The Lhasa apso is known in his native Tibet as “Abso Seng Kye,” or “Bark Lion Sentinel Dog”.
The Lhasa apso’s main purpose was to watch over (thanks to their exceptional hearing and heightened senses in general) the household of his master. The Tibetan Mastiff guarded the grounds and warned its smaller counterpart of any impending danger that may be about. To the Tibetan people, the Lhasa apso was and still is the “holy dog,” Often the Lhasa apso was presented as a precious gift to visitors. He was considered a token of good fortune. The Lhasa apso is believed to bring peace and prosperity to his household. It was not until 1935 that the Lhasa apso was recognized by the American Kennel Club.
Noteworthy characteristics of the Lhasa apso are his keen senses, friendly yet assertive nature and his trainability.
The skull of the Lhasa apso is narrow with a straight foreface. The length from tip of the nose to the eye should be one third the total length of the head from nose to back of skull. The ears hang pendant like along the side of the head. The eyes are medium sized, almond shaped and dark brown in color. The bite is even to slightly undershot. The body length is longer than the height. The legs are nearly straight with round feet. The tail is carried well over the back in a curled fashion (screw). The coat is heavy, mainly straight, and when allowed to grow, long and dense. Accepted coat colors include golden, sandy, honey, dark grizzle, slate, smoke, parti-color, black, white or brown. Thick hair falls over the eyes and will also form a long beard. The ears are heavily covered with hair as are the legs, feet and tail. Average height is between ten and eleven inches. Average weight is between thirteen and fifteen pounds.
Description: The Lhasa apso is characteristically keenly watchful. The well bred Lhasa apso has been changed little from his original Tibetan predecessors and, because of this, Lhasa apsos are very hardy. They are easily trained and responsive to kindness. Loyally focused on their master’s approval they will patiently wait for some show of appreciation for their efforts to please. The Lhasa apso is social, with longevity of 12 – 15 years, adaptable and good in families with children. Naturally a happy go lucky dog they can be territorial and protective. A Lhasa apso prefers its own dishes and does not always respond favorably to sharing its food. Food can be a cause for disputes between the Lhasa and other family pets.
Country of Origin: Tibet
History: The Lhasa apso is the most popular of the breeds indigenous to Tibet. The Tibetan Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel and Lhasa apso all share common ancestors. Sometimes known as the Tibetan Apso, the name “apso” means goat-like. It is believed that Lhasa apso may have been named for their coat, which resembles that of the goats kept by Tibetan herders. In Tibet the Lhasa apso was a treasured dog of the privileged classes. The Lhasa apso has been bred in a domestic environment for generations, and has a very high social status in his native country. He first came to Britain in the 1930’s and then later to America by 1935.
First Registered by the AKC: 1935
AKC Group: non-sporting
Registries: AKC, ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 9), KC (GB), UKC
AKC: Group 6 – Non-Sporting Dogs
CKC: Group 6 – Non-Sporting Dogs
KC: Non-Sporting – Utility Group
FCI: Group 9
ANKC: Group 7 – Non Sporting