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Tibetan Mastiff Dogs

The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient breed and type of domestic dog originating with nomadic cultures of Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tibet and Central Asia.

The Tibetan Mastiff also known as do-khyi (variously translated as "home/door guard", "kept/tied dog"), reflects its use as a guardian of herds, flocks, tents, villages, monasteries, and palaces, much as the old English ban-dog was a dog tied outside the home as a guardian. However, in nomad camps and in villages, the do-khyi is traditionally allowed to run loose at night.

The guardian type with which the modern Tibetan Mastiff breed was known across the ancient world by many names. Bhote Kukur in Nepali as bhote means someone from Tibet and kukur means dog. In Mandarin Chinese, the name is '藏獒' (Zang'Ao), which literally means Tibetan Mastiff or Tibetan "big ferocious dog". In Mongolia, it is called bankhar.

The name Tibetan mastiff is a misnomer; it is not a true mastiff. The term "mastiff" was used primarily because it meant "large dog". Early Western visitors to Tibet misnamed several of its breeds: The "Tibetan Terrier" is not a terrier and the "Tibetan Spaniel" is not a spaniel. A better name for the dog would be Tibetan mountain dog or, to encompass the landrace breed throughout its range, Himalayan mountain dog.

As a flock guardian dog in Tibet and in the West, it is tenacious in its ability to confront predators the size of wolves and leopards. 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 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 to be more active, alert and aware at night.

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