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Lhasa Apso: Breed Characteristics, Training, Care & Nutrition

The Lhasa Apso finds its origins in Tibet and is a recognized breed of dog. The dogs are originally used as companion dogs and are assigned to FCI group 9, companion and companion dogs. There they belong to section 5, Tibetan dog breeds without a working test.

Lhasa Apso dog breed

Size: 25-28cm
Weight: 08/05/2017 kg
FCI Group: 9: Companion and Companion Dogs
Section: 5: Tibetan dog breeds
Country of origin: China (Tibet)
Colors: Black, Gold, Sand, Honey, Dark Grizzle, Brown and Multicolor
Life expectancy: 12-14 years
Suitable as: therapy, companion, house and guard dog
Sports: –
Character: Energetic, Playful, Fearless, Friendly, Confident, Intelligent, Lively, Spirited, Devoted
Outlet Needs: Medium
Drooling potential: low
The thickness of hair: medium
Maintenance effort: high
Coat Structure: Long, heavy, straight and hard top coat with a moderate amount of undercoat
Child-friendly: rather yes
Family dog: rather yes
Social: medium

Origin and breed history

The breed has a tradition going back thousands of years as Tibetan temple dogs. The optics play an important role, because the Lhasa Apso is supposed to be reminiscent of the lion of Buddha. The animals were bred in Tibet’s monasteries and beyond by nobles. Although Lhasa is the capital of Tibet, the dog breed is not originally from there. In the monasteries and in the palaces, the breed could fulfill the tasks of a real guard dog.

The Lhasa Apso can make themselves heard by barking loudly. In fact, the animals were never sold, but always given away as a sign of great respect. In the monasteries, the old monks believed that those who do not strictly follow the monastic rules will be reborn as a little lion dog. It was not until 1920 that the first representatives of this breed were shipped to Europe and found numerous followers. However, proper breeding of the breed did not take place until 1950. The breed has best established itself in Great Britain.

What is a Lhasa Apso?

The Lhasa Apso is a dog recognized by the FCI standard. The dog breed comes from the Tibetan highlands and was kept there as a guard dog. The dogs are very independent and have a characteristically long and soft coat that wraps around the face like a lion’s mane.

Nature & Temperament of the Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso may appear small at first glance, but there is a lion heart in this dog’s body. The breed is intelligent, proud, and independent of humans. Although the dogs are quite stubborn, they are happy companions for young and old. Lhasa Apso decide for themselves to whom they swear allegiance. This is due to the long independence of the dog breed.

The animals appear distant to suspicious of strangers, which is why they should be socialized early on when they are puppies. The breed is characterized by great empathy, as they can quickly assess people’s emotions. The breed requires a consistent, loving upbringing, because the dogs do not forgive mistakes. Inexperienced owners should keep their hands off this dog breed.

The appearance of the Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso has a small and compact build with a height of 24 to 28 cm at the withers. The small dogs usually weigh five to seven kilograms. The males are always a bit more compact, larger and heavier than the females.

The long and soft coat of hair is the most costly and at the same time most beautiful thing about these animals. The standard calls for a “handy” structure. The dogs have a rich undercoat with a clearly developed neck mane, which at the same time represents the breed characteristic. The face and eyes are hardly recognizable due to the many hairs. Of course, a long chin beard and whiskers are part of a real-looking lion dog.

The Lhasa Apso come in solid, gold, honey, and sand colors. The four-legged friends have dark hair tips on the muzzle and on the ears. But white and lemon-yellow animals also occur. Rust-colored or any shade of brown can also characterize the coat of the dog breed.

When is a Lhasa Apso fully grown?

The Lhasa Apso is considered fully grown at around one year old. By then, both his mental and physical appearance are developing and he is considered a youngster. Dogs go through several phases in their lives until they are fully mature, in which they must be socialized at an early stage.

Training & husbandry of the Lhasa Apso – this is important to note

The Lhasa Apso possess above-average intelligence compared to other dog breeds. In fact, the animals quickly understand what their masters and mistresses want from them. Whether the dog obeys a command detracts from whether the master and mistress show a constructive and continuous education. The Lhasa Apso do not forgive mistakes in their upbringing. Exceptions to the rule should be avoided by keepers, because they remember the Lhasa Apso and will insist on this in the future. If you give this dog breed a finger, they will take your whole hand.

A slavish subservience will never set in with these animals, the dogs are far too independent for that. However, mutual respect is a basic attitude that both the owner and the dog should adhere to. Learning together with this dog breed can be a great experience if the owner can empathize with the animal and understand it. Brash comments or even violence bring no goals and endanger the bond between humans and animals. With the appropriate use of praise in the right place, the Lhasa Apso can be encouraged.

Visiting a dog school is a good idea. You should register your dog there when you are a puppy. In a dog school, the most important basic commands are learned and at the same time an early socialization of the animals is promoted. By playing together, the Lhasa Apso have contact with other dogs. At the same time, the owners are supported in keeping their dogs and can therefore make fewer mistakes in the correct training.

Diet of the Lhasa Apso

Like all other dogs, the Lhasa Apso are pure carnivores. Therefore, the right and, above all, species-appropriate diet is an essential part of a healthy dog. Meat should be the main component of the daily diet. Regardless of whether the master and mistress decide on wet food or dry food, meat should always be at the top of the list of ingredients!

Puppies initially get three to four servings a day. The servings are then gradually reduced to up to two servings. The amount of food depends heavily on the weight and age of the dog. Dogs should be weighed regularly to avoid excessive weight loss or weight gain. The information on the respective packaging is a guideline. If you have any questions or problems, keepers should always contact the breeder or a veterinarian.

Healthy snacks are also allowed as a reward. These contain no sugar. For example, dry chews such as pig’s ears are suitable. Water must always be freely available to the four-legged friend.

Health – life expectancy & common diseases

This breed was shaped by its original way of life in the rough Tibetan mountains. Despite its size, it is particularly robust. At the same time, it is considered to be very robust. The four-legged friends can even survive icy winters and hot summers without any problems. Despite this, owners should never expose a Lhasa Apso to too much sun and protect their dog from overheating.

Due to its short nose, it can happen that the Lhasa Apso is restricted by the so-called brachycephalic syndrome. Due to an extreme breeding to that effect, the health was severely attacked. Due to the severely shortened nose, the dog can also tend to have narrowed nostrils. A too small trachea diameter or an extended soft palate are often the result. Potential owners can also contact the breeder directly and ask them about the head shape. This plays a decisive role in whether the dog can show strong or limited health. If it is a perfectly healthy Lhasa Apso, the dogs are very long-lived and can live up to 18 years.

How Old Do Lhasa Apso Dogs Get?

The dogs are generally in good health and can live up to 15 years if kept in a natural and species-appropriate manner. In addition to a good and species-appropriate diet, the most important basic algae is the interaction of the genes.

Care of the Lhasa Apso

Already when buying a Lhasa Apso, the owners should pay attention to the coat of the parents. It should already be standard. The coat of fur should be harsh and smooth, not fluffy. In fact, the Lhasa Apso’s traditional coat is easy to care for. The coat should be brushed twice a week. It is best for master and mistress to use a brush that is appropriate for the dog and lay the dog on its side. There are also so-called grooming sprays. These moisten the fur and it can therefore be brushed better.

The Lhasa Apso should be bathed as little as possible. Only when it is really necessary are the animals placed in the tub and bathed with an appropriate shampoo. However, most dirt can be brushed out with a brush. In the daily care of the four-legged friend, the eyes, claws and ears must also be checked. The eyes must always have a clear view. The prominent floppy ears in particular are prone to inflammation or parasite infestation and should therefore be checked regularly.

The claws can become very long, especially in older dogs, because the appropriate movement is missing. Clipping the claws is therefore indispensable to protect the dog from injury. Dental care can already be carried out on the puppies. There are toothbrushes for dogs on the market. As a result, the longevity of the teeth can be significantly extended and the dogs can buy and eat well even at an advanced age.

What type of coat does a Lhasa Apso have?

The coat of a Lhasa Apso is soft and strong at the same time. It has a dense undercoat, which is why the animals can deal with a strong winter. They are subject to a lot of shedding and lose a lot of hair, especially in winter and summer.

Lhasa Apso – Activities and Training

The Lhasa Apso is not considered a lap dog. The dogs prefer to exercise a lot and want to get some fresh air in wind and weather. The most important contribution that an owner has to make is to provide sufficient exercise for the dog. The species-appropriate utilization of the dog breed is an essential part of a species-appropriate attitude. Due to the bright nature of the dogs, they can be taken on any hikes and even love to support their owners with their presence with any work. However, the dogs are not particularly playful. In addition, they are not suitable for dog sports. Dog dancing and agility are not for the animals.

Good to know: Special features of the Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is very stubborn and independent. He is difficult to subdue and it takes a lot of time and patience to make a Lhasa Apso submissive. Owners must invest a great deal of time and patience in training these dogs. The animals are particularly wary of strangers. Due to their high level of intelligence and the gift of perceiving the feelings of their family at an early stage, the dogs exploit even the smallest mistake in their upbringing for themselves.

Disadvantages of the Lhasa Apso

In its homeland of Tibet, the Lhasa Apso were kept purely as guard dogs. Hence the breed-typical barking. By nature, the animals are not known as “barkers”, but the four-legged friend wants to make sure that his new family hears him when danger threatens. The animals are extremely skittish and tend to have strong reactions. Even a fallen vase can trigger the barking.

Is the Lhasa Apso right for me?

The proud dogs fit best with people who can appreciate a strong and independent dog. Beginners will find it difficult to train them, which is why it is advisable to have some experience in training and keeping a dog. In advance, masters and mistresses should deal with dog training and the peculiarities of the breed. It is also possible to register in a dog school to get support.

The children in the household should be older. Small children are often too lively and loud for the dog. The Lhasa Apso are also suitable for older people who bring a lot of time with them and like to be out in the fresh air. Due to the high maintenance effort, owners will have to invest a lot of time. In addition, there are regular walks and intellectual activities.

People who are heavily involved in their jobs usually do not do justice to the time management of a Lhasa Apso. Potential owners should clarify who will look after the dog on vacation or in the event of sudden illness. The animals also do not like to be alone for long periods of time. Owners should keep an eye on the costs: in addition to the acquisition costs, high-quality food and regular visits to the veterinarian have other regular costs for masters and mistresses. The small dogs get along well both in a city apartment and in a house in the country.

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