the lhasa apso

What you should know about the non-sporting dog breed, Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso 

The Lhasa Apso (pronounced “lah-sa ahp-so”) is a small, adorable dog which looks like an over-sized shih tzu (which is a toy breed). It is not your typical lapdog, as it is said that this breed has had a working heritage in the Himalayas of Tibet, where it is originally from.


 Tibetan monks who lived in temples and monasteries originally had the Lhasa Apso for their watchdogs. It was believed that the dog was sacred; that when its master died, the soul entered the Lhasa Apso’s body. Aside from holy men of Tibet, the Lhasa Apso was bred only by the nobles. These dogs were regarded as good luck charms to their owners.       

The Lhasa Apso would soon be introduced to the rest of the world as in the 1920s. At the time, the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, then the ruler of Tibet was giving away pairs of Lhasa Apsos as gifts to visiting foreign diplomats. Mr. C. Suyman Cutting of the US was gifted a pair hence the arrival of first Lhasa Apsos of this breed in the shores of America. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed in 1935.


Idealy, male Lhasa Apsos should be about 11 inches in height and should weigh about 14-18 pounds (6–8 kg). The females are slightly smaller, and lighter.

This breed’s coat’s texture is heavy and straight, and colors come in shades of gold, black, white and gold-red. Puppies’ coats change color – normally from dark shade to light- as they get older. The coat is straight and long all over the body, even touching the floor.

It has small, rounded dark deep-set eyes and a black little nose, and heavily feathered pendant ears. The feet are round and catlike and hairy. The tail is set high, well feathered and carried over the back in a screw. 


Friendly, intelligent, lively, and in constant need of attention, this dog makes a very good pet. It is very affectionate, loyal and obedient to their masters. It is not difficult to house-train if started early on – around 2 to 3 months old.

It is a very good watchdog with a loud but cute bark. It alerts its master of visitors – an innate feature of this breed because of its history.

Health Problems

Generally a very healthy dog. Sometimes, it may develop skin problems especially if the coat is not kept free of parasites. They may tend to get hip dysplasia, kidney problems, eye problems and bleeding ulcers.


The long coat splits at the spine and falls straight on either side, sometimes touching the floor. Its coat needs daily brushing. A favorite of many owners is “short look” as this  will not require too much trimming, cutting and grooming.

Ideal Living Conditions

Very suitable for apartment living. A yard would be nice as it does need space to run freely about but generally, indoors are okay.
Play requirements and exerciseIt needs a daily walk, although playtime is already its exerciose time.

Life Expectancy

About 15 or more years is normal. Some live up to 18 or more years.

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