The Lhasa Apso is a small-sized dog that is characterized by its long and abundant coat. This little dog looks like a miniature version of the Old English Sheepdog and is originally from Tibet. Although not well known throughout the world, the Lhasa Apso is a very popular dog in its own region and, despite its diminutive size, makes one of the best companions.
In this article we will discover everything you need to know about the Lshasa Apso, a dog that despite its small size has an exceptionally brave and unique character.
History of the Lhasa Apso
The Lhasa Apso hails from the city of Lhassa in Tibet and was originally bred as a guard dog for Tibetan monasteries. It is one of the best examples that a small dog can be a great guardian.
While the Tibetan Mastiff was used as a guard outside monasteries, the Lhasa apso was preferred to guard inside. In addition, they were used in public relations, since dogs of this breed were given to important visitors from other countries. In his homeland he is still known as Abso Seng Kye, which translates similarly to “dog-lion sentinel”.
Although originally bred as a guard dog, today’s Lhasa Apso makes an excellent companion dog. The long and dense coat that was very useful in keeping this dog warm and avoiding the strong solar radiation in Tibet, is seen today as a most attractive feature of these small but brave dogs.
Characteristics of a Lhasa Apso
The Lhasa Apso’s head is covered with abundant hair, which also covers its eyes and forms a well-marked beard and mustache. Its head is joined to the body by a strong, well-arched neck. The lhasa apso’s snout is short and its nose is black. His bite appears to be a reverse scissor bite (the upper incisors close just behind the lower ones).
The eyes of the Lhasa apso are oval, medium in size and dark. His ears hang down and are covered with tufts of hair. His body is small, and longer than his height. It is covered with abundant and long hair. As we have mentioned, the Lhasa apso has a long, coarse-textured coat that covers its entire body and falls to the ground. The most popular colors of this breed are gold, white and honey, but others such as dark gray, multi-colored, black and brown are also accepted.
The tail of a Lhasa apso is set high and the dog carries it on his back. Often folded at its end, it is covered with abundant fur that forms tufts along its entire length.
The height at the withers of the males is around 25 centimeters and the females are a little smaller. These dogs generally weigh around 6.5 kilograms.
Character of a Lhasa Apso
Although it is a small dog, the Lhasa Apso is not a lapdog. Given its use as a guard dog, the Lhasa Apso has evolved as a confident, strong and active dog that requires physical and mental exercise. However, today it is classified as a companion dog due to its size and appearance.
This breed of dog tends to be independent, so early socialization is very important. Although they are affectionate, they tend to be a bit wary of strangers.
The small size of this breed suggests that it is suitable as a companion for children. This, however, is not entirely true in all cases. A properly socialized Lhasa Apso will make good company for any family, but children pose an apparent (and often real) threat to most small-sized dogs. Therefore, the Lhasa Apso is more suitable (in our view) for families with older children who are mature enough to properly care for this type of dog.
Lhasa Apso Care
It is important to highlight the difficulty of caring for the Lhasa apso’s hair. These dogs need frequent brushing, more than once a day. If they do not receive this brushing, the hair will become tangled and knots will form. This particular need is inconvenient for those who don’t have enough time to devote to brushing. Although the Lhasa Apso needs games and exercises, their exercise requirement is not very high and they can live comfortably in an apartment.
Training a Lhasa Apso
As with any puppy, it is very important to start the puppy’s socialization training at the right time so that the dog can learn to relate to people, animals and objects of all kinds, without fears or phobias. At the arrival of his adult stage you could start practicing basic obedience commands that can help you with communication with your dog.
This breed responds incredibly well to positive reinforcement. Therefore, we can say that the Lhasa Apso is an easy dog to train if the right methods are used.
Health of a Lhasa Apso
In general, the Lhasa Apso is a very healthy dog. However, skin problems can occur if your hair is not kept healthy, brushed, and clean. This breed may have a slight tendency to hip dysplasia, kidney problems and ulcers. Periodic visits to the veterinarian will help detect any type of problem or discomfort in your pet.
As always, we recommend following the stipulated vaccination schedule and, in this breed in particular, paying close attention to external parasites that tend to find a very attractive host in the Lhasa Apso. Periodic deworming (external and internal) of the dog is essential.