The Lhasa Apso dog breed is a truly ancient breed!
Perhaps best known for looking like small “moving carpets,” these dogs originated in the chilly Himalayas where all that hair was more functional than decorative.
Today, the Lhasa Apso is known as a popular pet dog breed all over the world.
If you trying to decide whether the Lhasa Apso breed is the right pet dog for you, you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about this amazing dog breed!
Where Does the Lhasa Apso Come From?
One of the most intriguing of the many Lhasa Apso facts you’ll read about is that this dog breed is literally more than 1,000 years old.
These dogs are known as “bearded lion dogs” (Apso Seng Kyi) in their native Tibet.
They get their name both from their coat (Apso literally means “long-haired dog”) and their home city, Lhasa.
Tibet believes in a mythical “snow lion” watches over the country and the bearded lion dog is said to be the physical manifestation of this snow lion.
You may be wondering how the Lhasa Apso dog became known beyond the isolated region of Tibet and the Himalayas.
The thirteenth and fourteenth Dalai Lamas helped to popularize the breed by offering them as gifts, thus exposing the Lhasa Apso to a much wider audience.
After that, it wasn’t long until this “small but mighty” dog breed was finding welcoming homes all over the United States, Europe, and elsewhere.
What does the Lhasa Apso Look Like?
Lhasa Apso colors can vary a great deal from one dog to the next.
You may find that different breeders choose to specialize in a certain coat color, producing dogs with consistent colors and patterns through generations.
Lhasa Apso colors can include black, tan, cream, gold, red, white, blue, gray, dark gray (charcoal), silver and liver.
There is also a color/pattern called “grizzle” that is a mix of black and some other color.
According to the official American breed standard, the Lhasa Apso coat will be a single color in most cases, the exception being grizzle or a black and tan combination.
How to Groom Your Lhasa Apso?
While Lhasa Apso shedding is delightfully sparse compared to many other dog breeds, unfortunately, this does not translate into less Lhasa Apso grooming duties!
In fact, you can count on regular and perhaps daily Lhasa Apso grooming depending on how you choose to cut your dog’s coat.
Here, the challenge is making sure you brush and groom your Lhasa often enough to keep tangles and mats from forming near the skin.
Once a large mat has formed, often the only way to remove it is to cut the entire section of hair off, which will leave your dog temporarily bald in that area!
Instead, it’s better to invest in a gentle slicker brush and pin comb for regular brushing.
You may want to spritz on some coat conditioner or detangler (ask your dog’s veterinarian or groomer which one to choose) to make grooming pain-free for you both.
Grooming will also need to incorporate cleaning the ears, clipping the toenails and cleaning the eyes.
This last point is especially vital if you don’t choose to clip back the “eyefall” (the part of the coat that can fall over the eyes and cause eye irritation and tears).
You’ll need to clean the eyes and ears to be sure no infection forms as a result of the long hair.
Lhasa Apso Temperament and Personality
As befits a dog breed that has long served as guardians and sentinels for family homes, monasteries and temples throughout Tibet, the Lhasa Apso has a strong temperament!
Some might call this dog “noble” or “regal,” while for other Lhasas, the “imperious” description may be a better fit.
What’s most important is that your dog’s basic temperament and personality is trainable.
So it will be up to you to help your little leader learn how to fit in well and be a productive and happy member of your family and community.
These little dogs are energetic, and tend to excel at agility work, show ring training, scent K-9 work, retrieval, herding, service work, and therapy dog work.
How Long does the Lhasa Apsos Live?
Happily, the Lhasa Apso lifespan is typically 12 to 15 years.
You can help maximize your Lhasa Apso life expectancy by making sure your pup eats a healthy diet.
In addition, they should get plenty of daily exercise and enrichment and regular preventative veterinary checkups.