Lhasa Apso

Country of origin:
China, Tibet
Height (cm):
25 - 28
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
black, white, golden, sandy, honey, dark grizzle, slate, smoke, parti-colour, brownish
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Download standard:
Pros Cons
  • forms strong bonds with its master
  • self-confident
  • gets on well with children
  • great stamina
  • coat must be groomed thoroughly
  • not fond of strangers
  • independent


From the first sight the Lhasa Apso seems to be so nice and shy, but actually this long-living breed represents not only a reliable life companion but also a true watchdog from the tip of its nose till the longest hair of its tail.


The breed is considered to appear in the mountainous and cold country of Tibet. Recorded history of the Lhasa dates from 800 B.C.

This type of dog got its name in honour of the holy Tibetan capital Lhasa. «Apso» in the language of the population signifies «bearded». Thereby the name of the breed is translated as «long-haired Lhasa dog». The Lhasa Apso is also known in its motherland as Aрso Seng Kyi, which roughly means «bark lion sentinel dog».

The stereotyped view says that the Lhasa originates from the ancestral wolf. Besides, in earlier times, the Tibetan Terrier, the Shih Tzu and the Lhasa Apso were regarded as the same breed, but finally they were differed by height, relating the Apso to the shorter one.

The Lhasa was reputed to bring good luck, serving as a watchdog in monasteries and temples, ascribing to sacred creatures, which were not sold or bought that time. Only noble people, foreign rulers or dignitaries were allowed to keep or get as a gift this breed, with the exception of the naturalist C. Suydam, who was presented a pair of the Lhasa Apso by his friend Dalai Lama the XIII Century. That is the way the first Lhasas were transported to the United States in 1933. To Great Britain the breed found its way a little earlier – in 1920s.

Already in 1935 the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered the Lhasa Apso as the first breed of Tibet and defined it as a Non-Sporting type, bringing the «long-haired» dog wide popularity.


The Lhasa is a friendly, active pet from the outside and an intelligent, hardy dog in its heart, possessing assertive manners, royal in their origin. The Apso has a special and mixed personality: it can be playful and mischievous and independent or even fierce at the same time.

As well as its ancestors, the dog performs a home guardian’s duties with all diligence. No doubt, the Lhasa Apso is a family friend, as long as its members treat it well. Hence it follows, that rowdy children are likely not preferred for the common existence with this breed. Nevertheless, the beloved pet is devoted and follows the household room to room, watching with them TV or dreamily looking through the window.

As a rule, though Lhasa is sturdy, it steers clear of strangers. Until the dog feels no threat, it will make friends. Given necessary introductions and training, the Apso gets along with dogs and other pets really well, but at the same time being jealous and feeling itself always on the top.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· cherry eye;

· patellar luxation;

· allergies;

· sebaceous adenitis (SA);

· keratoconjunctivitis sicca;

· progressive retinal atrophy (PRA);

· familial inherited renal dysplasia.


The Lhasa Apso needs a thorough grooming. If you’re looking for a pet with an easy one, frankly speaking, this breed isn’t the right choice.

The rich coat of the Apso requires much attention. Comb and then brush its heavy, long and straight coat daily to prevent tangles. While brushing, be slow and careful and try to get all the way down to the skin. Otherwise, when you miss some mats or tangles, your next brushing will be painful or even leading to skin infections and, as a result, it will look like a flaying of a sheep.

Normally, the pet expects to be bathed every three weeks. Fortunately, it doesn’t shed much.

And don’t forget about basic care: trim the nails every month (depends on speed of your pet’s nail growing), brush the teeth two/three times a week (certainly with special vet-approved toothpaste), wipe the ears out with a pH-balanced ear-cleaner (don’t get into the inner canal).

During all these procedures be attentive and, finding out something suspicious or just having problems with caring, hire a professional groomer or ask your vet for help. As you see, this type of a dog has haughty manners!


Being smart, the Lhasa can be sometimes stubborn and not so anxious to please its master. That’s why the training of the Lhasa Apso breed is quite a hard job.

Each training session should be kept funny and short, since the pet can get easily bored. Train the Lhasa Apso patiently and use positive reinforcement methods, be firm and nice. Early socialization and exercising are completely captious, to ensure that your dog will not be too independent or disobedient in the future.


The Lhasa isn’t extremely lively and likes living at home. Dogs of the Lhasa breed don’t ask for vigorous exercising, only for daily walking and playing.

You can also try to teach your pet to run through tunnels, since these dogs are fond of hiding in caves or dens. Just find the way to entice your dog from it again!