"There are, of course, all grades of the mastiff, as it necessarily must be in a country like Tibet, but everyone seems to agree on one point: ferocity."

– W.H. Bush, 1906


Amdo Khyi has various examples of large, adult Tibetan guard dogs consisting of imported dogs and their descendants. These specimens constitute the most immediately tangible core of the research carried out by the Big Dogs of Tibet Society in the land of origin. This is a dynamic collection, mainly created for investigative purposes.

The segment of most significance and – for us – of most genetic interest among the BDTS varieties, bears no relation to the eastern or western breeding lines of what is known as the Tibetan Mastiff. It was obtained in native regions where there are no non-indigenous intermediaries, and selected on the basis of opportunity, historical appropriateness and current sensibilities.

Sometimes superficially diverse in terms of phenotypic traits, our dogs share decidedly common ancestral traits and a temperament in line with their conventional use and the numerous historical accounts that have gone before them. Mainly brog khyi (sheepdogs) in origin, according to Jest’s system of classification, these specimens generally transpire from the nag khyi and dzi khyi varieties, maintaining a particular interest in the supreme enigmatic sang khyi, undoubtedly apparent in some of our specimens. Also included are varieties from the peripheral regions of historic north-eastern Tibet, whereas the presence, still minimal, of specimens such as seng khyi (incorrectly known as apso do khyi), is gradually commandeering our attention, given that this is a primitive variety not involved in the vicious cycle of commercial breeding.  

The photographs that follow provide a partial and introductory overview. More dogs will be introduced gradually, but the full list, details on origin, characteristics of individual types and other visuals are reserved for BDTS members.