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Are Tibetan Mastiffs Legal in the US? (List of Banned Countries)

Yes, Tibetan Mastiffs are legal in the US. While they are banned from certain states, it is not impossible to own a Tibetan Mastiff if you live in the US. Check your state’s rules and restrictions before acquiring this breed.

Tibetan Mastiffs are sometimes seen as aggressive and dangerous dogs. 

Because of this mistaken opinion, the breed is banned in some countries. It is also illegal in some American states.

In this article, we’ll cover the reasons why Tibetan Mastiffs are considered vicious dogs. We’ll also talk about all the countries that fully banned this breed.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Legal in the Us?

Tibetan Mastiffs are legal in the US in all states and cities, excluding Watapo (Washington) and Abbotsford (Wisconsin). If you are planning on getting a Tibetan Mastiff, do your research first. The state you live in can be one of those that have banned this breed.

Most states in the US don’t ban specific breeds. Many states do ban dogs considered “dangerous”, which comes down to the personality of individual dogs.

Where Are Tibetan Mastiffs Banned In the US?

There are only a few cities in the USA where Tibetan Mastiffs are illegal:

  • Watapo, Washington
  • Abbotsford, Wisconsin

Related: Illegal Pets

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Illegal to Own?

Tibetan Mastiffs are illegal to own in some countries, including Malaysia, Ukraine, France, and Germany. Each place has its reasons why Tibetan Mastiffs are illegal.

There are 9 countries where Tibetan mastiffs are banned or restricted:

  1. Bermuda Islands
  2. Belarus
  3. France
  4. Germany
  5. The Maldives
  6. Ukraine
  7. Malaysia
  8. Hangzhou
  9. Shanghai

1. Bermuda Islands

People in the Bermuda Islands are not allowed to breed, import, or own Tibetan Mastiffs. [1] Any mixed Tibetan Mastiff breed is also banned.

2. Belarus

Tibetan Mastiffs are one of the breeds seen as dangerous in Belarus. While they are not fully illegal, there are rules for owning a Tibetan Mastiff in this country. Under-aged or disabled people are not allowed to have a Tibetan Mastiff.

3. France

In France it is restricted to own a Tibetan Mastiff[2]. They have been legislated in this country since 1999. This breed must wear a leash, a collar, and a muzzle. It is prohibited to leave a Tibetan Mastiff unsupervised or unleashed.

4. Germany

Germany has banned or restricted Roman and Chinese fighting dogs. Tibetan Mastiffs belong to the second category. Because of this, there are certain regulations for people that want to own a Tibetan Mastiff.

5. The Maldives

All Mastiffs are banned in the Maldives. It is also illegal to travel to the Maldives with a Tibetan Mastiff. This country prohibits any foreign dog from crossing its territorial waters.

6. Ukraine

There is around 80 restricted dog breeds in Ukraine, including the Tibetan Mastiff. Owners of this breed have been forced to walk their dog with a muzzle and a short leash since 1998.

7. Malaysia

Malaysia has fully banned Tibetan Mastiff because of their temperament. They are seen as aggressive dogs with unpredictable behavior. They are also considered dangerous dogs in Malaysia, especially around children.

8. Hangzhou 

Hangzhou has strict regulations when it comes to dogs. Large breeds, like Tibetan Mastiffs, are illegal because of the danger they represent.

9. Shanghai 

Tibetan Mastiffs are banned in Shanghai. This city banned all dog breeds that exceed 13 inches in height in 2011. Because of their large size, they are seen as dangerous dogs. Anyone who owns a Tibetan Mastiff in this city are lawfully removed from the town.

Why Are Tibetan Mastiffs Banned in the Us?

Tibetan Mastiffs are banned in the US because of their temper. Aggression led to attacks in the past. They are also banned because of their origin and appearance.

There are three reasons why Tibetan Mastiffs are banned in the US:

  1. Size
  2. Temper
  3. Origin

1. Size

Tibetan Mastiff vs Human Size Comparison
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Tibetan Mastiffs are a large breed. They average 24-29 inches in height and weigh from 70 to more than 160 pounds. A dog this size is difficult to handle. Even experienced owners can have difficulty controlling such a big dog.

Their large appearance is also seen as frightening by many people. This leads to multiple misconceptions about the temper and personality of Tibetan Mastiffs.

Related: Tibetan Mastiffs Size

2. Temper

Tibetan Mastiffs Temper
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This breed’s sometimes aggressive behavior is another reason why it is banned in some US states. Tibetan Mastiffs are loyal guard dogs who love their families. They tend to become territorial and protective when they encounter strangers or sense any danger.

While this breed is stubborn, it can be trained how to behave properly. Unfortunately, there have been some Tibetan Mastiff lethal attacks.[3]

These sad incidents damaged this breed’s reputation. Because people started to consider Tibetan Mastiffs dangerous, they were banned for safety measures.

Related: Are Tibetan Mastiffs Aggressive?

3. Origin

Tibetan Mastiffs Origin
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Tibetan Mastiffs aren’t a traditional breed in the US. They originate from Asia. Because of this, they are seen as illegal foreign dogs. This only applies in the three states that have banned Tibetan Mastiffs.

Do Tibetan Mastiffs Make Good Pets?

Yes, Tibetan Mastiffs make good pets. They are not different from any other large breed. Tibetan Mastiffs are playful and affectionate. They are also very intelligent and loyal to their owners.

When trained properly, Tibetan Mastiffs are big cuddly dogs, that love spending time with their family. 

With lots of socialization, they even get along with other dogs or pets.

But Tibetan Mastiffs are not friendly towards strangers. This is what makes them the ideal guard dogs. Nothing will stop a Tibetan Mastiff from protecting its family.

Why Do Tibetan Mastiffs Make Good Pets?

Tibetan Mastiffs make good pets because of their devoted and calm behavior. When they are not provoked, Tibetan Mastiffs are quiet and friendly dogs. They are also great with children.

Contrary to many misconceptions, Tibetan Mastiffs are good pets. They are:

  • Affectionate
  • Low maintenance
  • Intelligent
  • Protective


Affectionate Tibetan Mastiffs

Tibetan Mastiffs love spending time with their family. They get along with kids and can be taught how to play with other pets. 

They get attached to their owner and can develop separation anxiety. Because of this, it is important to spend a lot of time with your Tibetan Mastiff.

Low Maintenance

Tibetan Mastiffs are not very energic dogs. They are also prone to joint diseases. Because of this, they don’t need intense exercise. Daily walks and low-intensity games are enough to keep them healthy.

They also don’t require much grooming. Tibetan Mastiffs only need weekly brushing and a bath once 3-5 weeks. 

They have two seasonal sheds. During this time, the grooming process is a little more complex, but still easy enough to be done at home. [4]

Related: Do Tibetan Mastiffs Shed?


Intelligent Tibetan Mastiffs
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Tibetan Mastiffs are an intelligent breed. They are capable of recognizing every situation when their owner is at risk. They also sense their family’s moods and act accordingly. When they are yelled at, Tibetan Mastiffs get sad and refuse to cooperate.

The get bored fast because of their high intelligence. It is important to expose your Tibetan Mastiff to mentally stimulating games and activities. If you don’t, it will start chewing every item in your house.


This dog was originally bred for guarding humans and animal flocks. They are also very loyal to their owners. Because of this, they make amazing guard dogs. 

With the right training, Tibetan Mastiffs only become alert when they face real danger.

Challenges When Keeping a Tibetan Mastiff

Some of the biggest challenges when keeping a Tibetan Mastiff are their stubborn behavior and size. This breed is not recommended for inexperienced owners. It is also not suitable for small apartments.

While they are not aggressive or dangerous as some people think, Tibetan Mastiffs still have some flaws:

  • Personality
  • Size
  • Expenses


Tibetan Mastifs Personality
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This is a strong-headed breed that needs an experienced and firm owner. Without one, they tend to establish leadership. 

They are also very territorial dogs. Because of this, they require someone that will teach them how to behave appropriately.


Tibetan Mastiffs are large dogs. They need a lot of space to play and grow. If you don’t provide them with a large enough area to run around, they will destroy your home.


Buying and raising a Tibetan Mastiff is an expensive experience. The price for a Tibetan Mastiff can go higher than $10.000, depending on how pure-blooded it is. The price for its food, bowls, toys, check-ups, and other supplies averages $3.000 per year.

This makes your Tibetan Mastiff a quite pricy dog to own.

Related: What Do Tibetan Mastiffs Cost?


Tibetan Mastiffs are legal in most of the US. They are only banned in Watapo (Washington) and Abbotsford (Wisconsin). They also are illegal or restricted in nine other countries. Some of these are France, Germany, Malaysia, and Ukraine.

The main reasons why this breed is banned in some places are its protective temper and impressive appearance. These are sometimes confused with aggression. The misconception about how dangerous Tibetan Mastiffs are has damaged this breed’s reputation in many countries.


Are Tibetan Mastiffs Illegal in California?

It is not known sure whether Tibetan Mastiffs are illegal in California. The law in this state is complicated when it comes to this breed. Buying and owning a Tibetan Mastiff should be legal if the breeder is licensed and selling dogs with all the necessary paperwork.

About Iordache Cristina Maria

Cristina is a freelance writer, student, and animal enthusiast. While she learns about animals, she writes about how they behave, what they look like, and other facts that most people don't know about.

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