Can You Own a Tibetan Mastiff in the US? All You Need to Know

Yes, you can own a Tibetan Mastiff in the United States. However, you’d need to check it on your state first before bringing one home. Some entirely prohibit this breed while others regulate it. 

To know a bit about the Tibetan Mastiff dog, this is a territorial and highly protective canine. Massive and fatal, he can easily deal with an intruder or a trespasser. Behind this strong image, is his loving character and family loyalty that never ceases.

Unfortunately, some dogs are perceived to be dangerous. Therefore, certain countries, especially some states in America, try to preserve the safety of the country against vicious dog attacks. 

How Safe Is It to Own a Tibetan Mastiff?

It is generally safe to own a Tibetan Mastiff provided that you know how to handle this large dog. Due to his intense history in guarding flocks and safeguarding temples, it is advised to train him early on to milden his strong territorial instinct. 

As a puppy, being socialized with other pets, dogs, and people will instill in his mind that interaction with those outside his family is alright. That there are several benefits for him through that such as:

  • Having a playmate
  • Receiving more attention
  • Preventing himself from developing bad behaviors

The chance of a Tibetan Mastiff becoming dangerous gets high if you are not experienced in owning large dogs, all the more a stubborn dog such as the Tibetan Mastiff. Take note of the Nature vs Nurture concept. If the vital needs of your dog are not met or if he is often abused, then it is likely that he’ll grow up with issues and behavioral problems. This will eventually become a huge concern not just in your home, but as well as in your community. 

Genetic temperament is also worth acknowledging. Mating two Tibetan Mastiffs who have bad temperaments can produce offspring who’ll most likely be programmed to have bad behaviors in the future. If this happens, the puppies can be potentially dangerous unless there is an intervention.

What Is Breed-Specific Legislation?

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is any bill that seeks to put extreme restrictions or worse, a ban on owners who own a particular dog breed or dog that has physical characteristics that can be associated as ‘dangerous’ or have shown a propensity to violent behavior or hostility. The bill applies regardless of whether or not the subject is a problem in a particular community. 

Such a bill is usually a form of response to an attack caused by a specific dog (or any animal). This can also be an obvious display of careless or irresponsible ownership. The BSL is proposed either by local or state lawmakers as an attempt to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

This breed-specific legislation covers a variety. It could include total bans, severe restrictions, special licensing, or any special regulation for unusual cases. Moreover, this does not aim to control or regulate dogs based solely on how they look. Rather it is mainly about how these dogs act including how owners treat and raise them.

Arguments Against Breed-Specific Legislation

Although BSL came about for the best interests of all, many believe that there are certain flaws about it that need to be corrected. Those who are opposed to the current form of BSL contend the following points:

  • The US generally doesn’t prefer the mass being faced with ramifications triggered by the actions of the few.
  • Specific to the Tibetan Mastiff, this breed has proven itself as a good livestock guardian and family companion for years.
  • Dog owners who have well-behaved Tibetan Mastiffs don’t deserve to have their pets taken away.
  • The real problem isn’t about which breeds are ‘savage’ but rather the irresponsible dog owners.
  • Reports could be flawed. A victim of a dog-biting incident could mistake one dog breed for another.

Some Cases of Tibetan Mastiff Attacks 

In certain parts of the world, several news reports tell us about unfortunate Tibetan Mastiff attacks. This does not happen that often, but the possibility of it happening to anyone remains. Let us dive into some events involving the Tibetan Mastiff and his potential aggression on display:

  • A six-year-old in Northern China was severely attacked by a Tibetan Mastiff while she was on her way to a grocery store on Tuesday evening. The dog spotted her, rushed to knock her out, and bit her on the neck. The little girl was rushed immediately to the hospital. Unfortunately, she died the next day due to severe damages found in her trachea and arteries. The mother was left inconsolable. 
  • A Tibetan Mastiff named Teddy mauled three women in Edinburgh in three separate attacks. The victims include a pensioner, a mother, and a schoolgirl. Cases suggest that the incidents of these attacks were unprovoked. Hence, the verdict, the dog has to be destroyed.

Other Places That Banned or Restricted the Tibetan Mastiff Breed

The popularity of the Tibetan Mastiff is phenomenal. He is a handsome dog who has a resemblance to a male lion, thanks to his prominent and dense mane around the neck. Sadly, his potential aggression and a few case reports about him have made other countries, not just the US, act on it to prevent another victim of a dog attack.  Know what other places have banned or restricted the Tibetan Mastiff. 

  • Malaysia– The said country prohibits the importation of the Tibetan Mastiff. This is due to his natural aggression and oftentimes, unpredictable temperament.
  • Bermuda– Importing, breeding, or owning a Tibetan Mastiff is not allowed. Even the offspring of this canine with another dog breed is not acceptable.
  • France– Certain laws regarding Tibetan Mastiffs including fighting dogs have already been enacted in France since 1999. It is stated that dogs have to be collared, muzzled, leashed, and tied up to prevent them from roaming.
  • Shanghai– The famous city of China banned over 20 dog breeds including the Tibetan Mastiff in 2011. Dogs that are 13 inches or above in height are not allowed and will be taken away from owners.
  • The Maldives– The Tibetan Mastiff is not welcome in the Maldives as well. Travelers cannot roam around with a canine, let alone enter its territorial waters with the foreign breeds.

Should the Tibetan Mastiff Be Banned in the US?

Some people perceive the Tibetan Mastiff as a potential threat, especially that there are incidents of it attacking others. However, this does not automatically mean that he will always be dangerous and has to be banned from existing. Truth be told, any dog can become aggressive, and this majorly boils down to dog ownership.

Moreover, by labeling the Tibetan Mastiff as an unsafe dog to be around, discrimination could take place. Instead, educate the public about dog bite prevention and responsible dog ownership. If the Tibetan Mastiff showed a concerning behavior in the past, certain regulations can be applied in the said  state. This could include limiting its public exposure or making it wear a leash and muzzle.