Narrator: Nearly every huge dog in the world owes their heritage to one very special breed that started it all; weighing in at 25 Chihuahuas – the Tibetan Mastiff.
Dr. Karen: The Tibetan Mastiff is a massive big furry, bulky dog.
Narrator: The Tibetan Mastiff’s look is not just for show, they possess the strength and smarts to protect their families and flocks from outside threats.
Dr. Nick: When they were used as guard dogs they would be entrusted with the care of the entire village.
Narrator: A job that the Tibetan Mastiff has had since ancient times when their ancestors lived with Nomads on the high plateaus and valleys of the Himalayas.
Some of these tough and intimidating dogs were brought as far west as Europe by the likes of Attila the Hun. Their progeny went on to become the modern Molosser breeds including the Mastiffs, the Boxer, and the St. Bernard.
Their treasured not only for their enormous size but also for their breathtaking bark, the source of this voluminous voice is found in the larynx which houses the vocal cords. The vocal folds contract as the lungs push air through the larynx causing the folds to vibrate at a high speed. This produces the barking sound. Larger dogs have longer vocal folds and larger lungs that produce a deeper, louder bark.
After you hear it’s weighty woof the next thing you’ll see is the Tibetan Mastiff’s heavy muscular build. Those muscles give the Tibetan Mastiff the strength to back up its bargain. They have a plumed tail that can curl over and rest on their back. And their long thick double coat is especially heavy on the neck and shoulders. This creates the appearance of a lion-like mane.
It’s large and striking appearance has captured the imagination of the most populous country in the world – China. It’s a surprising new trend in the country where dog ownership was actually banned 50 years ago. But now the Tibetan Mastiff is at the forefront of a Chinese dog fancy revolution.
Over the past 20 years as the Chinese middle-class grew from poverty to prosperity, so to have the legions of dog lovers. They now flock to Tibetan Mastiff conventions to see the best of the breed.
Today in Modern China owning a Tibetan Mastiff is considered the ultimate status symbol.
Dr. Nicholas: A large sprawling villa and a big ferocious Tibetan Mastiff. That’s what it takes to be very rich and famous.
Dr. Karen: In fact there was a dog that sold for almost 600,000 in China.
Narrator: The Tibetan Mastiff does best in a cool and dry climate. They’re territorial nature means their yard will need a big fence. The Tibetan Mastiff can experience a few specific health concerns – hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, skin conditions and ear infections are just some of them. They’re thick seasonal under coats shed heavily in the spring and fall. And will require frequent brushing.
Andrea: For about three weeks your house is going to be covered in hair.
Narrator: As an independent and often stubborn breed, the Tibetan Mastiff is certainly not for the novice dog owner. Tibetan Mastiffs are loving and protective toward their families but wary of strangers. To keep a Tibetan Mastiff happy and healthy you want to be sure you have a cool, dry environment. This long-lived breed experiences many of the common health problems of large dogs. And it’s thick coat will need your attention during the shedding seasons. It’s important to make sure your Tibetan Mastiff gets social experience from a young age, but if you can put in the time and care you’ll be repaid with unflagging loyalty.
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