Selective breeding is a key process to produce healthy Purebred Tibetan Mastiffs. By carefully selecting the parents, offspring can a better chance to lead healthy, happy lives minimizing the need for veterinarian intervention. It is important to know some of the health risks associated with Purebred Tibetan Mastiffs before adopting one into your household and for the breeder to inform you how he or she has tried to avoid those health risks. The following are some of the common ones:
- Orthopedic diseases - A common orthopedic issues associated with Purebred Tibetan Mastiffs include elbow and hip dysplasia. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) issues certificates that grades the dogs elbows and hips. Carefully selecting the breeding partners can help to lessen the chance of this happening.
- Thyroid disease - Hypothyroidism occurs when the body does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. This will manifest itself in the form of skin diseases, weight gain, and behavioral problems. Breeders need to take care to minimize the risk.
- Canine inherited demyelinative neuropathy - This is an inherited trait that usually begins within 7-10 weeks of the dog's life. It may cause a poor gait or increased difficulty walking.
- Epilepsy - An inherited trait that will require medication for the life of the dog.
The pedigree is an important factor to breeding dogs. It allows caretakers to anticipate any medical issues or behavioral factors. The pedigree is another word for "family history".
Humans use their "pedigree", or family history for the same reason. We can determine through the medical history of our parents and grandparents if we are prone to hear disease, cancer, and even behavioral conditions such as addictions.
The pedigree of a dog can do the same. Tibetan Mastiffs are prone to various medical conditions and behavioral conditions following a certain bloodline. Groups like the OFA issue certificates of health to breeders to make public knowledge the inclination of a dog to have medical problems.
It is also possible to research the pedigree of a breeder's litter by searching the database at The Tibetan Mastiff Info Pedigree page.
The American Kennel Club publishes its standard of what a Show Tibetan Mastiff is to look like. For most people who are interested in having a dog as a pet conformity to the show standard is not the most important thing about choosing a pet. However, it does highlight important traits such as size, gait, coat, and temperament. Deviating from these standards can identify health or behavioral problems in the future.