Tibetan Mastiff vs Pungsan Dog - Breed Comparison

Tibetan Mastiff vs Pungsan Dog - Breed ComparisonTibetan Mastiff is originated from China but Pungsan Dog is originated from North Korea. Tibetan Mastiff may grow 23 cm / 10 inches higher than Pungsan Dog. Tibetan Mastiff may weigh 66 kg / 146 pounds more than Pungsan Dog. Both Tibetan Mastiff and Pungsan Dog has almost same life span. Both Tibetan Mastiff and Pungsan Dog has almost same litter size. Both Tibetan Mastiff and Pungsan Dog requires Moderate maintenance.


tibetan mastiff - historyThe Tibetan Mastiff is still considered to be a primitive breed originating in Tibet centuries ago. The breed was developed to guard property and livestock. They still do this as well as being a much loved family dog and a show dog as well. There is very little history that is documented for the breed prior to the 19th century.

Believed to be centuries old with ancestors who are mastiff like dogs that developed into two different types of Tibetan Mastiffs. These types are the Tsang-Khyi and the Do-Khyi. The Tsang Khyi were guardians for Tibetan monks, while the Tsang-Khyi guarded flocks for nomadic shepherds and in villages.

The first Tibetan Mastiff was imported in 1847 to England and presented as a gift to Wueen Victoria, from India’s Viceroy. By 1873 there was an English Kennel Club and the breed was labeled a large dog from Tibet and entered into the EKC Stud Book.

The next year the future King Edward VII, brought another two Tibetan Mastiffs to the United Kingdom to show in 1875. The first breed club began in 1931. The world wars interfered and no new dogs were imported to England until 1976. Two dogs were given to the President of the United States in the late 1950’sbut were not bred and it wasn’t until 1970 that any more were imported. The US Tibetan Mastiff Club was not founded until 1974 and they were first entered in a National Specialty show in 1979.

In 2007 the AKC recognized the breed as a working dog since 2007. It’s hard to find a purebred Tibetan Mastiff in Tibet anymore.

The Pungsan Dog hails from Korea.

pungsan dog - historyIt is a hunting dog and considered to be a National Treasure of Korea. It was during the Japanese occupation of Korea that the dog’s thick coat was sought after for use in fur coats for the Japanese military.

The population numbers plummeted dramatically, with the Korean War reducing the numbers even further. The North Korean government assisted with re-establishing them.

Today, the Pungsan isn’t recognized by the Federation Cynological International (FCI) and also remains unrecognized by any major kennel clubs.

Basic Information

Working dog
Working dog
North Korea
Height Male:
75 - 83 cm
29 - 33 inches
55 - 60 cm
21 - 24 inches
Height Female:
72 - 80 cm
28 - 32 inches
55 - 60 cm
21 - 24 inches
Weight Male:
55 - 90 kg
121 - 199 pounds
18 - 24 kg
39 - 53 pounds
Weight Female:
53 - 88 kg
116 - 195 pounds
18 - 24 kg
39 - 53 pounds
Life Span:
10 - 14 Years
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
4 - 6
2 - 4
Large dog
Large dog
Other Names:
Mastiff, TM
Phungsan, Poongsan
Colors Available:
and blue, gold, black, with or without tan markings , brown
double coat with a long, thick, coarse-textured topcoat and a heavy, soft, woolly undercoat.
Thick, short to medium length
Courageous, Independent, Intelligent, Loving, Loyal, Protective, Stubborn
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Protective, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Moderate maintenance
Moderate maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:


tibetan mastiff puppy - descriptionBoth types of Mastiffs can be present in the same litter, so that both larger and smaller pups are present. Both types are well-muscled and structured. Today’s dogs being developed in China and the West are much larger than the previous ones. These dogs would be less useful to the nomads and cost too much to feed. Today’s dog is very large with a large head and a long double coat. This coat can be black, brown, gold, and blue, with or without tan markings. There are now a few white Tibetan Mastiffs being bread.

The breed standard for the Mastiff is different in the West than in the East. In the East the breed is broken into two categories – the Lion Head and the Tiger head.

pungsan dog puppy - descriptionThe Pungsan dog is a large dog – a kind of spitz-type dog which stands between 55 and 60cm in height and weighs between 18-24 kg.

The dog has a thick whitish coat that even allows them to sleep in the snow. They have a muscular build with a deep chest. The legs are straight and strong, with the typical Spitz-type triangular head with the almond-shaped eyes and erect ears. The tail is high-set, curling over the back. After mating, within 60 – 70 days they can produce 2 to 4 puppies.


It it thought that the Pungsan’s intelligence is due to wolf DNA but there is a question mark over this. They are intelligent dogs though.

These dogs are always loyal and protective of their owners, forming strong bonds with them. They are strong-willed and independent and will require training and socialization if you want them to be obedient, well mannered dogs.

They’re intelligent so won’t have problems learning. When properly trained and socialized, they can be good playmates for children. He is also able to get along well with other animals in the house.

They’re aloof with strangers and have strong territorial instincts, but this just goes towards making them excellent watchdogs.


Children friendliness

tibetan mastiff dog - characteristicsWith extreme caution and only if raised together

Special talents

Guard dog


Not good. No apartments and cant deal with heat

Learning ability

Highly intelligent very stubborn and independent

pungsan dog dog - characteristicsThe Pungsan is a wonderful dog if you’re looking for an affectionate, loyal pet.

These dogs thrive on having an owner that is energetic and a strong leader. It likes to become involved in all the activities the family is involved in, loving to join them on hikes and camping trips. Its a dog that is also protective and territorial and makes a good watchdog too.

With proper training and socialization he gets on well with children and other pets in the home, making him a welcome canine family member for any busy household.

Health Problems

tibetan mastiff puppies - health problemsThough considered a primitive dog and isolated for several centuries, so they should not have as many genetic or inherited conditions as other dogs with more cross and in-breeding. These are the potential health issues they might develop:

Elbow and Hip dysplasia – can lead to lameness and arthritis.

OCD Osteochondrois Dissecans – this is also an orthopedic condition when the soft tissue growth is abnormal in the joints. It is painful and the joint is stiff. Don’t breed a dog that has this condition.

Panosteitis – Canine growing pains. Inflammation of the long bones in large dogs as they grow. They will eventually out grow it. Pain can be managed through medication.

Autoimmune Hypothyroidism – Hormone deficiency leading to flaky skin, weight gain and lack of energy. Can be managed through medication.

Canine Inherited Demyelinative Neuropathy – If your Tibetan Mastiff is going to have this condition, they will have it by six weeks of age. Weakness in the hind legs leading to paralysis.

Bloat – deadly if not treated immediately and related to dietary habits.

pungsan dog puppies - health problemsThe Pungsan is a healthy breed prone to very few health issues, yet there will always be those common health issues that plague dogs like these. One of these is hip dysplasia, while others are obesity, bloat and cancer.

Hip dysplasia:

It can be very sad when your vet tells you that your dog has hip dysplasia. Fortunately with modern veterinary medicine, a dog can be kept happy with this ailment.

The hip joint doesn’t develop properly and painful wear and tear with arthritis makes it very difficult for the dog to be mobile. It’s a genetic condition but diet and environmental factors play a huge part too. Get your pet to the vet to ensure he is pain free.


Seizures in a dog can be caused usually because of trauma, tumor or infection. Seizures can start from as young as 6 months of age.Some seizures can last for a long time and are considered an emergency, requiring immediate veterinary help.Your veterinarian will want a complete history and perform a neurological exam.

Caring The Pet

Feeding the puppy

tibetan mastiff dogs - caringDon’t feed the puppy too much protein as you want to prevent Panosteitis and growing too quickly. Do not overfeed. Feed 4-5 cups of high quality large breed puppy food in 3-4 meals day.

Feeding the adult

4 to 6 or more cups of a high-quality dog food daily, divided into two meals. To avoid bloat do not feed before or after vigorous exercise.

Points for Good Health

Calm and laid back when inside.

Games and Exercises

They need 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise and play daily. They prefer to play with other large dogs.


pungsan dog dogs - caringWith his dense coat, this dog will require a brush twice a week to keep the fur free from matting and from loose hair. He is after all a fairly heavy shedder and will require this regular brushing to remove the dead hair and maintain the luster and sheen of the coat.


This is a strong, athletic dog and he is mentally sharp as well. He will require vigorous physical- and mental activity each day. He isn’t the kind of dog to lie around for long periods of time as this leads to frustration and destructive behavior and then the owner should be blamed.

Take him on walks or long hikes – he’ll love that – and play ball- and rope games with him. He will be quite game for swimming as well.


Your Pungsan dog can get to 14 years of age with good food. While you do get some excellent commercially manufactured dog foods, you want to be sure your pet gets some nutritious home-made food too.

Make sure that the kibble is the high quality ones with lots of vitamins and minerals. Add in some home-made food twice a week. Boiled chicken, brown rice or pasta and spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots are a healthy choice for your pet. Your dog will do well on plain, simple, nutritious, tasty food like this. Chop this food up and add it into the dry kibble a couple of times a week.

Some raw meat added in from time to time will help his skin and coat remain healthy. Never leave him without a constant source of fresh, cool water.

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