The Lhasa Apso, originating in Tibet, was named after the sacred city of Lhasa!
Though it was originally classified as a Terrier breed, the Lhasa Apso is a non-sporting dog. It is one of the fourteen oldest dog breeds. It was bred exclusively by Tibetan holy men and nobles for around 2,000 years. During that time it was believed that when a Lhasa’s master died, his soul entered the dog’s body. Over time the Lhaso Apso has been introduced around the world, in part because the Dalai Lama gave them to foreign diplomats as gifts
The Lhasa Apso is a favorite in shows, and also makes a wonderful companion dog. It is friendly and affectionate, yet assertive and lively. It has an excellent sense of hearing, and makes a fine watchdog with little training. Owners must display leadership with this breed, however, because if they do not, it may develop serious behavior problems. It is not recommended for children as it can not tolerate teasing. It is also not good with other pets, and can become possessive of its food and other belongings.
When selecting a Lhasa Apso, check bloodlines for hip dysplasia and kidney and eye problems. Skin problems are also common in the breed.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- Family: Canidae
- Genus: Canis
- Species: lupus familiaris
Lhasa Apsos originated in Tibet, and were named after the sacred city of Lhasa. It is one of the fourteen oldest dog breeds, and was bred exclusively by Tibetan holy men and nobles for around 2,000 years. It was believed back then that when a Lhasa’s master died, his soul entered the dog’s body.
The Lhasa Apso eventually began to make its way around the world, in part because the Dalai Lama gave them to foreign diplomats as gifts. It was introduced to Britain and the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, respectively. It was accepted into the AKC in 1935.
The Lhasa is a small dog with small, dark eyes, relatively short ears with long, feathered hair on them, and a mid-length muzzle. Its long coat is its most distinguishing feature, and resembles that of a sheepdog. The fur is straight and heavy, not silken. When left natural, the coat cascades from the head over the eyes, and has a natural part down the back. The coat comes in a variety of colors, all of which are acceptable according to breed standards. Some dogs have dark tips on the ears and beard.
Lhasa Apsos are 10 to 11 inches tall, with females measuring slightly shorter. Weight is 14 to 18 pounds for males and 12 to 14 pounds for females.
Care and Feeding
The Lhasa Apso needs a diet that is high in carbohydrates and fiber. Recommended food sources include poultry, fish, rice, soy and wheat.
Grooming a Lhasa Apso is not as difficult as one might imagine. If keeping a full coat, trimming and stripping are unnecessary. Daily brushing, however, is important. Dry shampoo should be used as needed. Pet Lhasas, especially those in warm climates, are often clipped to make grooming easier. Eyes, ears and feet should be checked regularly.
Lhasa Apsos need yearly checkups to maintain good health. Vaccinations are due on the following schedule:
- 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
- 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
- 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
- Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster
Lhasa Apsos shed moderately. Regular vacuuming is essential, and hair may need to be removed from furniture with a brush.
Housing Your Dog
The Lhasa Apso is prone to Small Dog Syndrome, in which it becomes suspicious of strangers and intolerant of other pets. This can be prevented by an owner who is firm and consistent. Still, this breed is not recommended for young children. It does not respond well to teasing, and is often possessive over its food and belongings.
Handling and Training
Common Health Problems
Lhasa Apsos are prone to skin problems, so it is important to make a concentrated effort to keep fleas and ticks away. They are also predisposed to progressive retinal atrophy, which can leave them blind. However, this breed is very healthy overall, sometimes living 18 years or longer.
“Lhasa Apso“, Dog Breed Info Center, Copyright 1998-2008
Welton, Michelle, “Lhasa Apsos: What’s Good About ‘Em? What’s Bad About ‘Em?“, Copyright 2000-2008
Cusick, William D., “What to Feed a Lhasa Apso“, Referenced online, 2008
“Lhasa Apso Puppies for Sale“, Copyright PuppyFind.com, LLC, Referenced online, 2008
“Lhasa Apso“, Wikipedia, Copyright 2008
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