In the UK, a couple has revealed that strangers often mistake their 154lbs Tibetan mastiff pups for lions whenever they go out for a walk.
Shaun Kingsnorth, 42, and Katrina Springs, 40, live with two Chinese Tibetan Mastiffs, one-year-old female Amira, and a two-year-old male Bear, with their children in their home in Corby, Northamptonshire.
The huge pups weigh 154 lbs each, and the male Tibetan mastiff can reach as heavy as 210 lbs as a fully grown dog — the same weight as the average adult person.
Despite their scary mammoth size, strangers often ask for photos with the two mastiffs, with Shaun insisting that their dogs are ‘gentle giants’ who love squeezing up on the sofa like ‘tiny lapdogs’.
“They’re honestly the most loving, loyal dogs,” Shaun told Mail Online. “They are a bit of a handful because of their size – but both just gentle giant.”
“Everyone loves seeing them when we take them out for walks,” Shaun said. “We’ve had people double-take and think we’re out walking lions because of their huge frame and golden manes.”
Shaun first saw Bear on Facebook in 2019 when he was six months old when his former owner had to sadly give him up because of his size.
“I just fell in love with him I saw him,” Shaun said. “We knew it was going to be a challenge because of his size. He was very protective at first, but it didn’t take long to train him.”
‘Now he’s so well behaved but still playful,” he added. “He’s the gentlest dog.”
After having Bear for half a year, Shaun was contacted by a rescue charity in Romania.
According to Shaun, the rescue group saw how well he did with Bear on Facebook and told him about a female Chinese Tibetan Mastiff they had named Amira who was looking for a new home.
Once again, Shaun and his wife couldn’t resist and flew Amira over to join their family in the UK.
The couple raises the mastiffs at the family home which they share with their children: Kyle, 19, Bradley, 16, Shakira, 14, and Ryan, 6.
“The kids absolutely love them,” Shaun said. “Both dogs have grown so big and they’re still not fully grown. They take up the whole sofa or bed by themselves.”
“Even if we’re sat on them, they’ll hop up and try and sit on your lap,” Shaun said. “I swear they think they’re tiny.”
“We live in quite a small village, so they’re the talk of the town,” Shaun added. “They’re not often found in the UK, so I think it’s quite a novelty.”
“We can’t go out for a walk without people stopping to stroke them or take photos,” Shaun revealed.
“The vet once said, I’ve never seen dogs like that, are you sure they don’t belong in the zoo?” Shaun continued. “We’ve even had people stop and think we’re walking lions. Sometimes I feel like they actually are lions.”
The huge mastiffs need to go out several times a day and Shaun, who works as a builder on a local farm, often brings Bear and Amira to work with him.
“I’m very lucky to work where I do. While I’m working, I can let them run around the fields or go into the paddocks,” he said. “I often see kids flocking to them at the bottom of the field – they love the attention. They’re the best dogs and we feel very lucky to have them.”