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About the breed the Tibetan Mastiff

The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the most ancient breeds of dogs , which counts more than 5 thousand years. In Tibet it is still considered sacred. This is not surprising , because the Tibetan Mastiff was the watchdog of local monasteries and Himalayan shepherds who used this breed to guard and protect their property.
The first description of the Tibetan Mastiff was made in the 13th century European traveler mark Polo. He mentioned excellent watch quality and impressive size of dogs used for hunting yaks and even tigers. No less popular in the literature devoted to the Mastiff , links to Aristotle, a long time ago mentioning the huge dogs of the East, which today is commonly identified with the Tibetan Mastiff. In fact, the whole history of humanity tells us that in all times there were dogs that dominated people with his size, power and guard qualities.


Today this breed is considered small, however the owners of the Tibetan Mastiff becomes more and more, especially in Europe and America. In our country, the dog will gradually gain fame and popularity. There's a simple explanation: the Tibetan Mastiff is not just a pet, it's a companion, a trusted family friend , protector and caretaker. The breed combines stamina , strength, self-esteem and affection to the owners.
The Tibetan Mastiff , being a born watchman, with great suspicion of outsiders, but this aggressiveness does not show. From an early age should be accustomed to obedience, that will make life together with the dog comfortable and interesting. He will be life and death to defend its territory from any external attacks.


In the family of a Tibetan Mastiff is very reserved and even calmly, at the same time is very loyal and obedient dog, which in any case will not show character and to make decisions in the presence of the owners. The Mastiff likes to be in the company of people , and most importantly - this dog is able to feel the changing human mood. In relation to children is very tolerant , affectionate and caring animal. Walking on a leash, he adapts to it and allows you to do anything.
Representatives of this breed have good health and , importantly, longevity. The Tibetan Mastiff lives 12-16 years. Weight of adult dog is 60-70 kg, height - cm 65-80 formation of the dog is slow, bitches do it ends by the third year of life , the male - to fourth. The Tibetan Mastiff has a surprising charm , and the hair on his neck forms a luxurious mane that gives it a resemblance with a lion. This breed is quite loyal to other Pets, but when meeting strange dogs can demonstrate their superiority.


In respect of conditions of detention of Tibetan Mastiff is quite unpretentious, but better the dog will feel in a country house free-range. She needs daily exercise and long walks. To care for the coat of the Mastiff is easy: it has no smell and allows you not to notice neither the cold nor the heat. In normal times, occasionally enough to comb out the wool, and only during the molting period, which happens once a year, this procedure must be repeated regularly , helping the dog get rid of the old undercoat.
The Tibetan Mastiff is ideal for all those who wish to have not just a pet, and wants his house was a true friend , protector and companion.

We have an excellent opportunity to ask some questions known expert on breeding of dogs, judge, author of several books Richard Eichhorn
Richard Eichhorn - the international specialist for the breeding of dogs, trainer, author, speaker and mentor.
In 1987 he began to breed Tibetan Mastiff in DRAKYI nursery. The love of this ancient breed has prompted him to devote energy and years of life preservation and development of this breed. Richard founded the national kennel club and was its president, the director, the registrar, the chairman of the commission and the standard editor of news articles. He was responsible for the process of recognition species, cultivated, and sudeystvoval exhibited dogs of different groups (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9) of the American Kennel Club in various exhibitions.
He first made a judge in 1989. In 1995 he became a judge of Best-in-Show of the American Association of rare breeds. He was made an honorary judge, a guest from the West to the Chinese city Shegnan, where in 1999 they organized the first exhibition for all breeds. Since 2007, Richard participates in exhibitions as a judge from the AKC. An expert in the field of breeding, he tried a large number of breeds of dogs Tibetan Mastiff in national exhibitions organized by kennel club in Taiwan (1992, 1993, 1997), the Netherlands (1994), Germany (1994 / KTR & 2007 Dog Europe), China (1999, 2007, 2011 with 600 participants in 2013), in the Czech Republic (2009), in Estonia (2012) Russia (2012, Ekaterinburg / 2014, Nizhny Novgorod)

Recently, Tibetan Mastiffs are becoming increasingly popular. Probably everyone who has decided to get this dog of one of the oldest breeds in the world remembers their first encounter with the Tibetan Mastiff. So how did you first meet this dog?

In 1978 I got a copy of LIFE magazine. This issue featured the cover article, "Rare Breed Dogs of the World," with a Shar Pei photo on the cover. The Tibetan Mastiff was one of the eight breeds featured in the article. There were only about 100 TMs in the US at that time. A good friend of mine, Rita Boget, was a Tibetan Terrier Hall of Fame breeder. I called her to say, "Rita, I just saw a photo of a Tibetan Mastiff in LIFE magazine. You have Tibetan Terriers. What do you know about the mastiffs? She replied, "Oh, I know the woman who brought the first Tibetan Mastiffs to the US from Nepal. Her name is Ann Rohrer and she is a friend of mine. She lives about an hour from us, outside of Los Angeles. I am going to see her next week. Do you want to come along?" 

That next week I went to meet the breed pioneer, Ann Rohrer, and the first TM to the US, the famous Jumla's Kalu of Jumla, from Kathmandu, Nepal. The 11 year old regal Kalu walked over to my chair and presented himself to me to be petted. It was a moment that changed my life. Ann had two females, both expecting Kalu puppies. My first female Langtang Kalu Kutra of Dokyi was a female from one of the litters. Ann made me an offer I could not refuse, which included becoming involved in the National breed club. That was 38 years ago!

Alright, the introduction took its place. But when did you get the first Tibetan Mastiff? Could you please tell how your relationship developed, what character did that first dog have?

My first puppy, Langtang Kalu Ku-tra of Dokyi, was born January 8, 1979. She shared a birthday with Elvis! I remember the day in March, 1979 when I picked Kutra up to go home. I was so excited and so focused on her, that I got a speeding ticket on the way home. She came into a household with a toy Poodle and a Basset Hound. For the first year of her life, Kutra played on the ground like the Basset Hound, adapting to her pack. She was a very reserved young puppy, studying me and her surroundings always. Proud in her demeanor, loyal, loving. She knew when to guard, and when to accept visitors into my home. She had the classic breed temperament, and more than 20 generations of my dogs go back to her.

 

This breed is worth having long discussions about, the Tibetan Mastiffs are so different from other breeds. Or aren’t they? Who could you probably compare this breed with?

They are unique, but similar to a few closely related breeds, especially other flock guardians. In my experience, they are most like the Great Pyrenees, but are more focused on guarding the home and family than livestock. They also share similar Asian personality traits with the Chow Chow, while being more connected and interactive with people. They are independent thinkers who work instead of people, not with people. They don't always respond to training, and they think that doing tricks is undignified. They take great pride in protecting the home, family and flock, and would prefer to stay home to guard and patrol while the owners go to the dog shows!

How do you picture a perfect Tibetan Mastiff?

My perfect vision is for form AND function. A dog that not only harkens back to the historic descriptions, drawings and photos in type, size and beauty, but that also has the classic Asian demeanor and devoted, reliable guardian instincts. The perfect Tibetan Mastiff is discerning, knowing when to guard his/her home turf and family, and when to behave civilly in public. The perfect Tibetan Mastiff is never aggressive and on the offense, but instinctively guards defensively , confident against unwelcomed intruders. Think of the big male lion laying at the top of the hill, like a king holding court. His presence and roar alone maintains the peace. He only springs to action when there is a threat. Again, defense, never offense. Protection, never aggression. The perfect Tibetan Mastiff knows the difference.

What exactly prompted you to turn your acquaintance with this breed to something that is not just a hobby? Why did you decide to breed these dogs professionally?

When I was a child, I was enthralled with anything to do with animals. At 8 years old, I saw the Disney film, "Big Red," about a young boy who went to work at an Irish Setter kennel in the country. I remember dreaming that one day I too would have purebred dogs and a kennel in the countryside. It was a combination of opportunity, and my interest in rare, exotic breeds that started my Tibetan Mastiff journey. Then, throughout the 1980's and 1990's, my hobby interest, breeding and showing success was turning more and more into a way of life. But like all hobbies, you need to have a real job to support the expensive hobby. As my interest and success grew in the breed into the 2000's, and as the breed grew in notoriety and popularity in the West, I knew I wanted to take it to the next level. After my dog Barnes, Ch. Timberline Drakyi Barni, won Best of Breed at Westminster in February 2008, I decided to take a career risk. With my partner Efrain Valle, we both decided to retire from our jobs and to devote 100% of our combined professional efforts to preserving the breed and continuing to develop our signature line of Drakyi dogs. We are blessed to be able to live that dream.

It seems that the work with this unique breed became a life-time project for you. And how did you start judging?

Yes, certainly a life project I did not expect. For 30+ years, the Tibetan Mastiff was a rare breed in the United States, with a private club registry. During those early years of development, if you wanted to show your dogs, you had to participate in rare breed club shows, or at AKC matches (official practice shows for AKC events). It was at those all breed AKC matches in the early 1990's that one of my female Tibetan Mastiffs, Ch. Drakyi Mayo Anjin, took TWO Best in Show awards! A first for the breed, and for any female Tibetan Mastiff. At that same time I also began judging at those events, and became a licensed Best in Show judge with the American Rare Breed Association, ARBA.

I judged Tibetan Mastiff specialities with the Chinese Tibetan Mastiff Association in Taiwan in 1992, 1993 and 1997, for the KTR in Germany and at the Holland Club show, both in 1994. I was the first Western judge to judge any breed in China (1999, Shenyang), and judged club shows there in 2007/Anyang, 2011/Taiyuan (600 Tibetan Mastiffs entered for a two days show!) and 2013/Sibo City . It wasn't until 2005 that the breed was admitted into the AKC Miscellaneous Group, receiving full breed status with the AKC in 2007. It was also the beginning of my official, licensed judging with the AKC and FCI.

Could you please share your impressions about the judging at the World Championship this year? What impressed you most? 

First of all I must say that this was one of the greatest honors and highlights of my lifetime with dogs. I will always be grateful to the RKF organizers for their gracious invitation, and for making it a priority to have an experienced breeder-judge for the large entry. The accommodations, food, transportation, and attention to every detail were prioritized by the show committee. The venue was perfect for a huge, world class event. I was most impressed by the sacrificial support and participation of the Tibetan Mastiff community, during the summer shedding season, traveling long distances to make the world record 223 entries! I was especially pleased being that my birthday is... 2/23. Prophetic and meant to be? I think so. 

At the Championship, there were dogs from all the parts of the world. What country in your opinion represents the best Tibetan Mastiffs at this moment?

At THIS moment, Russia. Ask me that same question five, ten, twenty and thirty years ago, and the answers would all be different, and would include the US, Taiwan, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Finland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and China. There have been periods of great breed development and sustained participation in those various countries. Times when the spotlight shined brightly on the quality of the dogs, club support and participation at exhibitions. These popular moments in the sun usually last five years, some even ten years and can be impacted by club politics, government restrictions, the economy, genetic health discoveries and the need for new bloodlines. We dare not forget the stubborn, independent people who are drawn to this breed! What happens is that the breed reaches a saturation point where it is no longer the new exotic breed, people lose interest and there are not enough proper homes for the amount of puppies being produced. They are a breed for the select, devoted few.

 

The Tibetan Mastiff is a difficult breed to own, manage, to breed and exhibit. They are a large, stubborn and independent dog, with short periods for breeding, and for full coat development. So, it takes great dedication and focus to develop a breeding program, and to stimulate interest in the breed. Finding the right type of homes for puppies can be very difficult because they are not a typical dog when it comes to management, training and companionship. Accordingly, while there may be some early popularity with the public and buyers, there is a relatively short period of sustained popularity and focus on the breed once the breed is in the public eye. Ask me in another five years and it will likely be a different country.

 

The World Championship has already ended, but certainly you have plans for the future. Could you please share a few?

When you have lived your dreams and achieved your goals, it is time to find a new dream and to set new goals. First and foremost, I am a devoted Tibetan Mastiff lover, then a breeder, then a judge. In two more years, I will celebrate 40 years in this breed! This love for the breed has changed my life completely. My home, career, calendar, vehicles I drive, family events, income and expenses, holidays, friendships, travels, sleepless nights, sanity et al, are subject to these magnificent dogs. God willing, my goal is to continue to produce better and better dogs, in type, temperament, structure and health. To provide the best dogs for the future generations of Tibetan Mastiff enthusiasts, whether that be for exhibitions, for breeding, or for loving family guardians. I always look forward to judging Tibetan Mastiff club shows abroad, to mentoring judges and new breeders, and to giving seminars on the breed. In China in 2011, a respected fortune teller told me that I would write a book that would be published when I was 85 years old. So, I still have a few years to get that story together!

 

What is your opinion about the Tibetan Mastiff’s breeding in Russia? What future does this breed have?

I have been honored to judge the breed three times in Russia. First, in Yekaterinburg in 2012, then in Nizhny Novgorod in 2014 and most recently at the WDS in Moscow in 2016. Each time I have been VERY impressed with the level of commitment and breed development by Russian Tibetan Mastiff owners and breeders. There has been a steady progress in the overall quality and type produced. Russia has the geographical advantage of proximity to the best dogs to be found in Europe and in China, and it shows in the quality of dogs at exhibitions. I have been pleasantly surprised at the high level of competition and showmanship at these shows. The venues, the handling skills and professionalism of the handlers, the proper grooming, the proper presentation and movement/gait of the dogs, and understanding what it takes to exhibit a Tibetan Mastiff is evident at every event. While there are equally outstanding dogs to be found in other countries, the highest concentration of quality is on display now in Russia.

 

When it comes to breeding, great care needs to be taken to preserve all the things that make a great Tibetan Mastiff (size, bone, head, type, movement, structure, health, temperament, etc.). Pedigree research, inter-breeder cooperation, carefully planned breeding programs, new quality bloodlines with top priority always given to the next generation all are vital to the future of the breed. This is still a relatively new breed when it comes to domestic cultivation, so the utmost consideration must be given to proper mate selection with compensation in mind (where one is weak, the other is strong). Then from the resulting puppies, the key is selection. Selecting the puppies that have inherited the best of the parents, minimizing the weaknesses. Then repeat, generation after generation. With this ongoing focus, commitment and knowledge, the future is bright for Tibetan Mastiffs in Russia.

 

In the last decade, the Tibetan Mastiff has experience a global, meteoric rise in notoriety and popularity. The explosive populations of "Million Dollar Dogs" in China, the entrance into and success of the breed in the AKC, and the success and fame of many top show dogs in Europe and Russia have put the breed in the spotlight. With that focus comes wanted, and unwanted attention. And as the old adage proclaims, "What goes up, must come down." We are in that downward spiral now, with Chinese investors losing interest in the breed, with reports of thousands of dogs being abandoned and sold off en masse. For the first time in the history of the breed, in a quest to be a part of the surge in popularity, breeders have flooded the market and over-produced for the available homes. Today, anyone can find unsold top quality, adult-looking puppies from last year on the Internet. This is especially true in Russia today, and breeders must scale back the numbers of litters produced to meet the needs of the Tibetan Mastiff loving public.

There are a lot of arguments and discussions about Chinese mastiffs going on. What do you think about this type?

When someone makes reference to the "Chinese type," it usually refers to the hyper-exaggerated type produced by Chinese businessmen for the Chinese market. The type with excessive skin, coat, wrinkles, with little to no focus on structure or movement. That is a new extreme option, developed in China in recent years, and an acquired taste that appeals more to the Chinese than to Western buyers. These dogs are more like extremely photoshopped caricatures than the majestic, legendary guardians of Tibet. The focus is on excessive type, more like the legendary Chinese lion statues, not structure, function or health. For the purists that think that TMs are shepherds or mountain dogs, only for guarding the flocks of nomads in extreme altitudes and climates, of course this not acceptable. For others who think that the best dogs were the prized giant, stationary mastiffs in the temples and the courtyards of the wealthy, some of the mastiff type is more appreciated. But, this dichotomy is an age old reality and ongoing argument for anyone in this breed. And in my opinion, it will never be settled in this life, or the next! The fact is that mastiff lovers and flock guardian lovers are both drawn to this breed for its history and function. I have seen and judged thousands of Chinese Tibetan Mastiffs in China and Taiwan over the last 20 years, and have seen the same diversity of type and quality there, as in the West. Everyone is entitled to pursue and develop their own version of a Tibetan Mastiff, with the written breed standard from their country as their guide. 

What would you like to wish Tibetan Mastiff breeders in Russia?

I would like the focus to be on quality, not quantity. There has been an explosion of activity in the breed in Russia in recent years, especially in the last five years, and especially with the Chinese bloodlines and combinations of those bloodlines. Now you can find a red Chinese type puppy in any TM kennel in the world. The popularity and novelty are fading. The Internet chat rooms are filled with new breeders from Russia and the Ukraine, all advertising puppies that are available, and new litters to come. Today as I write, I can go online and find many top quality 8-12 month old puppies in Russia from the last breeding year that are still unsold, with no homes! This shows that the market has reached a saturation point in Russia, and in the breed overall in the West. The Chinese market has crashed, and Chinese breeders are dumping their old breeding dogs on anyone in the West that will buy. Buyer beware, as there is no way to verify any health testing, pedigree accuracy or purity. This is having a major negative impact on the market in Russia. Breeders must adjust their supply to meet the reduced demand. This is a basic marketing principle. The Tibetan Mastiff is not a dog for most families, but more for the dedicated, chosen few that truly understand and want a very large, independent breed. Those homes are few and far between, and difficult to find. I strongly suggest that Russian breeders announce their breeding plans early, and have at least five paid reservations for their puppies from each litter BEFORE they do the breeding. I greatly admire all the progress being made for the breed in Russia. The commitment to quality, to health, to stable temperaments, and to competition at the highest level will keep the quality high for years to come. But be careful not to burn out. This breed can become an addiction that will change your life and drain your wallet! So count the cost before you sign a lifelong contract. I am happy I did.

DO-KHYI (Tibetan Mastiff) 

FCI-Standard N° 230 / 02. 04. 2004 / GB 

 

ORIGIN : Tibet.

PATRONAGE : FCI.

DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD : 24.03.2004.

UTILIZATION : A companion, watch and guard dog.

CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. : Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer- Molossoid breeds- Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs. Section 2.2 Molossoid breeds, Mountain type. Without working trial.

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY : The Tibetan Mastiff (Do Khyi) is an ancient working breed of the nomad herders of the Himalaya and a traditional guardian of the Tibetan monasteries. It has been surrounded by great myth since its first discovery in antiquity. From the mentioning by Aristoteles (384-322 b.C.) to the famous writings of Marco Polo, who went to Asia in 1271, all historical reports praise the natural strength and impressiveness of the Tibetan Mastiff- both physically and mentally. Even its bark has been described as a unique and highly treasured feature of the breed. Leading European cynologists of the past, like Martin and Youatt, Megnin, Beckmann, Siber as well as Strebel and Bylandt have intensively covered the Tibetan Mastiff, as they had been fascinated by its origin and function in the Tibetan culture. Some even considered the breed to be the very forefather of all large mountain and mastiff breeds. One of the first known Tibetan Mastiffs to reach Western shores was a male sent to Queen Victoria by Lord Hardinge (then Viceroy of India) in 1847. Later in the 1880s, Edward VII (then Prince of Wales) took two dogs back to England. An early recorded litter of Tibetan Mastiffs was born in 1898 in the Berlin Zoo.

 

GENERAL APPEARANCE : Powerful, heavy, well built, with good bone. Impressive; of solemn and earnest appearance. Combines majestic strength, robustness and endurance; fit to work in all climate conditions. Slow to mature, only reaching its best at 2-3 years in females and at least 4 years in males.

IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS :

>Skull measured from occiput to stop equal to muzzle from stop to end of nose but muzzle may be a little shorter.
>Body slightly longer than height at withers. 

 

BEHAVIOUR / TEMPERAMENT : Independent. Protective. Commands respect. Most loyal to his family and territory.


HEAD : Broad, heavy and strong. In adults a wrinkle may extend from above the eyes down to the corner of mouth. 

CRANIAL REGION : 

Skull : Large, very slightly rounded, with strongly pronounced occiput.

Stop : Well defined. 

FACIAL REGION :

Nose : Broad, as dark as possible depending on coat colour, well opened nostrils.

Muzzle : Fairly broad, well filled and deep. End of muzzle square. Lips : Well developed and covering the underjaw. 

Jaws/Teeth : Jaws strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper incisors closely overlapping the lower incisors and set square to the jaws. Level bite acceptable. Dentition fits tightly.

Eyes : Medium size, any shade of brown and in accordance with coat colour, the darker the better. Set well apart, oval and slightly slanting. Eyelids tightly fitting the eyeball. Expression of dignity.

Ears : Medium size, triangular, pendant, set between the level of the skull and the eye, dropping forward and hanging close to head; carried forward when alert. Ear leathers covered with soft, short hair.

NECK : Strong, well muscled, arched. Not too much dewlap. Covered by thick upstanding mane, not so pronounced in bitches.

BODY : Strong.

Back : Straight, muscular.

Croup : Broad and rather flat.

Chest : Rather deep, of moderate breadth, with good spring of rib, to give heart-shaped ribcage. Brisket reaching to below elbows.

 

TAIL : Medium length. Set high on line with top of back, carried high, loosely curled over back, when dog alert or in motion; well feathered.

LIMBS 

FOREQUARTERS : Straight, well angulated, well covered all over with strong hair.

Shoulders : Well laid, muscular.

Elbows : Neither turned in nor out.

Forearms : Straight. Strong bone.

Metacarpus (Pasterns) : Strong, slightly sloping. 

HINDQUARTERS : Powerful, muscular, with good angulation. Seen from behind, hindlegs parallel.

Upper thigh : Rather long; strong, with good hard muscles, but not bulging.

Stifle : Well bent

Hock : Strong, low set. 

Dewclaws optional. 

 

FEET : Fairly large, strong, round and compact, with good feathering between well-arched toes. 

GAIT / MOVEMENT : Powerful, but always light and elastic: with good reach and drive. When speed increases tends to single track. When walking appears very deliberate. Capable of functioning over a varied terrain with stamina and suppleness.

 

COAT 

HAIR : Quality of greater importance than quantity. Coat harsh, thick, top coat not too long, with dense and rather wolly undercoat in cold weather which becomes rather sparse in warmer months. Males carry noticeably more coat than females. Hair fine but harsh, straight and off-standing. Never silky, curly or wavy. Neck and shoulders heavily coated, giving mane-like appearance. Tail bushy and well feathered; hindlegs well feathered on upper rear parts.

COLOUR : Rich black, with or without tan marking; blue, with or without tan markings; gold, from rich fawn to deep red, sable. All colours to be as pure as possible. Tan ranges from a rich chestnut to a lighter colour. White star on breast permissible. Minimal white markings on feet acceptable. Tan markings appear above eyes, on lower part of legs and underside of tail. Tan markings on muzzle; spectacle markings tolerated around eyes.

 

SIZE :

Height at the withers : Dogs : 66 cm (26 ins) minimum,.

Bitches : 61 cm (24 ins) minimum.. 

 

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

 

SEVERE FAULTS :

  • Lacking physical condition and fitness.

  • Head light or heavily wrinkled.

  • Pendulous flews.

  • Pronounced dewlap.

  • Large and/or low set ears.

  • Light eyes or staring expression.

  • Weak pigmentation, particularly of nose.

  • Barrelled ribs.

  • Tightly curled tail over hips.

  • Over angulated or straight hindquarters.

  • Heavy constrained movement.

  • Under minimum height, tolerance 2 cm.

 

 

ELIMINATING FAULTS :

  • Aggressive or overly shy.

  • Undershot or overshot mouth.

  • All other colours than above mentioned e.g. white, cream, grey, brown (liver), lilac, brindle, particolours.

 

 

Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.

N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

 

http://rkf.org.ru/rkf/Standards/group2.html