Lhasa Apso – A Loyal & Smart Companion

The Lhasa Apso is a wonderful companion dog that enjoys being around people and will prove himself a loyal and smart companion.

General Appearance and Description

The Lhasa Apso is well known as a guard dog. While this might be surprising if you have only known Lhasas as house dogs, but these dogs actually have a long history as guard dogs in Tibet.

In fact, for more than 2,000 years, Lhasa Apsos were bred only in Tibet to guard the temples and monasteries of the holy men and nobles. They are considered sacred animals; it was believed that when the dog’s owner died, his soul entered the body of the Lhasa Apso.

Lhasa Apso dogs were first brought England in the 1920s and they were immediately popular due to their sweet faces, long coats and easy dispositions.

The Lhasa Apso has a long, heavy coat that parts in the middle of his back and falls straight to the ground. Because the coat is heavy and high maintenance, many owners choose to keep it trimmed, but show dogs must have their coat, long, straight and to the floor.

Lhasa Apso puppies will have a coat that’s usually a different color than the adult dog’s coat. It might be white as a puppy, but develop into a multitude of colors such as brown, black and white. It’s quite common for the coat to change colors as the dog grows.

These dogs have deep-set eyes (that are sometimes hard to see under all that fur) and they have a dark beard and mustache.

The Lhasa Apso name is often misspelled. Some of the misspellings include Lhasa Apsa, Lhasha Apso, Llaso Apso and Lasa Apso.

Basic Temperament

The Lhasa Apso is a friendly, assertive dog with an intelligent and frisky personality. They make excellent pets for most households and are highly devoted dogs. They can be obedient and are very affectionate.

Lhasas are also stubborn and have a mind of their own. Training them can be a challenge, but they are intelligent and eager to learn as well.

Because they were used as watch dogs for thousands of years, the Lhasa Apso has an amazing ear and as a result, Lhasa Apsos make excellent watch dogs. They are relatively small dogs, so people might not initially take your dog seriously as a watch dog, but they do the job well.

It’s important that you establish yourself as the leader of the pack with this dog. They have strong leadership tendencies and if not taught well, will think of themselves as the pack leader. This can create a host of problems for you when training your dog or simply living with him.

Care Required

These little dogs have a good amount of hair. If you choose to keep it long, falling from the sides to the floor, you will only have to brush him regularly (at least once a day). No trimming is necessary.

Lhasa Apso breeders will tell you that the best way to keep his fur is short, and it’s easier to care for. Even with shorter fur, however, your Lhasa Apso will require a regular brushing and bathing.

Check his feet often for matting and items that can get stuck in the feet. The eyes should also be checked on a regular basis; because they are deep set and dark, they can get dirty or crusty and you won’t necessarily see it.

Exercise Requirements

If you see a Lhasa Apso for sale or Lhasa Apso puppies for sale and you think he might be a lazy lap dog, just keep walking. In fact, these dogs are active and enjoy (if not require) a daily walk.

They are very good indoors if they get a regular walk, so it’s essential that they get good activity outside the home so they can behave inside it.


Thanks to their high intelligence level, Lhasa Apsos understand the training they are given, and take to it well. That’s if you meet certain requirements.

The Lhasa Apso dog requires that you are firm and establish yourself as the leader. He’s a strong-willed dog and will respond well to firm guidance, but if you don’t provide that guidance, he’ll take charge.

These dogs are notoriously hard to housetrain.

Height and Weight

Male and female Lhasa Apso dogs will grow to be about 10 to 11 inches tall. Both male and female will weigh around 13 to 15 pounds.

Health and Longevity

Lhasa Apsos suffer a multitude of health problems. These include skin problems, kidney problems and ulcers (which can bleed). They can be prone to hip dysplasia and eye problems as well.

While they might suffer a number of health problems, the Lhasa Apso can live a long and happy life. Most dogs will live to be at least 15 years old.


The Lhasa Apso does excellent in an apartment arrangement. They are very active indoors, but will do fine with proper training and good, regular, outdoor activity.

These dogs are excellent with children and other pets and provide solid companionship for senior citizens. As noted, they are good watch dogs.

Further Information

Further information about the Lhasa Apso can be found here.

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