Description: The Lhasa apso is one of the four dog breeds “made in Tibet”. After all, Lhasa is the Tibetan capital, isn’t it ? And “apso” seems to mean “the barking sentinel dog”.
Originally owned by priests and nobility, as watchdogs, at the beginning of the XXth century this breed started to spread all over the world as a gift from Dalai Lama to diplomats. Lhasa apsos are intelligent, devoted and compassionate dogs, joyful and assertive, but chary of strangers. Both their physical and psychological characteristics are the result of evolution, being, together with the Eskimo breeds, naturally selected.
Temperament: A small dog, but a great personality. It is the dog which will express its devotion and affection through its master, but if the master is not firm enough and dominant, the dog will take charge because it seems to have a mind of its own and wants everything its way.
Properly socialized, it is good with kids and other pets, but it won’t stand bad behaviors from the others. Having a fine sense of hearing, it is good as a watchdog and will bark loudly, giving the impressions of a larger dog.
Health: Eye problems, hip dysplasia and kidney failure are the main ailments of the Lhasa apso. Otherwise, healthy dogs. If groomed regularly, they will not develop skin conditions.
Maintenance/Grooming: Because of its long coat, the Lhasa apso has high grooming demands: brush it daily if the coat is kept long and make a full grooming every four weeks.
If you do not intend to participate in shows or to invest that much time in its maintenance, you’d better clip the dog’s coat, this will make its life easier (and yours, as well). If the long coat is important for you (the dog really needs it only in the sub-arctic temperatures from Tibet), start training the puppy from an early age to be brushed and bathed.
Brush your dog’s coat before bathing and, when bathing, try not to use the circular movements to apply the shampoo or to dry the excess water with the towel. Like this, you prevent it from matting. Trim the dense hairs from ears and between the pads. Left like this, they tend to matt.
Training: The Lhasa apso is a dog that recognizes only one master, this is why it won’t take commands from various members of the family. Because it has a tendency to snap or bite if taken by surprise, it is very important to train them early, using firm and consistent commands and a dominant owner, otherwise it will tend to take charge. The Lhasa apso loves treats, this is why it respond very well to praise and reward.
Breeding, puppies: 1 to 8 puppies in a litter, with an average of 6.
Varieties: Golden, sandy, honey, dark grizzle, slate, smoke, particolour, black, white or brown. But, being the Tibetan lion-dog, the lion-like colors are preferred.
The varieties of the coat accepted are long, heavy, double coat, hard, not woolly nor silky, of good length, and very dense.