The Lhasa Apso is a loving dog that strongly bonds with their family; they are independent, playful and hardy. Although they are small in size they think and act like they are the biggest dogs around with lots of attitude and no fear. Thanks to their rich characters, you won’t have a dull moment with a Lhasa Apso as your companion. Some highlights:
Incredibly adaptable - can happily live in an apartment
Affectionate and loving
Although endearing and masters of getting what they want by giving their owners ‘puppy dog eyes’, Lhasa Apsos are not the best choice for first-time dog owners and there are a couple of traits to be aware of. Some downsides to the Lhasa Apso:
Not suitable for families with young children
Loud alarm bark can become a nuisance although this can be solved by training
Grooming can be time-consuming and high maintenance (particularly if you decide not to clip their long coat)
Originally from Tibet, the Lhasa Apso has a rich royal history. In the Himalayan Mountains, the breed was considered sacred and was highly revered by monks and holy men. Lhasa Apsos are loyal and fiercely protective by nature making them perfect for their use as watchdogs in monasteries and palaces. Despite being small in size, the Lhasa is lionhearted. For years the breed was difficult to find as they were not sold but bred by holy men and offered as gifts to deserving people. The Lhasa Apso was considered to bring their owners' good fortune and there was a belief that when a master died the soul of the master would enter the dog’s body. The breed became popular outside of Tibet because the 13th Dalai Lama and Tibet’s ruler would give the dogs as gifts internationally. Lhasa Apsos first appeared in the United Kingdom in the 1920s and in the United States shortly after in the 1930s.
These small, sturdy dogs are famous for their middle-parted, straight and flowing hair that is so long it reaches the floor. As well as their beautiful coat, they have dark brown eyes, ears that fall gracefully and a feathery tail that curls over the back. The Lhasa Apso is compact but well balanced making them appear elegant.
A fully-grown Lhasa Apso will be between 23 – 28cm at the withers.
The average weight of an adult Lhasa Apso is between 5 – 7kg.
They come in almost all colours, the most popular colours are gold, honey and cream.
The ever-independent Lhasa Apsos are fun-loving and charming while remaining dignified. They are often sweet, loving and affectionate but they can also be bossy and stubborn. The Lhasa Apso will give you an interesting mix of happy, mischievous and fierce.
Yes, they are alert, loyal and protective and have a loud bark.
Yes, Lhasa Apsos do have a high tendency to bark as they are generally suspicious of strangers and unusual noises. However, with proper training they can learn to bark only when appropriate.
They are stubborn, independent and can believe they are the boss which makes training a Lhasa Apso a challenge. Due to this, they are not the best breed for first-time owners. It is essential that training and socialisation starts early and that you are consistently firm and patient with your Lhasa Apso in order to be successful when training them.
Yes, Lhasa Apsos are playful and very entertaining. They are intelligent and will quickly learn how to please their owners.
Unfortunately, Lhasa Apsos are not the best breed to have around small children. They are tolerant of older children who know how to behave around them but they lack the patience for living with young children. This is largely because Lhasa Aspos do not generally enjoy the loud noise and rough handling of children, put into that situation they could become withdrawn or may even retaliate if feeling threatened.
If your Lhasa Apso has been socialised from a young age they should get on well with other pets, although they can sometimes be more dominant. Fortunately, Lhasa Apsos have a low prey drive so they can live happily with other animals. With that said, care should always be taken when introducing your dog to smaller animals such as rabbits and cats.
Yes, they are independent and generally happy doing their own thing so can be left alone during the day.
Most Lhasa Apsos do not like water.
The Lhasa Apso is considered a healthy breed but there are a few health issues that you should be aware of if you decide to bring one home.
With proper care, a balanced diet and a loving home a Lhasa Apso will typically live for 12-15 years.
As the Lhasa Apso is not a high energy dog, they are not demanding when it comes to exercise. Daily exercise in the form of a couple of short walks is enough to keep them stimulated and healthy.
Unfortunately, there are a number of health issues that affect the Lhasa Apso breed. The most common conditions include:
patent ductus arteriosus (congenital heart disease)
eye problems including progressive retinal atrophy and corneal ulcers
A Lhasa Apso does not require a lot of space, they are very adaptable and can happily live in an apartment even if there is no garden access.
Your Lhasa Apso should be fed a high quality, nutritionally balanced dog food. The amount and frequency of feeding depends on vet recommendations, the age of your dog, and if your puppy has just arrived home, the feeding schedule of the breeder.
Your Lhasa Apso puppy will need a lot of grooming to ensure their coats are kept in good condition. Their coats are long and thick and require daily brushing at home as well as regular visits to a dog groomer. Many Lhasa Apso owners clip their dogs to make their coats more manageable.
No, they do not shed.
As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £300 - £700 for a well-bred Lhasa Apso puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc.): £75 per month
You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Lhasa Apso Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Lhasa Apso puppy buying advice:
As Lhasa Aspos are very popular, be aware of scams by online sellers. If you see generic puppy photos with a lower than usual price, be very cautious. Don’t buy a puppy you have not seen in person.
Make sure the breeder is reputable and has all the necessary paperwork in place before buying a puppy. The breeder should be knowledgeable, passionate and offer you a lot of advice regarding the care of your new puppy.
A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: https://lhasa-apso-club.org.uk/ https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/display.aspx?id=4094 https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/lhasa-apso/ https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/small-dogs/lhasa-apso