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Lhasa Apso Breed Characteristics Copyright ©2004 by Gabriele Engel

 Since 800 BC, Lhasa Apsos were bred in and around Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in the monasteries and houses of the Tibetan nobility as well as at the Potala, the Dalai Lama’s residence. At the beginning of the 20th century, first imports of the breed were registered in Great Britain. In 1928, when the Baileys returned to England from India, they were accompanied by a number of small Lhasa Apsos. The Tibetan name for this breed is “Apso Seng Kye” or “barking lion sentinel dog.” In Great Britain, these dogs were also called “Seng Tru” (little lion) or “good luck charm”. 

This breed is naturally dignified, at times displaying an air of arrogance, and is chary of strangers. They are highly intelligent, and as the Tibetans say, have been making their own decisions for 2000 years, which may account for their occasional stubbornness. However, with their familiy and intimate friends they are extremely affectionate, sensitive and devoted. They develop a very strong bond with the individual or family they live with, being a loving companion rather than just a four-legged friend.  

In addition, Lhasas are good watchdogs, and their acute hearing make them announce visitors to the house before the doorbell will ring without yapping.

 The crowning glory of a Lhasa Apso is the long, heavy coat – the result of a long evolutionary process under extreme climatic conditions with lowest subzero temperatures in the wintertime and hot short summers. The long and lavish coat completely covers the head and body. Like all Tibetan breeds, Lhasas sport a double coat, and as a breed characteristic they have heavy head furnishings with good fall over the eyes,.

The Standard is requesting hair of good length, and very dense. With appropriate grooming, it is not unusual for a Lhasa Apso to attain a floor-length coat. It is quite a sight to see such a regal show-Lhasa entering the showring.

 Irrespective of their origin, Lhasa Apsos will adapt to any climate. Despite its medium small size and dense coat, the Lhasa Apso is no lap-dog. Quite to the contrary, Lhasas are robust nature-boys, a very hardy breed with a well-developed and firmly muscled body. They love to fool around, or charge about, and relish playtime with family or friends. They also love to go on long walks not showing any signs of fatigue, proof of their robust and authentic nature.  

Lhasa Apsos are good-natured, loyal to their people without giving up their independence. To get their way, they can be perfect actors. Being a very well natured family-dog when growing up with children, and extremely adaptable, as well as a good traveller, he is trouble-free company wherever his people choose to go. His behavior and character make him an ideal companion-dog at the house, condo or flat; either as the member of an extended family, or the companion of a single person. 

As a future Lhasa Apso owner please bear in mind that this hardy breed lives to an old age. It is not unusual for Lhasa Apsos to reach an age of 16 or more years. Please, do realize that you will have to take the responsibility for a very long time.