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Though it was originally classified as a Terrier breed, the Lhasa Apso is a non-sporting dog. It is one of the fourteen oldest dog breeds. It was bred exclusively by Tibetan holy men and nobles for around 2,000 years. During that time it was believed that when a Lhasa's master died, his soul entered the dog's body. Over time the Lhaso Apso has been introduced around the world, in part because the Dalai Lama gave them to foreign diplomats as gifts
The Lhasa Apso is a favorite in shows, and also makes a wonderful companion dog. It is friendly and affectionate, yet assertive and lively. It has an excellent sense of hearing, and makes a fine watchdog with little training. Owners must display leadership with this breed, however, because if they do not, it may develop serious behavior problems. It is not recommended for children as it can not tolerate teasing. It is also not good with other pets, and can become possessive of its food and other belongings.
When selecting a Lhasa Apso, check bloodlines for hip dysplasia and kidney and eye problems. Skin problems are also common in the breed.
Breed Type The Lhasa Apso is a non-sporting breed, but was originally classified as a terrier. A favorite in shows, the Lhasa also makes a wonderful companion dog.
Background Lhasa Apsos originated in Tibet, and were named after the sacred city of Lhasa. It is one of the fourteen oldest dog breeds, and was bred exclusively by Tibetan holy men and nobles for around 2,000 years. It was believed back then that when a Lhasa's master died, his soul entered the dog's body. The Lhasa Apso eventually began to make its way around the world, in part because the Dalai Lama gave them to foreign diplomats as gifts. It was introduced to Britain and the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, respectively. It was accepted into the AKC in 1935.
Description The Lhasa is a small dog with small, dark eyes, relatively short ears with long, feathered hair on them, and a mid-length muzzle. Its long coat is its most distinguishing feature, and resembles that of a sheepdog. The fur is straight and heavy, not silken. When left natural, the coat cascades from the head over the eyes, and has a natural part down the back. The coat comes in a variety of colors, all of which are acceptable according to breed standards. Some dogs have dark tips on the ears and beard. Lhasa Apsos are 10 to 11 inches tall, with females measuring slightly shorter. Weight is 14 to 18 pounds for males and 12 to 14 pounds for females.
Care and Feeding The Lhasa Apso needs a diet that is high in carbohydrates and fiber. Recommended food sources include poultry, fish, rice, soy and wheat. Grooming a Lhasa Apso is not as difficult as one might imagine. If keeping a full coat, trimming and stripping are unnecessary. Daily brushing, however, is important. Dry shampoo should be used as needed. Pet Lhasas, especially those in warm climates, are often clipped to make grooming easier. Eyes, ears and feet should be checked regularly. Lhasa Apsos need yearly checkups to maintain good health. Vaccinations are due on the following schedule:
Lhasa Apsos shed moderately. Regular vacuuming is essential, and hair may need to be removed from furniture with a brush.
Housing Your Dog The Lhasa Apso makes a great apartment dog, and is best kept indoors. Full-coated Lhasas should be protected from the heat.
Social Behaviors The Lhasa Apso is prone to Small Dog Syndrome, in which it becomes suspicious of strangers and intolerant of other pets. This can be prevented by an owner who is firm and consistent. Still, this breed is not recommended for young children. It does not respond well to teasing, and is often possessive over its food and belongings.
Handling and Training Lhasa Apsos are very smart, but they can also be very stubborn. Training requires great patience and consistency. Housebreaking is often difficult with this breed.
Activities Lhasa Apsos do not need a great deal of exercise, but a daily walk is important. Occasional off-leash play sessions are also good for them.
Breeding/Reproduction When choosing a mate for your Lhasa Apso, check bloodlines for hip dysplasia, kidney problems, and PRA.
Common Health Problems Lhasa Apsos are prone to skin problems, so it is important to make a concentrated effort to keep fleas and ticks away. They are also predisposed to progressive retinal atrophy, which can leave them blind. However, this breed is very healthy overall, sometimes living 18 years or longer.
Availability Lhasa Apsos are reasonably easy to find in most areas. Prices usually range between $350 and $600.
Dannie - 2013-02-11 We have a 3 yr. old Lhasa who sits in my lap and bends his neck/head straight back in order to see what's behind him....I've never seen anything like that before! Anybody else have one that does that?
Paul - 2016-10-23 I have a little Lhasa named Daisy she's the best dog anyone could have, and she can bend her neck right back to be nosey. Loving animal very affectionate. And I don't know why people say they don't like being teased as ours loves rough play with me and has a stand off with me regularly which is her instigating a fight. I love it, great we dog and I sometimes forget she's a small dog with 7" legs and take her for little hill walks and that. She's great with kids and they love her! So maybe she's not typical Lhasa apso, I do sometimes think she was Sent to us and that she has the spirit of someone we've known or lost before getting to know.
kerri - 2009-02-08 I've had a wonderful Lhasa for about 6 years now. Bachelor was about 4 when I got him. I inherited him from a friend because he'd bitten a little girl. The first couple of years were rocky. He wasn't housetrained and had severe separation anxiety when I would be gone at work all day. I had another female dog in the house, Sunni, but apparently she wasn't enough company. After many sets of chewed up miniblinds, my neighbor took it upon herself to start babysitting him everyday while I was at work. It worked out great for about a year! ...until they moved. Oddly enough, he's done fine ever since. We've since installed a doggie door so he, the Lhasa-Poo mix, Sunni, and Maxx the Golden Retriever have the run of the place and Bachelor has adjusted nicely. He's so spoiled. If he's not sleeping at our feet, he's up on our pillows right by our heads or between us. Lhasas are great dogs, but I agree, they don't like the teasing. We have actually had to 'learn' how to play with him because he plays different than the other 2 dogs. We are more careful with him so he doesn't feel threatened by play that is too rough, even though it's not intended that way. He has definitely picked out the 'leader of the pack' around our house. I would recommend Lhasas to any couple without children. They are great companions!
Joan - 2014-10-19 I have a 2 year old male Lhasa apso and since he was very young he has absolutely adored all my grandchildren from newborn to 18 years old. When he hears th very young grandchild cry he gets very concerned and wants to lick him. He runs around and plays with the 3 and 8 year ild as though he was another child and the 15 and 18 year old he gives them lots of live back in return to what they give him. He loves everyone who is involved in my family but very wary of strangers who cime to my door. He is sociable with other digs but he us clever enough to give a wide berth when off his lead when he sees a dog he is unsure of.
Lhasa owner - 2015-09-18 Wow i didnt know they hate teasing cuz my lhasa is diffrent for some reason he loves teasing and rough play although he is terratorial