Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Are Tibetan Mastiffs Illegal in the US? Important Info for Owners

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Tibetan Mastiff in winter

The Tibetan Mastiff is an ancient breed of dog that seems intimidating due to their giant size. Weighing up to about 150 pounds and standing at about 26 inches tall when fully grown, these dogs are strong and imposing. This is a protective breed, which makes them an effective watchdog.

That said, they are mellow around the house and extremely loyal to their human companions. However, this dog breed is banned or restricted in certain countries throughout the world. But are Tibetan Mastiffs illegal in the United States? The short answer is no, Tibetan Mastiffs are not banned in the US. Keep reading to learn more!

Divider-Dog Paw and Bone- New

There Are No Federal Laws Against Tibetan Mastiffs in the United States

There is no evidence of any federal laws that have been put on the books to make Tibetan Mastiffs illegal or restricted in any way in the United States of America. There may be laws in specific states and/or counties throughout the country, but if so, they are not easily accessible. So, if you are planning on getting a Tibetan Mastiff as a pet at any time in the future and you want assurance that your new pet will be legal, check with your county department to find out if there are any laws against the breed.

tibetan mastiff standing on the grass
Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

The 4 Countries Where Tibetan Mastiffs Are Illegal or Restricted

Several countries around the world maintain laws banning or restricting Tibetan Mastiffs in some way. If you ever plan to travel outside of the United States with your Tibetan Mastiff for work, vacation, or relocation reasons, it’s a good idea to make sure the country that you’re going to doesn’t have laws against the breed. For example, Belarus isn’t a good place to go if you’re disabled because people who have disabilities or who are minors are restricted from owning Tibetan Mastiffs. Here are other countries where this dog breed is banned or restricted:

  • Malaysia — Labeled as unpredictable and dangerous, these dogs are completely banned in this country.
  • France — All dogs that are considered Mastiff types are labeled as fighting dogs here. Therefore, there are restrictions to owning them, such as requiring hard leashes and muzzles when in public places.
  • Ukraine — The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the 80 different dog breeds that are banned in Ukraine due to being considered dangerous.
  • Maldives — All Mastiffs and Shepherds are banned in the Maldives. No resident is legally allowed to own one, and visitors are not allowed to enter the country with one.

Laws are always subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to call customs ahead of time and find out what their stance is on bringing a Tibetan Mastiff into their country, even if you plan on just passing through.

Why Tibetan Mastiffs Are Illegal or Restricted in Certain Places

Many places that restrict or ban Tibetan Mastiffs do so because the breed is considered dangerous. However, when trained and cared for properly, these dogs don’t pose any bigger danger than any other breed. Therefore, much of the legislation seems to be more for political or financial reasons rather than for safety reasons.

tibetan Mastiff
Image Credit: Tatyana-Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

Divider-Dog Paw and Bone- New

In Conclusion

Tibetan Mastiffs can live freely throughout the United States as far as the federal government is concerned. This is evidenced by the many breeders that can be found operating throughout the country. Remember, though, just because the breed is legal to own doesn’t mean they are easy to own. They require plenty of work, training, exercise, patience, and companionship, which means a great deal of responsibility for you.


Featured Image Credit: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database