BBS Breed Spotlight: Lhasa Apso

Independent, a little rugged yet very beautiful, the Lhasa Apso shares these characteristics with its native home of Tibet. This little dog was thought to bring luck in ancient times and now graces many home with its joyful disposition and mischievous personality.  Learn more about the Lhasa Apso in the Breed Spotlight!

History & Background: The Lhasa Apso, or Apso Seng Kyi meaning “Bearded Lion Dog” hails from Tibet. This rugged country produced a rugged little dog that was kept in the home to as a special guard to the family. It’s said Lhasa’s hearing was so acute that the dog could distinguish a friend from a stranger. These dogs were mainly kept by nobility and Buddhist monks in the holy city that shares its name, Lhasa. It was even believed that the dogs themselves were sacred. The thought was when a Lhasa Apso’s master died, their soul entered the body of the dog.

In 1933, the first pair of Lhasa Apso’s came to America as a gift from the 13th Dalai Lama to C. Suydam Cutting. At the time, the only other Lhasa outside of Tibet was registered in England. First called the Lhasa Apso Terrier, this breed started in the Terrier group and was moved to the Non-Sporting Group. Through DNA testing, it’s thought that the Lhasa is one of the 14 most ancient dog breeds.

Height: 10 to 11 inches

Weight: 12 to 18 pounds

Coat: The Lhasa has a heavy, straight and hard coat without being wooly or silky.  Their dense double coat and only sheds its undercoat about once a year.

Color: By breed standards, this dog can be any color and can range from black, white, red and gold all with various marking and shading. Dark tips on the ears and beard are accepted as well. Nose is generally black and eyes are usually dark.

Appearance: Much of the appearance of the Lhasa Apso is a byproduct of the Tibetan environment this dog lived in. Harsh winters and hot summers produced a dog that is tough and thick coated. Lhasas are small, hardy and sturdy in build and are longer than they are tall.

Temperament: This dog is always alert, has a sharp sense of hearing and the bark of a bigger dog. In fact, Lhasa’s have a bark that earned them the name “Bark Lion Sentinel Dog.” This breed makes a great companion dog but must be socialized early or may tend to be aggressive or suspicious toward strangers. This dog also must be trained early and consistently as Lhasa Apsos, though very intelligent, can be stubborn and willful. Fearless and generally very happy dogs, Lhasas show contentment by rubbing its head on its owner.

Health & Grooming: Lhasa Apsos have a long lifespan of 12-14 years, though many can live into their early 20s. Vision problems are one of the most common ailments with older Lhasas. Skin diseases are also common. To keep this breed fit and healthy, a daily walk and a good amount of play will fulfill most their exercise needs.

Most Lhasas are shown in their long, full coat, but many owners keep this dog in a “puppy clip.” A full coat should be brushed once a day to ward off matting. Dry shampoo is a great product for grooming a Lhasa.

Product Suggestions: Pet Qwerks Small Jingle X-Tire Ball is the perfect toy to keep your Lhasa Apso entertained and occupied for hours! This rugged toy has a hidden jingle bell to keep your Lhasa going!

For simple and yummy dog treats, try Grandma Lucy’s dog biscuits. Made from a few, whole food ingredients, your Lhasa will jump for joy when you pull out the bag of Apple, Blueberry or Cinnamon Grandma Lucy’s.

Do you know or own a Lhasa Apso? Tell us your story in the comments section below!

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