This is the most ancient of all dogs, possibly going back as far as 1100BC.
They are a powerful, giant dog with a broad, strong head. Their great double coat is very thick with a mane around the neck and is usually black or black and tan. There are two types, although usually born in the same litter: the Tsang-khyi, which is taller and heavier boned with more wrinkles around the face, and the Do-khyi which is leaner with fewer wrinkles.
They were used as a guard dog either for property, which could be as much as a whole village, or for sheep. When guarding property, they were normally confined during the day and let loose at night.
Although an intelligent dog, their protective guarding instinct and wilful nature makes them more suitable for an experienced owner. They are often loving towards children and can be trained to get on well with other animals but are naturally very wary of strangers. They need a good daily walk as they are not very active indoors.
The thick coat needs regular brushing and combing, especially during times of moulting. They are prone to hip dysplasia, thyroid problems, skin conditions and ear infections. They can also suffer from a genetic problem called Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy (CIDN), which attacks puppies and is fatal.