Lhasa Apso

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12-14 lbs
10-11"
Tibet
Apso, Apso Seng Kyi (Tibetan), Bearded Lion Dog, Hairy Lion Dog, Lhasa, Shantung Terrier, Sheng Trou, Talisman Dog, Tibetan Apso

These small but powerful dogs were bred for used as guardians in the temples and monasteries of the Tibetan mountains thousands of years ago, but it wasn’t until the Dalai Lama gave the gift of several dogs to Mr. and Mrs. Suydam Cutting of New Jersey in 1933 that the little dog became popular in America. They are a cheerful breed, in some cases, downright clownish at home, but is more aloof with strangers and can tend towards guarding behavior of their food and their toys. Their long, flowing coats require a great deal of maintenance, even when clipped fairly short, and thorough brushing and combing should be done on a daily basis.

Purpose
companion, temple and monastery guardians
Date of Origin
ancient times
Ancestry
terrier, wolf-like dog

Lhasa Apso Health

Average Size
Height: 10-11 inches Weight: 14-18 lbs
Height: 10-11 inches Weight: 12-14 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Intervertebral Disc Disease
  • Urolithiasis
  • Eye Problems
Minor Concerns
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Eye Problems
  • Brachycephalic Syndrome
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Skeletal
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination
  • Respiratory Tests

Lhasa Apso Breed History

The Lhasa Apso breed was developed by the Buddhist monks in the mountains of Tibet to act as sentinels for the temples and monasteries thousands of years ago, and their original lineage is most likely lost to history. Some experts believe them to be descended from the larger Tibetan Terriers, while others believe there may be a northern component to the breed. Recent DNA studies indicate that this little dog is one of the breeds most closely related to their wolf-like ancestors, leading some to conjecture that the Lhasa Apso was actually bred from a variety of mountain wolf. These dogs were bred exclusively by the monks for their ability to withstand the cold, their keen sense of hearing, and the good judgment to determine who was friend and who was foe. They were carefully guarded by the monks from outside influence. They were never sold, but the Dalai Lamas did occasionally present a pair of these elegant dogs to Imperial families and visiting dignitaries. The dogs that were gifted to people outside of the monasteries most likely contributed to several small Chinese dog breeds, such as the Shih-Tzu. These little temple dogs made their first appearance in the United States in 1933 when the 13th Dalai Lama presented a group of the little dogs to Mr. and Mrs. Suydam Cutting of New Jersey. The dogs owned by the Cuttings formed the foundation for the Lhasa Apsos in the United States, and the breed was recognized by the AKC just a few years later in 1935. 

Lhasa Apso Breed Appearance

The Lhasa Apso is longer than it is tall with a narrow, domed skull and a medium to short muzzle that ends in a small black nose. The fur hangs over the face and frequently hides the small, alert eyes. The ears hang down like pendants and are often highly feathered, and the tail is held in screw shape over the middle of the back and is also covered by long fur, which spills over the hindquarters of the dog. The traditional show coat seen on Lhasa Apso dogs is long, heavy and straight, and it hangs down, covering their face and often reaching down to the ground. They come in many colors, from black to white and anything in between and there are several markings which are recognized as acceptable for this breed. Their elegant coat also requires a great deal of grooming to prevent serious tangles from matting the coat and many Lhasa owners elect to have it trimmed, although even trimmed dogs should be bathed, brushed, and combed on a regular basis.

Appearance of lhasa-apso
Eye Color Possibilities
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
Black
Gray
Brown
Red
Cream
Fawn
Silver
White
Sable
Brindle
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Lhasa Apso Breed Maintenance

The distinctive long and elegant coat of the Lhasa Apso requires a great deal of care. Bathing should take place every one or two weeks, and extensive brushing and combing are required on a daily basis. It is important to start training your Lhasa puppy to accept the grooming routine so that they will be more cooperative with the process as adults. The coat should be brushed in layers, and use of an anti-static spray or detangler may be useful before starting on each layer. Many Lhasa Apso owners may choose to have regular professional clipping and grooming completed for their dogs in order to make caring for the coat easier; although this does not eliminate the need for daily grooming, it may reduce the amount of time spend on it each day. These dogs should be walked or exercised daily to maintain their fitness, but they aren’t overly active even in small living spaces. Dental care should also be addressed on a regular basis as this dog’s brachycephalic facial structure and small size may make it more susceptible to dental disease. 

Brushes for Lhasa Apso
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Daily Weekly Monthly

Lhasa Apso Temperament

Lhasa Apsos have a complex character, at once regal and clownish, depending on the circumstance. They take their role as a guardian seriously and can tend towards possessiveness of anything the little canines find valuable, and they can be fearless and bossy in this pursuit. These tendencies, combined with their propensity towards moody behavior, means that the dog may not be as well-suited for homes with very small or rambunctious children. Although they are generally affectionate in the home, they can be naturally suspicious of strangers if they are not well socialized as a puppy and this can result in loud and aggressive behaviors that may be difficult to retrain out of the dog. Even when properly socialized, these dogs will bark. It is their natural instinct to bark when a new or threatening object shows up in their environment, and this instinct is nearly impossible to train out of them.

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
6 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
60 minutes

Lhasa Apso Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
1.3 cups
Daily Cost
$1 - $1.3
Monthly Cost
$30 - $37.5

Lhasa Apso Height & Weight

6 Months
Height: 8 inches Weight: 12 lbs
Height: 8 inches Weight: 10 lbs
12 Months
Height: 9 inches Weight: 13 lbs
Height: 9 inches Weight: 11 lbs
18 Months
Height: 10 inches Weight: 16 lbs
Height: 10 inches Weight: 13 lbs

Top Lhasa Apso Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Lhasa Apso breeders of 2018.
Galaxy Lhasa Apsos
Los Angeles, California
Spencers Shady Grove
Cabool, Missouri
Jaron's Lhasas
Dallas, Texas

Lhasa Apso Owner Experiences

10 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Playing in the snow
Tug-of-war
Being chased
chasing
I grew up with a Lhasa apso. They are very sweet and friendly. They are very protective, they will be aggressive occasionally to guests if they are not gentle or calm. They can be easily won over if you are friendly with them. Get on their level, offer them a treat, spend time getting to know them if they are defensive, they can have some health issues to watch out for, joint problems are common with age, some breathing issues, they may have moments where they seem that they are about to have something up, but it is a common breathing issue. Be careful around other dogs as they are defensive by nature.
1 month ago
12 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
walkign
Eating Snacks
Dog Parks
chasing squirrels
being groomed
Hiking
Chasing Cats
ear scratches
Murry has been a part of my family since I was in the forth grade. We adopted him when he was very small. This breed requires a lot of up-keep due to their constantly growing fur. He has to be groomed every day to keep him from getting knots, but he seems to enjoy it.
4 weeks, 1 day ago
2 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I have walked few Lhaso Apsos and they are such an amazing breed! The ones that I have met have been very sweet and more on the calm and easy going side. On their walks, they like to sniff around a bit and just enjoy exploring the outdoors. They have always been fine with other dogs unless that dog gets a bit too much into their personal space and they have become defensive of their territory. The ones that I have walked have been very well behaved and usually are just a little bit in front of me or by my side. I very much enjoy walking them as I know they will probably be very sweet and easy to walk. I think they would make a great addition to any family.
3 weeks, 4 days ago
3 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Sniffing
barking
This Lhasa Apso I walked was an older fellow but very very well taken care of. He was barking once he heard me outside the door, and was cautious and aloof once I was inside. The owners were great people that seeme like they adored their pet and were very smart to be in the home for the first visit so that they could show me around and introduce me to their precious. Yeti had a beautiful fur coat that had been attentively groomed to a silky consistency while his tail was left full of long fur. He was a sight to behold. The owner mentioned that he did have trouble getting the step in harness on him. He was stubborn and even nippy when either me or even the owner went to put it on him, but eventually we managed. Yeti was a confident fellow and walked with self assured - ness fit for a king. His gait was regal like and so was his demeanor. We did not run into any other dogs on our walk but it's said that they are not so friendly with other dogs. They are definitely a very vocal breed and bark for many things. He did not mind the cold at all so they seem to be sturdy and hardy dogs. Yeti listened to his commands very well and was no trouble to walk. No excessive pulling, though because of his small size that might have made it easier to control. He did have a sister that I did not get to walk, which was great for helping him get accustomed to other dogs and get him properly socialized since they do get possessive and territorial/defensive. Again, because of their particular type of fur, they require daily maintenance to keep from getting knots. But it is well worth it when you consider the results. Possibly a professional grooming service must be considered if you decide to get this type of dog. Looking at this dog, just strictly appearance wise, it is hard to imagine that their history is very closely related to the mountain wolves of Tibet, but perhaps that is displayed in their feisty personalities. Thanks to a generous gift by the Dalai Lama to an American family in 1933, Lhasa Apsos made their debut in the United States and the rest is history. They would make a loyal, yet loud member of the family.
3 weeks, 4 days ago
3 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
groomed
This Lhasa Apso I walked was an older fellow but very very well taken care of. He was barking once he heard me outside the door, and was cautious and aloof once I was inside. The owners were great people that seeme like they adored their pet and were very smart to be in the home for the first visit so that they could show me around and introduce me to their precious. Yeti had a beautiful fur coat that had been attentively groomed to a silky consistency while his tail was left full of long fur. He was a sight to behold. The owner mentioned that he did have trouble getting the step in harness on him. He was stubborn and even nippy when either me or even the owner went to put it on him, but eventually we managed. Yeti was a confident fellow and walked with self assured - ness fit for a king. His gait was regal like and so was his demeanor. We did not run into any other dogs on our walk but it's said that they are not so friendly with other dogs. They are definitely a very vocal breed and bark for many things. He did not mind the cold at all so they seem to be sturdy and hardy dogs. Yeti listened to his commands very well and was no trouble to walk. No excessive pulling, though because of his small size that might have made it easier to control. He did have a sister that I did not get to walk, which was great for helping him get accustomed to other dogs and get him properly socialized since they do get possessive and territorial/defensive. Again, because of their particular type of fur, they require daily maintenance to keep from getting knots. But it is well worth it when you consider the results. Possibly a professional grooming service must be considered if you decide to get this type of dog. Looking at this dog, just strictly appearance wise, it is hard to imagine that their history is very closely related to the mountain wolves of Tibet, but perhaps that is displayed in their feisty personalities. Thanks to a generous gift by the Dalai Lama to an American family in 1933, Lhasa Apsos made their debut in the United States and the rest is history. They would make a loyal, yet loud member of the family.
3 weeks, 4 days ago
10 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Catch treats
Explore the city
I was greeted with a wall of sound by this little Lhasa Apso, but that seemed the brunt of it. Once I opened the door he barked a little while longer, but settled down but the time I got the leash and was ready to attempt to put it on him. He was a good walker, he stayed close by my side and didn't seem to have too much interest in sniffing things, however, at one moment on the walk he caught the scent of a nearby chunk of bread (a millisecond before I noticed it) and he unexpectedly lunged for it. He surprised me by quickly turning his back to me and expressing a note of aggression when I instructed him to drop it. I was able to get a piece of it away from him, but he did manage to break a piece of and inhale it in between letting me know that he was willing to cause a scene if I attempted much more extensively to relieve him of it. Overall it was a truly lovely walk, but I did certainly have to step up my street scraps sense.
3 weeks, 4 days ago
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