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Lhasa Apso

Alert, devoted and playful

About the Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is an ancient Tibetan watchdog with a regal mane of hair. They have all the personality and confidence of a much larger dog in a very, very small body. Most Lhasa Apsos are loyal guardians, despite being kept as companion dogs.

They’re used to strutting around palaces and temples, and retain the same self-confidence now that they roam around apartments and suburban households. The Lhasa Apso loves to stay close to their family, following them around from room to room.

These small guardians are loving and devoted to their humans, viewing themselves as protectors of those under their care. They’re also independent and can be left alone for some time, unlike other toy breeds.

Lhasas have modest needs (apart from grooming) and reward you with loyalty, alertness, and gentle companionship.

lhasa apso in front of a pond

Lhasa Apso Breed Characteristics

22 to 28 cm at the shoulder

12 to 15 pounds

Life Expectancy
12 to 15 years

Coat Colours
Red, white, black, cream, golden

Here are some of the qualities you can expect from the Lhasa Apso, rated from one to five stars. However, all dogs are individuals, and your dog may not display exactly the same characteristics.

Family Life
Friendly with Kids
Friendly with Dogs
Ease of Grooming
Exercise Needs
Prey Drive
Tendency to Bark or Howl
Good for Novice Owners
Apartment Living

Lhasa Apso Breed History

The story of the Lhasa Apso begins in 800 B.C., in the holy city of Lhasa. Tibetan monks and nobles bred these dogs to serve as watchdogs of temples and palaces in the Himalayan Mountains.

It is believed that the Lhasa Apso is the earthly manifestation of the Snow Lion, a celestial animal of Tibet and a popular mythological figure. The breed was so valued that they named it after the most holy of Tibetan cities.

The dogs were popular throughout the country, but as holy dogs, it was impossible to buy one. It was thought that while dead Lamas’ spirits awaited their rebirth into new bodies, they would enter the bodies of the Lhasa Apsos.

Lhasa Apso dogs were actually not permitted to leave Tibet unless specifically as gifts of the Dalai Lama. Luckily, today there is no such restriction and dog lovers all over the world can experience the Lhasa Apso’s distinct personality.

Caring For a Lhasa Apso

How to Choose a Responsible Lhasa Apso Breeder

It’s always a good idea to look for a responsible Lhasa Apso breeder if you’re looking to buy a Lhasa Apso puppy. Ethical breeders will perform health checks on their dogs to ensure that the puppies that are produced are free from common inheritable health issues of the breed. 

If possible, pay a visit to the breeder so that you can see where your puppy will spend their first eight weeks. This environment has a large impact on the temperament of the puppy, and sufficient mental and physical stimulation is required so that your dog grows into a healthy, well-behaved dog.

Lhasa Apso FAQ

Yes, these dogs are independent and do not mind being alone for reasonable amounts of time. However, it’s best if someone can check in on them periodically.

Yes, for most people. They shed, but the shed hair and dander is trapped by their long coat. Some people may still be allergic to their saliva.

Dog Breeds Similar to the Lhasa Apso

The information is for general use only. For any specific advice or queries, please consult with your veterinarian.

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