The Lhasa Apso is a small breed, with a long, heavy, double coat, which in show dogs cascaded over the eyes and is draped over the entire body to the floor. They resemble a small version of the Old English Sheepdog. The Lhasa comes in a variety of colors, from gold, cream, and honey to smoke, dark?grizzle and slate. Some Lhasas are multicolored, black or brown and white. The coat is straight, hard and heavy, and not silky. The Lhasa has small, dark eyes, deep-set rather than protruding, framed by heavy, feathered ears that extend past the chin and frame the round face and a medium-length muzzle. Show dogs will have a dark beard and mustache. The neck will have an abundant “scarf” of hair, the tail is feathered and curled over the back in a “screw.”
The Lhasa Apso is an intelligent and lively breed, and makes an excellent pet. They are very affectionate and devoted to their owners, but will not put up with rough handling from children, and indeed do not care for children in general unless they’ve been socialized with them from an early age. Obedience training should be started early. The Lhasa has a tendency to be stubborn, however, so this trait must be tolerated. They make excellent watch dogs, being suspicious of strangers, and are inclined to bark a great deal. They are dog-aggressive and prefer to be the only dog in the home.
Renal dysplasia, an often?fatal kidney ailment, can afflict the Lhasa. Hip dysplasia also occurs, but is not very common. The long coat must be kept free of parasites to ensure no skin problems.
The Lhasa Apso was first bred in the sacred city of Lhasa, Tibet over two thousand years ago. The breed was used in temples and monasteries as a watchdog and were considered sacred, as it was thought that when the master died, his soul would enter that of the dog. The breed was able to spread to other countries thanks to the Dalai Lama, who presented them to visiting foreign diplomats. They became established in England in the early 1900s and the United States in the 1930s. The American Kennel Club accepted the breed in 1935.
The coat of the Lhasa Apso pars at the spine and falls straight on either side. It will be easier to groom if you keep it cut short, however the coats of show dogs must reach the floor. These dogs must have their coats brushed once a day to keep from matting. Do not bathe, simply dry shampoo. Check the feet and end of the coat for matting, as well as foreign matter. The eyes and ears must be cleaned every day. This breed is an average shedder.
The Lhasa Apso makes an excellent pet for apartment living. They will run around the home and do not necessarily need a yard. They do like to be taken for long walks, and have the opportunity to run free in a safe and secure area.