Lhasa Apsos are intelligent, confident, and comical dogs. On average, they stand at 10 to 11 inches tall, weigh anywhere from 12 to 18 pounds, and live anywhere from 12 to 15 years. These dogs are very affectionate, which makes them great for families. They are generally good with young children and other dogs, but early socialization will be crucial.
Lhasa Apsos are one of the oldest dog breeds we know of. Going back to the early days of Tibet, these dogs are excellent guardians and have remained consistent in size and style since their origin. Their coats and personalities allow them to blend into various home settings, from tropical environments to cold climates, cities to the countryside, and everything in between.
You will not have to worry about shedding or drooling with these dogs, but we recommend brushing them two to three times a week. They have a long, silky coat that can come in various colors. Lhasa Apsos can be timid at first when it comes to strangers and are pretty vigilant in alerting if they think something is amiss. However, once they have warmed up to someone, they love to play. They are highly adaptable to just about any environment, which makes them perfect for first-time dog owners.
Lhasa Apsos are very intelligent and relatively eager to please, making them trainable. They can have a stubborn streak, so it is essential to assert dominance as the household alpha. Use positive reinforcement for good behaviors, and work on training them out of any negative behaviors as soon as you notice them.
You will likely not have to worry about barking too much, but they will be vocal when trying to alert you. Keep your Lhasa Apso happy and healthy by feeding them high-quality dry dog food designed for smaller breeds.
We can trace the Lhasa Apso breed back to Tibet in 800 A.D. Lhasa is the capital of Tibet, and these dogs lived in isolation with Tibetan Buddhists in the Himalayan Mountains for centuries. Their original name in Tibet was “Abso Seng Kye,” which means Bark Lion Sentinel Dog. These dogs were used as guard dogs from inside Tibetan homes and would alert their owners to potential intruders. Dogs are believed to be the final stage of reincarnation before becoming humans, so Lhasa Apsos are very important to Tibetan culture.
Lhasa Apsos have unique physical characteristics to live in the Tibetan Mountains. Their coats and muscles allow them to tolerate freezing temperatures, and their oversized lungs let them breathe at higher altitudes with thinner air. Their long coats also protect them from the harsh sun.
Lhasa Apsos came to the United States in the 1930’s as a gift from the 13th Dalai Lama. Commonly known as a sign of good fortune, the Dalai Lama gifted one to the emperor of China, and it is believed that Shih Tzus descended from these dogs. 1930sAlthough their average lifespan is 12 to 15 years, the oldest Lhasa Apso lived until it was 29 years old.
Lhasa Apsos have been longtime favorites of celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, Ellen DeGeneres, and Gwen Stefani. These small dogs have even been used as therapy dogs in various settings, including prisons, hospitals, and nursing homes. Their demeanor and self-sufficiency make them great emotional support animals for those with psychiatric disorders.
The American Kennel Club first recognized the Lhasa Apso as a breed in 1935. Their popularity has been decreasing in recent years. They ranked the 78th most popular breed by the AKC in 2020. We think there are many misconceptions about this breed out there, which is why they might be becoming less popular. Read on to learn how wonderful the Lhasa Apso truly is.
Lhasa Apsos are playful, lively, and obedient dogs. They are fiercely loyal to their families and will do anything to protect them. They can be a bit aggressive because of their guarding instincts. However, early training and socialization can get rid of any aggressive behaviors. Lhasa Apsos make excellent watchdogs even today, which shows how deeply their ancient genes run.
Although they are loyal, they are pretty independent and do not typically suffer from separation anxiety. This is helpful if you need to run errands throughout the day, but be sure to never leave your dog alone for extended periods. Lhasa Apsos are known to self-exercise and run around the house if they are bored and have extra energy. They generally do not have a destructive streak like other dogs when bored or need exercise.
Lhasa Apsos tend to be a bit stubborn, so stay on top of training from a young age. They are brilliant, but will need much positive reinforcement to master training. Start by teaching them basic commands, like “sit,” “come,” and “stay.” Once they have mastered these basic commands, they can move on to more complex orders.
During house training, we recommend using a crate. Dogs typically do not let their areas get dirty, so they avoid going to the bathroom in their crate. When they alert you that they need to go out for a potty break, reward them with a treat and praise, and they will get the hang of it very quickly.
Lhasa Apsos can blend into just about any environment and can do well with other dogs, young children, and even cats in the household. However, be sure to supervise initial interactions between other pets or children with your Lhasa Apso to prevent injury to either party. Young children will need to be careful when playing with Lhasa Apsos because of their size. These dogs are loving and gentle, which makes them great cuddle partners. Early socialization is crucial to ensure your Lhasa Apso will get along with everyone.
You will typically find your Lhasa Apso sitting on the back of the couch or anywhere they can see the world from above and look out a window. Apart from a short walk and some playtime daily, they do not need extensive exercise to stay healthy, making them an excellent choice for an apartment. A backyard is always lovely for bathroom visits, but a city apartment can certainly work for Lhasa Apsos.
As we mentioned, the unique history and design of the Lhasa Apso allow them to blend into various environments. Their coat keeps them cool in warm weather and warm in cold weather, making them very versatile. Always be careful when going on walks in extreme conditions, and provide access to shade and water to avoid health problems.
You can start developing a grooming routine with a young Lhasa Apso puppy as soon as you adopt them. Depending on their activity level, they will need a full brush two to three times a week and a bath every one to two weeks. Lhasa Apsos are hypoallergenic, makings them an excellent option forfamiliesy dealing with allergy issues.
When brushing, lightly spray their fur with a hydrating spray before brushing. This keeps your dog more comfortable and prevents ripping out any knots. Their long coat is pretty thick, making it more prone to tangling and knotting. We recommend using a metal comb daily to get out any tangles and a wire brush a couple of times a week to get rid of dead or loose hair. You can also opt for a double-sided brush, which has thicker bristles on one side to get rid of hair and thinner on the other side to smooth and style. Brush in the direction of hair growth to prevent additional tangling. Many groomers part a Lhasa Apsos hair down the middle, their signature style.
When bathing, use a high-quality dog shampoo and conditioner to avoid skin or eye irritation. Make sure to dry them thoroughly after their bath. During your brushing sessions, check their ears for any signs of infection and remove hairs or debris that could irritate. Brush your Lhasa Apsos teeth two or three times a week, but daily is even better. Smaller dogs are more prone to gum disease and tooth decay, so dental hygiene is essential.
Take your Lhasa Apso to a professional groomer or learn how to cut their hair regularly. Although they typically keep long hair, you can opt for a shorter cut known as the “puppy cut” if it better suits your environment. Their hair does tend to fall into their eyes, so you can opt to have it cut or pin it back with a doggie hair clip. Both options result in a beautiful Lhasa Apso.
We recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise daily for your Lhasa Apso, split between walks and playtime in the backyard. You can also split your daily walks, going once in the morning and at night. Due to their size, Lhasa Apsos generally need more mental stimulation than physical stimulation. Although they are high-energy, you will not need to walk multiple miles to keep them happy and healthy.
We love mixing playtime between fetch, tug of war, and agility training. These dogs can entertain themselves throughout the day, but you will still want to engage them during playtime. Using toys and incorporating command and agility training in playtime will help with overall behavior.
Puppies will generally need less exercise than adult Lhasa Apsos. While growing, stay away from strenuous activity that could damage their bones or joints. Always take cues from your Lhasa Apso, and if you notice panting or generally being sluggish, it is time to go home.
You will want to feed your Lhasa Apso, high-quality dry dog food designed for small breeds. We recommend feeding your purebred Lhasa Apso two or three times throughout the day, rather than one big meal once a day. All dogs, but significantly smaller dogs, are prone to obesity and bloat, both of which can be life-threatening. Bloat occurs when dogs eat too much too quickly, resulting in a pricey vet visit. To avoid this, you can get a bowl that is designed to slow down mealtimes and split their daily allowance of food into multiple smaller meals. The number of calories they need will depend on their activity level and age, so follow the instructions on your food packaging and consult with your vet.
When picking out the right dry food for your pup, you will want to look for whole meat proteins, fatty acids like Omega-3’s, whole grains, fiber, fruits and veggies, and all the right vitamins and minerals. Opt for entire meats like chicken or turkey and avoid meat by-products. Lhasa Apso's skin is thicker than other breeds to support their signature floor-length hair, so they need more protein and fats than other dogs. We recommend a fat level above 14% and a protein level above 20%.
You will notice when you find food that works for your Lhasa Apso. Their hair will be soft, shiny, and healthy. Good nutrition promotes eye health, dental health, and gut health. Stay away from any hormones, preservatives, and added fillers. These are typically found in lower-priced foods but can harm your Lhasa Apso over time.
Always consult with your veterinarian about specific dietary needs or potential allergies. If you decide to use treats during the training process or daily, do so sparingly to avoid weight issues. Part of a healthy diet includes access to clean water, so make sure to refill or change out your pup's water bowl daily.
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