Big, burly and bear-like, the Caucasian shepherd and Tibetan mastiff are traditional working dogs from Europe and Asia. If you're looking for a dog ready for guard duty and capable of sending bad guys packing, you can't go wrong with either breed. Some details differ, but overall they're quite similar. According to Vet St.com, the Caucasian shepherd and the Tibetan mastiff may be related.
Protective, Yet Affectionate
Both the Caucasian shepherd (Caucasian ovcharka), which means shepherd in Russian, and Tibetan mastiff are intelligent, fiercely loyal but have strong independent streaks. They both take their jobs as guardians and protectors seriously, but the shepherd offers more affection and playfulness when not actively "on duty." The mastiff is incredibly intense and focused in his role as protector, and can be highly territorial on his home turf. Consistent, firm training is a must for either breed, with the focus on positive interactions that yield good behavior.
Although both breeds have low-activity levels as adults, you'll still need plenty of room as their size rivals that of a small horse. Shepherds are slightly taller, reaching 33 inches at the shoulder, but mastiffs aren't far behind at 26 inches. Despite their slightly smaller size, weight-wise the mastiff tips the scales at 150 pounds or more, compared to the shepherd's relatively light 100 pounds.
Tame That Coat
Because of their cold-climate heritage, both breeds sport a thick, double coat designed to protect them from the elements. Both breeds shed, requiring regular brushing during the week to keep mats at bay. Mastiffs shed heavily to adjust their coat as the seasons change, and the shepherd drops his entire undercoat in a massive shed once a year. Keep your brush handy with either pooch to avoid your home disappearing under a layer of dog hair.
Caucasian shepherds are an overall healthy breed, typically only susceptible to hip dysplasia and cataracts. Hip dysplasia is a concern for Tibetan mastiffs as well, but this breed is also susceptible to hypothyroidism and eye issues. Regular medical visits with your veterinarian can help identify health concerns before they progress too far, enabling early treatment and management.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images