Proposed Tibetan Mastiff Breed Standard Changes

Edit: update.  The changes were passed.

Edit: update 2.  Meeting minutes posted, details.

For those of you not interested in the Tibetan Mastiff breed, breed standards, the AKC, or breed club you’ll probably not be overly interested in the rest of this post.  For the rest of you, please click to read below:

You may or may not be aware that the Tibetan Mastiff breed club is attempting to change the breed’s confirmation standards.  Though some of these changes are well meant, many of them will not only exclude from the breed current champion and grand champion dogs, it will severely limit the breeding stock available to breeders, and drastically change the shape of the breed’s head.  These changes can be expected to cause severe damage to the breed as a whole.

Current Breed standard.

After much frustration I finally got ahold of a current copy of the changes being sent to the AKC to vote on.  I have quoted it below.  Please note: this is an OCRed copy of a PDF scan of a document that had clearly been faxed at least once.  The crossed out words are the words being removed from the last proposed change, the underlined words are the words being added to this current version (note, there were inbetween versions that I don’t have).  I have left all those markings in place.  There is at least one place where it was difficult to tell if the words were underlined or crossed out, but underlined made more sense so that is how I marked them.  Highlighted sections are sections I particularly took note of and will be commented on below.

Tibetan Do Khyi Mastiff
I.                    GENERAL APPEARANCE.
Noble and impressive: a large, but not a giant breed. An athletic and substantial dog, of solemn but kindly appearance. The Tibetan Do Khyi Mastiff stands well up on the pasterns, with strong, tight, cat feet, giving an alert appearance. The body is slightly longer than tall. The hallmarks of the breed are the head and the tail. The head is broad and impressive, with substantial back skull, the eyes deep-set and almond shaped, slightly- slanted, the muzzle broad and well-padded, giving a square appearance. The typical expression of the breed is one of watchfulness. The tail is and britches are well feathered and the tail is carried over the back in a single curl falling over the loin, balancing the head. The coat and heavy mane is thick, with coarse guard hair and a wooly undercoat.  The tail and britches are well feathered.
The Tibetan Do Khyi Mastiff has been used primarily as a family and property guardian for many millennia. The Tibetan Do Khyi Mastiff is aloof and watchful of strangers, and highly protective of its people and property.
            Size:    Dogs – preferred range of 26 inches – 29 inches at the withers
                        Bitches – preferred range of 24 inches – 27 inches at the withers

Dogs that are more than 30 inches at the withers or bitches that are more than 28 inches at the withers to be disqualified. Dogs and bitches that are 18 months or older and that are less than 25 inches at the withers in the case of dogs or 23 inches at the withers in the case of bitches to be disqualified.
All dogs and bitches within the standard preferred range for height are to be judged equally, with no preference to be given to the taller dog.
Proportion: Slightly longer than tall (10-9), (i.e., the height to length to height, measured from sternum to ischium should be slightly greater than the distance from withers to ground).
Substance: The Tibetan DoKhyi Mastiff should have impressive substance for its size, both in bone, body, and muscle
III. Head
Broad and, strong, Heavy with heavy brow ridges.  Heavy wrinkling to be severely faulted: however a single fold extending from above the eyes down to the corner of the mouth acceptable at maturity.  A correct head and expression is essential to the breed.
            Expression: Noble, intelligent, watchful and aloof.
Eyes: Very expressive, medium size, any shade of brown. Rims to be black except in blue/grey and blue/grey and tan dogs and brown dogs, the darkest possible shade of grey or brown. Eyes deep-set, well apart, and slightly slanting, with tightly fitting eye rims at maturity. Any other color or shape to be severely faulted since it detracts from the typical expression.
Ears: Medium size, V-shaped, pendant, set-on high, dropping forward and hanging close to head. Raised when alert, level with the top of the skull. The ear leather is thick, covered with soft short hair, and when measured, should reach the inner corner of the eye. Low-set and/or hound-like ears to be severely faulted.
Skull: Broad and large, with strongly defined occiput. Broad, flat back skull Prominent, bony brow ridges.
Stop: Well Moderately defined, made to appear deeper and more well defined by presence of prominent brow ridges.
Muzzle: Broad, well filled and square when viewed from all sides.
Proportions: Measurement from stop to end of nose to be between one-half to one third the length of the measurement from the occiput to stop. Longer muzzle is a severe fault. Width of skull measured from ear set on to opposite ear set on, to be slightly greater than length of skull measured from occiput to stop (i.e., just off square).
Nose: Broad, well pigmented, with open nostrils. Black, except with blue/grey or blue/grey and tan dogs, the darkest shade of grey and brown dogs, the darkest shade of brown. Any other color to be severely faulted.
Lips: Well developed, thick, with moderate flews and slightly pendulous lower lips.  The Tibetan Do Khyi is a dry mouthed breed and pronounced dewlap or pendulous or thin/papery lips are to be severely faulted.
Bite: Scissor bite, complete dentition, level bite acceptable.
Teeth: Canine teeth large, strong, broken teeth not to be faulted.
Disqualifications: Undershot or overshot bite.
Neck: The neck is well muscled, moderately arched, sufficient in length to be in balance with the body, and may have moderate dewlap around the throat. The neck, especially in mature dogs, is shrouded by a thick upstanding mane.
Topline: Topline straight and level and firm between withers and croup.
Body: The chest is well developed, with reasonable spring of rib. Brisket reaching to just below elbows. Underline with pronounced (but not exaggerated) tuck-up. The back is muscular with firmly muscled loin. There is no slope or angle to the croup.
Tail: Well feathered, medium to long, not reaching below the hock, set high on line with the back. When alert or in motion, the tail is always carried curled over the back, may be carried down when dog is relaxed. Faults: Double curl, incomplete curl, uncurled or straight tail,
Severe faults: Tail not carried in the proper position as set forth above.
Shoulders: Well laid back, muscular, strongly boned, with moderate angulation to match the rear angulation.
Legs: Straight, with substantial bone and muscle, well covered with short, coarse hair, feathering on the back, and with strong pasterns that have a slight slope.
Feet: Cat feet. Fairly large, strong, compact, may have feathering between toes. Nails may be either black and/or white, regardless of coat color. A single dewclaw may be present on the front feet.
Hindquarters: Powerful, muscular, with all parts being moderately angulated. Seen from behind, the hind legs and stifle are parallel. The hocks are strong, approximately one-third the overall length of the leg, and perpendicular.
Feet: A single or double dewclaw may be present on the rear feet. Removal of rear dewclaws, if present, optional but preferred.
In general, dogs carry noticeably more coat than bitches. The quality of the coat is of greater importance than length. Double-coated, with fairly long, thick coarse guard hair, with heavy soft undercoat in cold weather which becomes rather sparse in warmer months. Hair is fine but hard, straight and stand-off; never silky, curly or wavy. Heavy undercoat, when present, rather woolly. Neck and shoulders heavily coated, especially in dogs, giving mane-like appearance. Tail and britches densely coated and heavily feathered. The Tibetan Do Khyi Mastiff is shown naturally. Trimming is not acceptable except to provide a clean cut appearance of feet and hocks. Dogs are not to be penalized if shown with a summer coat.
Black, brown, and blue/grey, all with or without tan markings and ranging from a light silver to a rich mahogany: also gold, with shades of gold, ranging from a pure golden to a rich red gold.  Tan markings range from a light silver to a rich chestnut.  White markings on breast chest and feet acceptable. Tan markings may appear at any or all of the following areas: above eyes as spots, around eyes (including spectacle markings), on each side of the muzzle, on throat, on lower part of front forelegs and extending up the inside of the forelegs, on inside of rear legs showing down the front of the stifle and broadening out to the front of the rear legs from hock to toes, on breeches, and underside of tail. Undercoat, as well as furnishings on breeches and underside of tail, may be lighter shades of the dominant color. The undercoat on black and tan dogs also may be grey or tan. Sabling, other than wolf sable and sabling in a saddle marked color pattern, is acceptable on gold dogs. White on other areas of the body, or large Large white markings, to be faulted.
Disqualification: All other coat colors (including, without limitation, white, cream, wolf sable, liver, lilac, particolor and brindle) and markings (including sable in a saddle marked color pattern on a gold dog, and white other than on chest and feet).
The gate of a Tibetan Do Khyi Mastiff is athletic, powerful, steady and balanced, yet at the same time, light-footed and agile. When viewed from the side, reach and drive should indicate maximum use of the dog’s moderate angulation. At increased speed, the feet will converge toward the centerline of the body. Back remains level and firm.  Sound and powerful movement more important than speed.
The Tibetan Do Khyi Mastiff is a highly intelligent, independent, strong willed and rather reserved dog. He is aloof with strangers and highly protective of his charges and his property. In the ring he may exhibit reserve or lack of enthusiasm, but any sign of shyness is unacceptable and inappropriate for a guardian breed.
The Foregoing description is that of the ideal Tibetan Mastiff.  Any deviation from the above described dog must be penalized to the extent of the deviation.
Dogs under 25 inches (and 18 months or older) or over 30 inches in height. Bitches under 23 inches (and 18 months or older) or over 28 inches in height.
Undershot or overshot bite.
All coat colors (including, without limitation, white, cream, wolf sable, liver, lilac, particolor and brindle), other than black, brown, and blue/grey, all with or without tan markings, and shades of gold, ranging from rich golden to a rich red gold. All markings other than sabling (other than wolf sable and sable in a saddle marked color pattern) on gold dogs, and other than white only on feet, chest and elsewhere feet.

Got all that?  Notice all the “Do Khyi”‘s that have been crossed out?  They were actually trying to change the name of the breed.  No one outside of the group working on this has any idea why, at least that I’ve been able to find.

Note the upper height limit.  They have at least backed down from outright disqualification of dogs that exceed that.  I understand WHY they want to put a limit on the height, whats happened to dogs like the English Mastiff and the Great Dane are perfect examples, but I think 29″ is to low (Apollo’s just a hair over 28″ and I don’t think that dogs over 29″ are excessive really, 31″ maybe….but not 29″).

Note the head proportions.  Current standard states that muzzle length should be the SAME as from stop to occiput.  This creates a comfortably lengthy muzzle without being excessively long.  The proposed standards read almost identical to the proportions of a Boxer.  Seriously, a Tibetan Mastiff with a Boxer’s nose?  Are they trying to make the breed unable to breathe??

Note the color requirements.  They want to disqualify pale gold (called cream in this case) and sable in a saddle pattern, both of which were previously allowed and there are current champions with those patterns/colors

Needless to say lots of folks aren’t happy about this.  If you agree and would like to email the AKC folks who will be doing to judging to let them know what you think please contact me (you can do this by clicking on my profile in the top left corner of the blog here and then click on my email) and I will provide you with their email address (I’m not posting them to avoid getting sued or some such) along with (if you want) a form letter to use.

edited: I keep discovering places where the underlining or strike throughs didn’t show up when I copied the text over.  I think I caught them all this time.

Edited again: someone asked me yesterday for an actual comparison of a boxer head and a TM head.  Best I can do at the moment here.

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