Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso looking forward

Quick Facts


12 to 18 pounds


up to 11 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

12-15 years

Known For:

Very smart, confident and elegant dogs that will make you laugh.


With a touch of joy, let’s explore the world of the adorable Lhasa Apso! Originating from the mystical land of Tibet, the Lhasa Apso is a small dog breed that has captured the hearts of many. 


Known for its long, flowing coat and keen sense of hearing, this breed serves as both a companion and a sentinel in its homeland. With its friendly demeanor and unique characteristics, it’s no wonder that the Lhasa Apso has gained popularity among pet lovers across the globe!

History and Origin

The fascinating history of the Lhasa Apso dates back over a thousand years to the sacred monasteries of Tibet. This breed was revered as a holy dog and believed to bring good luck. Monks and nobles kept Lhasa Apsos as guardians of their dwellings due to their sharp hearing and alert nature. The name “Lhasa Apso” itself is derived from the city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, symbolizing the breed’s deep cultural significance.


The Lhasa Apso served not only as a companion but also as a spiritual symbol, often associated with Tibetan Buddhism. It was believed that the souls of deceased lamas (Tibetan priests) could enter the bodies of these dogs before reincarnating as humans. This heightened the breed’s reverence and ensured them a pampered and respected existence.


The breed’s journey to the Western world began in the early 20th century when they were gifted to visiting dignitaries. It was not long before their charm and distinctive appearance made them sought-after pets around the world. Among the most famous Lhasa Apsos was “Pushinka,” a gift from the 14th Dalai Lama to the U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The charming Lhasa Apso is a small but sturdy dog, typically weighing between 12 to 18 pounds and standing about 10 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder. Despite its small stature, this breed is known for its independent and bold nature.


One of the most distinctive features of the Lhasa Apso is its luxurious, long, and dense coat. The coat can come in a variety of colors, including honey, black, white, and grizzle, often with dark tips on the ears and beard. The breed’s expressive eyes are dark and oval-shaped, radiating warmth and intelligence, while its feathered tail curls over its back.


Lhasa Apsos also have a moderate muzzle length, hanging ears, and a strong underbite. This breed can be seen in two varieties: the traditional long-coated variety, which requires regular grooming, and the more manageable short-coated variety, also known as the “puppy cut.”

Personality and Temperament

Delving into the delightful personality and temperament of the Lhasa Apso, we discover a dog brimming with character and zest. Known for their alertness and keen sense of hearing, these dogs make excellent watchdogs. They are often wary of strangers but form strong, affectionate bonds with their families, showcasing a loving and loyal nature.


Lhasa Apsos are renowned for their independent and confident demeanor. They are happy to explore and enjoy their surroundings, yet they remain close to their human companions. This breed exhibits a playful and spirited side, delighting in games and activities, yet they can also appreciate quiet, relaxed moments.


This breed’s intelligence and independence can sometimes lead to a stubborn streak. Early socialization is key to nurturing a well-rounded Lhasa Apso, helping them to be adaptable and sociable with other pets and people. Their playful quirks and unique characteristics make them a joy to be around, filling homes with happiness and laughter.

Health and Lifespan

Embracing the Lhasa Apso also means understanding their health needs in a reassuring manner. Generally, Lhasa Apsos are a healthy and robust breed, often enjoying a lifespan of 12 to 15 years. They are known for their longevity, with some individuals living well into their late teens.


Like all breeds, Lhasa Apsos can be prone to certain health conditions. Some common health issues in this breed include allergies, ear infections, and eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy diet can help address and prevent many of these concerns.


Hip dysplasia, a genetic condition where the thigh bone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint, can also affect Lhasa Apsos. Additionally, being a small breed, they can experience dental issues due to the crowding of teeth, making regular dental care important.


Despite these potential health concerns, with proper care, regular exercise, and a balanced diet, Lhasa Apsos can lead a happy, healthy, and fulfilled life, bringing joy to their families for many years.

Care and Maintenance

Lhasa Apso grooming

Caring for a Lhasa Apso is both fun and rewarding! Due to their long, dense coat, grooming is a significant aspect of their care routine. Regular brushing is essential to prevent matting and tangling, and some owners opt for professional grooming to keep their Lhasa Apso looking its best.


Diet is another important factor in maintaining the health and well-being of a Lhasa Apso. A balanced, nutritious diet will support their energy levels, coat health, and overall vitality. Due to their small size, portion control is essential to prevent weight gain.


Exercise is equally important, and Lhasa Apsos enjoy daily walks and playtime. They are adaptable to both apartment living and houses with yards, as long as they receive adequate physical and mental stimulation. Interactive toys and puzzle games can help keep their intelligent minds engaged.


Dental care, regular veterinary check-ups, and keeping up with vaccinations and parasite control also contribute to a happy, healthy Lhasa Apso. Their moderate energy levels and adaptable nature make them a delightful companion, and the bond formed through caring for them is truly special.

Training and Behavior

Embarking on the training journey with a Lhasa Apso is an engaging and fulfilling adventure! Known for their intelligence, these small yet spirited dogs can learn commands and tricks with ease. However, their independent nature may sometimes translate to a bit of stubbornness, calling for a patient and consistent approach.


Lhasa Apsos respond well to positive reinforcement techniques such as treats, praise, and play. Establishing a routine and setting clear boundaries from a young age is vital for cultivating good behavior. Socialization is equally important, exposing the Lhasa Apso to various environments, people, and other animals to foster adaptability and confidence.


This breed can exhibit territorial behavior, and early training can help manage this trait, ensuring they are well-mannered and sociable. Lhasa Apsos are generally not excessive barkers, but they will alert their owners to unfamiliar sounds or visitors, showcasing their watchdog instincts.

Addressing any behavioral quirks and investing time in training not only enhances the bond between pet and owner but also results in a well-rounded, happy, and well-behaved Lhasa Apso.

Lhasa Apso and Families

Lhasa Apso with people

The Lhasa Apso’s affectionate and loyal nature makes them a joyful addition to families. They form strong bonds with their human companions, offering love and companionship. While they are generally good with children, their independent and somewhat reserved temperament means they may be better suited to families with older children who can understand and respect their boundaries.


Lhasa Apsos can get along well with other pets, especially if they are introduced and socialized from a young age. Their adaptable nature means they can thrive in various living environments, from apartments to houses with yards, as long as they receive the love and attention they deserve.


This breed brings a unique blend of joy, loyalty, and companionship to families, creating lasting memories and enriching the lives of those fortunate enough to share their homes with a Lhasa Apso.

Adopting a Lhasa Apso

Adopting a Lhasa Apso is a delightful and rewarding experience! If you’re considering bringing one of these lovable companions into your home, start by researching reputable breeders or rescue organizations. It’s essential to ensure that the Lhasa Apso you choose is healthy, well-socialized, and a good fit for your family.


Ask questions, meet the parents if possible, and spend time with the Lhasa Apso before making a decision. Consider the breed’s characteristics, grooming needs, and exercise requirements to ensure you’re prepared for the commitment.


Lhasa Apsos are a charming and affectionate breed that can bring immense joy and companionship to your life. With proper care, love, and attention, you and your Lhasa Apso can enjoy many happy years together!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Lhasa Apso's temperament?

Lhasa Apsos are known for their independent, confident, and loyal nature. They were originally bred as sentinel dogs in Tibetan monasteries, which explains their alert and sometimes aloof demeanor.

How much grooming does a Lhasa Apso require?

Their long, flowing coat requires regular grooming to prevent tangles and mats. Daily brushing and occasional professional grooming help maintain their coat’s condition.

Are Lhasa Apsos good with children and other pets?

They can be good with older children who respect their boundaries. Early socialization is key for them to get along well with other pets.

What health issues are common in Lhasa Apsos?

They are generally healthy but can be prone to eye problems, kidney disease, and hip dysplasia. Regular health checks are important for their well-being.

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