A number of months ago, a new addition came to live on our homestead. His name is Stoic the Vast. He is a Tibetan Mastiff.
Maid Elizabeth had been researching this breed for years, admiring their protective qualities and lion mane, but we never expected to be able to afford one of our own. In a wonderful turn of events, we happened across Stoic in the next state over and were able to pool our resources and bring him home. Boy, were we in for a whole new dog experience!
Tibetan Mastiffs are known as Lion Dogs and for good reason. They are very cat-like canines. Their very walk is the walk of a lion and combined with the thick "mane" that surrounds their neck and travels down the top of their back they can be more than a little intimidating. In their native Tibet they are referred to as "Door-Post Dogs" due to the fact that they are chained (and I mean chained, with huge logging chain) to the door-post of their owners homes during the day and let off their chains at night to roam and protect the town.
|Tibetan Mastiff (image from Google)|
Tibetan Mastiff's only allow a very few men into their lives - 2 or 3 is their limit (unless you are immediate family). They love children and tolerate women (unless they perceive them to be a threat). We have a family friend that drops newspapers off every few days and always brings treats to the dogs. For the longest time Stoic refused to take treats from Joe, requiring one of his people to feed him the treats. At length, he allowed Joe the honor of hand feeding him. Thinking that he had accepted Joe into the family, we asked him to shouse-sit over while we visited my folks. Stoic spent the entire duration of our trip chained outside - he refused to allow Joe to even get close enough to him to unleash him and bring him into the house. Joe was allowed to fill his food and water dishes, but he was not allowed to touch him in our absence. Joe wasn't considered one of us.
|Not our Tibetan Mastiff (from Google)|
Tibetan Mastiff's are a home defense dog only. They are not herd guardians or hunting dogs or even companion dogs (although I think Stoic is a wonderful companion) - they are guard dogs pure and simple. They do not listen to their owners when they are told to "stand down", they believe they know better than you when there is a threat - and they will act on it. They require a very well fenced yard or preferably a logging chain - they will wander. It is not that Tibetan Mastiff's aren't loyal, they are, but they just think they can defend and guard you from anywhere in the county. They are EXTREMELY defensive of their own property and people, however, they are very manageable when you have them on a leash outside of their own home ground, so taking them for walks in the park is great. Just remember, these dogs must be on a leash at all times!
|Stoic has not yet gotten his full mane - but it's coming!|
Maid Elizabeth came across a list of rules for a Tibetan Mastiff's household. We found these to be very true to form (minus the Karma thing)!
Rules in a Tibetan Mastiff's House
I am the keeper of this house. I am also one of the most ancient of warriors. Do not even think about coming into my home without an invitation. Not only is it bad Karma to tick off a warrior, if I have to defend my house or my family, you are mine. I will keep you. I do not suffer fools.
I am the legendary Tibetan Mastiff. Tibetan is in my name. It is very significant, a big deal, and of colossal importance. Tibet is named after me. How cool is that?! Not only is Tibet named after me, the Tibet flag has my ancestors on it (well, a poor imitation, the artist was not very good).
I am the boss. No impertinent behavior allowed - except mine or the children. If you are not me or them, behave. It is your responsibility to be familiar with my rules, to be sure you understand them. This is my house and all of the stuff here is mine. Stuff is like....toys, balls, sticks, boats, couches, remote controls, socks, beds, humans (especially children), treats, shoes and anything else I want. And it's all mine, mine, mine.
I am aristocratic and blue blooded (my pedigree is better than yours). I am brave, obstinate, intelligent, stubborn and alert. I can be dignified if I want to (but I don't want to). I am fast, agile, stubborn, playful, sweet and loving. I do try to be stubborn, but I always know best. Sometimes a dogs got to do what a dogs got to do. I want to please my humans, but I am a thinking dog. I have energy to burn, places to go and things to do. Leave me behind at your own risk. Whatever happens is your fault, not mine.
To all who enter my home: Expect a complete body search performed by me.
D.D. Anderson (2008)