Caucasian Shepherd Dog vs Tibetan Mastiff: What’s the Difference?

The Caucasian Shepherd and the Tibetan Mastiff are very similar dogs. Not just them look very similar, but because they were bred for similar purposes, they also behave similarly. Have you got to the point where you compare the Caucasian Shepherd Dog to the Tibetan Mastiff for your next pet? There are very minor differences between the two races that could lead a family to welcome one another into their lives, one above the other. Here in this guide we’re going to examine their similarities and differences so you can figure out which breed is best for your family.They were bred to protect and will definitely protect them both! Both are challenging dogs and both are not suitable for a first-time dog owner, so only experienced dog handlers should sign up for one of these types. Lifelong training is required, but in return, you will receive the utmost loyalty and love from your giant pooch.

They both find their way into family homes across America. looking for herding Daytime and lazy warm sofa cuddles more at night than their traditional mountain life. So let’s take a closer look at how similar these guys really are!

Race comparison table

Caucasian shepherd
Tibetan mastiff
23 – 30 inches (M & F)
26 inch plus (M)
24 inch plus (F)
Up to 125-200 pounds (M)
Up to 100-175 pounds (F)
90-160 pounds (M)
70-120 pounds (F)
Brave, fearless, loyal
Independent, reserved, intelligent
Little energy
Little energy
Daily brushing
Every day
10-12 years
10-12 years
$ 1,000 +
$ 1,500 +

Racial stories

The Caucasian Shepherd and the Tibetan Mastiff have separate histories, but it is believed that they are related to each other and as such, their stories are somewhat intertwined. Both races can sometimes be confused with one another. So let’s learn a little more about the history of each breed before we compare the traits between each breed.

Caucasian shepherd

The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a mountain dog with a thick coat.

The Caucasian Shepherd is also known as the Russian bear dog or the Caucasian Ovcharka and He’s an old Molossian dog It is approximately 2,000 years old and is descended from Mastiff-type dogs (believed to be the Tibetan Mastiff and another larger breed). He comes from the Caucasus between Europe and Asia (formally part of Russia, hence its nickname).

Its original purpose was to protect his flock or cattle in the mountains from wolves, bears, and thieves and to protect his human master. There are other Molossian dogs that look similar, as many breeds derived from this line share similar traits and appearances.

For a long time, he was the preferred breed for military personnel who needed protection in Eastern Europe. While still protective and brave, he is slowly finding his way into the homes of families who love large protective dogs who also love to cuddle their family. He is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but it is on its way to a fully recognizable status.

Tibetan mastiff

History of the Tibetan Mastiff
The Tibetan mastiff has grown far more popular in the past 5 years.

The story of the Tibetan mastiff is something secret, simply because the region they come from, Tibet, has always been isolated and closely guarded by their people. All we know for sure is that they were Protector of the temples in the Himalayas. At the temples, they worked with little Lhasa apsos to alert their colleagues, the Tibetan mastiff, to the danger, and the Tibetan mastiff jumped up to act and guarded the temple and the monks.

Over time, travelers to the Himalayas received a gift in the form of a Tibetan mastiff and, as such, the Tibetan mastiff traveled to other parts of Europe and Asia. He was bred with other large dogs in his travels, and the Tibetan mastiff is said to be the forefather of all mastiff breeds. It is likely that it was brought to the Georgia region, where the Caucasian Shepherd Dog was born, which is why it is believed to be related to the Caucasian Shepherd Dog.

In the 1950s, the Tibetan mastiff came to America as a present to the president, but he kept them a secret, and only 2 decades later some more were imported and the love affair with this great breed began. In 2020 the Tibetan Mastiff is listed with the American Kennel Club as the 131st most popular breed in America.


Caucasian Shepherd Dog against Tibetan Mastiff appearance Fluffy coats
While these breeds look similar in appearance, they are entirely different pups.

The Caucasian Shepherd and Tibetan Mastiff are very similar in appearance, but there are some subtle differences between the two. One of the main factors that you need to consider before getting any of these types is its size. So if you live in an apartment you really have to think about another breed!

The Caucasian Shepherd weighs over 100 pounds and although the breed standard only weighs up to 170 pounds, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog quite often exceeds 200 pounds. The Tibetan Mastiff weighs a little less in between 70 and 150 pounds in weight, but often his fluffy coat and large mane make him appear taller than the Caucasian shepherd, but in fact, he weighs much less. The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is considered a giant breed, the Tibetan a large breed.

They both have very fluffy coats, and of course, that brings with it a lot of dandruff. The Caucasian Shepherd Dog has three varieties of fur, short, medium, and long, while the Tibetan Shepherd Dog has one coat, seriously fluffy! They both have a double coat that will keep you warm in both the Caucasus and the Himalayas. They both also come in blacks, grays, browns, and reds, either a solid color or a mix, but the Caucasian Shepherd Dog leans towards the lighter colors and the Tibetan Mastiff tends to black and darker colors. Both races are often confused with long-haired English mastiffs.


Caucasian Shepherd Dog versus Tibetan Mastiff Temperament
Both breeds are cautious but have different temperament tendencies.

Both the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and the Tibetan Mastiff are large dogs and always have been bred for their protective and protective abilities and although they are no longer used to defend temples or work at great heights, they retain these properties.

If you are in danger or if you feel your family is in danger, you will be sure to protect them. Neither race would attack unless necessary, instead, they will confidently stand guard, but when necessary they will defend their family or flock and It is known to defeat bears and wolves with ease. They are very impressive when on guard, and their looks, combined with poor training, have linked them to an unfair reputation as feral dogs.

When properly trained, both are loving beings who treat their families very lovingly and love nothing more than to relax in front of the fire. They love every member of their family and Despite their size, they are very fond of children. and very soft with them, but because of their sheer size, they should never be left unattended with them. They are both described as gentle giants and have little interest in intense exercise or games.

Both are very territorial, and this is a quality that must be taken seriously. If you don’t want or can’t handle a country dog, then none of these types are for you. As individual herd protectors or temple guardians, both enjoy spending time outdoors in the fresh air in their own company. As long as you have the right accommodations for them, they will love to spend most of their day outside. So ideally, they should only be accommodated with a family that offers them a lot of living space inside and outside.


Russian Bear Dog vs Tibetan Mastiff Exercise Requirements
Both breeds have similar exercise needs.

Both the Caucasian Shepherd Dog and the Tibetan Mastiff are quite low maintenance when it comes to exercise, as they don’t require intense exercise or much interaction.

they both take between 45 and 60 minutes to walk every day just to stretch their big legs and make their hearts beat faster. Instead of interactive games and intense walking, they would prefer a larger garden to run around and patrol.


Russian Bear Dog vs. Caucasian Shepherd Dog Traning Needs
The Tibetan Mastiff and Caucasian Shepherd Dog have similar training needs.

Neither of these breeds is suitable for a beginner as they are both very persistent and independent.  That said, if you’re not in the mood for a workout, they won’t take any notice! With these guys, everything is done in Shepherd or Mastiff time. Fortunately, they are both food-oriented and might be coaxed with a treat or two, but make sure you don’t feed them too many!

They are also seriously territorial by nature, which means they are both need to be socialized from an early age to make sure they don’t get overly aggressive or protective. When they are outside the family home, they won’t feel the need to protect anywhere near as much as they are at home. So be sure to bring them into an unfamiliar environment and introduce them to other dogs and people on a regular basis.

they both need a steady leader who can commit to lifelong training, and when a breed senses a weakness in your personality or training, they take on the role of pack leader, which in turn leads to behavioral problems. As a result, both races would Benefit from obedience training with other dogs nearby to instill discipline and understand that they are not responsible.


Russian Bear Dog and Tibetan Mastiff Health Needs
Both breeds are generally healthy but have shorter lifespans due to their size.

Since they are both big dogs, both of them are at risk of suffering from it Hip dysplasia, Working overtime can lead to mobility problems and painful arthritis due to improperly shaped hip joints. Because of their rapid growth rate in puppyhood, so are they both prone to other related common concerns such as Osteochondrosis Dissecans and Panosteitis.

The other major health problem for both races is obesity. Since both of them eat a lot and move very little, they both tend to pill on weight easily. Because of this, you need to monitor his weight. If it starts to increase you will need to switch him to diet nibbles.

The Tibetan mastiff is also known to suffer from it Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy, a hereditary disease unique to Tibetans. By the age of 6 weeks, his back legs are weak, and working overtime causes paralysis. This cannot be alleviated, only selective breeding can hope to avoid such conditions.

Overall, both are healthy dogs that enjoy a lifespan of 10 to 12 years which is pretty good considering their size.


Dietary Requirements for Russian Bear Dog vs. Tibetan Mastiff
Both breeds of dogs are similar in size and have similar nutritional needs.

Both the Caucasian Shepherd and the Tibetan Mastiff consume around Eat 4 cups a day and since both are large breeds, they should only be fed good quality snacks designed for large or giant breeds as these will suit their specific giants’ dietary needs. You will likely have to be patient in finding a food brand for both races as both can be special about the food they eat.

When it comes to feeding these guys, you have to Make yourself aware of bloat as both are prone to this potentially fatal condition. Eventually, Do not feed them immediately before or after training, feed them their daily requirement over 2 or 3 meals, and monitor them for the symptoms found in the link.


Russian Bear Dog and Tibetan Mastiff Grooming Needs
There is no getting around the fact that both breeds have dandruff and require regular grooming.

Both the Caucasian Shepherd and the Tibetan Mastiff will become need to be brushed almost every day to make sure their coats don’t get tangled and matted. This will also help brush out the dirt and spread the natural oils onto his fur. You’ll want to use a tool like the FURminatorto depilates your pup on a weekly basis with an anti-shed shampoo to reduce dander.

A smooth brush for these guys or a hair removal tool is a must and watch out for the feathered fur and sensitive areas like armpits and neck! Both guys need a bath every 6 to 8 weeks too, and a walk-in tub or shower would be advisable here!


The starting price for a Caucasian Shepherd Dog starts from $ 1,000and is the starting price of a Tibetan mastiff $ 1,500, both from a reputable breeder. The Tibetan Mastiff only has one oestrus each year, usually towards the end of autumn, so they are Tibetan pups usually only available around December or January. So keep that in mind when looking for a Tibetan.

It is so important to work with a reputable breeder, especially when it comes to dogs that are territorial or protective as they need to be properly raised and treated. Puppy mills won’t care, so you will likely find a puppy with both health and behavioral issues.

If you are thinking of saving one of these lovely dogs, you may have a lengthy quest on your hands for it is they both much less often than your standard dog breed, but once you find one it will definitely be worth the wait!

Make sure to check them out Rescue the Tibetan Mastiff Website devoted to the rehabilitation of Tibetans across America. Since Caucasian shepherds are much rarer, there is no dedicated website available, but Facebook Caucasian Shepherd Club of America Group will be able to point you in the right direction on the path to saving a Caucasian.

Final thoughts

If you compare the Caucasian Shepherd Dog to the Tibetan Mastiff, you will find that they are seriously similar dogs, mainly because they are related and serve the same purpose. The only real difference between them is their appearance and size. The Tibetan Mastiff is smaller, and it is more of a large breed than a giant breed. Often this is the determining factor or a preference for the overall appearance.

Whoever you want to welcome into your life, you can expect a challenging dog who needs competent and consistent training, and one who is low on energy. They are both happy to spend time alone and with their family, but overall, both guys are equally up to the task if you are looking for a family protector.

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