Do Khyi Breed Characteristics & Traits

Loyal, graceful, and gentle, the Do Khyi, originally from Tibet, is an ancient breed revered by Buddhists as part of the “Wheel of Life.” We also admire the noble four-legged friend from East Asia and explain the background of the “tied dog”.

History and Origin of the Do Kyi

Hailing from the Tibetan Himalayas and Trans-Himalayas, the Do Khyi is believed to be one of the oldest dog breeds in Asia. Among the shepherds there, it is of great importance and is regarded as a particularly valuable asset. In Tibet, he was mainly used as a guard dog, where he was supposed to protect caravans and breed animals.

For this purpose, he was always tied to a wooden trunk, from which the name “tied dog” resulted. With Marco Polo’s travels in 1270, the “tethered dog” (translated from Tibetan) also became known in Europe and is still one of the very rare breeds today. Due to the lack of (or incomplete) lore from after Polo’s travels, legends abound as to the strength and bravery of the Do Khyi. Also in the Buddhist culture, these legends of the grace and size of the dog were passed down, which were recorded in thankas and paintings.

Because the Himalayas were isolated (due to their location) from other cultures, the Do Khyi breed survived without the influence of other lineages. Today, outside of Asia, Do Khyis are only bred in America and Europe, as only a few specimens are exported from the Tibet region.

In Germany, between 10 and 20 puppies are born in the VDH every year. Similarly rare is the Japanese Mastiff, better known as the Tosa Inu. Unfortunately, the purity of the breed is under threat these days as it is seen as a sign of prosperity even among the Chinese upper class. They are increasingly buying specimens from breeders who are more interested in profit than in preserving the breed. In Switzerland, the Do Khyi is on the breed list of potentially dangerous animals.

Essence and Character of Do Kyi

Due to its previous requirements, the Do Khyi is a very alert and reliable dog that is unconditionally loyal to its family. He understands very quickly, which is why he gets bored quickly. Repetitive activities irritate him and he may refuse one or the other command.

He has a pronounced territorial behavior and feels most comfortable on familiar ground. He always goes about his task as a protector responsibly: the house and yard are watched over like an eagle, and strangers are treated with caution and consideration. However, he is not a barker. But when the Do Khyi barks, it usually has a good reason.

In the home, the four-legged friend is calm and relaxed, which becomes particularly clear when dealing with children: with the patience of an angel, the Do Khyi can watch his closest family members for hours without making a sound.

The Do Khyi also quickly takes other pets to heart and protects them like their own kind.

Care and Attitude

Because he forms a very strong bond with his family, the Do Khyi shouldn’t have to change owners often. Otherwise, he will have a hard time exchanging his old family for a new master, not to mention the homesickness he will feel. His intelligence sometimes makes him question his master’s orders, which can be mastered with loving consistency without any problems. Instead of “Will to please” you will find unconditional loyalty and a strong personality in the tethered dog, the relationship should be based on mutual respect.

The Do Khyi is economical with its energy reserves: apart from daily walks, there is no further need to let off steam in the garden. On these walks, the Tibetan Mastiff will likely behave in a dominant manner towards males, not out of a fight but more of an extended protective instinct. Due to its high adaptability and good stamina, the Do Khyi is a perfect companion dog for hikes and long trips.

The (tedious) Grooming

As with most stock-haired dogs, the Tibetan Mastiff is brushed every two weeks, with the tail and thighs being groomed again with a comb. If the hair is longer than normal, the entire coat should be combed, as its structure tends to feel after a certain length.

In the spring, however, the Do Khyi changes its coat and loses a significant part of its undercoat and topcoat. Shedding of dead fur is common in wild animal hair and can be significant. It is also not a concern if the four-legged friend begins to shed, as the outer skin is renewed along with the fur. Even if the hair falls out on its own (since the Do Khyi gets static) and in some cases fills an entire blue garbage bag, there’s no need to worry.

On the contrary: unjustified visits to the veterinarian can have serious consequences. If the vet is unfamiliar with this breed trait and prescribes medications based on a misjudgment, they can do more harm than good. It’s also important not to bathe the Do Khyi during the molt, as the loose hair will begin to feel. In this phase, continuous care in the form of daily brushing/combing is essential for a smooth transition. After this phase (about four weeks), the Do Khyi hardly sheds the rest of the year. After a short bath, the last residue is washed out and the new coat can be treated with the usual routine.

Peculiarities in care

With long-haired Do Khyi, you should always pay attention to the paws, as fur collects between the pads, which could disturb him in certain situations. This can be very painful in winter, as lumps of ice irritate the skin form on the long fur.

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