Tibetan Mastiff vs Pitbull Which is the Better Pet

Tibetan Mastiff vs Pitbull: Which is a Better Pet for You?

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Are you grappling with the choice of whether to bring home a Tibetan Mastiff or a Pitbull? This post should help you along in making your choice.

Big dogs are not only excellent pets.

They are exceptional deterrents to unwanted elements in your space!

However big or scary, both Tibetan Mastiff and Pitbull make excellent companions, provided they are well socialized from puppyhood. 

Both breeds are loveable (hard to guess from their looks!) but have very different temperaments. 

Are they really so dangerous as people perceive them? Read on to find out their strengths and weaknesses and which breed would be the right fit for your human pack.

Tibetan MastiffPitbull
 Tibetan MastiffPitbull
Size and weightA large breed dog that weighs between 90-150 pounds and stands at 24-30 inches at the shoulder.Medium-sized breed with a height of 18-19 inches at the shoulder. Weighs between 55-70 pounds
AppearanceThe breed is nothing short of imposing with a strong muscled and huge body. The definition of muscles can barely be seen because of the copious amounts of fur on their coat. It has an alert look with flopped ears and wears a mane, which is bigger in males than in females.This breed has a shorter frame that is closer to the ground. The body is longer than it is tall with a distinct deep chest. The fur hugs the body such that the muscle definition is very apparent. The ears are triangular and erect.
Life Expectancy10-16 years12-14 years
TemperamentProtective yet reserved and intelligent with an unmistakable independent streak. Makes for a great guard dog.Good-natured and playful with a confident bearing. The breed is smart but does not make the best guard dog because of its good-natured tendencies.
Health IssuesJoint problems, Autoimmune Hypothyroidism, panosteitis.Joint issues, allergies, heart disease, hypothyroidism
GroomingGrooming needs are average. The heavy coat may or may not shed depending on the regional climate they live in.Has minimal grooming needs thanks to a sleek coat that’s short and easy to clean.
TrainabilityHighly intelligent but its independence can make it a challenge to train. Generally trainable with an experienced trainer.Easy to train as they love to please and play.
Tibetan Mastiff vs Pitbull — Comparison Table

Related post: The Ultimate Pitbull vs Akita Comparison Guide [Scruffy Doggo or Fluffy Fido?]

1. Personality & Temperament: Mastiff Tibetan vs Pitbull

Surprisingly enough, both Pitbull and Tibetan are actually quite a good choice for families.

But how is that possible? 

With a Tibetan, you’ll get a dog that was originally bred to live in harsh and unforgiving conditions. Is it any wonder that they aren’t the easiest dogs to train and tame? Still, the rule of thumb here is that they will be great with bigger kids and other pets, but less so with strangers.

This imposing and highly protective dog has a natural distrust for the unfamiliar! It’s just one of the reasons why he needs a very experienced owner who can be a source of consistent authority.

Since they were bred to roam the vast Tibetan plateau, they will be happiest in a house with a vast backyard, in an area that’s not very hot.

On the other hand, a Pitbull is a dog that’s much more friendly and outgoing towards family and strangers alike. Don’t believe the very bad reputation that often precedes this breed! Most of it is a gross exaggeration. They are NOT born to fight! On the contrary, they are one of the most misunderstood and abused dog breeds.

If you decide to get a pittie, you’ll most likely be amazed at just how cuddly they can be! This breed has a playful character that is great to have around in the house, despite its ferocious look.

2. Appearance

The size of Tibetan is behemoth-like.

Sounds daunting?

Well, here are a few more “daunting” words to describe this breed. Powerful, substantial, and massive. 

But that’s not surprising at all because a full-grown Tibetan is a sight to behold.

However, that doesn’t diminish a Pitbull!

For a medium-sized breed, Pitbull is also quite impressive with a stocky, muscular build. The head is broad with well-defined jaws and pronounced cheekbones. 

Tibetan Mastiff vs Pitbull Weight and Height of Males and Females
Tibetan Mastiff vs Pitbull Weight and Height of Males and Females


Tibetan Mastiff is endowed with expressive almond-shaped eyes

The eyes are medium-sized, deep-set, and well-apart. The colors of the eyes can be varied shades of brown with black rims. Other eye colors include blue or grey in tan-colored Tibetans.

In comparison, Pitbull has dark round eyes which are set wide apart and low down on the skull. They are also black-rimmed but tend to be a darker brown compared to a Tibetan mastiff’s.  


The SUPER thick double coat of Tibetan makes this breed a hardy dog for cold climates. 

Also, this breed has a good tolerance for dry heat but will not do well in hot and humid regions. 

But guess what?

The breed is NOT a constant shedder although it blows its coat once a year. Their fur is long with thick coarse guard hair. 

And it’s worth pointing out that generally, the coat may be longer in males than females. 

Neck and shoulder areas are heavily coated giving a mane-like appearance.

Adult Tibetan Mastiff outdoors

The coat of Pitbull, on the other hand, is short, stiff to the touch, and sticks close to the body of the dog. It presents a gorgeous glossy look and sheen. 

You’ll have a range of coat colors on both breeds to choose from. However, Pitbull has more color options.

A pit bull’s coat comes in numerous colors including:

  • Black
  • Fawn
  • White
  • Tan
  • Blue
  • Red
  • Brindle 
  • Brown

On the other hand, Tibetan’s coat comes in only:

  • Black/brown and tan
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Red gold 
  • Blue-gray


The top of the broad Tibetan’s head is high-set ears in V- formations with thick leather. 

The ears are medium-sized and drop forward hanging close to the head. When alert, their ears will get erect.

In comparison, the ears of Pitbull are prickly (when cropped) and do not droop but stay erect. They are well defined but fairly small compared to Tibetans.


Tibetan mastiff showing teeth

Most Tibetans will have a strong scissor bite because of their well-defined teeth. On occasion, you may come across a dog having a level bite. That too is ok.

Pitbulls are known to have a powerful bite due to their strong jaws. (Not more powerful than a Husky’s or a Rottie’s bite though.) But their locking jaws are another harmful myth!

The upper teeth should tightly meet outside the lower teeth on the front.


Tibetan mastiff is strong, powerful, and made of compact muscle bred with well-developed forequarters, shoulders, and hindquarters. 

But despite its massive size, the breed moves surprisingly nimbly with cat-like feet! While the size of the breed is glaring, the dense bone structure and compact muscles are often hidden by the coat.

When it comes to Pitbull, every muscle group seems to be on display and the muscle definition can be easily made out thanks to the short and glossy coat. 

The pit bull is deep-chested and stocky with shoulder blades that are wide and sloping. The skin of the breed is also tight, helping bring out the dog’s well-defined muscles.

3. Grooming Tibetan Mastiff vs Pitbull

No waxy ears!

When dog ears of most breeds go for a long spell without being cleaned, they will often result in a yucky smell and be prone to ear infections. Which is usually one and the same thing!

So the ears of Tibetan Mastiff and Pitbull should be cleaned once a week or at least once every 2 weeks

Both Pitbull and Tibetan Mastiff have naturally floppy ears. Such ears can retain moisture and become a breeding ground for bacteria. 

Young Pitbull with floppy ears

Keep an eye on both breed’s ears and clean them properly.

However, remember that Pitbull can have its ears docked to make them upright

In this case, cleaning the ears of the Pitties is easier as they are perky and pointed.

Cleaning should be done using a dog ear cleaning solution recommended by your vet. You can use a cotton ball as well as the ear cleaning solution to clean the inside of the ears.

As you clean, take a careful look at the condition of the ear. It should have a healthy pink hue if everything’s fine!

We love short nails!

Nails of these two breeds grow more or less at the same rate and should be trimmed often to ensure they don’t overgrow and affect your pooch’s ability to walk or run comfortably. 

As you examine the feet of your furry buddy, you also want to check the condition of his claws. If they are long, use a dog nail cutter to trim them properly.

Not just any nail cutter will do! Don’t try to save money on this item if you don’t want to trigger a trauma. 

It will be so much easier on you and your furry buddy if you introduce this grooming exercise earlier in puppyhood

Make sure you’re gentle and you talk to your buddy in a gentle tone so they can get accustomed to the process and remain calm.

Spruce our coats!

The tail and britches of Tibetan are densely coated and heavily feathered. That’s why they need frequent brushing to remove dead hair and prevent matting. 

Pitbull on the other hand has a smooth coat with short fur that holds fast to the tail. Make sure to brush the tail as frequently as you brush the rest of the coat.

To keep and provide a clean-cut appearance for the feet and hocks of these two breeds, you should give them an occasional trim. 

This applies more to Tibetans because of their furry coat. 

brushing a brush tibetan mastiff's coat
A little gentler, please?

Strands of overgrown hair at the feet can extend to the paws disrupting traction as the breed runs or walks. 

Pitbull will rarely have matting issues on their feet due to their short coat and tight skin. 

Tibetan also has matting issues on their furry tails, unlike the Pitbull. 

However, it’s advisable to brush your Pitbull’s tail as frequently as you groom the rest of the coat. 

That helps get rid of dead hair and keeps the tail fur looking glossy and neat as the rest of the coat if the Pittie’s tail is not docked.

Tibetan may blow its coat once a year – or not – depending on the climate of your region. 

When this breed blows its coat, it does require two or more brushing sessions in the week to keep the coat from looking sloppy. 

By contrast, you do not have to worry about a blown coat with Pitbulls because their coat is short.

Take care of our teeth!

The great doggie parent that you are should give a thought to the dental hygiene of your canine buddy. 

In the case of Tibetan and Pitbull, you can choose a kibble that is nutritious but also helps clean your dog’s teeth

Or… perhaps a nice juicy bone to help scrape the plaque off the teeth?

There are numerous dental chew products and toys that are also helpful in cleaning your buddy’s teeth as well as soothing the gums when the two breeds are shedding teeth. 

You can ask your vet for recommendations on some of the best dental products.

Cleaning Tibetan as well as Pitbull’s teeth is fairly easy because their teeth are quite accessible. 

The trick lies in introducing the process in puppyhood so they get used to the feel of a toothbrush and dog toothpaste in their mouth early in life. 

They will also know that they have nothing to fear about. 

Generally, like any other breed, Tibetan and Pitbull can be a bit touchy about introducing a foreign object into their mouths.

4. How to Train Tibetan Mastiff vs Pitbull

Training a Pitbull

Tibetan Mastiff is harder to train than Pitbull. 

Why is that? While Tibetan may be impressively intelligent, its independent and dominant nature tends to get the better of the breed when it comes to taking orders and commands. 

So while the breed may obey to please you some of the time, often enough the breed will tend to do what it wants. This makes Tibetan a bit of a challenge to train.

Tibetan is a natural guard dog, and little training is needed in that regard. To balance out that nature, it is imperative that the breed be thoroughly socialized from a young age.

Pitbull, on the other hand, is more trainable and won’t require a super experienced owner. 

For starters, the breed just loves to play and engage with its human family. The eagerness to please makes the breed complaint to training. Its good-natured side does not make it an excellent guard dog because it can be amiable even with strangers. 

A Tibetan mastiff will be content with 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day. 

A brisk walk every day outdoors will have your massive buddy happy and Zen. 

On the other hand, Pitbull is an energetic dog that loves to play and bond with its human family. 

They love games such as frisbee as they are quite agile and sporty. 

Walks and play of 30 to 60 minutes will spend any pent-up energy and have him happy and manageable. 

Both of these breeds can be destructive when bored. Which might translate to chewing everything in sight!

Make sure they get their exercise to keep them calm and happy. 

Either breed will thrive on a well-balanced diet consisting of lean meat that is easily digested, nourishes the coat, and strengthens the bone.

5. Health Conditions Affecting Tibetan Mastiff and Pit Bull

brown and white dog resting on dog bed

Whichever choice you make, your dog will likely lead a long healthy life if you take good care of them. 

However, you should still be aware of some of the health issues that are likely to arise.

What’s with the joint problems?

As the name suggests, this condition affects the hip or elbows of each dog. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can cause difficulty in walking, jumping, and running. 

In some cases, it can lead to lameness. 

The condition is particularly troublesome for Tibetans because of their massive weight. 

Pit bulls like most dog breeds are also prone to the condition because the disease is hereditary.

Fortunately, your vet will have plenty of solutions for you and your buddy in managing the condition.

Keep an eye out for Panosteitis

Panosteitis affects large breeds such as Tibetan when growing up. The condition is not permanent as it lasts from 1 to 6 months in most cases.  

It is an inflammation of the long bones and can lead to lameness which will often shift from one leg to another. 

The good news is that by contrast, Pitbull does not get affected by this condition because of its medium size.

Is bloat a Tibetian or Pitbull issue?

Bloat can affect ANY dog breed. 

However, deep-chested breeds like Pitbull are more susceptible to the condition

Tibetan can also suffer from bloat but it isn’t very likely. 

Bloat can kill your pooch within minutes so it is best to uphold healthy feeding habits to prevent it. 

You can do this by ensuring your Tibetan or Pitbull does not get into any vigorous activity after meals.

6. Price Comparison — How Much for a Pitbull vs a Tibetan Mastiff Puppy?

tibettan mastiff puppy and pitbull puppy

On average a Tibetan Mastiff will cost you about $1500 to a whopping $5000 if you buy from a breeder.

Should you opt to buy from a rescue shelter, you can get this breed for a significantly lower price of about $1000. 

Either way, you should consider it a bargain as the highest ever amount paid for a Tibetan Mastiff to date is $1.5 Million!

If you are considering getting a Pitbull puppy for show and with a reputable bloodline, the average price you can expect will range from $2000 to $20000

However, it is possible to get a Pitbull that’s not bred for shows at $1000 or below from some breeders or rescue shelters.

7. Understanding Tibetan Mastiff and Pitbull Through History

As the name suggests, Tibetan Mastiff originated from Tibet. 

There is very little historical documentation before 1800 that can help put an accurate figure on just how far back this breed dates. But DNA evidence suggests that the ancestors of the present-day Tibetan Mastiff dog existed in Tibet as far as 5000 years ago!

The breed was created for use as a guardian for families and their flock in ancient times. There were two breeds developed. 

The first lived in the villages or traveled with nomadic communities and guarded over livestock and families was called Dho-Kyi. 

A second breed with a larger physique was commonly used in monasteries as a guardian for monks, Buddhists, and lamas. This type was known as Tsang-Kyi. The name simply means: tied dog!

Tibetan Mastiff earned that name because the dog was traditionally chained to the gate of the home and let loose at night.      

Pitbull, on the other hand, emerged in the early 19th century. Before Pitbull came into existence, there was the old English bulldog that was notoriously used in bull-baiting pits. 

With time most bulldog owners mated their English bulldogs with terriers to produce Pitbull terrier that proved to be more agile and more adept at ratting and dog fighting.

The owners of the dogs chose to misuse and abuse them in blood sports.

fluffy dog breed sitting on the grass

Tibetan Mastiff started coming to the limelight in 1847 when a Tibetan Mastiff was gifted to Queen Victoria by the then Viceroy of India Lord Hardinge. 

At the time this breed was only referred to as “large dog from Tibet”! 

The name Tibetan Mastiff came about when the English Kennel Club was formed in 1873.

Gifting this awesome and imposing dog breed to world leaders seemed to be a common trend.

In the 1950s, two Tibetan Mastiffs were gifted to the president of the US. Through the 1970s, more Tibetan Mastiffs were being imported to the states as the breed started to gain popularity. 

This led to the formation of Tibetan Mastiff Association of America in 1974.

In comparison, the first pit bull terriers to enter the United States was right before the civil war when Immigrants from the British Isles came in droves to the US and they brought their Pitbull dogs with them. 

In the early 1930s, American Kennel Club recognized the breed and gave it a new name “American Staffordshire Terrier”. 

The new name is intended to help break away from the breed’s perceived violent past.

Pitbull terrier is an American darling and has even been used in the war as a courier by the American military. 

As a matter of fact, “Stubby”, an American Staffordshire Terrier, was the most decorated dog in World War I, having made it to the rank of sergeant!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Tibetan mastiffs aggressive?

EVERY dog breed is aggressive when rubbed the wrong way. Tibetan Mastiff is no exception. 

The breed CAN be dangerous or aggressive without proper socialization. But that entirely depends on you!

big long haired coat dog breed

Given that this breed is territorial and generally stubborn, it works out better when trained and socialized from puppyhood.  

Socializing your canine friend means allowing the dog to meet people and other pets frequently

Socialization should be throughout the lifespan of a Tibetan to reduce the threat of them becoming a danger to other animals and people around them. When outdoors in public areas, Tibetan should always be leashed as it is likely to wander off.

Are Pit Bulls a dangerous breed?

The history of Pitbull being used in blood sports has formed a misconception about the breed being dangerous

But the breed was also used in herding livestock and guarding homes. That says that it has an amiable character and gets along just fine with a human family.

The breed was also known as the “nanny dog” because of its good-natured side that gets along exceptionally well with kids. When well socialized, this is an exceptional family dog to have.

As of recently, they have even begun to work as therapy dogs! That’s just how patient, gentle and tolerant they can be with proper training.

Bottom Line

For those who love big dogs, they don’t come any better than Tibetan Mastiff. 

However, this is not a breed for timid or first-time dog owners. The breed needs exceptional dedication in training and a large compound. 

It is also crucial to understand that it can be quite COSTLY to maintain. 

In comparison, Pitbull’s friendly disposition and trainability make it a popular choice for most families. 

While it’s not a small dog by any measure, it certainly is not a behemoth like Tibetan. So, which one is a better fit for you?

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