Lhasa Apso Dog Breed Information


Lhasa Apso Dog Breed: Brief Information

  • Breed name: Lhasa Apso
  • Country of origin: Tibet
  • Weight: 6-7 kg
  • Height: 20-26 cm
  • Life expectancy: 12-14 Years

Lhasa Apso Dog Breed: Basic moments

  • The breed’s name is derived from the words Lhasa, meaning the Tibetan capital, and Apso, meaning bearded. Alternatively, Lhasa Apso can also be translated as “goat-like dog.”
  • Lhasa Apso, like the Pekingese, is considered the ancestor of the Shih Tzu Chrysanthemum dogs.
  • The breed originates from the ancient southern shepherd dogs which partly explains the character traits and leadership qualities of its representatives.
  • Lhasa Apsos are wary of strangers and even after socialization do not cease to suspect strangers of evil mind.
  • The breed is ideal for owners who want to be aware of any intrusions into the territory: dogs consider it their direct responsibility to bark at everyone who appears on the doorstep.
  • These Tibetan dogs are ideal city pets. They are happy to go out with their owners for walks in parks and shopping, but do not require walks to last for hours.
  • Lhasa Apso doesn’t like children’s pranks, so taking a dog to a family with little children who do not know how to properly handle animals is a bad idea.

historyLhasa Apso Dog Breed History

The birthplace of the breed is Tibet, or rather, its monasteries, which inhabitants were not indifferent to small dogs, famous for their strong-willed character and sociability.

It is known, for example, that the gates of Buddhist monasteries were always guarded by Tibetan mastiffs, while the status of the guardians of the Dalai Lamas’ quarters belonged entirely to the Lhasa Apsos. Local beliefs also helped to maintain the breed’s image. According to them, the souls of their dead owners entered the bodies of animals, thus continuing their earthly path.

In praising the breed, the Tibetans went so far as to classify its representatives as sacred animals, the sale of which was severely punished. Sometimes Lhasa Apso was still given, but such offerings were made in exceptional cases and almost always not to Europeans. That is why dogs entered the Old World only by the end of the 19th century.

An interesting fact: in their homeland, the Lhasa Apso breed was often called dining admirers. It was believed that Buddhist monks specifically taught dogs to sigh in sorrow in order to pity the believers. Those interested in the reason for the strange sobs of animals were explained that the dog had not eaten for a long time, but education does not allow it to whine and beg for alms. It is clear that after such stories, the amount of monastic donations increased sharply.

The British were the first to get acquainted with Lhasa Apso, but at first various types of Lhasa Apso dog breeds were imported into the country, among which there were animals up to 50 cm in height. It was decided to divide shaggy dogs into breeds in England only in the 30s. After that, larger dogs were called Tibetan Terriers, and the smaller ones – Lhasa Apso.

Dogs of the Dalai Lamas got to the rest of Europe later. For example, breeders in Germany saw the breed in the late 30s, the French – in the middle of the 20th century. The “Tibetans” reached the United States by the end of the 50s, and not without adventures: at first, the Americans did not see the difference between the Shih Tzu and Lhasa Apso breeds, mistakenly combining them into one type. The United States dog handlers managed to separate both canine clans from each other only by 1969.

standardLhasa Apso Dog Breed Standard

The Tibetan Apso today is a short sturdy man, as well as the owner of an ultra-long bang, wrapped in a mantle of heavy, coarse wool.

It should be noted the strong external similarity of these dogs with their probable congeners – the Shih Tzu.

However, if you put the breeds side by side, the contrast between their representatives will be brighter. The fact is that Lhasa Apso is much larger than its relative, and also has a longer muzzle. The optimal height of a Tibetan male is 25-25.4 cm. In general, the height at the withers is considered acceptable if it does not exceed 27.3 cm. Females are usually shorter and lighter than male dogs. If a Lhasa Apso male can weigh from 6.4 to 8.2 kg, then for females the upper limit is 6.4 kg.


Lhasa Apso dog breed’s skull is rather narrow, but not domed or flat, with a shallow transition. The muzzle with a straight back is approximately 4 cm long, which is ⅓ of the length of the head. The head of the animal is covered with luxurious decorating hair that forms glamorous bangs, mustache and goatee. The hair on the forehead falls over the eyes but does not interfere with the view.


The color of the nose is black.

Teeth and Jaws

The standard type of bite for the Lhasa Apso dog breed is a reverse undershot (always without retreat). The outer side of the incisors of the upper jaw touch the inner side of the lower incisor teeth, forming the so-called reverse scissors bow. In this case, the incisal line should be as wide and straight as possible. It is desirable that all teeth are well preserved in the animal (complete dental formula).


The harmoniously developed eyes of the Lhasa Apso dog breed are of normal size, neither bulging nor deep set. The incision of the eyelids is usually oval, with the eyeballs planted straight. An important condition: that the whites of the eyes are not visible either from above or in the area of the lower eyelid.


For the Lhasa Apso dog breed, the hanging position of the ear canal is characteristic. The hair on this part of the body is thick, evenly covering the skin.


The neck should have a strong bend and still look powerful.


The body of the Lhasa Apso is strong, compact in build, with an even topline and a hardy loin. The ribs are strongly extended backward.


The dog’s movements are characterized by lightness and freedom. Forelegs with sloping shoulder blades and straight forearms. The hind limbs are distinguished by strong muscles and pronounced angles of the articular joints.

The hock joints are located almost parallel, but at the same time, they are distant from each other, which can be seen when viewed from the back of the animal. Like the body, the legs are hidden under the abundant hair.


Typical features for the Lhasa Apso dog breed are a high tail set, as well as its position above the back, without curling up into a ring. It is acceptable if the tip of the tail is hooked.


Warm coats of Lhasa Apsos are the result of adaptation to the harsh temperature conditions of Tibet. The topcoat grows long, coarse and devoid of silkiness. The undercoat is moderate but soft, with good air and warmth retention. The dog’s coat does not interfere with its movement.


Lhasa Apso dog breed can be of any color. The most typical colors are: golden, brown, black, white, dark gray, honey, two-tone, sand, smoky, bluish gray.

characterThe Character of the Lhasa Apso Dog Breed

The appearance of the breed does not at all reflect the peculiarities of the character of its representatives, so if you expect that Lhasa Apso will be something in between a sofa cushion and a children’s toy, then you are mistaken.

By nature, small “Tibetans” are closer to shepherd dogs than to decorative tribesmen. Hence, the incredible loyalty to the owner, distrust of outsiders and the desire to take patronage over all the two-legged creatures in sight.

Lhasa Apsos are very attached to people. Having a developed possessive instinct, Lhasa Apso is jealous of the fact that children encroach on their toys and territory. By the way, most of the funny conflicts between these two clans occur precisely because of the unwillingness to give in to each other.

For example, a dog fiercely defends property, children continue to try to steal a ball from an animal, and as a result, the relationship between the dog and young bullies turns into a state of permanent confrontation in the style of “who will beat whom”.

If Lhasa Apso dog breed puts the kids on a level lower than itself, then it prefers to be on equal adolescents. For this reason, it is undesirable to entrust the training of the dog to the younger members of the family – the “Tibetan” will not obey such teachers.

Lhasa Apso is selective in the expression of feelings of affection; therefore, it always appoints one person as its own master. The lack of hypertrophied hunting qualities helps the dog get along with other small pets, while not forgetting to show that it is the number one in the apartment anyway.

Living in the same territory with larger tribesmen is not a tragedy for a “Tibetan” if the owner made at least a minimum effort to make the dogs friends. Of course, from time to time, the pet will be like a greedy man, grumbling at anyone who touched its bed, bowl or toys, but such peculiarities can’t be corrected.

Conflicts with the use of claws and teeth are also not excluded. At the same time, cynologists claim that the grip of the Dalai Lama dogs is not weaker than that of a pit bull, which makes it incredibly difficult to separate the grappling dogs.

Lhasa Apso dog breed is a playful dog that understands humor and willingly participates in a variety of practical jokes. However, animals demonstrate all these qualities of their own free will and never – at the whim of the owner.


Lhasa Apso dog breed is smart and quick-witted, but the innate desire to lead, and, if possible, suppress, makes them not the most diligent students.

At the same time, it is vital to socialize, educate and train the breed, because a “Tibetan” who has not been instilled in norms of behavior is still impudent.

And of course, in no case indulge the animal, so that it does not develop the so-called small dog syndrome, which manifests itself in pampering and uncontrollable antics.

When raising a puppy, always pay attention to behavior correction. Stop the dog’s attempts to bite you, do not pick up the barking dog in your arms to comfort, do not avoid meeting other larger dogs. Lhasa Apso must understand that for the owner it is not the center of the universe, but only a junior comrade.

The breed does not behave under duress, which greatly complicates the training process, so organize your activities so that the Lhasa Apso can take interest in it. Do not give a command if you are absolutely sure the puppy will not do it. Always set achievable goals and encourage your pet to take action. Remember: good or bad, but the animal must fulfill the requirement. This approach disciplines and does not allow the pet to think that a person’s orders can be circumvented.

Positive reinforcements in the learning process are required, at the same time do not try to feed the “Tibetan” with delicacies, so that in the future it does not lose interest in the usual diet. But punishments must be applied with extreme caution. The fact is that Lhasa Apso dog breed will never allow itself to be humiliated. As an example: the dog will certainly snap at any shout, and will perceive the waving of the hand as a final undermining of trust.

To convince a pet that it is wrong, a strict reprimand is enough in an even, non-ingratiating tone. In extreme cases, you can flick the nose with a fingernail or newspaper. Do not use a leash for physical impact: having received a strap, Lhasa Apso will simply refuse to walk on the leash, because it will cause negative associations.

Lhasa Apso Dog Breed Keeping and Care

Like any decorative pet, Lhasa Apso loves comfort. In order for the dog to feel as free as possible in the house, it needs some property – toys, a bed, bowls for food and water. The Lhasa Apso prefers to own all these belongings alone, fiercely barking at those encroaching on his wealth.

Shaggy Tibetans are not hyperactive, but they like to take a walk, so 1-2 times a day the dog under wardship should be taken to the promenade. At home, it is recommended to provide a pet with a tray. Lhasa Apso have a small bladder volume, they simply cannot endure with a toilet before walking.

Grooming and Hygiene

The main advantage of Lhasa Apso wool is that it is odorless. Even if the animal had to skip a routine bathing, its hair will not ooze canine “amber”. But you will have to work hard to maintain the effective appearance of the dog, and you need to prepare for this nuance before buying a puppy. Lhasa Apso is not a breed for the lazy.

The coat of the dogs is heavy and coarse. The undercoat is not very abundant, but this does not prevent it from forming mats, so the animal needs to be combed daily. There is a special variety of the breed, whose representatives have too developed undercoat that cannot be disassembled with a comb. Such individuals are sheared, although, according to the generally accepted rule, radical shortening of the breed’s coat is contraindicated.

Train the Lhasa Apso to grooming from an early age: dogs do not like such procedures, which they remind the owner of with whining, with attempts to bite the hand and other unpleasant tricks. Representatives of this breed are always combed according to the growth of the coat, forming an even parting in the middle of the back.

The bangs over the eyes, from the age of 3 months, are pulled together with rubber bands in two tails, and as the dog grows up – in four. In the future, such manipulations will help the hair lie more effectively. It is also better to collect a mustache and a goatee in ponytails – so they will get dirty less while eating. Every time after the pet has drunk the water and ate its portion, do not be lazy to wipe its chin and mustache with a clean cloth.

It is the most difficult to care for white Lhasa Apso dog breed, as their coat turns yellow from improper diet and cosmetic products. Owners of such individuals will have to spend money on dry shampoos and talcum powder, which will help whiten the dog’s coat. In addition, white Apso should be bathed more often.

The animal is washed once a month and always using an air conditioner so that the coat will fit better. It is recommended that show individuals have a bath at least once a week. It is allowed to dry the dog’s hair with a hairdryer, but along the way it must be worked out with a brush to avoid tangling. The anus and genital area will need to be washed more frequently to maintain a neat appearance. In addition, the hair under the tail should be regularly trimmed for hygienic purposes – and the dog is more comfortable going to the toilet.

It is also useful to remove the hair between the fingers – curved scissors with a rounded tip are suitable for this. Leaving hair on the paws is allowed if a frosty winter is coming, and the pet does not intend to give up walking. In such cases, wool acts as a natural insulation.

Be sure to wipe the eyes and ears of the Lhasa Apso if you notice dust and sulfur in them. A couple of times a week it is advisable to “persuade” your pet to brush its teeth. By the way, in the case of this breed, it is better to replace the silicone attachment on the finger with a child’s brush – “Tibetans” are not happy with brushing their teeth and can sometimes clap their mouths warningly.


Basic ingredients of natural food for Lhasa Apso dog breed:

  • lean meat and liver;
  • boiled fish fillets (once a week or less);
  • porridge – buckwheat, rice, oatmeal;
  • fermented milk products of low fat content;
  • quail eggs;
  • greens, vegetables, berries and fruits (exclude: potatoes, legumes, citruses, grapes).

To improve the condition of the coat, you can add a little vegetable unrefined oil and fish oil to the food. Useful delicacies include soft cartilage, tendon, etc. And of course, it is important to remember that ½ to ⅔ of a dog’s portion is always meat, and only the rest comes from cereals and vegetable additives.

Lhasa Apso Health and Diseases

Lhasa Apsos are notable for good health, but even this fact does not guarantee that the dog will definitely live through the years allotted to it, never getting sick. Illnesses that are characteristic for Lhasa Apso dog breed:

  • von Willebrand disease;
  • distichiasis;
  • dislocation of the knee caps;
  • progressive retinal atrophy;
  • dysplasia of the joints;
  • hypoplasia;
  • urolithiasis disease.

The head of the Lhasa Apso, although not as flattened as that of the Shih Tzu, still has a brachycephalic type of structure. This means that occasionally the animal may experience shortness of breath and difficult breathing.

how to choose a puppyHow to Choose a Lhasa Apso Puppy

If you are planning to purchase a pair of puppies, try to choose a male and a female.

Lhasa Apso loves to fight with fellow tribesmen, especially often conflicts occur between same-sex individuals.

For breeding and participation in exhibitions it is necessary to take puppies not younger than 10 months old.

Even if you buy a dog exclusively for yourself, ask the seller for a puppy metric to be sure of the purebred pet.

When choosing a Lhasa Apso puppy by color, keep in mind that as the animal grows up, the coat often fades and changes tone.

Pay special attention to the size of the dog’s nose. In a three-month-old Lhasa Apso, the length of the muzzle should not exceed 2.5-2.8 cm.

Examine the puppy you like carefully. The Lhasa Apso dog breed is bred in several types: there are lines of richer and poorer dressed ones; in addition, some breeders offer babyface puppies that have a more pretty expression on their faces.

Don’t be seduced by overly soft, fluffy puppies. Having matured, such a Lhasa Apso will cause a lot of trouble: due to the abundance of downy undercoat, his “fur coat” will constantly fall off.

Lhasa Apso Price

Despite the fact that the breed is considered rare, it is easy to find advertisements for the sale of Lhasa Apso puppies. The average cost of a healthy, vaccinated animal is $1250 – $1500.

That is all on Lhasa Apso dog breed.

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