This breed, named after the holy city of Lhasa in Tibet, was once exclusively owned by Tibetan royalty and monks, and was considered sacred. This pup was thought to absorb the soul of its owner at the time of death. The first pair of this breed to enter America was a gift from the 13th Dalai Lama.
Another Asian export, this teddy bearish breed looks fluffy and cuddly, but is actually aloof and independent, and may be related to several other ancient breeds that survive today, such as the Samoyed, Elkhound and Pomeranian. Dog fossils from several million years ago resemble today's Chow Chow, and they appear in carvings as far back as 206 BC.
Another ancient breed comes from Japan: the Akita. These double-coated pups were trained as working dogs and are happiest when they're tracking something or hiking in cool climates. Extremely loyal to their pack, they can become aggressive if they feel threatened or if their family is threatened, so they make great guard dogs.