How dangerous are Tibetan mastiffs


Aristotle was already fascinated by this big dog from the distant Himalayan mountains and described him as a dog with "colossal bones, muscular, heavy, big-headed and equipped with a broad snout [...]". Marco Polo, who traveled to Asia in the 13th century, could not escape the mighty mountain dog either and described him in his travelogue as "big as a donkey, with a voice as powerful as that of a lion".

Big as a donkey, mighty as a lion?

In fact, the Do Khyi, also called Tibetan mastiff, Tibetan mastiff or Tibetan mastiff, is one of the large dog breeds with a shoulder height of at least 66 cm in males - but it does not reach the size of a donkey. Bitches are at least 61 cm tall and therefore slightly smaller than males. Depending on gender, size and build, the weight of this impressive breed varies between 36 to 72 kg. Not only does her deep bark remind of a lion, but also her thick, double coat of hair that forms a kind of mane around the neck and shoulders.

Perfect winter coat in a harsh climate

The tail and the upper part of the hind legs are just as feathered as the neck. But the rest of the body is also well covered with hair and, with its thick fur consisting of a strong undercoat in winter and the thick, straight outer hair, provides reliable protection against cold, wind and weather. His fur adapted perfectly to the harsh climate of his homeland. In spring, when it gets warmer again in the Himalayan valleys, it loses its thick undercoat and takes on a significantly different, slimmer appearance overall.

Thick fur in many colors

The Do Khyi has a “thick fur” in the truest sense of the word, which is very weatherproof and robust and never silky, curly or wavy. It is available in the following colors:

  • Jet black
  • Black with tan markings
  • Blue / slate gray
  • Blue / slate gray with tan markings
  • Gold in all shades from a rich golden yellow to a darker rose gold

White badges in the form of a small star on the chest or on the toes are possible in all color variations.

Athletic and always vigilant

Despite its powerful and heavy appearance, the Do Khyi can be extremely athletic and light-footed. The ears, which are rather small to medium-sized compared to the strong and broad head, point forward when paying attention. The tail, which is heavily feathered, is rolled over his back. He is always vigilant and even if he closes his tired eyes once, the born watchdog will not miss anything.


Guarding his territory is in the blood of the Do Khyi. Suspicious of strangers, loyal to his master, self-confident and fearless in his demeanor, he by nature has all the qualities that characterize a watchdog. Its territorial behavior is very pronounced and does not require any additional support.

Why education and socialization are so important

Even as a family dog, it should be able to fulfill its own task, but from puppy legs onwards, it must also be taught the limits of its protective instinct. Only with consistent upbringing and comprehensive socialization will the Do Khyi be able to accept foreign visitors on his territory. If this is neglected, the powerful Tibetan can hardly be brought under control in crucial situations. The protection of his family and his territory is paramount to him and so he will not let it go by simply "off" - especially since he no longer hears an order in "protection mode".

The Do Khyi learns quickly - but only if he wants

Despite his basic instinct, his aversion to everything foreign and his stubbornness, the Do Khyi can be raised to be a pleasant and reliable companion dog. After all, he is not only headstrong, but also extremely loyal and loyal when it comes to his family. He develops an extremely intimate relationship with his people and will willingly follow them - provided he sees a meaning behind their commands. One should certainly not expect him to be cadaverous, he is too intelligent and mentally self-sufficient for that. But if you meet him with the necessary mixture of understanding and consistency, you will be surprised how quickly the Do Khyi can learn - if he wants.

What you should consider during his training

Constant repetition or demonstration of certain exercises quickly bores him and so it is wise to package the educational goals in varied, creative and, above all, positive activities. Especially in the formative first 16 weeks of life, you shouldn't overtax him. Accept if your dog is nervous, fearful, or dismissive at first, and give him the time he needs to learn. It can easily take four years for the Do Khyi to have a solid character and to reach spiritual maturity. Do not let this unsettle you and dissuade you from your goal. It doesn't help if you avoid meeting other people and animals, but rather carefully introduce them to everything new. Your patience and perseverance will pay off in the end. Because everything that the Do Khyi gets to know in his youth, he will easily accept for a lifetime.


The instinctive guarding and protection of its territory is closely linked to the millennia-old history of this breed. For example, the Do Khyi probably served the wandering shepherds of the Himalayas as a herd guardian and the Tibetan monks as a watchdog in their monasteries as early as 3000 years ago. In the inhospitable expanses of the Himalayan high regions, the incredibly robust, self-sufficient and frugal dog developed into a close partner of the people living there. The depiction of this type of shepherd dog in the “wheel of life” on antique thankas and paintings shows the great appreciation with which the Tibetans met their dog.

An ancestor of all mastiff-like dogs?

In Europe one heard for the first time through the famous writings of Marco Polo (1271) of this majestic dog with the impressive appearance and the natural strength. Fascinated by these stories, leading European cynologists devoted themselves to this breed and described it in part as the origin of all fighting and shepherd dog breeds as well as all mastiff-like dogs. The suspected close relationship with mastiff and mastiff, which is also indicated by the names Tibetan mastiff or Tibetan mastiff, had to be revised due to DNA tests. The results show that the Do Khyi is a significantly primitive dog whose genetics have hardly been influenced by other dogs in the past centuries.

Import attempts to Europe and America

Due to the inaccessible location of its homeland, the Himalayan race remained isolated for millennia. The first Do Khyi documented to be imported into Europe was a gift from the then Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge, to Queen Victoria of England in 1847. About thirty years later, King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, brought two more dogs to Great Britain. The first Tibetan Mastiff Club was founded in 1931, but the Second World War put an end to the first timid breeding attempts by Europeans soon afterwards. It was not until the 1970s that breeders from Europe and America specifically imported dogs from Nepal to set up their own breeding facilities on European and American soil.

Breeding and Health Today

The Do Khyi is one of the rare dog breeds to this day - which is certainly an advantage, not least in terms of its health. Unlike in China, where the Do Khyi has become a status symbol for wealthy Chinese in recent years, there is hardly any profit to be made in breeding and selling this breed in this country. The few official Do Khyi breeders are more concerned with the preservation of these special dogs, with their healthy constitution, their unique character and their impressive appearance. It is thanks to this careful breeding, the extensive breeding use tests and numerous health tests, some of which breeders and breeders have imposed on themselves, that the breed has only few health problems to this day. Apart from hip dysplasia (HD), which is common in all large dogs, the Do Khyi is largely robust against diseases that are typical of the breed.

How much does a Do Khyi puppy cost?

The comprehensive health check-ups, vaccinations and tests and, last but not least, the very high costs of keeping these large and demanding dogs justify the comparatively high puppy prices, which are usually up to 1,500 euros. In addition, bitches only come into heat once a year, which means that the waiting time for offspring can be longer. At the same time, the high puppy price and the long waiting time for a puppy also protect against a possibly rash purchase of a Do Khyi. If you are seriously interested in this breed, you should use the waiting time to get to know the breeder and breed intensively in advance. Meet with your breeder or other Do Khyi owners to experience the characteristics of this breed "live" and to prepare optimally for a life with your dog.


Of course, good preparation also means that you think about the diet of your Do Khyi. In conversation with your breeder and with other Do Khyi owners you will surely receive numerous tips for optimal feeding. Most growers also provide their buyers with a precise nutrition plan for the first few weeks in the new home. After about six months, the puppy food should gradually be switched to adult food. This is important as it will gradually reduce the energy density of the food and prevent the dogs from growing too quickly.

Do Khyi Futter: Less is more

As with any healthy diet, choosing the right food for your adult Do Khyi is not about quantity, but about quality. Despite its size, the Do Khyi manages with surprisingly small portions, provided it is supplied with all the important nutrients in sufficient form. In addition, small portions not only reduce possible gastrointestinal problems, but also the risk of a dreaded twisting of the stomach.


When it comes to grooming, less is sometimes more. Frequent bathing or shampooing is not only unnecessary but also harmful for dogs. And so, even with well-haired Do Khyi, it is absolutely sufficient if you brush it briefly a few times a week. However, it looks different in the time of the coat change. Especially in spring, when warmer temperatures are on the horizon and the thick undercoat is shed, your dog needs to be brushed daily. You have to expect some hair in your apartment during this time as well. Aside from grooming, you should check and clean your dog's ears and teeth at least once a week. The claws should be trimmed once or twice a month depending on their growth.


Even if his sometimes somewhat bored expression suggests something else: The Do Khyi likes to be in company and a close family connection should be at the top of his housing conditions. He needs to be close to his people - just as he of course needs enough exercise. However, he has a moderate instinct for movement and is also satisfied with shorter walks. Nevertheless, you should definitely allow your Do Khyi, as the original guard and herd protection dog, enough time outdoors. A large garden, which he can enter as he likes, should therefore definitely not be missing in his home.

Always with Tranquillity

While he is very lively, even playful outside, he is a quiet and good-natured roommate in the house who does not bark unnecessarily and gets along well with children. However, just because of his size and strength, you should never leave him alone with small children. Caution is also advised when visiting friends, if things can get a little wilder between the children and the Do Khyi has the feeling that he has to intervene and protect "his" children. In order to control his protective instinct, extensive socialization from the start is essential. The more people, animals, sounds and smells he gets to know as a young dog, the less things will disturb him as an adult dog.

Not a dog for beginners

It goes without saying that the Do Khyi is not a dog for beginners. His idiosyncratic nature and his need for protection require a lot of know-how and instinct on the part of the owner. However, those who have the necessary experience and the desire and time to fully devote themselves to this special dog personality from the Himalayas will be overwhelmed by their loyal nature and loyalty.