Lhasa Apso | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures

Lhasa Apso
Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is a small dog characterized by its long and thick fur. This little dog looks like a miniature version of the Old English Sheepdog and is native to Tibet. Although little known, the Lhasa Apso is a very popular dog in its region and it is that, despite its small size, it is one of the guard dogs par excellence.


Lhasa Apso photos

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Physical characteristics

The Lhasa Apso is a small, strong, long-haired dog. The length of their body slightly exceeds the height. They come in a variety of colors: gold, sand, honey, taupe, leaf, slate gray, particolor, black, white or brown.

  • Male size: 25-28 cm
  • Female size: 25-28 cm
  • Male weight: 6-8 kg
  • Weight of females: 5-7 kg

Distinctive features

  • Head: The skull is moderately narrow and flat, slightly rounded behind the eyes. The stop is weakly expressed. The muzzle is not perfectly square, as it is 4 cm long, or 1/3 of the total length of the head.
  • Jaws: The teeth are sharp when fully dented. “Reverse scissors” bite.
  • Ears: Hanging ears, entirely covered with hair.
  • Eyes: The eyes are medium, oval, without prominence, set straight and shallow. The color of the iris is dark.
  • Frame: The body is well balanced, compact, stocky, elongated. The neck is strong, arched. The back is straight with a strong loin. The sternum is broad with strongly curved, backward-directed ribs.
  • Limbs: The legs are short, straight and parallel with well developed muscles. The forelimbs are quite widely spaced. The paws are rounded, in the shape of a cat. The pads are firm and firm.
  • Coat: The coat is long, heavy, straight or wavy. The undercoat is moderate. Gold, honey, sand, brown, gray, tortoiseshell, chocolate and black.

Character and behavior

The Lhasa Apso is a friendly, outgoing dog with an independent personality. Despite his small size, he imagines himself to be an important dog with great physical strength, who will certainly be able to protect his owner and family members.

This dog is strongly attached to the owner, completely gives him his heart, considering him the only ruler. He likes to spend time with the whole household, but sometimes he wants to be alone, because he has a certain amount of selfishness.

He perceives strangers with suspicion and aggression, which is due to genetics, since the dog is essentially a guard dog.

With the children

The Lhasa Apso treats children well, he can play naughty and play with the child, but he will never become a nanny.

This dog has an iron patience. It manifests itself especially well in communication with children. Even if the child accidentally hurts the apso, the dog will not bite it or scare it by barking loudly.

With other animals

He treats other pets in two ways, but in either case, a cat or other animal will not be allowed on the personal territory of the space.


As a breed, the Lhasa Apso is vulnerable to certain hereditary pathologies:

  • Cherry eye;
  • Dislocation of the patella;
  • Allergy;
  • Sebaceous adenitis;
  • Keratoconjunctivitis Sikka;
  • Progressive retinal atrophy;
  • Familial hereditary renal dysplasia. This is a malformation or genetic defect in the kidneys that are small and irregular in shape.

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy of the Lhaso Apso is 12 to 14 years.


The Lhasa Apso has a long coat that needs to be groomed. This is usually done by a professional groomer, but you can bathe and comb your pet yourself.

It is best to bathe it 2 times a week, comb the coat daily or at least 3 times a week. In addition, the breed tends to accelerate tooth decay, so teeth should be cleaned without fail. The eyes are cleaned daily, the ears 2-3 times a week, the claws are trimmed 3 times a month.


The adult Lhasa Apso dog needs at least half an hour of exercise a day. He is overflowing with energy; he is also happy to play at home or to walk several kilometers.

Fun facts

  • The name of the breed is formed from the words lhasa, which means the Tibetan capital, and apso, which means “bearded”. According to an alternative version, Lhasa Apso can also be translated as “a dog that looks like a goat”.
  • The Lhasa Apso, like the Pekingese, is considered the ancestor of the Shih Tzu dog.
  • The breed originated from the ancient southern shepherd dogs, which partly explains the character traits and leadership qualities of its representatives.
  • Lhasa Apsos are wary of strangers and even after socialization continue to suspect strangers of malicious intentions.
  • The breed is ideal for owners who want to be aware of any intrusions into the territory: the dogs consider it their direct duty to bark at anyone who appears on the threshold of the house.
  • These Tibetan dogs are the perfect city pets. They are happy to go out with their owners for walks in parks and shopping, but don’t need to walk for hours.
  • Indulging in childish pranks is not in the Lhasa Apso’s nature, so bringing a dog into a family with little tomboys who don’t know how to handle animals properly is a bad idea.

History of the breed

Some believe that literally the name of the breed lhasa apso is translated as “like a goat.” Even in the 1st century BC, dogs themselves were used to protect herds of fearful domestic goats in Tibet. Others are sure that the name of the breed consists of words denoting its origin and appearance: Lhasa is the capital of Tibet, where this dog comes from, “apso” in Tibetan means bearded. Be that as it may, the Lhasa Apso breed has a very ancient origin. The Tibetan nobility and monks considered the doggie a talisman that can prevent the approach of trouble. But they used the dog for quite banal purposes – as a guard dog, like a Schipperke, for their homes and temples.

Europeans saw a luxurious pet in the doggie. The Lhasa Apso first set foot on this continent in the 1920s when Colonel Bailey brought with him to the UK a gift from the Dalai Lama – 1 female and 2 Apso males. The starting point for the American breed line is 1923, then Sir Sidham Cutting came to the United States with a gift from the same Dalai Lama – a pair (boy and girl) of cute dogs. For a long time, the breed was ranked among the Tibetan Terriers, physiologically similar to the Cairn Terriers. However, in 1965, Lhasa Apso became a separate line in dog breeding.


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