Before you begin your search it might help if we cover a few of the most frequently asked questions, queries and comments that crop up when people approach Breeders.
Do you want a Tibetan Mastiff or do you want a Chinese Tibetan Mastiff?
What’s the difference?
A Tibetan Mastiff is a Mountain Dog that needs to be mobile and well suited to perform at altitude.
A Chinese Tibetan Mastiff is an oversized dog that is the result of the Chinese fashion to breed huge dogs. This has been achieved by crossbreeding with St Bernards (for size) Neopolitan Mastiffs for extra wrinkle and any number of other breeds for the look they are trying to achieve.
A Tibetan Mastiff should be large boned but still agile. A huge dog with wet jowls, poor eyes, a massive amount of bone and coat would simply not survive at the altitude required in Tibet.
Similarly the terms “Lion Type” or “Tiger Type” are modern terms invented by Chinese dog breeding farms help sell their dogs.
How do I find a reputable Breeder?
The simple answer is research. The Tibetan Mastiff Club of Great Britain is the only Breed Club and they hold 2 shows every year – one in the Spring and one in the Autumn – details of these which are posted on the Facebook page. At these Shows there will be in the region of 50 Tibetan Mastiffs to see with their owners and Breeders and you will be able to spend the day talking to people about the breed to truly find out if they are the right breed for you. Time spent on the internet is all well and good but there is no substitute for meeting this breed in person.
What questions should I ask a Breeder?
In the UK all reputable Breeders will have had any TMs they intend to breed from BOTH hip and elbow scored. These are x-rays that determine how well the joints concerned have developed and the results are recorded as a score. Hence the terms “hip score” or “elbow score”.
Hips are scored individually (Left and Right) with a total score. Each hip is scored between 0 (the best) and 53 (the worst) giving a combined score. So a dog with a score of L 8 and R 9 would have a total score of 17.
The same process is applied to Elbows although the scores are recorded differently. Elbow scores go from 0 (the best) to 3 (the worst) so a dog with a score of L 0 and R 1 would have a score of 1 – the highest score is always the recorded one.
The breed average for hips and elbows changes each year as more TMs are added to the database but simply put lower is better.
Why have they bred a litter?
This may seem like a very simple question but the answer can tell you a lot.
On the whole most reputable Breeders breed a litter to continue the work they have already done and this usually takes the form of breeding a litter in order to keep a puppy for themselves. So if the Breeder;
Has all their puppies for sale
Is not keeping a puppy for themselves
Has bred more than one litter that year
Has bred a number of litters over the preceding years but not kept a puppy for themselves
You should be asking them why.
Adding a Tibetan Mastiff puppy to your home is a big commitment so if a Breeder offers to sell you 2 puppies at the same time, again, ask yourself why?
The Tibetan Mastiff is a truly unique breed which can be both good and bad. There may well be instances when you need to ask your Breeder for help – will this support be offered?
None of us can know 100% what may be around the corner and should the worst happen and you need to re-home your Tibetan Mastiff will the Breeder take the dog back?
YOU SHOULD ASK ALL THESE QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU VISIT THE PUPPIES – TIBETAN MASTIFFS PUPPIES ARE VERY TEMPTING!
If you have any doubts about the answers you receive then address them directly with the Breeder BEFORE you decide to proceed with such life changing decision.