Breed Group: Non-Sporting Group
Shoulder Height: 10-11 in.
Weight: 13-15 lb.
Life Span: 13-14 years
Colors: Black, tan, cream, golden, grizzle, red, white, blue, charcoal, gray, liver, silver
- The Lhasa Apso was originally developed in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries as an interior watch dog alongside the Tibetan Mastiff
- There is some debate as to what the name means. While the first part, Lhasa, is a reference to the Tibetan capital city and means “bearded,” the second part is most unclear. Official documentation states that the full meaning is “long-haired Lhasa dog,” but some linguists believe “apso” to be derived from the Tibetan word for goat-like, “rapso.”
- It is an ancient breed, developed from certain strains of mountain wolf some 4,000 years ago
- Buddhist monks believe that Lhasa Apsos possess the soul of deceased Lamas waiting for rebirth. It was for this reason that the breed was never seen outside of Tibet until 1900, when the English arrived in India and Nepal.
A mysterious breed with a long and treasured past, the Lhasa Apso is a distinct and graceful breed in the Non-Sporting group. With a beautiful coat of fur that is quite high-maintenance, this stubborn and loyal breed is one of the treasures that is slowly being eradicated from the world.
Lhasa Apsos are not the most dependable of dogs, so you should only take one up if you believe in Tibetan independence. Lhasa Apsos are facing some serious problems due to the Chinese government’s policies towards them, resulting in hundreds of these dogs being exterminated in an attempt to press Chinese authority in Tibet.
You should not make a personal crusade the only reason you get one of these dogs, though. With proper training, they can make wonderful companions. Early socialization is needed so that they get along well with other dogs and strangers. If this is accomplished, you will have a dog that wants nothing more than to make you happy.
Its distinguished and long coat does require a lot of time and experience to groom. Exercise, however, is not that important due to the dog’s size; its demands can be met inside.
Lhasa Apsos are very healthy dogs, suffering from few natural and genetic abnormalities.
- They are susceptible to eye problems, especially progressive retinal atrophy and dry eye syndrome.
- The breed is also susceptible to a hereditary skin disease called sebaceous adenitis, which results in the destruction of hair follicles.
- The breed does not do well in warmer environments because of the long coat.
- Lhasa Apsos are the subject of a large amount of Tibetan folklore. It is even said that the breed brings its owner good luck.
- Several pop stars own Lhasa Apsos including Gwen Stefani, Keke Palmer, and Barbra Streisand.
- Kurt Vonnegut, the author of Slaughterhouse-Five, owned a Lhasa Apso he named Pumpkin.
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