The Tibetan Mastiff Vs. a Lion: What You Need to Know

The Tibetan Mastiff is a large guardian canine breed traditionally bred in Tibet. Although it is relatively popular in China, the breed is extremely rare in the U.S. In fact, it is estimated that the American Kennel Club has about 5,000 dogs registered, of which only 1,000-2,000 are actually alive today. As a result, they tend to be very costly, averaging about $60,000 to $100,000 a puppy.

Tibetan Mastiffs are considered to be the origin of the mastiff breeds, including the Great Pyrenees, bulldogs, and English mastiffs. Due to their enormous size and the fact that they were originally bred to fight off Mountain Lions, there’s some speculation over who would win between the two. Today, we are going to compare the Tibetan Mastiff and the Lion in more detail.


The Tibetan Mastiff can weigh between 45 and 72kg, and grow to a height of 83 cm. On the other hand, the average weight of an adult lion is around 200kg. It can grow for up to 1.2m in height.


The Tibetan Mastiff is generally regarded as a primitive dog breed. It maintains the hardiness that would come in handy in Tibet.They have a long, double coat that comes in a wide range of colors, including tan, black, solid black, and various shades of red.

When it comes to lions, only males feature a long tawny mane at the side of their face and the top of the head. Of all the members of the cat family, lions are the only ones that exhibit obvious sexual dimorphism. This means that males and females look conspicuously different. Additionally, they have specialized roles for each sex.

The lioness, for instance, does not have a thick mane like the the males. The mane also tends to vary from black to blond, generally getting darker with age. The most common characteristic between the males and females is the hairy tuft at the end of the tail, which can also conceal a hard “spur” or “spine” in some lions, about 5 mm in length.


The Tibetan Mastiff is a very loyal family guardian who is aloof toward strangers. Their natural instinctive behaviors, such as canine pack attitude, contributed to their survival in undesirable environments. It is among the rarest primitive dogs that retains one estrus per year as opposed to two, even in extremely temperate climates or much lower altitudes than its natural climate.

Through centuries of selective breeding, the breed has been valued for its nocturnal sentry, barking at sounds during the night and fighting off would-be intruders and predators. The dogs that originate from Tibet are twice as big as those found in India, with hairy bodies and large heads. They are extremely powerful, and are believed to be able to kill a tiger.

Lions show their aggression by displaying their massive canine teeth, retracting the ears and revealing the dark patch behind their ears. Lions are remarkably social compared to other cats. A pride consists of a few adult males and related females with their offspring. The female lions are usually the hunters, preying mostly on big ungulates.

Life Span

Tibetan Mastiffs have a life expectancy of 10 to 14 years. The lion can live between 10 and 16 years in the wild, and 20 to 25 years in captivity. Lions are apex and keystone predators but are also great at scavenging, which is where they get 50% of their food. Lions are also nocturnal, preferring to hunt during the night.

They tend to dominate smaller felines like leopards and cheetahs where they occur, killing their cubs and even adults when opportunity arises and stealing their kills. In fact, the cheetah has a fifty percent chance of losing its kill to the lions and other predators. Lions also dominate African wild dogs, often preying on their young and even taking their kills.

As a result, wild dog populations are relatively scarce in areas dominated by lions, although there are few instances of old and wounded lions being preyed on by wild dogs. Apart from humans, the only other sympatric predator that can singly threaten the lion is the Nile crocodile. Depending on the size of the lion and the crocodile, either can lose carrion or kills to the other. Crocodiles have been known to kill lions venturing into the waterways while the reverse is true for crocodiles entering the land.

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