Lhasa Apso Breed Details

Normal weight for adults
Average height
Expected lifespan
Average Lhasa Apso puppy price
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Lhasa Apso is a small dog from Tibet that has charisma, a glamorous appearance, and self-sufficiency.

Brief information

The breed name is Lhasa Apso Country of origin is Tibet Weight is about 6-7 kg Height (height at the withers) is from 20 to 26 cm Life expectancy is 12-14 years

Key points

The name of this dog breed is formed from the words lhasa, designating the Tibetan capital, and apso, which means «bearded». According to the alternative version, Lhasa Apso can also translate as a «dog like a goat». Shih Tzu dogs are considered descendants of Lhasa Apso, as are Pekinese dogs. These dogs are descendants of the Southern shepherds. This explains some of the unique traits of the Lhasa Apso breed and its quality as a natural leader. The Lhasa Apso are wary of strangers and even after socialization, they do not stop suspecting outsiders of being malicious. The owners who are worried about the thieves breaking into their homes will surely love these dogs. These dogs consider it their sacred duty to bark at all people entering the house. This breed of dogs is intended for living in the city, although representatives of this breed will be happy to live in the countryside. They like to walk outdoors, but they’re not very demanding of long walks. This breed does not get along well with children. That’s why owners who already have small children are better off not buying these shaggy charms.

Lhasa Apso is a self-sufficient, smart dog, loyal companion, and true owner. It has the courage of a shepherd dog and the appearance of a plush toy. These dogs are sly and do not like to be dependent on their owners, but they know how to find an approach to each person. However, if the owner is unwary, Apso will begin to lead its two-legged. To prevent this from happening, you must train the dog in time with the correct approach. This will give you an empathetic friend.

Characteristics of breed

Aggressiveness: minimal (1/5)

Education: mild (3/5)

Need for care: high (5/5)

Health: below the average (2/5)

Attitude to solitude: below the average (2/5)

Noisiness: above the average (4/5)

Activity: mild (3/5)

Molting: mild (3/5)

Friendliness: high (5/5) 

Owning cost: below the average (2/5)

Intellect: mild (3/5) 

Security skill: mild (3/5)

History of the Lhasa Apso breed

This breed originates in Tibet. In ancient times, in Tibetan monasteries, the monks had these little dogs because they were sociable and had strong personality. It is known, for example, that the gates of Buddhist monasteries were always guarded by Tibetan mastiffs, while the status of the guardians of the Dalai Lamas’ apartments was guarded by Lhasa Apsos. All people compared these dogs to Tibetan monasteries because people believed that the animals were inhabited by the souls of their deceased masters, thus continuing their earthly life.

Tibetans praised these dogs so much that they were classified as sacred animals whose sale was severely punished by superiors. However, sometimes Lhasa Apso were given to other people as gift, but mostly Europeans were. This is why the dogs arrived in the West only towards the end of the 19th century.

Curious fact: Lhasa Apsos were often called dining admirers in their homeland. It was believed that Buddhist monks specifically trained these to sigh sorely to discourage believers. Those who were interested in such strange dog sobbing received a strange incredible answer from the monks. They said the dog hadn’t eaten in a long time but its upbringing prevents him from whining and begging. It is understood that, following such stories, the number of monastic donations soon increased.

The first Europeans to whom Lhasa Apso was given were from Britain. However, they did not find pure Lhasa but mixed breeds. Some of them reached the height of half a meter. The British decided to divide the furry dogs into breeds in 1930. It was then that larger dogs were named Tibetan terriers, and smaller dogs were named Lhasa Apso. In the rest of Europe, the Dalai Lamas’ dogs were brought in years later. For example, breeders from Germany meet the breed near 1940, and the French only in 1950-1960. The United States became the most unlucky country, as it was not until around 1970 that this breed was introduced. At first, the Americans failed to distinguish Shi Tzu from Lhasa Apso and mixed two breeds. It was not until 1969 that the Americans obtained a pure Lhasa Apso.

The breed standard of the Lhasa Apso

The modern Lhasa Apso is a short but muscular dog that has a long forelock. It is impossible not to note the clear external similarity of these dogs with their relatives named Shi Tzu. However, if representatives of the breed will be placed side by side, the contrast between them will be brighter. The fact is that Lhasa Apso is much larger and has a very long muzzle. The best height for a male is 25 cm. In general, the height at the withers is considered acceptable if it does not exceed 27.3 cm. Females are slightly lower and weigh less. The male weighs between 6.4 and 8.2 kg and the female has a maximum weight of 6.4 kg.


The dog’s skull is rather narrow but not flat. The muzzle is flat and 4 cm long, which is makes up ⅓ part of the head length. The head of these dogs is covered with luxurious long fur with a falling forelock, mustache, and beard. Despite the size of the forelocks, these dogs are very good at seeing all the objects in front of them.


These dogs have black noses.

Teeth and jaws

The standard bite type for Lhasa Apso is the inverse bite. The maxilla incisors are external to the inside of the lower incisor teeth. This is how they form the so-called «scissors» shapes. The line of incisors is broad and straight. The standard requires that all teeth be presented in the dog.


The eyes of dogs are medium-sized, they are not convex and do not have a deep position at the same time. The eyelids have an oval shape, and the eyeballs look straight. All of this makes us realize that these dogs have balanced eyes. The standard requires that the eye whites are not visible either from above or in the lower century. The standard requires that the white portion of the eye шы not visible from above or in the lower eyelid area.


Dogs of this breed are characterized by hanging ears. The fur on the ears is very thick and it evenly covers the skin of this part of the body.


The neck should have a strong bend and look strong.


Lhasa Apso has a strong body, which is always compact. Lhasa’s backline is smooth and its lumbar is hardy. The ribs of these dogs are strongly pulled back.


These dogs move at one’s ease. The forelimbs have moderately pronounced scapula and straight forearms. The hindlimbs have strong muscles and large joints. Hocks are practically parallel to each other, but there is a wide space between them. This is especially noticeable when you look at the dog in the back. Like the body, the feet are covered with a rich coat.


The tail is located high in this breed of dogs. The tail is above the back level at all times and never wrapped in a ring. If the tip of the tail is shaped like a hook, that’s bad.


Lhasa Apso has a warm and thick coat. This is because these dogs were once accustomed to the harsh temperature conditions of Tibet. The top layer of fur grows long, hard, and not silky at all. The Lhasa has an underfur but it is soft and well maintains the desired temperature for the dog.


 Lhasa Apso can have any color of fur. The most typical colors are gold, brown, black, white, dark grey, two-colored, sandy, blue-grey.

Major disqualifying defects

The show’s jury may not allow owners to participate in the show unless their dogs have severe exterior flaws and deformities. It is also considered a defect if the dog is over 30 cm tall if it has cryptorchidism, the character of coward, constant aggression towards humans.

The nature of the Lhasa Apso

 The appearance of the breed does not reflect the characteristics of its members. If you want to buy a friend to lie on the couch all day and not worry about anything, you’re going to be disappointed. Lhasa is like a shepherd. That’s why these dogs are so loyal to their owner and don’t trust strangers at the same time. They also like to be the leaders of all the people who get in their way.

Lhasa Apso is a very social dog that cannot survive without a human being. It is not that the breed does not get along with children; rather it does not consider it necessary to pamper these little people with its attention and patience. Dogs of this breed have a strong proprietary instinct, and it would be a disaster for them if children touched their toys and entered their territory. Besides, most of the fun conflicts between these two «clans» occur precisely because of the unwillingness to give in to each other.

However, Lhasa Apso is very good friends with teenagers. These dogs are much more respectful of them than of babies. However, teenagers should not train a dog because Apso doesn’t listen people of this age. Especially since this breed never makes itself the owner of two or three people at once. You’d better immediately tie Apso to one person if you live in a large family. It is also worth mentioning that Apso gets along well with other pets due to their lack of hunting instinct.

You should make friends with the dogs if another four-legged pet lives in your house. Apso is especially good with large breeds of dogs. Of course, from time to time, the pet will behave like a greedy kid and will nag at all those who enter its territory. But there’s nothing you can do about it because this kind of behavior isn’t corrected. Claw-and-teeth conflicts are also possible, although not all individuals are likely to fight. At the same time, Apso has a strong grip (almost like a pit bull).

Lhasa Apso are dogs that love to play. They understand humor and adore participating in pranks because it makes them fun. However, all these qualities are displayed by the animals of their own free will and never yield to the whim of their owner. You don’t have to buy that dog if you want to get some kind of jester.

Training and education

Representatives of this breed very smart and astute animals. But by their very nature, they tend to be leaders, and even to be suppressed, if possible. At the same time, socializing, nurturing, and training the breed is vital, because if the owner does not teach his dog the rules of behavior, then the impudent out of dog. In addition, you must not appease the dog, so that it does not develop the so-called small dog syndrome, which manifests itself in spoiledness and uncontrollable behavior.

When you’re raising a puppy, you should pay attention to behavior correction. Don’t let the dog bite you, don’t pick up a barking dog on your hands, don’t avoid meeting other dogs, bigger ones. Lhasa Apso must understand that for his owner, it is not the center of the universe, but only a younger comrade.

Representatives of this breed never act under duress, which makes the training process much more difficult, so you must conduct the training in such a way that Lhasa Apso is interesting. Don’t make command if you’re absolutely sure the puppy won’t do it. Always set achievable goals and motivate your pet to act. Remember that a dog must fulfill a requirement, even if it won’t be perfect. This discipline prevents the pet from thinking that the owner’s commands can be ignored.

You must praise the dog in the process of training. But don’t do it too hard because if you don’t, if you feed the dog delicious food, it will lose interest in a regular ration. Also, remember that punishment must be applied with only extreme caution. The fact is that this breed never allows itself to be humiliated. If you take a swing at an animal, it will lose all credibility for you.

It’s a very clever dog, and to make it think that it’s wrong, you just have to give the dog a straight and stern voice to reprimand it. In extreme cases, a shaggy disciplinarian can be slightly snapped on the nose with a nail or a newspaper. Do not use the leash for physical abuse. If you do this, the dog will refuse to walk on a leash (due to negative association).

Care and maintenance

This breed enjoys comfort like any other decorative pet. Besides, it’s an avid proprietor, so you have to provide the dog with toys, personal bowls for food and water. This is to make the dog feel as free as possible in the house. If someone decides to take away from Apso its «property», the dog will invariably be subjected to aggressive barking.

However, these furry animals have moderate energy reserves. Often even one walk per day is enough for some of these breeds. At home, it is recommended to provide the pet a tray. This breed of dog has a small bladder, so it does not tolerate its overflow.

Grooming and hygiene

The main advantage of Apso’s fur is that it has no smell. Even if the animal had to miss the planned bathing, its fur not be exuded by the true canine amber. However, you have a lot of attention to pay to the regular combing of this dog’s hair. This breed is not for lazy people.

The outer layer of the fur has hairs that in diameter. The underfur is not thick too. And yet these dogs often have snarls. There is a particular type of breed that has an excessively developed underfur that cannot be combed by a brush. Such dogs are cut, although radical fur shortening is contraindicated for the breed, according to the common rule.

You have to train Apso to stand the grooming from an early age. These dogs hate grooming, and they often complain about it. That’s why you have to teach a dog to stand the combing its fur when it is a puppy. You have to comb your dog in the direction of hair growth. Make a clean hair parting on the dog’s back. At the age of a dog of three months, you can tie its forelock with a hairband. A mustache and a beard should be tied as well, as it will make them less dirty during feeding. You have to wipe your dog’s chin clean with a rag every time a pet drank water and ate its food.

It is difficult to care for white-haired dogs. Their fur is instantly becomes yellow from the wrong diet and cosmetic products. The owners of these animals will have to spend money on dry shampoos and talcum powder to whiten the dog’s hair. Such dogs should also be bathed more often.

This breed must be washed once a month and must be conditioned so that the fur does not knot. If you plan to take a dog to a show, you must bathe the dog even once a week. You can also dry the dog’s fur with a hairdryer but not for long. Washing the anus and genitalia area of the dog will need more to keep its appearance clean. In addition, the fur under the tail should be cut regularly for hygienic purposes. This will make it easier for the dog to go to the toilet.

You also have to remove the fur between the fingers of the dog on a regular basis. Rounded scissors are suitable. You can leave fur on dog’s feet only if winter comes near. In such cases, fur will perform the function of natural insulation.

The owner must always wipe the eyes and ears of the dog if dust has fallen into them or if sulfur appears from them. A few times a week a pet is advised to clean its teeth. To do that, use a simple baby toothbrush because these dogs hate the procedure of cleaning their teeth and can bite you if you put your fingers in the mouth of this animal.


A suitable diet for the Lhasa Apso breed is both dry food and natural products. The first option is preferred by the owners of the dogs for the show. It will always be easier for such owners to organize the favorite’s meals with industrial feeds on trips around the country. Nevertheless, the natural menu has its advantages, since the owner is in control of the quality of the products purchased. There is only one downside to this feeding system. It is a constant necessity to add purchased vitamins and mineral complexes to the diet. The thing is, these dogs are very sensitive to the lack of useful substances in normal food.

There is a basis on which you must build the entire Apso diet.

Lean meat and liver. Fish fillet (once a week or less). Porridge (buckwheat, rice, oats). Fermented milk products with a small value of fats. Quail eggs. Greens, vegetables, berries, and fruits (potatoes, legumes, citrus fruit, grapes are exclude).

If your dog has fur problems, add unrefined vegetable oil and fish oil to the dog’s food. If you want to occasionally pamper your dog with delicious food, then soft cartilage and veins are ideal for this purpose (it is both healthy and delicious). It should also be remembered that at least 50% of the dog’s diet is meat (ideally it is raw meat)

Health and illness of the Lhasa Apso

The health of representatives of this breed is excellent, but even this fact does not guarantee that the dog will definitely live the years allotted to it by never getting sick. There are several most common illnesses among the Apso.

Willebrand disease; distichiasis; dislocated patella; progressive retinal atrophy; joint dysplasia; hypoplasia; urinary disease.

Occasionally, the dog may get dyspnea and difficulty breathing. The reason for this is the special type of structure of the head of these dogs.

How to choose a puppy

The owner, who plans to buy a pair of puppies at once, must buy a female and a male at the same time. Same-sex dogs fight more often. If you are planning to breed dogs, you should buy dogs for at least 10 months (it is often difficult to understand the peculiarities of the exterior of the Apso baby). Those owners who do not plan to breed Lhasa Apso and travel on the shows should ask the seller for a puppy-dog metric demonstration. This will help the customer to be sure of the pet’s purebloods. When choosing a puppy, you must remember that as an animal grows older, its fur often changes its color. Pay particular attention to the size of the nose of the dog. A puppy three months old should not have a snout longer than 2.8 cm. There is a recommendation that you should meet the puppy’s parents or at least see their pictures. It would be better if the breeder provided amateur photos, not studio photos, where the pet is perfectly combed and his defects of appearance are disguised. You must examine the selected puppy in detail. This breed is classified by appearance type. There are dogs with very thick hair. There are dogs with cute look on their faces. They’re all different. You mustn’t be mistaken for a puppy that looks too nice. If the puppy is too fluffy, in the future such thick fur will cause you many problems.

The Lhasa Apso cost

Although this breed of dog is rare, you can find quite a lot of announcements about its sale on the Internet. Generally, a puppy costs between 400 and 700 dollars. If you’re looking for a dog with no documents, prepare to spend only 250 dollars.