Thinking of Getting a Lhasa Apso Dog?
One of the cutest looking dogs around is the Lhasa Apso. The
puppies especially are just irresistible but before one decides
to purchase a Lhasa just because the kids are begging for one,
there are some things that should be known about this particular
breed. Historically, Lhasa Apsos were kept by the monasteries and
nobility in Tibet as indoor watch dogs. They would sleep by their
masters and with their high intelligence plus keen sense of
hearing, would warn of any intruders. Lhasa Apsos were never
bought or sold in Tibet. Instead, the Dalai Lama sent Lhasa Apsos
in pairs to the emperors of China as gifts. High ranking visitors
to Tibet also received them as gifts.
They are also referred to as the little bark sentinel lion
dogs since fully grown Lhasa Apsos could resemble small lions
with all their hair. Lhasa Apso dogs can also behave very much
like lions exhibiting no fear when confronted by strangers or
even larger dogs. Despite its small size with adult females
reaching 12 to 16 pounds and adult males ranging from 14 to 18
pounds, they are extremely hardy as well as rugged. Having
existed in the extreme temperatures of Tibet for centuries, they
are well suited for and actually enjoy romps in the snow. They
are also long lived. Both of my Lhasa Apsos lived past the age of
fifteen years. I have heard reports of others living even longer.
In appearance, the Lhasa Apso is very similar to the Shih Tzu
breed. The face of a Lhasa Apso is not as flat as that of the
Shih Tzu. It is believed that the Chinese crossed the Lhasa Apso
with the Pekinese which resulted in the Shih Tzu with its flatter
One thing that all prospective owners should definitely know
is that having a fur ball like a Lhasa Apso will require lots of
maintenance. The long hair of this breed requires constant care.
If left unattended even for a few days, the Lhasa Apso hair will
mat up in clumps that cannot be untangled. Their floppy ears are
also prone to infections and their eyes can develop problems. If
a prospective owner is not willing to make a commitment to the
high maintenance of a Lhasa Apso, a shorter hair breed is
The Lhasa Apso is considered by some breeders to be more
stubborn and difficult to train than other dogs. Do not let all
that cuteness give you the wrong impression as they are the
little lion dogs after all. This breed has been revered and
highly regarded for centuries in Asia. The genetics may have
resulted in some arrogance in them. One must be assertive in the
proper training of the Lhasa Apso as this breed will test the new
master. Lhasa Apsos are completely loyal and affectionate with
their masters but many will not be fond of strangers no matter
how obedient they are. This may be part of their watch dog
tendency. One of my Lhasa Apsos was quite friendly with visitors
but the other one wouldn't even acknowledge their presence.
The breed may also not be appropriate with small children.
Small children may get clumsy and accidentally poke Lhasas in the
eyes or squeeze them too hard. Lhasas will not take this behavior
lightly as they are not as patient with kids compared to say
Labrador retrievers. Some Lhasas have been known to bite clumsy
kids. Lhasa Apso dogs can be very good with children as long as
they are treated with respect and care.
Despite these characteristics of the Lhasa Apso, they are
excellent dogs to have as they can be one of the most loyal
companions as long as it is recognized that they are high
maintenance and may not be suitable for some families.
Clint Leung is a long time Lhasa Apso lover and owner of Free
Spirit Gallery http://www.FreeSpiritGallery.ca,
an online gallery specializing in Inuit Eskimo and Northwest
Native American art including carvings, sculpture and prints.
Free Spirit Gallery has numerous information resource articles
with photos of authentic Inuit and Native Indian art as well as
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