Sunday, December 28, 2008

travel to Tibet: Tibetan Mastiff

Tibetans love dogs, it’s very common that Tibetan families keep dogs as pets. And the most popular and treasure one must be Tibetan Mastiff, also called Do-Khyi. Tibetan Mastiff is now famous world-wide for its impressive appearance and unique temperament.

The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient working breed of the nomad herders of the Himalaya and a traditional guardian of the Tibetan monasteries. There are many records of Tibetan mastiff in history. 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. Marco Polo described them as "tall as a donkey with a voice as powerful as that of a lion". 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.

The Tibetan Mastiff is among the largest breeds. Its sturdy bone structure and large, wide head makes it appear considerably more massive than other dogs of a similar height. A Tibetan Mastiff is 24-28 inches tall (at shoulder) and weighs 140-180 pounds. It is typical mastiff type but not as heavy. Their tail is stretched to the back in loose curl. They have a coat of medium length but with a thick undercoat.

Tibetan Mastiff is a courageous dog with strong protective instincts. He has spirit, initiative and courage, with no trace of timidity although he does take the time to size up a situation before acting. The Tibetan Mastiff possesses an excellent memory, is intelligent and easily trained, faithful, gentle with children and obedient. Although aloof with strangers, he has a desire to please and is a good-natured family companion, playful on invitation and generally impressive by his dignity upon reaching maturity.

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