Previous investigations into large Tibetan dogs resulted in concurrent research and documentation sourced from all over the world, which has gradually been turned into an archive and a continually expanding library collection.


The large guard dogs from the vast catchment area that embodies Tibetan culture, better known by their standard common name of Tibetan Mastiff, are probably the oldest, most complex, debated and controversial breed in the international canine world. Their unresolved origin is due to them never having been correctly understood, because the extensive historical documentation that has gone before them has never been explored sufficiently. People’s passion for these legendary guardians of divine, alluring land surrounded by sacred mountains and nomadic skies has been limited to a phenomenalistic view, and has never really fitted with structured investigation into their character and their most obscure purposes. What has mainly been lacking is a complete inventory of the vast legacy of documentation available, and its correct interpretation. The lack of a considered awareness of the purpose of these animals impairs their well-structured territorial reality through contemporary unilateral and empirical perceptions. Errors and approximations in capturing data have been repeatedly reiterated in the relevant literature, finally reverberating in woeful, inescapable misinformation still found today in the digital world.

The unresolved, incomplete, approximate sensation, consistently emanating from contemporary literature with some literary pretence on the subject, spurred us on to embark on structured historical research starting from scratch. During this work a significant amount of documentation was gathered from all over the world, which was then organised into an archive and a continually expanding library collection. The collection includes an almost complete retrospective bibliography relating to Tibetan guard dogs commencing in the 18th century, and currently (in 2022) contains over 1300 volumes in 11 languages. Most are first print editions, some are in all individual print editions, including surviving titles which now exist in very few copies and which are absent or difficult to source in the main catalogues of the world’s libraries. Added to this are books, documents and manuscripts with plausible references to Tibetan dogs starting from 1500, hundreds of magazines and newspapers from the 19th century, and considerable reprinted articles which are uncounted. The collection of documents is supplemented with artistic, symbolic, archaeological and folklore items, photographs and maps. 

Collaboration with the Zoological Society of London, the The Royal Society for Asian Affairs, the British Library and various museums, universities, librarians and private archives throughout the world is also enabling material and documents that have remained unpublished to be unearthed and digitalised. The aim of the collection is to create a corpus with a directory for every document and content relating to Tibetan dogs up until the end of the 20th century, updating it with publications that are more significant in current times. The library catalogue is progressing and embodying the considerable research work carried out by Sylvia Simsova in 1979.

As a result of the initial research, the library collection constitutes a sizeable catalogue of history and religion in Tibet and various eastern countries, their natural history, zoology, biology, anthropology and geology, in addition to the mainly British western tradition between the 18th and 20th centuries in particular. Considerable care has been taken with the oldest and rarest volumes and documents through restoration work carried out by major Vatican and Roman bookbinders.

The collection is therefore key, and the result of structured work on the historical reconstruction of the situation regarding large Tibetan dogs, their purpose and various types in order to analyse sources from scratch, without directing them at later results obtained on the basis of partial assumptions that are often innately wrong, and can be summarised as a pointless, ironclad representation of hypotheses with no scientific value.

The results will be published through original works and specialist articles, and direct access to the library collection and archive for BDTS members is in the process of being organised.


A young alpha female

A very young, physically primitive specimen, born and living freely, has developed remarkable survival and self-care skills. a young alpha female It may well seem

Reproduction in 2022

After resuming activities in 2021, we also felt it appropriate to proceed with preserving the genetic heritage of some specimens in our organisation in 2022,