A romantic dog shrouded in the mists of time and legends by the limited access to the Himalayas, the Tibetan Mastiff reputedly travelled with the Romans, Greeks and others and even Genghis Khan. Isolated by geography and politics, he is primarily used to guard the home and family or monastery and monks. Tied to the front gates or post, if travelling with his nomadic owners, he guards the children, home and flocks. He often lives with a Lhasa Apso who guards the inner home and alerts him to strangers or predators.
Owned by Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales, (Edward V11) and written and noted by Marco Polo and other luminaries, he has a marvelous history that is part legend, romance and fact. The breed was set in concrete by the first official standard in England in 1931 and officially recorded with AKC 1996.
The overall impression of the Tibetan should always be one of substance. This dog has to exhibit that powerful, well built appearance with a good thick double coat featuring coarse guard hair and a heavy mane. It is a stunning dog to behold.
His coat must retain texture so do not be tempted to condition this coat by conventional means. Use the shampoo targeted for the direct outcome you need as you will be required to alter your selection as the coat ages and blows once a year. When the coat is in good condition and at full glamour, then maintain the shine with Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo diluted for ease and even dispersion at 5:1 (I.e 5 parts water to one part shampoo). If the coat is a little challenged in quantity or you wish to build a greater illusion of substance, then use Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo at 5:1.
If the coat starts to acquire rusty tones as it fades throughout the year or is sun bleached, then switch to Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo which is not a lightening shampoo but a toning shampoo, neutralizing and minimizing unwanted warm tones. Dilute 3:1 and leave on the faded areas for 3 - 10 minutes for maximum benefit and then rinse.
For truly black coats, to maintain optimum depth of the colour, use Plush Puppy Black Opal Shampoo diluted 3:1 and leave for up to 10 minutes for best effect. Prior to using Black Opal, thoroughly cleanse with Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo to remove any old products residue. You can try applying Black Opal shampoo undiluted onto badly sunburned areas when the coat is dry rather than wet for maximum coverage. Leave for up to 10 minutes and then rinse. Do wear rubber gloves when using this as it is likely to discolour your hands. This is a totally non permanent tone and is not a dye. It will not dehydrate or alter the coat or colour. It simply deeply tones the coat colour by staining rather than chemically altering. The desire is to enhance an already correct coat that has sun bleached or faded rather than altering it. I hope that settles ethical debates for some of you.
Obviously the secret to minimizing sun burnt coats is to protect. Discipline is called for on a regular basis using Plush Puppy Sunshade cream. Ingenious nozzle that allows you to depress and get either a spray or dispense as a lotion. Use every second day on the areas most likely to burn i.e the topline, head and tail. Smear onto your own hands and wipe across the coat or spray direct.
Now as mentioned earlier, I do not use a regular type conditioner on this dog nor any double coated breeds where I want an impression of substance and thickness to the coat. I want that coat to look as if it is mega! So, as one still has to maintain hydration and protection to the coat, use Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil diluted 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 lt water and saturate the coat with this mix workingwell down to the skin - do not rinse - leave in. It is primarily Evening Primrose Oil, Calendula Oil and other goodies and is just magical. Wait till you see how this coat looks after regular usage each week. One week and it looks great, but after several weeks, just fabulous.
I like to at this point get the hard work over and done with and leave show day for as little work as possible. So to that end, add 1 tbspn of Plush Puppy Volumising Cream into the Seabreeze Oil mix to save double handling. This will bodify the coat even more without any stickiness or foreign feeling residue once dry. You are after substance all the way and this is a nice way to get it.
Dry the coat thoroughly. I am not an advocate of cage drying. I prefer to spend the time and it does take time, to dry with a turbo air dryer from rear to front working against the growth of the coat, section by section till the root area especially is 100% dry. I just hate it when people dry their dogs and dry the ends not the roots. It is the lift from the root area that gives the maximum lift to the overall finish. I am a stickler for this. If you want this coat to look the bees knees, then do the hard yard. You will have lots of spare time on show day to appreciate the time you spent at home as your job will be practically done.
You don’t get to trim this dog, you don’t have to fluff and do top knots and such as others do with their various breeds. Your job is to get that picture of a dog built like a tank. Whatever it takes!
Show day you can lightly spray through the coat with a mix of Revivacoat moisturising mousse at 1 goflball amount to 1 cup warm water and shake well to blend. Then hit it with the turbo dryer for a quick fluff up. Next, line brush or line comb right through to get that perfectly groomed finish. Use the Plush Puppy Pin Brush which works well on this type of coat. It gets through without ripping the coat to pieces and is quick. Brush against the growth of the coat. Brush up on the legs and against the growth of the coat on the tail. I also like to fluff the ears against the growth there too. The neck/mane area should be combed with a wide toothed metal comb section by section, all combed up and lifted at the same time.
For the tail and any featherings on legs etc, use a spray mix of Plush Puppy OMG Concentrate diluted to approx 25:1 i.e 25 parts water to one part OMG. This is a terrific grooming spray. Not called OMG for nothing. We are getting rave reviews with this one. Great anti static and the comb or brush just eases through the worst tangles and matts.
I don’t mind a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust sifted down onto the topline, tail and pants for a glint of shine and interest without turning the dog into a Vegas chorus line number. These little subtle hints of grooming can turn heads without them realising why. It is all about tweaking and subtle art and of course, let’s not forget the good dog to go with it. These things are not difficult to learn. Your job with this breed is relatively easy compared to some, so go all gungho and do the little things as outlined and you will reap the results.
I do suggest you keep in the tack box a tub of Plush Puppy Powder Puff Regular which is a dry cleaning powder for those unfortunate mishaps. Sloppy chops, salivating on hot days, peeing unceremoniously onto that pristine leg, all compound the nerves and agitation that doesn’t need to be. Just a quick toss onto the area and work in well before brushing or blow drying back out. Voila, instant clean and deodrised as well. There is also a wet, no rinse cleanser, Plush Puppy Wonderwash but I recommend the Powder Puff as the coat does not need wetting when you have spent the time drying it so well. The no rinse type products are best used on short coats in emergencies and the dry powder ones on the longer coats.
Don’t forget the final things such as Plush Puppy Odour Muncher a unique deodoriser and light fragrance. Just air freshens the coat and great after the dog has been crated for several hours. Hate the musty smell that several dogs crated near each other tend to acquire in transport.
There are many things one can use and do for this breed but this is your basic underlying routine. Do use a Plush Puppy Coat Saver Collar in between shows. The mane area is of major importance to the overall silhouette of the Tibetan Mastiff and this special collar not only is a semi choker for control but will not cut the coat. You can leave this on 24/7. Good welded ring for safety and won’t hold water if it gets wet - plus they last for yonks.
The Tibetan Mastiff is fast gaining favour amongst the show diehards and truly cuts a picture out there in the ring. I can see the top pro’s catching onto this breed as it has such admirable qualities. That picture of controlled power with high intelligence, that beautiful balance between that massive head and single curled tail falling over the loin and the wonderfully strong but light footed gait is quite an impressive act. If, as the Tibetans believe, that the Tibetan Mastiffs have the souls of monks and nuns who didn’t make it to people reincarnation, then surely the prayers of those old souls go with you each time too.
- Cheryl Le Court