Description, temperament, origin, coat, health aspects, age length and much more.
Breed Name – Lhasa Apso.
Aliases – Apso Seng Kyi.
Pronunciation - LAH-sa AHP-so.
Description – The Lhasa apso is an ancient, small breed which has beautiful dark eyes that are
mysteriously appealing. Their long bodies sit atop short legs that make for a very hardy little dog.
Lhasa Apso’s have a natural under bite that almost looks as if they are smiling. They have long,
coarse coats that come in many colors and patterns that is neither silk nor wooly.
The Lhasa Apso
has characteristics of serious watchfulness, acute senses and is very intelligent. Its keen eye,
quick hearing, and fine instinct for recognizing the difference between friend and foe make it an
ideal watch dog. They are easily trained with loving but firm commands as they are very
responsive to kindness and positive reinforcement using rewards. Lhasa Apso’s are happy and
long lived, adaptable and good with families including children when raised around them. It is
one of the strongest minded of all small breeds but equally lives to please its owner. It is playful
and curious yet remains calm and subdued in nature. It makes a wonderful house dog that does
not need a lot of exercise.
The Lhasa Apso likes heights and are excellent climbers. Owners
should not be surprised if they find their Lhasa perched on top of tall furniture or on the
dashboard of their vehicle. Lhasa’s are also fond of caves and will create their own under a table,
chair or desk. They are very sturdy, resilient and despite their often fragile appearances, are of
tough character and very independent. The Lhasa Apso is totally devoted to their owners and
families and cheerfully provides unconditional love and incomparable affection for many years.
Temperament – The Lhasa Apso is gentle, happy, outgoing and devoted little dog. It has a bold
temperament and is playful and affectionate which makes for a lively and friendly companion for
other pets, children or elderly folk. Lhasa’s are very people oriented and does not like to be left
alone for long periods of time. A favorite pastime of the Lhasa Apso would be quietly napping
next to its owner.
Though it is a very regal looking species, its character is tough and ever so
hardy. Although the Lhasa Apso is courageous and adaptable, it does not like rough handling or
loud harsh words. Lhasa Apso’s are timid yet can be assertive and strong willed with minds of
their own. They are very intelligent, quite sensitive and do not respond well to raised voices
which can cause them to be depressed. Their intelligence scores them many points during
training as they seem to live to please their owners.
Having been bred to be watch dogs, Lhasa
Apso’s tend to be alert and have a keen sense of hearing with a rich, sonorous bark that is
deceptive of their size. They must not be overly spoiled as they may develop behavioral
problems. The Lhasa is in a class of it’s own when it comes to showing devotion towards a
loving, gentle and firm but kind owner. Although they can be obstinate, they are forever loyal.
The Lhasa Apso is calm in nature and makes a wonderful lap dog for all ages and allows it ample
enjoyment during traveling. In its moods of playfulness, they can be quite entertaining and very
Height, weight (min-max) – Males range from 10 to 11 inches at the shoulders and weigh
between 14 and 16 pounds. Females range from 9 to 10 inches at the shoulders and weigh
between 12 and 14 pounds. Lhasa Apsos are slow to mature and do not reach their prime age
until 3 to 4 years old.
Health Problems – The Lhasa Apso is relatively free of health problems with the few
exceptions. Ear infections can occur if the ears are not dried properly after bathing, or kept free of
unnecessary hair in the ear itself. Their eyes may tear if the hair is not kept out of their faces.
skin condition known as Sebaceous Adenitis causes irritations of the skin resulting in hot spots
(localized skin infections), hair loss, flaking of the skin and itching. The Lhasa Apso can suffer
from genetic kidney problems These problems seem to be in certain breed lines rather than the
Living Conditions – Lhasa Apso’s can live in houses or apartments in the country or city. They
predominantly live indoors but will adapt to their environment. They are a sentinel breed always
ready to alert their owners when someone or something approaches.
Exercise – Lhasa Apso’s have a moderate energy level so they do not demand a lot of exercise.
Regular exercise will keep them fit, trim and healthy. Although they love to walk and scamper
about, they equally enjoy regular opportunities to run free and play. Fetch is an excellent way to
play with your Lhasa while providing it with daily exercise.
The Lhasa Apso can play indoors
thus meeting its exercise needs while having fun. However, they do benefit from outdoor
adventures such as a daily walk. Large yards are not necessary as the Lhasa apso tends to occupy
small spaces at any given time and can do so while being very content.
Life Expectancy (yr. Range) – 12 to 18 years.
Litter size - Average is 4-5 puppies.
Grooming – The Lhasa Apso sheds minimally and is a very good choice for those with allergies
or asthmatic symptoms They are of high maintenance and require a minimum of bi-weekly
brushing or combing. Their thick undercoat may become matted or tangled if not properly
groomed on a regular basis. Specific areas this happens most often is with the hair behind the ears
as it is usually softer .
It is vital to pay special attention to extra hair on the bottoms of their feet
and in their ears. These areas need to be kept meticulously clean and free of any excessive hair in
order to avoid unnecessary ear infections or sores between their toes around the pads of their feet.
I t is just as important to keep the Lhasa’s eyes void of excessive hair as this will ensure the eyes
stay clear and fully vibrant.
When some of their hair goes over their eyes the Lhasa Apso’s
eyelashes are long and strong enough to allow the dog to see very well. It is best to start getting
the Lhasa used to being groomed when it is very young. This way, it will have the patience it
needs to be still and quiet for long periods of time while being groomed. If Lhasa Apso’s are not
kept properly groomed they can develop skin problems.
Regular bathing is important but do not
over bathe. The Lhasa Apso has glands that secrete a natural oil which coats the surface of the
skin and keeps it supple and moist. Periodic trips to the groomers for a pet clip will keep the
Lhasa’s coat manageable while still allowing the original characteristics of the breed to be
enjoyed. If you own a Lhasa as a pet and do not show it, keeping your dog in a puppy cut or teddy
bear clip is highly recommended.
Origin/History – The Lhasa Apso is the most popular breed indigenous to Tibet. Sometimes
they are known as the Tibetan apso. The name apso means goat like and long hair. In Tibet, Lhasa
Apso’s are a treasured dog of the privileged. The Lhasa Apso made wonderful guardians as well
as loyal companions. They were the only breed in Tibet owned by the holy men and the nobles.
They were used as watch dogs in the temples and monasteries.
The people of Tibet greatly
respected these little dogs. They were never sold or bought but given as gifts and it was
considered a great honor to receive one. The Lhasa Apso was once known as the Lhasa Terrier
and was developed/created 800 years ago. The Lhasa Apso is called the Abso Seng Kyi or bark
lion sentinel dog in it’s home land where Tibetans favor a fail safe security system.
Apso first appeared in the western world in 1901 when Mrs. McClearan Morrison returned to
England with several of these little dogs. The Lhasa Apso was officially recognized by AKC in
1935 and was called the Lhasa Terrier. The name was officially changed to Lhasa Apso in 1944.
Group/Family – Non-sporting or utility/terrier
Recognition (clubs) – AKC, CKC, UKC, ANKC, FCI (group 9) KC (GB).
Training – The Lhasa Apso learns best with patience and calm words. It is important to establish
a relationship of mutual respect for instance admiring his independent character while consistently
enforcing your rules so that he respects you as well.
Because the Lhasa Apso is strong willed with
a mind of his own it requires a confident owner who can take charge. Training methods that
emphasize food and praise will be met with much more cooperation. The Lhasa Apso can be
manipulative and a challenge to train but is highly intelligent so it can learn very quickly. Forcing
it to do things without positive reinforcement or rewards usually do not prove to be successful.
When the Lhasa puppy has been fully vaccinated, extensive socialization will make the Lhasa
Apso a very friendly and lovable pet. Bringing the Lhasa puppy to various places involving
different sounds, smells and sights will eventually put it at ease on walks and during traveling.
Remember to respect their instinct of being wary of strangers though. Be careful when introducing
them to new people a to not overwhelm them with too much at one time.
A wonderful session of
training includes a visit to the veterinarian and groomer introducing the harness or collar and
leash. Crate training can be successfully achieved if the crate is introduced to the Lhasa puppy at
an early age. Taking the gate off the front makes for a wonderfully, safe and secure hideout. Here
is where it learns to be comfortable in its crate and knows it will come out sometime after going
in. Overall training can be a very fun and rewarding time for you and your Lhasa Apso.
Coat Description – The Lhasa Apso’s double coat consists of a thick, top undercoat which is long,
heavy, straight and coarse with a moderate undercoat being much softer. Their coat is neither silky
nor wooly and can become matted easily if not properly groomed on a regular basis.
Colors – solid golden, sandy, honey, red, dark grizzle, slate or smoke, black, parti color, white,
brown, and combinations of these colors.
Published in: Pets