Lhasa Apso Dog Breed

By: Caitlin UltimoPublished:


Lhasa Apso Dog Breed

About the Lhasa Apso Dog Breed

The Lhasa Apso is thought to have existed since the 7th century in Tibet. This breed was known as the “little lion dog” by Tibetan Buddhists. They were commonly used as watchdogs at Buddhist temples and monasteries because of their keen sense of hearing. Their bark is strong, making them excellent sentinels. This breed has continued to be a very popular companion in modern times.

Lhasa Apso Physical Characteristics

The Lhasa Apso is has a small, sturdy body type. They have round black eyes and small drop ears. The tail is full and is held high, curling over the back.


Lhasa Apsos are most commonly seen in sandy blond, brown and white, smoke, honey, white, black or a combination of these.


The Lhasa Apso’s coat is long, straight, and dense. The coat is normally kept very long with a part down the middle from the head to the tail. Often the hair on the face is long, covering the eyes. Many owners will tie the hair up in a ribbon rather than cut it short, but it is also common to see the hair above the eyes cut to create an appearance of heavy “eyebrows.”

Lhasa Apso Personality and Temperament

Activity Level



The Lhasa Apso is affectionate and loyal toward their families. They make good lap dogs for adults and older owners. They are not a particularly patient breed, so they are not always good with children and they are wary of strangers.

Things to Consider

The Lhasa Apso needs a lot of grooming to keep the hair from getting tangled and matted, which can be a challenge because they do not like to be bathed or groomed.  They don’t generally make good dogs for children, and because of their fearless and protective nature, they will need early and consistent obedience training to prevent aggression with strangers and active children.

Lhasa Apso Care

Ideal Living Condition

Lhasa Apsos do well in the country or city.

Special Requirements

The breed requires extensive grooming to keep its long coat under control.

Lhasa Apso Health

The following conditions are commonly seen in Lhasa Apsos:

Lhasa Apso History and Background

Although the Lhasa Apso’s exact origin is unknown, it is believed to be an ancient dog breed. Once considered an integral part of Tibetan monasteries and villages, the breed was thought to incorporate the souls of reincarnated Buddhist Lamas after their deaths. Due to their keen sense of hearing, Lhasa Apsos also functioned as monastery watchdogs, barking to alert monks of incoming visitors. It was thus named Abso Seng Kye or “Bark Lion Sentinel Dog.”

Some theorize the breed may have derived its Western name from of its wool-like coat and from the corrupted form of the Tibetan word rapso, which means goat.

When it was first introduced to England, the breed was referred to as the Lhasa Terrier, though it is not a true terrier. The original Lhasa Apsos arrived in 1930 as a gift from Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama, to C. Suydam Cutting, a wealthy American naturalist. In 1935, the breed was put under the American Kennel Club Terrier Group, but in 1959, it was transferred to the Non-Sporting Group. Today, the breed is a popular pet and show dog. The Lhasa Apso Homero del Alcazar even became World Champion at the World Dog Show in 2005.

By: Chewy Editorial


By: Caitlin UltimoPublished:

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