The Tibetan Mastiff is first mentioned in 1122 BC. These references were found in the Chinese book Shu-King. It seems that our dog has changed little over the many years of our existence. There is a hypothesis that the Tibetan is a direct descendant of the first dog, which appeared on the ground about 5000 years ago. On the one hand, mountain dogs with long hair descended from this dog, and on the other, Mesopotamian Molossians, whose images can be seen on famous bas-reliefs.
These huge Molossos are most likely the father of the Greek and Roman Molossus, from which, in turn, came Mastino Neapolitano, Bordeaux Great Danes and all the current short-haired mastino. After the book Shu-King open the works of Aristotle, where we also find a mention of the Tibetan mastiff. However, the description of the philosopher is far from reality, because he talks about a dog, which is a cross between a dog and a tiger. Description of the Greek Gosfena more realistic. He writes only about a giant dog with a huge head and powerful bones. Several centuries later, namely in 1271, Marco Polo arrived in Tibet, he saw the Tibetan mastiff and he made a very strong impression on him. However, the wanderer informs about the dog not only angry, but also huge, like a donkey. Obvious exaggeration. When the Europeans got the opportunity to see a Tibetan donkey, they found that the animal usually does not even reach a meter in height. However, the comparison for a long time agitated the imagination of dog handlers and naturalists.
For a very long time, Tibetan mastiffs were spoken of as dogs, more legendary than real, and they rarely compared them to Yeti. It took a long time after Marco Polo’s journey before another European could meet the Tibetan mastiff. This happened in 1774, when the governor of Bengal, trying to improve relations with his neighbors, sent George Boklya to Tibet. The mission failed, however, Boklya saw the Tibetan mastiffs and made a description of them. These are dogs of enormous height, mostly long-haired and very ferocious. Other, preserved descriptions do not contribute anything new. They had to be content until the middle of the 19th century, when real, genuine mastiffs arrived in the West.
However, the legend of the ferocity of the mastiff was very tenacious and these dogs were still treated like wild beasts than like dogs. The first mastiffs were immediately sent to the London Zoo. Some dogs died because they could not adapt to the peculiarities of the European climate. Survivors determined how wild and awarded a sign - "Do not fit!" Of course, the character of the dogs of those days was not at all sugar. In essence, they were watchmen, guards, and even more likely hunters, and all these roles require a certain degree of character. In their home country, the breed did not have a permanent proper name. Mastiffs called "Dokuy". “Before” is the door, “forge” is a dog. However, this name was given without exception to all guard dogs, while hunting dogs were given the name "Shakui". "Sha" means meat. The name “dokuy” suggests that the Tibetan mastiff was primarily a guard dog, not a hunting dog.
Only Marco Polo is of the opposite opinion, stating that these dogs were used to hunt lions and huge buffalo. Alas, these lions were tigers, animals unfamiliar to the Venetian traveler. And Polo called the buffaloes yaks, terrible animals only at first glance, those who had never seen them before. In fact, they are harmless and tame. Therefore, it is quite reasonable to assume that the dogs accompanied the herds of yaks, not to hunt them, but to protect them from predators.
But back to the history of the breed, which in the 20th 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 severe crisis ensued, continuing to this day. This crisis could not touch the dogs. As always, we tried to get rid of those who are more tall, because it was expensive to maintain large dogs. In the end, the Tibetan Mastiff disappeared completely in its homeland. Breed saved in Nepal. There, the king himself took the breed under his protection. In 1966, a special program for the protection and breeding of these dogs was adopted. Thanks to the Nepalese people, the Tibetan mastiff managed to win sympathy in Western Europe. In the late 1960s, when Tibet was already under Chinese rule, free Nepal became a place of pilgrimage for tourists, especially American. These were climbers who dreamed of climbing the Himalayas, hippies who wanted to join Buddhist philosophy. And they all admired the sight of huge, noble dogs frolicking in the valley. In fact, the first copies were brought to the United States. However, they arrived there by mistake. In 1958, a pair of Tibetan mastiffs were presented to President Eisenhower. However, they wanted to give him two Tibetan terriers, small graceful domestic dogs. There was a little confusion in the American embassy, and instead the two giants arrived to the president, whom the president, perhaps a little confused, passed on to senator Gary Darby. The senator superbly cared for them, but he was not going to breed. This was taken by Anna Roar, who discovered these dogs in Nepal. She became the founder of the American Society of Tibetan Mastiff lovers. In Europe, Tibetan mastiff is bred in England, Holland, Germany, France, and now in Russia.
However, discussions and legends are still born around this breed, and since there is little information for dogs, it rarely reaches the public.
In France, the breed was lucky. The first Tibetan Mastiff acquired the famous actor Alain Delon, who always spoke about them with great enthusiasm. Today, there are at least 150 registered dogs in Tibetan Mastiff in France.
There are few individuals in Russia, but there is reason to assert that there are all possibilities for popularization and distribution of this breed.