The Lhasa Apso
The Lhasa Apso is a strong, sturdy little dog originating from Tibet. Lhasa is the capital of Tibet and 'apsos' means dog, so that when the Tibetan people were asked what were these dogs they replied "Lhasa Apso" - "Dog of Lhasa"!
When many Tibetans fled Tibet during the Chinese occupation of 1959 they took only what they could carry and of course their dogs who they loved dearly. These brave little dogs trudged over mountains so high they are almost beyond imagination, called "the roof of the world", we also know them as the Himalayas. The Lhasa Apsos ran by night and hid by day with their owners to avoid capture.Â
Tashuta Madu Tenzin
The Lhasa Apso's long thick coat of hair, good muzzle, almond eyes and its small size makes it stand out amongst other dogs. The coat grows all over the body, even between the toes and this must be kept trimmed. The coat acts as an insulation barrier, keeping the dog warm in winter, cool in summer, although it is recommended that a Lhasa's tummy be clipped in the summer to allow them to cool off more easily. Most pet dogs are clipped all over a few times per year.
Their eyes are of such deep intensity that they will melt the coldest heart... This is what the Tibetan people say of them.
Don't be fooled by the beautiful looks and flowing coat! They are a highly intelligent, loyal guard dog and often called "a big dog in a small form", yet they are gentle, fun loving and sweet natured.Â
Lhasa Apsos generally will not go to people they do not know! The word "chary" means cautious and alert at the same time (as in the Lhasa Apso Standard) - it does not mean 'wary'. Lhasa Apsos are CHARY with strangers, but never with their owners - they are soft-hearted, warm, loving, cuddly, loyal and so much more!
A Lhasa Apso has no problem with children, babies or any age in between, provided they (especially children) are given the correct training and humans know what they are doing. Any highly intelligent dog cannot tolerate an out of control human! It is the same with a Lhasa Apso, but they should never be snappish or savage in any way, but like any other dog, they should be treated well and not as a toy!
They are not related to the Shih Tzu in any way.
Training: Training a Lhasa and treating it with the RESPECT that you would grant any dog is of paramount importance - treat them as a 'real dog', because that is what they are. They may look cute and fluffy, but they should not be treated as a lap dog, rather they love to cuddle into to you for a while and then would prefer to lie at your feet as this enables them to guard you! They believe they have one job in life and that is to guard those they love.Â
Health: The Lhasa Apso is a long living dog, with an average lifespan expected to be around 17 - 20 years of age, specially if well cared for.
They do not suffer from serious hereditary conditions, however the occasional luxating patella (loose knee joint) has been found in the breed - a condition easily recognised by your Vet when the dog is still a puppy. Apart from that, a Lhasa Apso is one of the healthiest small dogs.
Allergies: Due to the fact that Lhasa Apsos do NOT SHED hair, they are allergy-free.
Grooming: An owner should be prepared to groom their dog thoroughly once a week to remove any twigs, mats and so on.
Exercise: Lhasa Apsos do not need lots of walking, as they love to run around the garden and romp and play. In the house or in the yeard with you or by themselves.
The Lhasa Apso should be longer in the body than it is in height: 25.5cm for a male and a female slightly shorter.
Colours: gold sable, sand, honey, dark grizzle, slate, smoke, part-colour, black, dark brindle and brown.