Tibetan and Himalayan Dog Breeds
(Dog breeds from Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan)
Tibetan Dog Breeds
Goh-Khi (Tibet): a very small dog, also known as 'sleevedog', because it can be kept within one's long sleeves.
Kyi Apso (Tibet): a tall, long-haired dog used as a property guard and flock guard dog.
Lhasa Apso (Tibet): one of the most ancient companion dog breeds kept by Tibetan monks, surprisingly robust and long-lived. They are also excellent watchdogs. Their long, heavy coat may be golden, sandy, brown, grizzle or black. They have been sometimes confused with or mistakingly bred to Shih Tzus. The term 'pure Hamilton lines' is sometimes used to distinguish lines with no infusion of Shih-tzu blood from those with Shih Tzu ancestry, although some authors observe that "no dog in the USA can lay claim to 'Pure Tibetan Blood' " and that "they are all mixtures of Lhasa Apso and shih-Tzu".
Shakhi (Tibet): also known as the Tibetan Guard dog, the Shakhi dog is intermediate in height between the larger Tibetan Mastiff and the smaller Black Hill dog. Like the Black Hill Dog it is primarely a property guard, but it is occasionally also used as flock guard or hunting dog.
Tibetan Hound (Tibet): a short-coated Tibetan hunting dog used to hunt wild sheep and goat, as well as musk deer.
Tibetan Mastiff (Tibet): a very ancient working dog resembling a Newfoundland used as herding dog and caravan guardian and considered the ancestor of all molossers.
It is highly doubtful that the Tibetan mastiff is the ancestor of all Molossers, but this popular myth is still widely spread today. More likely to be descended from early Euro-Asian breeds, the Tibetan Mastiff shares its name with quite a few breeds, mostly of Himalayan origin. The popular name for the Tibetan Mastiff is Do-Khyi, meaning "Tied Dog", although many different types exist, like the Naj-Khyi, Dzy-Khyi, Sgo-Khyi, Tsang-Khyi and others, differing in size, coat and temperament. As mentioned above, even some breeds that aren't just types of the tibetan mMastiff are often lumped under this name, like the Amdo Mastiff, Bhotia, Bangara, Kunlun, Khonch Nokhoi, shan Mastiff, Kham Sheepdogs and many others. There is also a bearded variant of the Tibetan Mastiff, called Kyi-Apso. However, the Do-Khyi is the most popular type of the breed and is commonly considered to be the "real" Tibetan Mastiff in the West, even though its true origin is anything but native.
Tibetan Spaniel (Tibet): also known as Jemtse Apso (Jemtse means 'cut'), roughly translated as 'shaved Apso'.
Tibetan Terrier (Tibet) or Dhokhi Apso: a breed with a long coat resembling that of the Hungarian Puli.
Himalayan Sheep dog (Nepal): a dog breed of the Himalayas used as flock or property guardian that looks like a long-haired Labrador. It is closely related to the Tibetan Mastiff. In its natural working and living conditions it is described as being relatively ferocious and savage, but when kept as a family pet is much more civilized.
Black Hill Dog (Nepal): a medium to large-sized, strong, black guard dog, closely related to the Tibetan Shakhi, but with the bushy tail carried low instead of curled up over the back.
Bhutia Sheepdog (Bhutan): a dog similar to the Himalayan Sheep dog and the Tibetan mastiff, but larger in size and with lss tightly curled tail. It is used by shepherds to defend large flocks against predators. Most common colors are black-and-tan or red.
Damchi (Bhutan): a dog breed named after the Himalayan village of Damchi. According to another explanation, Damchi ("tied dog") is the term for a guard dog. The Damchi is similar to the Tibetan Spaniel, but slightly larger and stockier with a longer muzzle. A black body with tan-and-white markings at the extremities is the most common color pattern.
What are the possibilities of coming across a pure bred Apsoo with its extra shaggy coat or a Damchi in Bhutan? A very rare chance.
Once the most common pets in many a Bhutanese household today you hardly see them. Like the famous yellow label XXX Apsoo Rum of the 70s and 80s, they seem to have disappeared, gone out of production. What you do see in the capital and in other urban centres across the country in swelling numbers is the Changkhi or the common street dog whose origin seems to be unknown. Bhutan is the origin of two breeds of dogs, the Damchi and Bhutia Sheepdog locally known as Bjopchi.
The Damchi is a much loved dog in Bhutan but elsewhere its survival is still unsure. A few are found in Germany where a breeder imported the lovely dogs from India but the bloodlines are very thin.
These dogs have a silky top coat which is moderate in length and have a slight mane. They have a curl in the tail which is well feathered. The coat comes in black and white and tri-colour, several variations are acceptable.
A more logical explanation indicates that Damchi means ‘tied dog’, which explains its purpose as a guard dog. The Third King owned a Damchi and the breed was featured on Bhutan postage stamps.
The Bhutia Sheepdog (Bhutan) is the big and ferocious Bjopchi dog which is bred by herders to shepherd cattle and yaks against predators. It is still very popular as a guard dog.
BANGARA MASTIFF A local breed named after the Bangar district of Tehri Garhwal, which is employed to protect the herds of yak and the flocks of sheep from the attacks of wild animals.
This is a close relative of the Tibetan Mastiff, specially developed by the people of Tehri Garhwal (a mountainous region of the former Punjab hill states in north-west India) to control their livestock in the daytime pastures and, by night, to protect the animals from the attacks of large predators. For this role a powerful, courageous breed was needed and the Bangara Mastiff is such a dog, always ready to risk its life in defence of its livestock. The usual colouring is black-and-tan, but paler coats also occur. The males are up to 25 in (64 cm) in height and have a strong, mastiff muzzle, a compact body and a heavily plumed tail that is curled to one side. The local people do not appear ot have called this dog by a particular breed name. It was given its official title of Bangara Mastiff by the Indian dog expert Major W.V. Soman in 1963. When he retired from the army he was asked to act as a judge at a dog show in Bombay and was dismayed to find that all the animals on display were imported pedigree breeds and that there was not a single native Indian dog to be seen. He set about correcting this by publishing a detailed list of Indian breeds, stating: 'My work will only be fulfilled if we see the pedigreed dogs of Indian origin in dog shows in India'. Where a local breed lacked a specific title, he created one, as with this distinctive mastiff from Bangar.