The Lhasa Apso is a non-sporting breed which originates from Tibet. Though small in size, these dogs were actually used as guard dogs in Tibetan monasteries. They were breed for the specific purpose of watching the inside of the temples and alerting the guards if an intruder would come along. They are mainly a breed which enjoy spending time on the inside and are also great family companions.
Today their service has dropped to being family dogs and pets and they are fabulous at it as they are have changed the watch dog status from the monk’s temples to family homes and housings. Their name translated from Tibetan could mean “long-haired Lhasa dog.” They are extremely intelligent and sturdy dogs but also very independent as well.
Lhasa Apso History & Origins
The Lhasa Apso breed has a very interesting history about them. Their background says that the breed goes as back as 800 BC, making them one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world. Actually the latest DNA analyses confirms that the Lhasa are among 14 of the oldest dog breed and it also confirms that they have a direct connection with ancient wolfs. The breed was domesticated in Tibet, around the ancient city of Lhasa and the aim was to find a perfect protector of their shires and temples.
Bigger dogs were used to guard the gates, but the duty of protecting the inside of the housings was left to the Lhasa Apso dogs. Interestingly enough, these dogs were never sold and they only way to obtain one was for it to be given as a gift. This is how the breed spread around the world at first as the first dogs which came to America were a gift given by the Tibetan royalty. Today this dog has a different purpose and they are primarily lap dogs and family companions.
Characteristics & Temperament
The Lhasa Apso can be an entertaining and a comical breed to train, but they are sometimes more than that. They are very intelligent but also very independent. The dog will clearly tell you if there is something that id does not want to do. On the other hand you need to train them as early as possible and provide them to access to a lot of different experiences. Socialize them with other puppies and other people to enable the best kind of behavior from them. When training them you need to have patience as they require consistency.
Also they may be difficult to house train sometimes. But this perfect is a perfect guard dog. Their ancient instincts are deeply inbred in their DNA and they are very wary of strangers. They are connected to the owners and will immediately bark and be aggressive towards someone who is new and enters the house. But they are perfect for smaller children as they are also small in size. An interesting point is that the Lhasa Apso likes siting on a vantage point in the house so it has a clear view of the entire area and sees what is happening there.
Lhasa Apso Appearance, Colors, Size
The Lhasa Apso is a lap dog and is very small in size. Male Lhasas will grow up to be somewhere around 10.75 inches and can weight about 14 to 18 pounds. Female dogs are usually 12 to 14 pounds in weight and are only slightly smaller than males. The Lhasa has dark brown eyes and black nose. The coat is what defines them in most of the cases.
They have a straight, heavy, thick and very hard coat which has been developed due to the area where they used to reside and where they were bred. The coat is also wooly and not really silky. There are actually many different colors that a Lhasa Apso can have and they include black, white, red and even gold with various shadings. They may also have white tips on their ears in some cases.
Lhasa Apso Health
A Lhasa Apso is a very healthy dog breed and they are capable of living quite long for a dog. Their average lifespan can go from 12 to 14 years, quite long for a dog. They also have very sharp hearing and are not prone to blindness and do not show any effects of it when they do get to have eye problems. Bu there are certain conditions that they are prone to which include sebaceous adenitis, progressive retinal atrophy, cherry eye and keratoconjunctivitis sicca.
Lhasa Apso Grooming & Shedding
Even with their long set of hair, the Lhasa Apso does not shed like regular dogs. They do not shed in bunches but as humans. They shed constantly but slowly. They are mostly clean and keep their hygiene that way and they prevent bacteria of getting in and forming. Also the long heavy hair that they have will prevent any air born bacteria to spread in your house.
Because they originate form extremely cold weathers, the Lhasa have a thick double coat. So routing brushing and bathing of your dog is extremely necessary. This will help maintaining the slow and continuous shedding and remove the dirt and debris which gets caught inside. Also make sure to comb their hair so your Lhasa looks neat, particularly if you want to show it off.
Price and Breeders
You will enjoy owning a Lhasa Apso as their personality and appearance are great. Breeders are now found in all major countries and there are a lot of places where you can find them in America. A Lhasa Apso puppy costs between 200 USD and 600 USD.
There are also various organizations which will allow you to rescue a Lhasa Apso dog. Probably the most popular one currently is American Lhasa Apso Club, and they have a lot of offers for you that you can check out on their Facebook page.