AKC Dog Breeds: Lhasa Apso

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Non Sporting Group
Height: 9-11 inches   Weight: 12-16  pounds  
solid golden, sandy, honey, red, dark grizzle, slate or smoke, black, parti color, white, brown

The Lhasa Apso is a small, hardy breed with a beautiful cloak of hair that parts down their back from head to tail. Their temperament is unique: joyful and mischievous, dignified and aloof. An independent breed, the Lhasa's goal in life is not necessarily to please their master. The Lhasa Apso originated hundreds of years ago in the isolated reaches of the Himalayan Mountains. It functioned primarily as a household sentinel, guarding homes of Tibetan nobility and Buddhist monasteries, particularly in or near the sacred city of Lhasa. In 1933, C. Suydam Cutting introduced the first Lhasas to the U.S. gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama. The breed was introduced to both Britain and America in the 1930s, and was registered with the AKC in 1935.

General Appearance
The Lhasa Apso has a long, heavy, double coat, draping over his entire body to the floor. This shaggy little dog looks like a small version of the Old English Sheepdog. Gold, cream, and honey are the most popular colors, but the coat also comes in smoke, dark-grizzle, slate and a multi-color assortment of brown, white & black. It is common for a Lhasa Apso puppy's coat to change colors as it grows. The coat is straight, hard and heavy, but not silky. The hair should cascade from the head over its eyes. It should have a dark beard and mustache, and a muzzle that is medium-length, but not square. It has small, dark, deep-set eyes and heavy feathered ears. Its neck has an abundant scarf of hair and its tail is feathered and carried over its back.


The Lhasa Apso is a happy, gentle, and loyal breed, and is a small dog with plenty of character and spirit. A dignified and watchful dog, the Lhasa Apso will bark to raise an alarm and therefore makes an effective watchdog. Although these dogs look very cute and cuddly, they do have certain personality traits that make them better suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and training. These dogs can be extremely strong willed and stubborn, may be bossy and dominant, and can be manipulative and jealous. He can also be very difficult to train and housebreak. These dogs do not like to be teased or handled roughly, and will not take to boisterous and rough children, although they should get on okay with gentle, older kids. When it comes to strangers the Lhasa Apso tends ot be very stand offish and wary. However, once he has become acquainted will usually become friendly and welcoming. He will usually get on well with other pets, although his jealous streak and bossy nature can make harmony a challenge at times. With the right owner - someone with confidence, assertiveness, and a positive training attitude - the Lhasa Apso can make a very good companion pet and family dog.

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. It 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.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the Lhasa Apso is around 12-14 years. 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. A 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 whole breed.

Activity Level

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.


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