Tibetan Mastiff

Is there any visitor who wants to travel to Tibet is for seeing the Tibetan Mastiff? I bet the answer is yes, and more than one. But how much do you know about them? Have you heard any of their legend stories? If not, the post is exactly suitable for you. So, let’s start and get close to this mysterious dog.

A Tibetan Mastiff with Black and Golden Color Hair

Tibetan Mastiff in English, “Zang Ao” in Chinese Mandarin, Drog-Khyi (འབྲོག་ཁྱི) in Tibetan, all refer to this kind of giant and fierce dogs. Originated in the Tibet Plateau, they are considered as the guardian angels of the local Tibetan people, that’s why they have another vivid name “the dogs from the sky” in Tibet. The bad climates and the living environment caused the Tibetan Mastiff a feature of the large shape, a character of brave and loyal to masters. According to the length of the hair, they are classified into two types, one is “lion” with long hair, another one is “tiger” with short hair. Both of them have a big head and strong muscle, plus a poker face, they appear unfriendly, but which is only to strangers, not to the masters.

A Rare  White Tibetan Mastiff with Sorrows in Its Eyes

The color of hair:
There are five colors of the Tibetan Mastiff’s hair. The most normal one is “Black-Golden” color. The four paws are tawny while the rest body is black, and sometimes there are a few yellow spots on the top of eyes. This is the most original color which takes more than 60% of the Tibetan Mastiff breeds.
The most treasured Tibetan Mastiff is all the body with white hair, looks like pure snow. But it’s also a rare kind.
The other three colors are Black, Yellow, and Grey, but all with a little white hair on the chest or paws. The yellow one is more like maroon, a similar color with the clothes of the Lamas, which makes this colored Mastiff only can be fed into the Tibetan Monasteries.

A Tibetan Mastiff with Beautiful Maroon Hair

The Tibetan Mastiffs are the best guards for nomads due to their nature of loyalty. They have been chosen to protect the king or chief of the tribe since ancient times. Many scholars pointed out that the Tibetan Mastiff was the common ancestor of other giant mastiffs in the world, although there is no official record or explanation of how they spread on the planet yet. In the legend, the great Genghis Khan organized an army of Tibetan mastiffs for his West Expedition War. This army was formed by 30 thousand of mastiffs, every single one was a good warrior with bravery and fighting skills. The enemy troops were in full rout when facing the fierce mastiffs. Thus, Genghis Khan expanded his territory in a short time. The world was shocked and started to know the Tibetan Mastiff since then. But after the war, some mastiffs could not get back to the army, or Genghis Khan gave some mastiffs to the chiefs of other countries as presents for friendship. That becomes the origin of the mastiffs found in Europe or other parts of the world nowadays.

A Picture of a Majestic-looking Tibetan Mastiff 


The Tibetan Mastiffs you can buy from the market are almost not purebred. The truth is you can only find a purebred Tibetan Mastiff in Tibet, which could be priced at more than 1.5 million dollars! But the market price is usually from 750-22,000 dollars, depends on factors such as the look, breed, and age, etc.