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Lhasa Apso

Quick facts

Lhasa Apso AKC Group: Non-Sporting
Height: 9-11 inches
Weight: Male: 14-18 pounds, Female: 12-14 pounds
Colors: Gold, black, white, rust and parti-colored with various shadings
AKC recognized in: 1935

Based on the name of the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa, the Lhasa Apso was bred in that place. The Buddhist monks made this breed served as sentinels in their monasteries. The name Apso means "bearded". The distinct characteristic of this dog is the long hair that parts down from head to the tail.

It has also become the dogs of the Tibetan royalty and it was only introduced outside of Tibet in 1933 when C. Suydam Cutting gave the first Lhasa Apsos as gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama to the American government.

Today, the Lhasa Apso is more of a family pet dog rather than a guard dog. It is a happy animal and loves to romp with the family but it is wary of strangers. It needs to have walks to gain more confidence and feel secured among other people.

This dog breed was accepted in the American Kennel Club in 1978 with standards like dark brown eyes and a black nose. It has also set requirements like the tail should be at the back almost resting on it. Dark tips on the ears and beard though are optional. Pups begin with a dark brown coat which eventually turns lighter as they grow older.

Recent studies on the lineage of the Lhasa Apso is its close resemblance to the ancestral wolf which includes the other breeds like the Samoyed, Shih Tzu, Shar-Pei, Chow, Siberian Husky, Pekingese, Afghan, Akita, Shiba Inu and Basenji.

Lhasas are never sold in Tibet because people can only have them as gifts. In its Buddhism belief that the deceased lamas can enter any body before being reincarnated into a new body, it was widely believed that they enter the bodies of the Lhasa Apso. If intruders can pass through the large Tibetan Mastiffs that guard the exterior walls of the monasteries and homes of the nobility, people in Tibet say that these intruders cannot pass through inside as the Lhasa Apso would bark and signal the guards due to its keen hearing and loud barking.


Lhasa Apso Summary
Affection four paws
Cold Tolerance three paws
Ease of Training three paws
Energy level two paws
Exercise Requirements two paws
Friendliness : Children three paws
Friendliness: Other Animals three paws
Friendliness: Other Pets three paws
Grooming Requirements four paws
Heat Tolerance two paws
Playfulness three paws
Protection Ability one paws
Watchdog Ability three paws

The good thing about the Lhasa Apso is its loyalty to its owners and fearless behavior towards strangers or intruders. But, to prevent unwanted attack on strangers, the dog needs to be trained early in its age to get used to friendly strangers and temper its aggressiveness.

These dogs rub their heads on their owners, run and roll around, and sit on their owners' feet. They enjoy training and wish to please their owners. They like to be at vantage points so they can see and view those passing by the house. Because of their small size, the owners have to be mindful that there is a small dog that can be injured though the Lhasa can mislead anyone with its sonorous bark commonly associated with larger dogs.

Health and Exercise

The Lhasa Apso has an average lifespan of 12-15 years. This dog breed has a few health problems and its sturdy body can be due to its breeding and training to sustain its health despite exposure to elements of nature. Like standard poodles, it suffers from hereditary skin disease called Sebaceous Adenitis. Lhasas have been known to suffer also from a genetic disease called Progressive Retinal Atrophy that can make them blind. Other eye disorders plague them like Cherry Eye and the Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca or the Dry Eye Syndrome. That is why responsible dog owners and breeders have these Lhasas undergo yearly tests with a canine ophthalmologist.

Visitor Comments

This is your chance to add your feedback. Do you have a Lhasa Apso in your family, or know one in someone elses? Do you have a story to tell related to that Lhasa Apso? Or maybe you have more questions that either or another of our visitors might be able to help you with? Feel free to add your comment or question below.


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