Like a lot of little dogs, the Lhasa Apso is doughtier than it looks. After all, one of its jobs was to herd cattle and its small size made it just the right height for nipping at the heels of a recalcitrant cow. Tough, but friendly and intelligent, it makes a devoted companion.
Physical CharacteristicsLonger than it is tall, the lhasa apso has a long, dense, double coat with the ears, the back legs and tail being luxuriantly feathered. It has a beard and the fur will fall into its eyes if not trimmed. It has pendant ears, dark brown eyes set deep in its skull and a medium length muzzle. The bite is a little undershot, and the feet are round. The tail is spitz-like but richly feathered. The coat can come in a variety of colors with gold, honey and cream being the most favored. Often, the coat color of a puppy will change as it grows up.
The lhasa apso is usually robust though they can be subject to hip dysplasia, cherry eye, kidney disease and ulcers.
TemperamentThe lhasa apso is a spry, somewhat strong-willed little dog that’s affectionate and obedient. It responds very well to obedience training and its small size makes it ideal for apartment living and traveling with its family. To stay mentally and physically healthy, the lhasa apso needs to be walked at least once a day and enjoy regular play sessions. They also like to have a place in the house where they can see everything that’s going on. They can be quit kid-friendly if well trained, though a poorly trained Ihaso apso might not tolerate children.
Care & GroomingIf the dog’s owner wants to keep its fur long, it will need to be groomed daily. This involves brushing to make sure that the coat doesn't mat. However, the dog doesn’t shed much. The fur doesn’t need to be trimmed or stripped even though it will naturally fall to the dog’s feet. Some owners have the coat trimmed into a puppy cut just to make it easier to take care of.
Now and then, the lhasa apso’s coat can be dry shampooed. The feet need to be checked and cleaned as do the ears and the eyes.
HistoryThe lhasa apso is an old breed of dog that’s believed to be descended from a small Malaysian wolf. As its name implies, the lhasa apso’s origins are in Tibet. It was in fact named after the country’s holy city of Lhasa and for a long time was bred exclusively for and by monks and the nobility. The dog itself was considered holy and a source of good luck. Indeed, it was believed that when the dog’s master passed away his soul passed into the dog. Despite its floppy, feathered ears, the lhasa apso has excellent hearing. Because of its good hearing, the dog was often used as a watchdog. Monks would post a larger dog outside the door of the temple, while the lhasa apso would be stationed within.
The dog’s popularity begin to spread in 1933, when the 13th Dalai Lama gave gifts of the dogs to the United States. In 1935, the dog was recognized by the American Kennel Club. It’s also recognized by the Kennel Club of Great Britain, the Canadian Kennel Club, the Australian National Kennel Club, the Continental Kennel Club and others.