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Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso was one of the first breeds to be used as a companion dog. Lhasa was the capital of Tibet, and “Apso” is thought to come from a term originally meaning “barking-lion sentinel dog”. For many centuries they were kept by Tibetan monks in their isolated monasteries where they served as companions and watchdogs. The breed was credited with spiritual powers and considered to bring prosperity and fortune to the owner, hence it bore the name of Talisman Dog. The breed was jealously guarded in Tibet and did not reach other countries until the late 19th Century. These dogs, considered to be vessels of good luck, were never bought and sold but were given freely as gifts or tokens of appreciation, it is in this manner that the breed slowly found its way around the world.

They’re famous for a floor-length, flat-hanging coat, parted in the middle and draping each side of the body and a feathery tail curls over the back in the distinct manner of Tibetan breeds. The Lhasa Apso is an active dog, but its relatively small size makes it possible to meet its energy needs either with short walks or vigorous play sessions in the yard, or even home. Lhasa Apsos will please you if it pleases them to please you! They are highly intelligent, sometimes compared to a wilful toddler, they can learn just about anything that a trainer makes interesting enough to master – on their terms. Lhasa Apsos are very affectionate, loving dogs to those they know. They are also quite independent by nature and although they form very strong ties with their owners, they like to “do” their own thing. In short, Lhasas are devoted to their families without being too clingy. They have a happy nature and will just as quickly jump at the chance of a cuddle and fuss with those they love. Lhasa Apsos love to entertain and being so smart, they quickly learn how to please their owners which makes them all the more endearing to have around.

Read about the history of this breed – HERE


Most of these stats are from the UK Kennel Club. You can view stats from kennel clubs around the world at the links below, which may have different standards and classifications.

Group – UKUtility
Bred ForCompanion/Guarding
Rare BreedNo
Country of OriginTibet
TemperamentCheerful, Friendly, Confident
Exercise NeededUp to an hour a day
Size of Home NeededSmall
Height at Withers – FemalesSlightly smaller than males
Height at Withers – Males25 cm / 10 in
GroomingEvery day
CoatLong, Heavy, Straight
ColourVarious – see photos
Life SpanOver 12 – 16 years
  • Very loyal by nature which makes Lhasas great watchdogs always quick to let owners know when strangers are around.
  • Lhasas are known to suffer from “reverse sneezing” which is often referred to as the “Lhasa Snort” and the “Lhasa Puff”.
  • Because the Lhasa is not a demanding dog on the exercise front, they are the perfect choice for people who lead less active and more sedentary lives, but these little dogs do have a lot of stamina and would happily walk for miles.
  • They were once thought to be the reincarnation of Tibetan monks who had passed away.
  • They made their first appearance in the United States in 1933 when the 13th Dalai Lama presented a group of the little dogs to Mr. and Mrs. Cutting of New Jersey. The dogs owned by the Cuttings formed the foundation for the Lhasa Apsos in the United States, and the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club just a few years later in 1935.


Breed standard varies throughout the world, these links will inform you of those standards and give further information about Lhasa Apsos.


Click on any picture below to view it larger and in a slideshow, it’s worth it! 😃


Enjoy this video about Lhasa Apsos, you can view the entire playlist of videos about this breed on our YouTube Channel by clicking the button below:


Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to the Lhasa Apso breed. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site and as many websites dedicated to a specific breed are run by breeders, sometimes there’s fewer sites listed here.

Thanks for reading!

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