Grazing strategies, consisting of grazing systems and stocking rate adjustments, have evolved from the need to sustain efficient use of the forage resources by livestock, increase animal performance and sustain forage production. A 3-year study was conducted with Tibetan sheep on the Eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, China to compare: (1) two grazing systems [season-long continuous (SLC; July to December) versus short duration with seasonal rotation (SDSR; July to September in growing-season pasture and October to December in cold-season pasture) with a stocking rate of 24 sheep months ha1(SM ha1)]; (2) SDSR system with 24, 36 and 48 SM ha1; and (3) seasonal aspects of stocking rate under the SDSR system by comparing strategies of heavy stocking rate in the growing season and light stocking rate in the cold season (SDSR-HL) versus light stocking rate in the growing season and heavy stocking rate in the cold season (SDSR-LH). No differences were found between grazing systems in liveweight gain per head or per ha and in residual herbage mass. Liveweight gain per head for treatment SDSR24 was greater than for treatments SDSR36 and SDRS48, whereas liveweight gain per ha showed the opposite tendency. No differences were found between the SDSR-HL and SDSR-LH treatments in liveweight gain per head or per ha, whereas the ratio of residual herbage mass at the end of grazing the growing-season pasture to the cold pasture of treatment SDSR-LH was more than twice that of treatment SDSR-HL. Daily liveweight gain of Tibetan sheep decreased linearly with increasing grazing pressure in both growing and cold seasons. It was estimated that, at a grazing pressure index of 310 sheep days t1 DM peak herbage mass, liveweight gain per head and ha appears to be optimised over the whole grazing period. Liveweight loss by Tibetan sheep during the cold season was apparent regardless of grazing pressure indicating that temperature had a stronger influence on sheep performance in the cold season than herbage availability.