The American Tibetan Mastiff Association ("ATMA") was incorporated in 1974 in the State of Kentucky as a national club for Tibetan Mastiff fanciers. Due to a failure to pay local corporate franchise taxes, the registry was transferred to The Tibetan Mastiff Club/American Tibetan Mastiff Association ("TTMC/ATMA"), commonly known as TTMC, and based out of California.
At the same time, the Tibetan Mastiff Club of America ("TMCA") was founded by Steven and Linda Nash (Ausable Kennels). In 1983, TMCA merged into TTMC/ATMA to become the American Tibetan Mastiff Association ("ATMA"), and the two registries were combined, through the mutual agreement of Ann Rohrer, Linda Larsen, registrar for TTMC/ATMA, Steven and Linda Nash, and Kristina Sherling, registrar for TMCA.
While we do not know when the first Tibetan Mastiff came to the United States, the first documented importation was in 1958 when a pair was sent as a diplomatic gift to President Eisenhower from the Foreign Ministry of Nepal. Doubtless they created quite a stir, as the dogs were supposed to be Tibetan Terriers. In 1966, the founder of the American Tibetan Mastiff Association, Ann Rohrer, was working for the U.S. Government in Kathmandu, Nepal. She had a lifelong fascination with the Tibetan breeds of dogs and thus provided a home to Jumla's Kalu of Jumla. Kalu was offered to her in 1976 at nine years of age after many attempts to find a permanent home for him had failed.
This dog, ATMA #001, would have far reaching impact on the breed, just as his owner, Ann Rohrer, would have far reaching impact on ATMA. In founding ATMA, Ann sought to allow communication among breeders and owners and to encourage the import and breeding of Tibetan Mastiffs. Due to the primitive nature of the dogs and the absence of AKC recognition, a national breed club was imperative in order to allow the best dogs, with strong health, stable temperament and excellent conformation to be registered and the breeding recorded. While Ann died several years ago, her influence on the breed and her determination to see that it is preserved, bred and loved, will always remain with the Club.
Through many of the personal battles that typically plague breed clubs, ATMA has remained the stronghold for the breed, with almost 2,900 Tibetan Mastiffs registered and a complete array of member services. ATMA turned over its Registry in August 2002 to AKC FSS, as the first step in its efforts to achieve AKC recognition for the breed. The Club has been a cohesive force for the breed for many years. Our Constitution, By-Laws, Rules for Registration and Showing are patterned after AKC's and FCI's.
Much of ATMA's early history is concerned with the limited number of dogs and owners who made up the membership. During the mid to late 1990's, more emphasis was placed on importing new breeding stock and expanding the opportunities to improve the type of the breed without sacrificing health or structure. The immediate future for ATMA is focused on seeking AKC recognition, the education of new owners, assisting Tibetan Mastiff Rescue, Inc. in its efforts, and providing educational information for conformation judges. Our objective is to develop an instructional videotape that will assist new fanciers and judges in familiarizing themselves with the Tibetan Mastiff.