The Tibetan Mastiff (Wylie: do khyi; Lhasa dialect IPA: [tʰòcʰi]) is an ancient breed and type of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) originating with nomadic cultures of Tibet,Nepal, Ladakh and Central Asia.
The Tibetan Mastiff also known as dokhyi( translated as 'door guard', 'dog which may be tied', 'dog which may be kept'), reflects its use as a guardian of herds, flocks, tents, villages, monasteries, and palaces, much as the old English ban-dog (also meaning tied dog) was a dog tied outside the home as a guardian. However, in nomad camps and in villages, the dokhyi is traditionally allowed to run loose at night.
Currently, some breeders differentiate between two 'types' of Tibetan Mastiff, the Do-khyi 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 or 'nomad' type. Both types are often produced in the same litter with the larger, heavier pups being more rare.
Males can reach heights up to 32 inches (81.28 cm) at the withers, although the standard for the breed is typically in the 25- to 28-inch (61- to 72-cm) range. Dogs bred in the West weigh between 105 lb (47.6272 kg) and 180 lb (82 kg)—although dogs in the upper range are often overweight. The enormous dogs being produced in some Western and some Chinese kennels would have 'cost' too much to keep fed to have been useful to nomads; and their questionable structure would have made them less useful as livestock or property guardians.
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 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. Since its estrus usually takes place during late fall, most Tibetan Mastiff puppies are born between
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.
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).
Source of information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Mastiff
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