in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Sussex Spaniel Dog breed

The Sussex Spaniel is a breed of dog native to Sussex in southern England. It is a low, compact spaniel and is as old a breed as and similar in appearance to the Clumber Spaniel. They can be slow-paced, but can have a clownish and energetic temperament. They suffer from health conditions common to spaniels and some large dogs, as well as a specific range of heart conditions and spinal disc herniation.

Himalayan Sheepdog Dog breed

The Himalayan Sheepdog, known locally by various names including the Bhotia or Bangara, and sometimes called the Himalayan mastiff, is a breed of livestock guardian dog from India.

The Intelligence of Dogs is a 1994 book on dog intelligence by Stanley Coren, a professor of canine psychology at the University of British Columbia. The book explains Coren's theories about the differences in intelligence between various breeds of dogs. Coren published a second edition in 2006.

The Tibetan Kyi Apso is a breed of livestock guardian dog from Tibet.

Cão de Gado Transmontano Dog breed

The Cão de Gado Transmontano or Transmontano Mastiff is a breed of livestock guardian dog from Portugal. It originates in the historical province of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro in north-eastern Portugal, and is a rare breed confined mostly to this area.

References

  1. 1 2 FCI breed standard
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Messerchmidt, Don (2010). Discovering the Big Dogs of Tibet and the Himalayas: A personal journey.[ page needed ]
  3. 1 2 3 Tibetan Dogs: A complete anthology of the breeds. Vintage Dog Books. 18 November 2010. ISBN   978-1-4455-2671-3.[ page needed ]
  4. "Tibetan mastiff". American Kennel Club. Dog breed information. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  5. "The Tibetan Mastiff" by Ann Rohrer and Cathy J. Flamholtz[ full citation needed ]
  6. Palika, Liz (2007). The Howell Book of Dogs: The definitive reference to 300 breeds and varieties . John Wiley & Sons. p.  374. ISBN   978-0-470-17585-9 via archive.org.
  7. Messerschmidt, D.M.R. (1983). "The Tibetan Mastiff: Canine sentinels of the range". Rangelands. Vol. 5. pp. 172–174.
  8. Li, Q.; Liu, Z.; Li, Y.; Zhao, X.; Dong, L.; Pan, Z.; Sun, Y.; Li, N.; Xu, Y.; Xie, Z. (2008). "Origin and phylogenetic analysis of Tibetan mastiff based on the mitochondrial DNA sequence". J. Genet. Genomics. 35: 335–340.
  9. 1 2 Izzut-oollah, Meer (1872). Travels in Central Asia in the Years 1812–13. Translated by Henderson, [n/a], Captain. Calcutta, IN. p. 15.
  10. "Once-prized Tibetan mastiffs are discarded as fad ends in China". The New York Times . World/Asia. New York, NY. 2015-04-18. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  11. Li, Y.; Zhao, X.; Pan, Z.; Xie, Z.; Liu, H.; Xu, Y.; Li, Q. (2011). "The origin of the Tibetan mastiff and species identification of Canis based on mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene and COI barcoding". Animal. 5 (12): 1868–73. doi: 10.1017/S1751731111001042 . PMID   22440462.
  12. Miao, Benpeng; Wang, Zhen; Li, Yixue (2016). "Genomic analysis reveals hypoxia adaptation in the Tibetan mastiff by introgression of the grey wolf from the Tibetan plateau". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 34 (3): 734–743. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msw274 . PMID   27927792. S2CID   47507546.
  13. Signore, Anthony V.; Yang, Ying-Zhong; Yang, Quan-Yu; Qin, Ga; Moriyama, Hideaki; Ge, Ri-Li; Storz, Jay F. (2019). "Adaptive changes in hemoglobin function in high-altitude Tibetan canids were derived via gene conversion and introgression". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 36 (10): 2227–2237. doi:10.1093/molbev/msz097. PMC   6759075 . PMID   31362306.
  14. Wang, Ming-Shan; Wang, Sheng; Li, Yan; Jhala, Yadvendradev; Thakur, Mukesh; Otecko, Newton O.; Si, Jing-Fang; Chen, Hong-Man; Shapiro, Beth; Nielsen, Rasmus; Zhang, Ya-Ping; Wu, Dong-Dong (2020). "Ancient Hybridization with an Unknown Population Facilitated High-Altitude Adaptation of Canids". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 37 (9): 2616–2629. doi:10.1093/molbev/msaa113. PMID   32384152.