In Dolpo’s Shey Gomba a chained Tibetan Mastiff guards the monastery, barking fiercely at intruders when it is not sleeping. Tibetan Mastiff puppies today can fetch as much as Rs300,000, although half-breeds go for less.
In 2011, Nepali Times carried the story of a Tibetan Mastiff named Tashi, which walked 200km from a village in Ramechhap, its adopted home, back to Kathmandu to find his canine friends and Japanese owner in a Patan neighbourhood.
Former Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, Don Messerschmidt, has been studying Tibetan Mastiffs since the 1980s and authored Big Dogs of Tibet and the Himalayas: A Personal Journey. He has nothing but admiration for these noble dogs.
He wrote this tribute in 1983 in the journal Rangelands: ‘Against the predatory denizens of the range, and as a faithful and intelligent companion, the Tibetan Mastiff has few if any peers. Vigilance is the quality of alert watchfulness against danger.