MASTIFF - DO-KHYI
of the Tibetan Mastiff - the large guardian dog of Tibet - is hidden
in the mists of legend, along with the people of the high Himalayan
Mountains and the plains of Central Asia. Accurate records of the genetic
heritage of the dogs are non-existent.
history has reserved a special place for the Tibetan Mastiff. They are
considered by many to be the basic stock from which most modern large
working breeds have developed. Even though a great deal has been written
about them since the mid-1880's there are few specific details available.
Some Tibetan Mastiffs evolved as lighter "mountain" dog types
and others as "Tsang Kyi", heavier mastiff types.
written accounts place a large dog around 1100 BC in China. Skulls of
large dogs date from the stone and bronze ages. Ancestors of today's
Mastiff breeds are believed to have accompanied the armies of the Assyrians,
Persians, Greeks and Romans and later, traveled with Attilla the Hun
and Genghis Khan as far west as Europe. During these centuries, it is
believed that the Tibetan Mastiff remained isolated in the mountain
valleys of the Himalayas to develop into the magnificent animal so highly
prized by the people of Tibet.
in Tibet, Nepal, and other Himalayan regions, a pure Tibetan Mastiff
is hard to find. However, when available, they are mostly used as livestock
guardians well adapted to the rigors of high mountain living. Traveling
with the caravans of the Tibetan sheepherders and traders, the dogs
are expected to defend the herds and tents of their masters against
predators such as wolves and snow leopards. Others are used as homestead
guardians, chained to gates and rooftops.
to the early 1800's, few Westerners were allowed into Tibet so little
was known about Tibetan dogs. In accounts of visits to Tibet by early
travelers, very little mention was made of the dogs they encountered.
In 1800 Captain Samuel Turner, in his "An account of an Embassy
to the Court of the Teshoo Lama in Tibet" mentioned his experience
with huge dogs. Unfortunately he did not offer a description of the
Lord Hardinge, Viceroy of India, sent a "large dog from Tibet"
called "Siring" to Queen Victoria. England had its first dog
show in 1859; and in 1873, The Kennel Club was formed with the first
Stud Book containing pedigrees of 4027 dogs. In the official classification
made by The Kennel Club (England), the "large dog from Tibet"
was officially designated the "Tibetan Mastiff" for the first
Tibetan Mastiffs were brought into England in 1874 by the then Prince
of Wales (later King Edward VII) and they were exhibited at the Alexandra
Palace Show, December 1875. From then until 1928, there was a trickle
of imports into England and Europe. In 1928, the Hon. Colonel and Mrs.
Bailey imported four Tibetan Mastiffs which they obtained while Colonel
Bailey was on duty as Political Officer in Sikkim, Nepal, and Tibet.
In 1931 Mrs. Bailey formed the Tibetan Breeds Association in England
and the first official standard for the breed was adopted by The Kennel
Club. It was also the standard used by the Federation Cynological International
(FCI) - the umbrella organization for all dog clubs in the world with
the exception of The Kennel Club in England and the American Kennel
War II until 1976 there were, apparently, no known importation's of
Tibetan Mastiffs from Nepal or India into England. Since 1976, there
have been several Tibetan Mastiffs imported into England from various
countries and the breed has been recognized by The Kennel Club in the
Miscellaneous Class. The breed seems to be well on its way to becoming
established in England.
late 1950's two Tibetan Mastiffs were sent from Tibet to President in
the USA. They were taken to a farm in the midwest and nothing more was
heard of them. Beginning in 1970, several Tibetan Mastiffs were imported
from Nepal and India into the USA. These few foundation dogs have been
bred throughout the country by concerned and dedicated breeders. The
dogs have adapted well to life in the various climates and circumstances
of the USA. The Tibetan Mastiff is popular as a companion/protector.
National Specialty Match was held in the USA in connection with the
California Rare Breeds Dog Association in October 1979. It was a fitting
and appropriate debut in the show ring for these fascinating dogs from
the Himalayan Mountains of Asia.
relationship of the Tibetan Mastiff with man throughout the centuries
has given the dog a almost uncanny "human" understanding.
Generations of working as a guardian of yak and sheep, requiring always
a protector and not a killer, has produced a disposition and temperament
of controlled strength, initiative, and fearlessness, tempered with
patience, loyalty, and gentleness.