Tibetan mastiff. Breed history
Tibetan mastiff even today is a very rare dog. However, according to the research of authoritative experts, she is the progenitress of all modern Molossian dogs. Its roots go back to deep antiquity, and the first mention of it dates back to 1121 BC. e. - in the Chinese book Shu King.
For many millennia, this dog has changed little: its domestication has led to the fact that it has become one of the favorite breeds, and the pristine exterior and strong natural health, intelligence and ability to adapt to any, even the most severe climatic conditions - have remained unchanged.
There is a hypothesis that it is a direct descendant of prasobak, the purest ancient species "Kanis familiars", which appeared on the earth about 5 thousand years ago. On this side, mountain dogs with long hair originated from this dog, and on the other, Mesopotamian molossi, from which, in turn, mastino napolitano originated, Bordeaux dogs and all current mastiffs with short hair.
In ancient Mesopotamia, dogs from the Tibetan plateau were introduced back in ancient times immemorial. They are the ancestors of modern mastiffs! And it is about them that the wedge-shaped writing is mentioned around the 4th millennium BC. e.
In the period of the later Assyro-Babylonian culture, dogs were used to hunt large animals and were used as fighting dogs, as evidenced by the stone images that have come down to us. Powerful mastiffs were indispensable companions of the king of kings Ashurbanipal in his hunt for lions, which were still being carried out 2500 years ago in those parts.
In Assyrian culture, the dog enjoyed great respect! The ancient Assyrians and Babylonians believed that beating a dog was a heinous crime; among them the opinion was affirmed that to kill a person is a lesser sin than to feed bad food to a dog. For, the ancient sages declared, "a house cannot exist on its own, without a sheepdog dog, without a domestic dog." And now look at the ancient Assyrian bas-reliefs - and you will certainly see the familiar powerful, majestic silhouette of a dog, very similar to the Tibetan mastiff.
There are other facts - difficult to verify, but suitable for our story. Sources tell about the whole army of fighting animals, including huge shaggy dogs, who roamed with a horde of Mongol nomads.
In addition, they left their mark on ancient history: the Mesopotamian Molossos (it is possible that the Tibetan mastiffs, or their descendants!) Were once presented to Alexander the Great by the Indian king. True or not, dogs from Tibet were brought to Europe several times, usually during wars, raids, or with trade caravans.
Fast forward a few centuries ahead, namely in 1271, when Marco Polo arrived in Tibet. He was one of the first Europeans to see the Tibetan mastiff, and the mastiff made an indelible impression on him. The traveler writes about the dog not only fierce, but also huge, growing from a donkey. This is probably an exaggeration.
Subsequently, when the Europeans saw a Tibetan donkey, they found that he rarely reaches even a meter height, but the comparison still long stirred the imagination of dog trainers and naturalists. For a long time, Tibetan dogs were talked about as creatures rather legendary than real, and often even compared them to a yeti - a snowman, whose existence has not been proven, but there are eyewitnesses and traces of his presence in the most severe places of our planet, where it’s difficult and unbelievable dangerously.
The next European after Polo, who saw the Tibetan mastiff, was Robert Bokle, who was sent to Tibet as governor of Bengal with a diplomatic mission. And it happened after almost exactly five centuries, in 1774.
Bokle described the Tibetan mastiff as a long-haired dog, very large and ferocious. This and other evidences did not introduce anything new in the history of the breed, but they had to be content until the middle of the 19th century - until the first real, living Tibetan mastiffs arrived in Europe.
And for a long time they were considered as wild animals, and the first dogs were sent to the London Zoo. Some of them soon died, unable to adapt to the European climate, and the survivors were placed in an open-air cage and hung a sign: "Do not fit." Of course, the nature of these dogs was heavy, which was determined by their original purpose - they were used as guards, watchmen and hunters.
In their homeland, the breed did not have a permanent name. They were called Do Kui ("do" means door, "Kui" means dog, and another translation of this name means "big dog"), but in Tibet this name was given to all guard dogs without exception, while hunting dogs received the name Sha Kui ("sha" means "meat").
The name Do Kui suggests that Tibetan mastiffs were primarily guard dogs. Another point of view is only Marco Polo, who claims that these dogs were used in the hunt for a lion and a huge wild buffalo. These "lions" were tigers - animals unfamiliar to the Venetian traveler, and the traveler called "buffaloes" yaks, menacing only at first glance, but actually harmless and tame. Therefore, it is quite reasonable to assume that the dogs accompanied the herds of yaks, not in order to hunt them, but to protect them from predators.
The first dogs that arrived in Europe were already adults. They did not know their new owners, and may not have been accustomed to people since childhood. It is not surprising that in the times when they did not know either about the psyche or the ethology of dogs, these animals were found difficult to handle. When people talk about Tibetan mastiffs, it is important to remember that a lot of time has passed from the first, not very successful experiments. Today's breed is somewhat different from its ancestors, and the image of the dog - huge, the size of a donkey, and as ferocious as a tiger, remained solely of legend.
But back to the history of the breed, which in the twentieth century shared the sad fate of its country of origin. Tibet was first captured by the British, and then by China. The Dalai Lama was forced to flee, and a crisis occurred in the country, which continues to this day. This crisis could not touch the dogs.
As always, first of all, they tried to get rid of those who are more tall: it became very difficult to keep such huge dogs, and, eventually, the Tibetan mastiff almost disappeared in their homeland. Thank God, today the situation has improved - those dogs that survived in the turbulences of political cataclysms marked the beginning of a new surge in the popularity of the breed in China, which is growing rapidly. And the range of prices for dogs varies greatly - from affordable to anyone to fabulously expensive, comparable to the cost of a luxury car.
In the meantime, passions raged around Tibet, the breed was literally saved in Nepal - there the king himself took her under his protection. In 1966, a special program for the protection and breeding of these dogs was adopted. It is thanks to the Nepalese Tibetan Mastiff managed to win sympathy in Western Europe. In the late 60s, when Tibet was already completely under Chinese rule, free Nepal became a place of pilgrimage for tourists, especially American. They were climbers who wanted to climb the Himalayas, hippies, Buddhist philosophy, adventure seekers ... And they all admired at the sight of huge, noble dogs, frolicking in the valleys.
But in fact, the first copies were already brought to the States, although they arrived there by mistake. In 1958, a pair of Tibetan mastiffs were presented to President Eisenhower, but they wanted to give him Tibetan terriers - small, graceful domestic dogs. There was a slight confusion in the American embassy, and instead, two giants arrived to the president, whom Eisenhower sent to the senator Harry Darby. The senator superbly cared for them, but he was not going to breed. Anna Rower took up this business much later, bringing dogs from Nepal - it was she who became the founder of the American Society of Tibetan Mastiff Fans.
In Europe, Tibetan mastiff is bred in England, Holland, Germany, France, Italy and other countries. In France, the first Tibetan mastiffs were acquired by the famous actor Alain Delon, who spoke about them with great enthusiasm.
In almost all European countries and the United States, the breed is becoming more and more popular. And indeed, the Tibetan mastiff deserves wide distribution - not so much because of its beauty, but because of its nature.
In our country, Tibetan mastiffs also appeared not by chance. Gradually, despite all sorts of troubles and endless crises in the economy, the so-called middle class is being formed: entrepreneurs, managers, top managers - in a word, quite successful and wealthy people who can afford to live outside the city, in their own home. In this situation, they need a dog-friend, a dog-guard who is easily brought up, is well adapted to the family, good-natured, but will not give a descent to any offender. Tibetan Mastiff - just such an option!
Long centuries of evolution, the antiquity of the breed, and the fact that Tibet has long been a closed territory, the quality of the breed has remained almost unchanged, and this is the key to good health of the Tibetan mastiffs. They are quite strong, and adult mastiffs practically do not get sick.
Optimal conditions for such dogs - street content in the garden. Of course, it is possible to contain a Tibetan mastiff in a city apartment, but this will be connected with a number of difficulties: long walks will be required, satisfying the pet's need for movement, more careful attention to education.
City noise, a lot of sounds and smells, walking passers-by with children, big noisy groups of teenagers, other dogs - all this should not be a stressful factor, the dog should be fully adapted to this lifestyle. In addition, the hair of a city dog will not look as thick and luxurious as that of an animal living in the open air.
One of the remarkable advantages of the Tibetan mastiff is the complete absence of the characteristic canine smell. This breed can be recommended even to people who are prone to allergies to wool or do not tolerate the "aroma" of dog. Caring for wool, which is the main decoration of the Tibetan mastiff, is very simple: the necessary hygienic procedures will not take much time and effort away from you. Tibet moults occur only once a year.
Good health, excellent immunity and thick hair - all this is perfect to contain the Tibetan mastiff in our harsh northern climate. A dog living in the garden can easily be outside even in a thirty-degree frost!
Puppies of the Tibetan mastiff are very cute and touching, similar to teddy bears. Like any puppies, they are very active, playful and restless, but with age this dog becomes calm and balanced. It is very pleasant that the dogs of this breed bypass all the "charms" of transitional age: the young Tibetan mastiff does not look like an ugly duckling, the proportions of his body are not distorted by intense maturation - he looks like an adult dog, only smaller in size.
Tibetan Mastiff needs to be raised from a very young age. A puppy must be adapted to the person and the outside world, but not “overloaded” it: they should not be given too serious loads (somewhere up to 1-1.5 years). Growing dogs have rather fragile bones, therefore representatives of large breeds that grow quickly and weigh a lot must be protected from injury.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a territorial dog. She not only protects her landlords, but also those square meters provided to her: a plot, a vegetable garden, or even some part of the street. Being on its territory, the Tibetans choose the highest point, which is chosen to observe and carry out their guard service.
Tibetan Mastiff Character
Tibetans have a very interesting character: bright, expressive, unusually harmonious and friendly.
The Tibetan Mastiff is a dog that has never been seen in "idle talk." Experts figuratively compare the voice of the Tibetan mastiff with the blow of a copper gong: deaf and bass. In China, the special velvety "timbre" of the voice of the Tibetans was very much appreciated, for which they were even specially watered with heated milk!
The Tibetan mastiff rarely gives a voice, never fills with meaningless barking to frighten any passerby, because this dog can stand up for himself and his loved ones without it. In addition, she is able to make decisions independently - when the owner is not in danger, and only the guest has come, she will quietly step aside, but if a person tries to enter the house with bad intentions, she will protect you.
This is because the Tibetan Mastiff has an unusually developed flair and intellect. Above the eyes, Tibetan mastiffs have spots of tan color (golden brown). Tibetan wise men say that such a dog never sleeps and seems to be looking at the world with four eyes - the “second pair” of its eyes is constantly open. And indeed, the Tibetans are very sensitively guarding their masters. If trouble comes, and the dog is sleeping, this ideal guard will instantly wake up and go into action.
Tibetan Mastiff will not bother you with annoyance. He runs around the site, lazily lying in the sun or chilling in the shade, but he responds with great pleasure to the master's caress: touches, stroking, kind words act soothingly on the dog, and communication with you and your family gives him real joy.
Usually such a dog knows who is in charge in the house, and unconditionally obeys him, but the rest of the family will also have affection, respect and loyalty. A brave, devoted heart of a giant shaggy pet is enough for everyone he loves. And how great will be his joy, when the owners returned from a trip or from work! If you want a loving creature to meet you at home, you should certainly get a Tibetan mastiff.
When there is a child in the family, the Tibetan Mastiff is clearly aware that there is a little silly person in front of him. All childish pranks, harassment and scuffling will not cause aggression in a dog. Many authors of publications and experienced breeders agree that we should rather think about the rest of the dog than about the safety of the child - your little child can beat the dog, sit on it, run after it, climb to the animal with rough caresses: and Tibetan the mastiff will only philosophically endure ...
If guests came to your child, a noisy, vociferous company has formed, explain to the children that the dog may even take playful squabbles and fuss, and will try to intervene to restore order.
Another remarkable feature of the Tibetan mastiff is its magnificent balance, self-esteem. However, such a dog can not be called phlegmatic; there is a sense of humor, mental alertness, playfulness, curiosity, and mobility. All these character traits appear surprisingly timely and consistent with the situation: when the family is alone with the dog, it is a tender and gentle playful kitten (true, gigantic size!), When the unfamiliar guests in the house are attentive observers who are not confused under their feet, but are in control and when you are in danger, you have an unsurpassed guard.
But the most important thing is the light of that devotion and loyalty that the Tibetan mastiff radiates with virtually every cell of its body! Every person wants the most important thing in life: firstly, to love and, secondly, to be loved and needed. Get yourself such a dog, and these desires will surely be fulfilled!