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The origin of the Tibetan Mastiff

By Source:China Tibet Online 2015-06-08

The Tibetan mastiff originates from China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.( Tibetan-inhabited areas in Qinghai, Tibet Autonomous Region) It is considered to be one of the oldest precious breeds in the world. Some researchers even believe that the Tibetan mastiff is the ancestor of many large mastiff breeds on the European continent.

There have been many documents about it; however, detailed and complete information is still in shortage. According to earliest evidences and the scientific record in 1100 BC, mastiffs may appear in the Stone Age and the Bronze Age.

The first official book about dogs, wrote in 1873, includes 4027 kinds. According to it, the large breed from Tibet was entitled as the Tibetan mastiff. A few mastiffs have been imported to England and Europe since then.

The mastiffs bark loudly like lions with similar height with donkeies, said by Marco Polo, who is the first person introducing the mastiff to Europe.

However, there are three legends about the Tibetan Mastiff’s origin.

The most widespread legend is that a long time ago, Tibetans are living a happy and peaceful life. But one day, all of sudden, after a flash flood breaking out, the whole region was covered with ice and snow in winter. People were suffering from various types of hardships, such as starvation, pestilence and cold weather. Then gods came from heaven to rescue the victims, riding the Tibetan Mastiffs, which then was regarded as the envoy from heaven and respected by all Tibetans.

The second legend is that in ancient times, encountered with a leopard, a hunter was rescued by a giant dog from heaven, which finally killed the leopard. Thereupon, this dog is named by the hunter as “Mastiff”, which means the “dog on the bowstring”.

The last legend is that due to too many wolves in Longxi, a county in western Gansu Province long time ago, a young man was devoting himself to rooting out the wolves and finally moved the god, who later gave a female pup to the young man. Nine little puppies were born shortly afterwards and only one survived by natural selection. The only dog defeated the wolves and entitled as Mastiff by his master.

The Tibetan mastiff has very thick hair which can help them resist against the cold, so they can sleep peacefully in ice and snow. They are ferocious and always hostile to strangers, while extremely intimate with their owner. One Tibetan mastiff can watch over hundreds of sheep and fight against three wolves. This precious dog is presenting its charm to more and more people and getting the extensive concern from public in recent years.

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