Lhasa Apso Dog Breed – History, Health, and Other Facts

Have you been thinking about getting a Lhasa apso pup for yourself or a loved one? You won’t regret it because this small dog is as cute as they come! Originally from Tibet, this dog breed was kept as watchdogs for Buddhist monasteries and palaces. The famous name means Lhasa dog; Lhasa is a popular city in Tibet, while apso means dogs.

Adult Lhasa apso dogs are small in appearance, weighing between 12 and 18 pounds. These pups are well known for their long Lhasa apso coats, which often hide their eyes. Thus, you’ll need to groom them regularly. Their furry coats come in many colors, i.e., black, tan, gray, brown, white, blue, and silver.

When it comes to personality, these pups make wonderful companions as they are good with kids and adults. Below is more information for pet parents who want to adopt Lhasa apsos.

Lhasa Apso Dog Breed Pictures


What Does a Lhasa Apso Look Like?

Most full-grown males weigh anything from 12-18 pounds and get to about 10-11 inches tall. Like most animals, Lhasa apso females are smaller.

But what does a Lhasa dog look like in terms of coat type, color, and other body features? This small dog breed is a beauty to behold! Their long furry coats get so long that you’ll need to tie them into a ponytail or trim it down. Grooming Lhasa apso hair often lets their eyes see clearly.

These dogs have black or brown button noses, often hiding behind their long beards. Their coats come in numerous colors, including black, brown, blue, white, red, and silver.


Before anything else, it’s best first to know the Lhasa apso personalities. This will give you a chance to understand your Lhasa apso rescue dogs. Lhasa apso puppies are so confident that they are also called bark lion sentinel dogs. They got this name from their place of origin, Tibet.

The dogs are also very charming and loyal to their owners. Since they were bred as temple guard dogs, they’ll be cautious around unknown people. They may also bark when they are bored and want to get your attention.

However, don’t be fooled by the dog’s cute, small size. Apsos are known for their independence and high intelligence, so they can trick you into doing what they want. This also means you’ll need to be patient and firm during training.

These dogs don’t become emotionally mature until they turn three. You will need to cheer them on with positive words to get them to learn new things.

Living Needs

Who is the best companion for this loyal and intelligent dog breed? Lhasas make wonderful family pets as they do well with adults and kids. The only thing to keep in mind is you’ll have to respect their boundaries. This means you’ll have to train your children to give the dogs some space every so often. With early socialization and frequent Lhaso apso training, your small-sized puppy will also do well around other pets.

Do Lhasa apso bark a lot? Yes, they do! If you leave these apartment dogs alone for too long, they’ll start barking so much they’ll annoy your neighbors. However, this doesn’t mean that Lhasas are yappy dogs; they are calm pets who warn their owners of anyone approaching.

Lhasa dogs are perfect for dog owners with a great sense of humor. You need to be playful and smart enough to tell when the pups are trying to trick you. You’ll also need to be patient with your dog as they fully mature emotionally at three years.


How to Groom a Lhasa Apso

Does Lhasa apso shed a lot? No, they don’t. However, they are pretty high maintenance when it comes to grooming needs.

Lhasa apso shedding isn’t as much as most people think. The only problem is that you’ll have to brush their long coats daily to protect them from getting tangled. You’ll also need to give them bi-monthly baths to keep their coats clean.

As for hairdos, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a red Lhasa apso or a black one. It’s up to you to go with either long hair or short hair. Lastly, you’ll also have to trim their nails and brush their teeth with dog toothpaste regularly. Don’t forget to clean their ears too.

How to Train a Lhasa Apso

The thing with the Lhasa apso dog breed is that they are very intelligent. Like some clever kids, these dogs will please you only if they want to. As such, you’ll need to be firm and play smart during Lhasa apso training.

Though these dogs are easy to train, they don’t like repetitive lessons and can become stubborn when pushed. You’ll need to be creative and make puppy training interesting enough for them to want to learn.

In short, Lhasas are the best companions for creatives and like-minded people.

How Much Exercise Does a Lhasa Apso Need?

Lhasa dogs do well with moderate exercises daily. For instance, a 20-minute walk once or twice a day should be fine. You can also include some playtime indoors or outdoors for your Lhasa puppy. These activities help them burn off energy and have fun whether they live in an apartment or a country home.

The Lhasa apso breed also needs to be mentally stimulated to remain happy and excited. The dogs were originally used to herd cattle thanks to their agility and ability to trail scents. Today, they are certified therapy dogs in hospitals and nursing homes.


What are the best Lhasa apso food options? What are Lhasa apso’s eating habits? All these are things you need to know. Your dog needs ¾ to 1 cup of dry food divided into two meals every day. However, the best thing is to visit your vet for advice.


How Long Do Lhasa Apsos Live?

What’s the life expectancy of a full-grown Lhasa apso? With proper care, most Lhasas can live for about 12-15 years. And if you’re lucky, they can get to their twenties.

Lhasa Apso Health Issues

Although Lhasas are generally healthy dog breeds, they are prone to health issues like patellar luxation and hip dysplasia. The American Lhasa Apso Club (ALAC) has found that this dog may also suffer from eye issues. Among them include glaucoma, dry eyes, pigmentary keratitis, and retinal atrophy.

Lhasa apsos may also get cherry eyes, another Lhasa apso eye problem. The sign to watch out for is a red mass in the inner corner of your dog’s eye.

Another essential thing to note is that Lhasa dogs are prone to allergies and skin conditions like sebaceous adenitis. This is a condition that causes the sebaceous glands to become inflamed.

Additionally, ALAC also reveals that Lhasas are likely to get hemorrhagic gastroenteritis (HGE). This is one of the severe health problems that affect small and medium-sized dogs. Fortunately, this disease is curable when caught in the early stages.

Like with other dogs, it’s best to buy from a reputable breeder concerned about their well-being.


The Lhasa apso history dates back to 800 BC in Tibet. During these times, these pups were bred to guard palaces and the Buddhist monasteries found on the Himalayan mountains. Ancient Tibetans even believed that if Lhasas stayed in the mountains, then they were called snow-lions. But the moment they traveled down the valleys, they became ordinary dogs.

Lhasa Apso

Tibetans viewed the dogs as sacred since they guarded holy and noble places. Though they were highly valued, Tibetan guard dogs were not for sale. The only way they left the country was if given as gifts by the Dalai Lama.

The Buddhists also believed that the souls of their lamas (priests) would first be reborn as Lhasa apsos. This would happen in the reincarnation stage before returning as humans.

Lhasa dogs got to the US in 1933 as gifts to a New Jersey couple from the Dalai Lama. Two years after, the Tibetan apso was recognized by the AKC, and ALAC was formed 26 years later.

Fun Facts About Lhasa Apso

  • The Dalai Lamas often gifted the Tibetan temple dogs in pairs to the Chinese emperors. This was done because they believed that Lhasas brought good luck and prosperity.
  • Lhasa dogs were bred with Pekingese to create Shih Tzus, who became watchdogs in Chinese empires.
  • How much is a Lhasa apso puppy? How much a Lhasa apso cost depends on several factors, like location. According to ALAC, the price runs between $1,400 and $1,800 for a puppy from a reputable breeder.

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