Tibetan Mastiffs
Gold Line

Choosing a Breeder - It Matters!

10 Week Pups


You may or may not wish to obtain your puppy from me, but when looking for a puppy from any breeder, please choose an ethical and responsible one!

Gold PuppyGood and ethical breeders typically do not advertise in the newspaper, they rarely sell their puppies on mass puppy selling sites like,, or Reputable and ethical breeders are not comfortable advertising their puppies like money-making inventory to be purchased with a credit card. However if you do find your breeder of choice on such a site - all of the following guidelines should still apply.

Bad breeders usually don't have much presence anywhere except for online puppy-selling sites or their own website. They will not be involved in showing, clubs, or organizations that promote responsible Tibetan Mastiff ownership and breeding. If the breeder is not an active part in his or her dog community and does not provide you a with a lengthy list of referrals from people happy with their puppies or fellow (respected) breeders that are willing to vouch for them - buy your puppy elsewhere.

Beware of language like "from Championship Bloodlines". This only implies that there may be Champions in the pedigree but rarely have the parents of the litter themselves ever been evaluated as being breeding quality dogs. Simply having Champions in the pedigree guarantees nothing about the quality of the dogs in question.

Also beware of breeders that do not list or disclose the full AKC registered names of their dogs. This makes it more difficult - often purposely - for you to verify pedigrees and health testing results such as OFA (hip & elbow) scores.

You want to look to breeders who are health testing for hips, elbows and thyroid. Make sure they can provide you with official OFA results, not just "say" they have them. ASK FOR PROOF. Unsubstantiated claims of "my vet says their hips are fine" or "grandparents or dogs in the pedigree have good hips" are not adequate responses! Official OFA pre-lims are acceptable for dogs just under the age of 2 but all dogs over 24 months of age should have FINAL official evalutations.

If breeders cannot provide official hip and elbow scores from OFA, PENNHIP or any other internationally recognized body on the parents of the litter you should look elsewhere for a puppy.

If the breeder tells you "I am only breeding pets" and therefore there is no reason to do hip/elbow/thyroid testing, you should run in the other direction. You are not entitled to a healthy pet?? Why should the parents of your puppy be any less healthy than the parents of a puppy meant for the show ring? Just because you are not looking to buy a "Show Dog" does not mean that you should lower your standards about where you obtain your puppy! Do NOT settle for less!

A good breeder can tell you why they are doing the breeding and the strengths and weaknesses of both the sire and the dam. They will have knowledge of the pedigree and what came before. They will be honest with you about health issues and temperament. They will not breed their dogs before the age of two or at least very nearly approaching the age of two. Official hip & elbow clearances cannot be obtained before the age of two.

Litters born from parents who are under the age of 1 year should be avoided!

They will not breed the same two dogs together over and over again or use the same male to every girl in their yard. Numerous repeat breedings do NOT constitute a breeding program with goals in mind to constantly move forward and improve the breed. Numerous repeat breedings using the same pairings are breedings that simply create more puppies - typically purely for financial gain. Such practices are based simply on convenience. It is much easier to use a male that you own or put the same two dogs together year after year than seek out and pay for a stud dog that is complimentary to the prospective dam of a litter. This does nothing to contribute to the betterment of the breed which ideally should be every breeder's goal. There is rarely a good reason to repeat a breeding more than twice. If breeders are proudly announcing that this is the 3rd or 4th breeding of the same pair of dogs or if they only ever breed the dogs available on their own property you are probably dealing with a backyard breeder and should look elsewhere for a puppy.

H Litter PuppyBe careful of the breeder producing multiple litters per year. Ensure that your breeder of choice raises no more than 2-3 breeds or more than 2 litters per year. Good breeders typically limit themselves to 1 or 2 litters per year. Reason: No breeder that breeds indiscriminately can keep track of all those puppies and offer lifetime support for behavioral/health issues.

Breeding dogs is not a business nor is it a money-making venture. Puppy millers/backyard breeders show their true colors and motivation when money is at the root of their breeding efforts.

Most responsible breeders have reservations up front BEFORE producing a litter to ensure there will be quality homes for their puppies. They do not produce multiple litters and then look for homes AFTER THE FACT. Certainly it is possible and acceptable for responsible breeders to have a small handful of puppies available for various credible reasons. However, a breeder with multiple puppies available on a regular basis has poor breeding practices at best or is blatantly irresponsible at worst.

There are a few special circumstances when responsible breeders may produce two or more litters per year. Properly caring for and socializing a litter of puppies is time consuming work and a breeder who routinely produces multiple litters per year in their own home may need to cut costs on veterinary care, nutrition, or socialization. In some cases, these breeders produce puppies for profit rather than to improve the breed. A responsible breeder who is producing multiple litters will be willing to discuss their breeding strategy with you.

Because of the territorial and guardian nature of the Tibetan Mastiff, it is essential that you have a fenced-in yard. Responsible breeders will insist that you have a hardscape (wood, wire or chainlink), secure containment area that is of good size. This is an imperative element to TM management and there can be no short-cuts in keeping this large breed and others safe from harm.

Breeders who are truly concerned about a puppy placement will not rush you for money or a commitment to buy. They will ask you many questions about your living situation and home life in general to make sure that this breed is right for you. They will not be afraid to say "NO" to you if your situation is not suitable for the Tibetan Mastiff breed. And they will require you to return the puppy to them if any time you cannot provide the puppy or dog with a permanent home.Black Girl Puppy

Responsible breeders believe in keeping in contact with you about the welfare of their puppies. If a puppy buyer has grooming questions, feeding questions, or training questions, breeders should be there for you long after the puppy is no longer a puppy.

They will usually insist puppies sold as pets be spayed/neutered or placed on an AKC limited registration. The limited registration makes the dog exempt from having any of its offspring registered by the AKC.

If a puppy is placed in a breeding home they will offer to mentor you and help you make the transition from pet owner to breeder. They will be available to help you research pedigrees, teach you about structure/movement, health, temperament and breed type.

They will usually take back any dog of their breeding at any age. Reputable breeders do not want to find out a dog they bred has been left in a pound, put in rescue, or dumped by the roadside. They assume a lifetime responsibility for the canine lives they have put on this earth.

Bad breeders have a detrimental impact on the entire Tibetan Mastiff breed and you should feel that it is your responsibility to reward good & ethical breeders.


Questions to ask your breeder:

How long have you been involved in the breed?

What activities or organizations are you involved in that promote responsible dog ownership & breeding?

How many litters do you breed total per year (including puppies of another breed)?

How old are the sire & dam of this litter?

What are the official hip & elbow scores of the sire & dam?

Do you test the sire & dam's thyroid levels yearly before breeding?

Can you provide documentation that these evaluations have been done by an official registry and not just clearances from your personal vet?

What made you decide to breed these two specific dogs together?

Is this a repeat breeding and if so why?

What kind of support will you offer me after the puppy arrives home?

Will you take the puppy back at any age if I can no longer provide a home?


There is no reason to pay premium prices for a puppy if the breeder cannot even be bothered to pay for the most basic of health tests or operate with the most basic of good breeding ethics. You are rewarding bad behavior by giving these kinds of breeders your time and money.

If you have not yet visited the following site I strongly encourage you to take some time and read all you can about the Tibetan Mastiff Breed. You will get a very good idea of what the breed is about at the following links, the FAQ is especially helpful.  These links will take you off site:

Tibetan Mastiff Info Site

Tibetan Mastiff Articles

Tibetan Mastiff FAQ

Evaluating Breeders - A Checklist

Questions to Ask a Tibetan Mastiff Breeder


Thank you for visiting Citadel Tibetan Mastiffs!

Tibetan Mastiff


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