What is a Lhasa Apso?
Lhasas are a small, hardy breed, measuring about 10-11" tall at the shoulder, weighing between 12-18 lbs. The breed comes in many colors from very light blonde to black. As a puppy ages, his coat color may lighten. Black tippings on ears and face are common features. Pigment around a Lhasa's eyes should be black. The nose should also be black.
A slow maturing breed, Lhasas do not reach their prime until well into their third or fourth year. Lhasas age gracefully, keeping a youthful appearance and attitude well into their teens. The average lifespan of the breed is 12-15 years, although many have lived to be much older.
The Lhasa Apso originated in the isolated reaches of the Himalayan Mountains hundreds of years ago. Referred to in Tibet as Apso Seng Kyi, best translated as "Bearded Lion Dog," the Lhasa's primary function was that of a household sentinel and early time alarm system.
In 1933, C. Suydam Cutting introduced the first Lhasa Apsos to the United States. His dogs were gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama. The breed was admitted to the AKC registration in 1935 and is shown in the Non-Sporting Group.
The Lhasa's temperament is unique; joyful, mischievous and clown-like, as well as regal, dignified and aloof. A very independent breed, the Lhasa's goal in life is not necessarily to please its master. Lhasa puppies are very busy, full of energy and curiosity, becoming calmer and dignified, yet still playful, as adults. Lhasas are often suspicious of strangers. They are guardians of their domain but are usually less protective away from home. To overcome the breed's natural tendency to be wary of strangers, early socialization is critical.
The temperament and personality of our Lhasa Apsos have changed over time from the original Lhasas. They are much more friendly and outgoing due to caring breeders. Each Lhasa Apso has their own unique personality, just like people do. Lhasa Apsos are stubborn canines; they will do what you want them to do in their own time. They also hold grudges; they never forget when someone has been mean to them.
With that, they are very loyal and will please you when they want to. Their personalities can range from that much like a shih tzu, where all they want to do is love and be happy, to a protector, ones who usually label one person as their owner and do anything for that one person.
Lhasas and Children
Lhasas generally prefer to interact with adults. They tend to be cautious and sometimes fearful of very young children who are unsteady on their feet, move quickly, and do things unexpectedly. Responsible breeders are careful about placing Lhasa puppies in a family with small children. An outgoing, active puppy is better acclimated to an active household than is a quiet, timid puppy.
Parents should impress upon children that the puppy should be handled respectfully. Interactions between Lhasa puppies and young children should be closely supervised by a responsible adult. Children should never be allowed to tease or physically or verbally abuse the puppy. Activities that may injure the puppy, as well as chasing, teasing, or tug-of-war games that encourage a puppy to bite, should not be allowed. Hide and seek, fetch, or similar activities help young kids and puppies learn to trust each other and should be encouraged.