Lhasa Apso

Lhassa Terrier, Lhasa, Lhasa Terrier

Family: Canidae Lhasa Apso Picture, also called Lhassa Terrier, LhasaCanis lupus familiarisPhoto License: GNU Free Documentation License
Courtesy: Lcfrederico
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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... (more)  kerri

   The Lhasa Apso, originating in Tibet, was named after the sacred city of Lhasa!

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.


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Canidae
  • Genus: Canis
  • Species: lupus familiaris
Lhasa Apso Dogs 101
Lhasa Apso Grooming

Common Name(s) Lhasa Apso, Lhassa Terrier, Lhasa

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:

  • 6-8 weeks: Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, and Corona virus (DHLPPC)
  • 10-12 weeks: Second DHLPPC
  • 14-16 weeks: Third DHLPPC and rabies
  • Annually: DHLPPC and rabies booster

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.

References "Lhasa Apso", Dog Breed Info Center, Copyright 1998-2008
Welton, Michelle, "Lhasa Apsos: What's Good About 'Em? What's Bad About 'Em?", Copyright 2000-2008
Cusick, William D., "What to Feed a Lhasa Apso", Referenced online, 2008
"Lhasa Apso Puppies for Sale", Copyright PuppyFind.com, LLC, Referenced online, 2008
"Lhasa Apso", Wikipedia, Copyright 2008

Lastest Animal Stories on Lhasa Apso

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!

Reply
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?

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Tiera - 2012-04-13
I have had my lhasa apso since she was a puppy, she has been a joy in my life. She save my life once lol. I could not ever picture my life without my playful pal. Even though she has her moments in which she can be a handful like when she's eating out of the trash or rubbing her face on my sofa after she eats. she is typicaly my idea pet.

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Angie - 2010-03-04
We got our first Lhasa two months ago. This was before I learned much about them. I have to say that much of what I have read is true about Lulu, my 3 year old female. She is a great watch dog and is extremely loyal to us, but is very skidish towards others. She does fine with our cats but is hesitant about our other dog. He is an Australian shepard and is very energetic, she is growing more tolerant of him but usually turns her nose to him. Although most of what I read is true she loves my kids and all the friends they invite over. She has turned into one of our most loved pets.

  • Charlie Roche - 2012-02-12
    They are funny. They are amusing and very affectionate.
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