The Lhasa Apso is a small dog breed with ancient roots in Tibet. It may be tiny, but it has an alpha streak with a tendency to act bigger than it looks. Well, this breed does have a solid background as a royal watchdog in palaces and monasteries, explaining why it’s tough and hardy.
Today, the Lhasa Apso has become a household pet in many homes. While it’s true this breed can be fierce and strong-willed, it can also be a wonderful and protective companion to its owner.
Is the Lhasa Apso the breed you want for a household pet? Find out more in this post.
Lhasa Apso Dogs and Puppies
What is a Lhasa Apso?
Besides its interesting personality, the Lhasa Apso is also known for its long, flowing coat, which parts neatly at the middle. The name Lhasa Apso actually means “long-haired Lhasa dog”. You can say the breed’s beautiful coat is like a mask to its spunky attitude.
Where is the Lhasa Apso from?
The Lhasa Apso was originally bred to be protectors of nobles and monks in Tibet. While a Tibetan Mastiff guarded the entryways, the Lhasa Apso watched over the interior.
This breed has roots as far back as 800 B.C., making it one of the oldest dog breeds. It’s named after the holy city of Lhasa. But in Tibet, the breed is known as Abso Seng Kye, which means Bark Lion Sentinel Dog.
For hundreds of years, the Lhasa Apso was exclusively bred among the nobility and the holy men in Tibet. The breed was prized, even sacred, and was never sold. A Lhasa could never be brought outside the country unless given away as precious gifts. In those days, it was believed when the owner of a Lhasa dies, his soul can enter the dog’s body, and stay there until rebirth.
In 1933, the 13th Dalai Lama gave Charles Suydam Cutting a pair of Lhasa pups. This pair were the first of its kind to enter the U.S.
What does the Lhasa Apso look like?
The Lhasa Apso is a small but sturdy dog, with a lovely coat. It stands at the withers between 10 to 11 inches, and weighs around 5 to 8 kg.
The breed’s distinctive traits include:
- A body length longer than the height
- Dark brown eyes
- Heavily-haired, pendant ears
- Black nose (and brown for liver-colored Lhasas)
- Straight front legs
- Heavily furred hind legs
- Well-feathered tail, carried over the back
- Furry feet which are round and cat-like
Its coat, when untouched, is long (reaches the ground), straight, and very dense. The common colors are black, white, red, and honey. Although the breed generally comes in a variety of other shades and colors.
What are the Lhasa Apso dogs like?
Lhasas are generally pleasant companions. They exude regality probably because they were dogs of the upper class for hundreds of years. They’ve retained their ancient skill of being good watchdogs, and would not hesitate to alarm their owners by barking.
They’re not exactly the typical lapdogs many people find in small dog breeds. Yes, they can be playful and spirited around their owners, but they can be fierce to strangers. They can also be dominating, and are quick to let their owners know they’re displeased.
Lhasas are also not the best dogs to be kept around kids. They might be unable to tolerate rowdy children, and have the propensity to nip when provoked.
Early socialization as well as consistent, motivational training are emphasized for this breed.
In a few words, the Lhasa Apso is:
This breed can be a great pet because it:
- has a size that’s convenient and ideal for apartments and condos
- doesn’t shed a lot
- has character and spunk despite its size
- can be a good watchdog
- is loyal and devoted to its owner
- doesn’t require long and intense exercise