Select a puppy


With growing popularity of breed, number of people who wants to make a profit without any responsibility grows proportionally. What for seller is just breeding for profit, for buyer can turn into a personal catastrophe. What can be more disappointing than to buy a puppy and in the end find that he has some genetic or incurable diseases? For many happy owners of Tibetan Mastiffs, their dogs are the true joy in their every day’s life, so lets consider what we should look at when choosing healthy and good tempered friend to live with us long years.


Select the right breeder is yet half of job. But how to find the right kennel and define that this is what you are looking for? First step is to make yourself acquainted with the breed and realise what type, colour or even gender of Tibetan Mastiff you are looking for.

It will do you good to speak with different breeders, visit local dog-show, ask questions on forums etc. Although be aware that there is a lot of rumours around this breed, and sometimes it is hard to define where is a true and where is a false. Find the kennel, which keeps dogs, most suitable for your taste and try to contact them in order to get answers to your questions. If breeders will answer you readily, it is a good sign.

Since puppies are born just once a year in winter or early spring, be prepared that most likely all the puppies in this particular kennel are already reserved, and you need to make a reservation for the following year. In that case you will get a wider choice and priority in selecting the pup. Don’t skip this step, as many many pups are really looking sweet at a puppy age, but if you want a dog “like in that kennel”, better not to fall in love with any other just because it’s cute!

Some people say “Tibetan Mastiffs are never too much”, so probably it is not the last puppy you will take. After first TM it is usually much more easy to select second in the following years, since there is a very strong international community of TM owners and fans. In some kennels to take puppy it is needed to provide with references, that you are right person to be the owner of dog born there, and this is only possible through other breeders or TM owners.

Don’t be scared of this procedure, this only shows that this kennel is of a greatest quality. Even if this kennel is located thousands of miles away from your place, it is not the reason to decline it – in comparison to TM puppy cost, expenses for flight are worth it.

Another good sign if the breeder provides with a contract for sale, where all the duties of both parties are specified. Pedigree of FCI standard of parents has to be showed to a potential owner or to be in a free access on kennel’s website or public resources. It is clear, that you have to be sure you will get a pedigree for your puppy, so don’t hesitate to ask about when you will get it. ( In some countries owner of a puppy gets certificate that confirms that pedigree will be issued later, kind of puppy-card ).

Don’t forget to check that kennel has been officially registered in a country where it sells puppies. In Europe, EU-Passport for puppy is another necessary document that has to be obtained from the kennel. Parents have to be approved for breeding, and sir has to have exterior score not less than excellent, dam – very good under at least 3 different judges.

Make yourself acquainted with prices for different types of puppies, for instance, prices like half of million US dollars and so on are just for keeping market up. Normally, in the West cost of the puppy is about 2000-10 000 EUR ( depending on parents and puppy quality, colouring ), China and Tibet 5 000 – 30 000 EUR ( actually 30 000 is usually the top of price, and for this money one can get exceptional quality puppy, with clearest possibly colour.

Mainly, such dogs are acquired for breeding exclusively and their lines influence greatly on cost of puppies born either in the West or in the East. Apart of it, it is almost impossible to export such dogs, thats why higher prices sometimes are paid ). Make sure what type of colour do you prefer and how clear you want it to be, because this is a one of most valuable feature of Tibetan Mastiff. Normally there have the following colouring: Black and Tan ( Tan can be in a range from red to almost white, and of different purity, e.g. sable, or not clearly defined tan-lines ), Black, Blue and Tan, Pure Golden, Different shades of Golden with dark mask ( Sable ), Pure Red, Sable Red or with dark mask, in China – also white TM, in USA were also TMs of  chocolate colouring.

It can happen that in long waited litter, there are no puppies of colour that you prefer. In that case you can have a back up, or choose from those who has been born. Sometimes price can be adjusted according to the expectations and agreement. Any other characteristics of puppy will not shift because of another colour.

So the question is settled and you are waiting for the puppy to be born. Keep up with all new acquaintances and try to find as more information about the breed as possible. When litter is born, ask breeder to provide a photos of puppies starting from an early age so you can observe their development. If possible, visit newborns at an age of 1 month to choose one.

DSC_3236With following rules it have to be easier to make a right choice:
– take independent specialist with you. It will be very good if he has an good understanding of this breed qualities; Don’t overestimate your knowledges about the breed, when you will see 10 cutest sweetest teddybears playing along, it will be unbelievable hard to make the right choice, especially for the 1st puppy! Tibetan Mastiff puppy is something worth to see once in a life, and you can fell in love in  a second. Apart of it, it is hard not to forget to check and ask all necessary things, so better to have someone calm-minded and to whom you can trust(!). Usually such person has many perfect references from other people, who asked him for help in similar situations.  It is better to completely rely on his decision and view, and if he says that litter is not good enough, better not to take puppy at all. If there is no such person, take with you any other who is calm-minded and meticulous. This can not be of that great help, but still is better than go alone.

– It has to be defined, at what age choice has to be done. If you have a right of the first choice, usually it is 1-1.5 months. Normally, from not reserved puppies, you can make choice whenever while puppies are not sold. But the chances to take the best one are decreasing proportionally. It is good if you can get the puppy that kennel wants to keep for future breeding. It is usually the best puppy from all litter.

– when you see puppies, ask to divide girls from boys and choose from those gender group, that you want. Sometimes you can change your mind on place, if you see the best puppy of another gender. It is not bad idea in case of TM, girls usually in season just once per year, relatively smaller and more obedient to the owner, boys require more serious approach, but still are not that complicated, as many other large breeds. It is better to soberly assess your capabilities to walk with 80kg dog, if you are a single lady:).

–  puppy has to have healthy, shiny, clean coat. In case of TM – he looks like a teddy bear with thick well developed undercoat. This almost guaranties his health.

– wide and really perfectly developed chest, especially in case of a boy. DEEP, LONG ( not less that half of a body length ), and WIDE ( when you enfold it from the bottom, it has to be in “U”-form, rather than “V”-form). Those are criteria for selection. Deepness should not be preferred to the short legs, wideness to the low height, and length to the too prolonged body, etc.

– absolutely straight front legs, with a rich distance between  them ( that proves wide chest  ).  This ensures good muscles and ligaments, which are extremely important for such large breed as TM. All legs must have “rich” bones, much wider than seen in proportions of adult dog. They must not be in-proportionally short! Cubic appearance of legs+chest when look from the front is very good.

– wide pelvic bones, long enough croup, hind legs are straight  and parallel when look from the back. Distance between hind legs must not be smaller than between front legs and have to be significant. Hocks must not be turned inside or outside.  Apart of that, be highly careful with state of hind legs, they have to look strong even in puppy age. If there are some deviations, better not to take this puppy.

– they can be a sign of displasia, weak muscles and ligaments and become a major problem when puppy will begin to grow and gain a weight. Ask breeder about what are results of test for displasya, score must be A, maximum B, but not C, D or E. Both legs have their own score, e.g: AA means a score A for right hind leg and A for left hind leg. Avoid to take puppy from parents, which were not going through this test.

– when looking from the left or from the right, pay attention to angulations of knee. Note, that angulation is not completely strait. For huge massive dog like a TM it is not required to have sharp angles, but to ensure good movement, legs have to have good angulation.

– head of Tibetan Mastiff is almost the most important feature, that should be very well developed. Head of puppy must look relatively bigger in proportion to his body, muzzle must be “good filled” and be rather wider than deeper. Lips must be good filled and seem inflated. Upper part of muzzle looks rounded when looking from the front. Head itself have to look rather rounded from all the positions, and wide. Nice stop between forehead and nose must to be well seen.  Pay attention that even small male puppies ( actually girls preferably too ) should have a mane that is usually stays up, this adding more rounded look to the head. To check head form, try to smooth that mane down and assess how wide and rounded it is. Check the bite. It must be ideal scissors.

– puppy of Tibetan Mastiff must have “rich” bones, much wider in proportions than those of adult dogs. If you see “adult dogs”  proportions – this is a bad sign, puppy will be tiny when grown up. Puppy of TM must look like a very “rich” baby-bear from all sides.

– neck must not be shortened, what can be observed very often. Tibetan Mastiff hold his head up usually with a well seen dignity and honour, and it is seen from a puppy age.

– male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
-weigh of Tibetan Mastiff puppy male has to be about 16 kg, when he is 2-2,5 month old, girls may weight about 10-15 kg.

– temperament is the last but not the least thing it is need to pay attention for. Tibetan Mastiffs show their character from an early age, although it is also dependant in high degree of the character of mother and father. If you have a chance to meet both parents, its perfect, but usually it is possible to see only mother. She must not be fierce preferably, but show signs of watch-dog. Father is allowed to have more fierce character, although better if he is calming down when see that everything is all right and have got a command from the owner. Don’t forget that adult TM can have his own opinion about you, which he usually willingly expresses. Normally, puppies of TM grow in the family of breeder, among other dogs and they show very stable and playful character. Signs of watch-dog they can show also from an early age, but some dogs begin to guard in a later age. The baddest sign if the puppy is scared, afraid of sounds or people, hiding in dark corners – this means a serious problem with psychic, and you don’t want to have such Tibetan Mastiff. Reaction for a sudden sound ( keys, dropped on a floor, or plastic bottle crunch ) can be a amazement, leap to the side, or just “blankly look”, but not the panic fear. After approximately 1 minute pup should make himself acquainted with a new thing and show some degree of curiosity.

Pay attention to the leadership of puppy, playing with his brothers and sisters. Taking the leader is a good solution for TM, which will be used for a free guarding. Healthy pup can not be lazy or phlegmatic, only if he is tired , but then he is immediately falls asleep. Too shy or falling on his back (because of the fear) Tibetan mastiff puppy is a nonsense and is definitely not your choice. Usually it is a sign of a genetic disease.

Make an observation from the moment you decided about which puppy to take, how is he developing with the time, and observe which states become better and which worse. Try to envision in which direction puppy develops – to the better or to the worse. Best age to take a TM puppy is 2,5-3 months.

Remember, future health and beauty of TM is not only depend on what puppy you will choose, but also on how you will raise him. So ask breeder all necessary questions, and don’t hesitate to call him as often as needed if something is unclear to you.

©Article is made on a base of material, provided by Elena Fedoseeva.

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