Tibetan Kyi Apso

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
max 71
Weight (kg):
max 45
Life span (years):
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Download standard:
Pros Cons

  • staunch and gentle

  • careful in interaction with kids

  • outstanding watcher and fearless guardian

  • may be inimical towards non-canine pets

  • requires large amount of physical exercises

  • not for an apartment dweller

  • independent and dominant


The Tibetan Kyi Apso is an average-sized multifunctional breed with its homeland in Tibet. This ancient magnificent dog excels at guarding various types of human properties although it also has even-tempered and loyal nature, which makes this breed a fabulous family pet. It’s a rare sight in European countries as well as in America.

Photo: © Tibetan kyi apso (facebook public group)


The Tibetan Kyi Apso was most likely developed in the Mount Kailish area of the Tibetan Plateau in the XVII century since this statuesque dog starts to appear on many Tibetan pieces of art in this period. Canine experts are fully convinced in its ancient origin as well as in its close kinship to Tibetan Mastiff.

The Tibetan Kyi Apso was treasured as an indispensible helper of nomadic people. It was exploited as a herder, drover and guardian of the livestock. The dog could tolerate the most adverse weather conditions and effectively performed its duties in very difficult terrains. Thanks to such a prominent stamina and good hunting instincts it was also praised as an outstanding big game hunter. Nomadic owners also name this breed the Apso Do-Kyi. The Tibetan word Apso is translated as «bearded» and the noun Kyi means «dog». In turn the combination of the words Do and Kyi stands for a «tied dog», which probably implicates that the Tibetan Kyi Apso was primarily kept on a chain.

The breed’s specimens reached other countries only in the 70s of the XX century. Nonetheless it couldn’t earn lots of fanciers and this dog remains extensively rare outside its native land. Furthermore it failed to achieve international recognition as a unique breed so it’s frequently considered to be only the variety of the Tibetan Mastiff. The vast majority of Tibetan Kyi Apsos that live in Europe and America are companion animals and thrive in this role.


Brave, staunch and affectionate nature characterizes most of Tibetan Kyi Apsos. Its specimen can be turned into a great canine companion if you are willing to put in essential amount of time and efforts into its all-around socialization. The breed also prefers to dominate in the pack and therefore it should acknowledge its subordinate position to all members of the family unit. It’s fond of children and handles them very carefully even in the heat of the game. Nevertheless this dog is too boisterous and large to become an acceptable playmate for a toddler.

For centuries the Tibetan Kyi Apso was selectively bred as a personal and property guardian. That’s why it’s usually intensely suspicious towards unfamiliar people so without appropriate obedience training it’s quite capable of unmotivated human aggression. This breed makes an almost perfect guardian, which will never let an intruder to penetrate its territory unchallenged. And its deep and beautiful bark will timely warn you about unwanted presence so this dog also becomes a wonderful watcher.

The Apso Do-Kyi gets on well with familiar dogs but may display hostility towards stray canines. Make sure to introduce your pet to its counterparts with great caution in order to avoid undesirable confrontations. It’s rather a bad idea to adopt the grown-up breed member if you already have a cat or other small pets. Nonetheless the puppy of the Tibetan Kyi Apso easily adapts to co-existence with a household cat and treats it as the part of its pack.

Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

· hip dysplasia;

· elbow dysplasia;

· degenerative disk disease and other spinal conditions;

· arthritis;

· hypothyroidism;

· skin allergies;

· eye problems;

· obesity;

· bloat.


The Tibetan Kyi Apso has fairly extensive care requirements. Its dense and long coat needs almost daily brushing, otherwise it will tangle badly and acquire unkempt appearance. The breed is an extreme seasonal shedder so be prepared to vacuum clean your dwelling every single day during such periods.

The rest is a usual grooming, which includes weekly teeth brushing and monthly nail trimming. It’s also important to devote enough attention to cleaning of the dog’s ears, which should be performed only when the need arises.


The Tibetan Kyi Apso is a self-dependent and adamant dog so its successful training requires professional approach. Actually this dog wants to have upper hand in any situation and won’t look up to the person whose authority it doesn’t respect. Moreover it totally hates repetitive commands and tedious tasks. That’s why it’s essential to keep training sessions brief and challenging.

This breed is sufficiently smart to learn all standard tricks with reasonable amount of repetitions. Reward every single success of your pet with one or two pieces of its favourite treats and several encouraging words.


The Apso Do-Kyi was developed as a tough working dog, which could carry out various tasks under very severe conditions. If you plan to keep this dog as a pet, you should provide it with abundant opportunities to burn excessive energies. Several potty strolls per day will never make it fully happy as it craves for much more vigorous exercises.

This breed can’t be reckoned as a good companion of a citizen and does well only in the countryside. Insufficient amount of physical activity is the primary reason of such deviations in its behaviour as unmotivated aggression, chewing, continuous barking and restlessness.