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Tibetan Mastiff Club of America, Inc.
The Breed Standard for The Tibetan Mastiff

Final Standard approved and ratified by
The Tibetan Mastiff Club of America membership July 2001

General Appearance:  Large, sound and powerfully built. Well-boned and muscled, never light or refined, always agile. The impressive head provides a noble and dignified look, enhanced by a mane around the head and neck. The head is balanced by a curled tail carried over the back. Males are masculine with heavier features, bitches feminine, but without refinement. The Tibetan Mastiff is still widely used in its traditional role as a natural guardian of family and flock, and has an aloof and independent nature.

Size, Proportion, and Substance -- Size -- Dogs- minimum 26 inches (ranging to over 30 inches). Bitches- minimum 24 inches (ranging to over 28 inches). Though appearing square, the body is slightly longer than high (10 to 9), front and rear angulation is balanced. Slow to mature, dogs range from 100-160+ lbs., bitches range from 75-120+ lbs. Preference is given to dogs of greater height provided that their proportions are harmonious, and that proper type, substance, structure and breed characteristics are present.

Head - The head is broad, heavy and strong. The skull is massive with a strongly defined occiput and marked stop. Proportions from occiput to stop and stop to the end of the nose range from equal lengths (1 to 1) to a muzzle that is somewhat shorter than the length of the topskull (2 to 3). Muzzle fairly broad, well padded, blunt and square when viewed from all sides. Broad nose, well opened nostrils. Lips well developed with moderate flews. Some wrinkling, with maturity, on the head extending from above the eyes to the corner of the mouth. Hair is short on the face developing into a distinct mane, from the crown to the withers, surrounding the head and neck. Eyes -- Very expressive, medium size, various shades of brown color preferred, other colors acceptable. More sunken than prominent, set well apart, oval, and slightly slanting. A slight haw may be present. Ears - Medium size to somewhat larger, triangular, pendent, carried rather high, hanging close to the head when in repose. When at attention, level with the top of skull and brought forward, appearing to broaden the skull. Ear leathers covered with soft short hair. Teeth -- Full dentition fitting tightly to maintain strong chin. Jaws and teeth strong with regular scissors bite, set square to the jaw. Level bite acceptable. Overshot and undershot bites, missing teeth are to be faulted to the degree present. Broken teeth are not to be faulted.

Neck, Topline, and Body -- The neck is strong, arched and well muscled. There may be some dewlap. Topline is level with straight back. Body- The chest is rather deep and of moderate breadth. Broad muscular loins, very slightly sloping croup. Ribs are well-sprung, not barreled. Brisket reaching to or just below the elbows. The tail is medium to long, well feathered, set high and carried over the back. A tail with a single curl is preferred, but other configurations are acceptable.

Forequarters -- Well laid shoulders, muscular and strongly boned. Straight legs with strong, slightly sloping pasterns. The feet are fairly large, strong, with thick pads, rounded and compact. There may be some feathering between the toes.

Hindquarters -- Powerful, muscular with moderate angulation and strong lower-set hocks. Hindlegs seen from behind are parallel. Single or double dewclaws may or may not be present. Two fully descended testicles are present on males.

Coat -- Double coated. Long, thick guard hairs with a heavy, wooly undercoat that becomes sparse in warmer months and warmer climates. Quality and correctness of coat is of greater importance than quantity. Hair hard and straight, slight wave at the topline, never curly. Neck and shoulders heavily coated, giving a mane-like appearance that is more pronounced in mature males. Tail and upper rear parts of hindlegs well feathered. The Tibetan Mastiff is exhibited in a natural condition with no trimming. Seasonal shedding is not to be penalized.

Color -- Black, chocolate brown and slate gray, all with or without tan markings, as well as various shades of gold. The shades of gold and the tan markings may range from cream to dark red/gold, with or without sable/black tipping. White markings may occur on chest, neck and feet. Pigmentation on lips, nose and eye rims is black except on dilute colors (chocolate, blue and gold dilute) where the pigmentation is also diluted.

Gait -- Powerful, moves with purpose and agility and is capable of considerable speed. Measured and deliberate when walking. At speed will tend toward, and may reach a single track.

Temperament -- A loyal companion and natural guardian. Highly intelligent, strong-willed, independent, aloof and protective when necessary. Patient and tolerant, may be wary of strangers. Any reserve, protectiveness or lack of enthusiasm when exhibited should not be penalized provided the dog can be properly evaluated.

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