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Adopt a Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso Dog Breed

Picture: Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Corbis


companion, herding

Area of origin:


Original function:

companion, watchdog

Average size of male:

Ht: 10-11, Wt: 13-15

Average size of female:

Ht: 10-11, Wt: 13-15

Other names:


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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Lhasa Apso Dog Temperament

Despite his lap-dog appearance, the Lhasa is a tough character. He is independent, stubborn and bold. Although he is eager for a romp or game, he will be happy as long as he is given exercise. He will also happily snooze beside his owner. These characteristics make him an excellent small companion in adventure. He is somewhat reserved with strangers.

Lhasa Apso Dog Care

The Lhasa is an active dog, but his relatively small size makes it possible to meet his energy needs either with short walks or vigorous play sessions in the yard, or even home. The Lhasa makes a fine apartment dog. He is not suited for outdoor living. The long coat needs brushing and combing every other day.

Lhasa Apso Dog Health

Major concerns: none
Minor concerns: patellar luxation, entropion, distichiasis, PRA,
renal cortical hypoplasia
Occasionally seen: CHD, urolithiasis, vWD
Suggested tests: knee, eye
Life span: 12-14 years

Interested in the history of the Lhasa Apso dog breed?

The origin of the Lhasa Apso has been long lost; he is an ancient breed breed and revered in the villages and monasteries of Tibet. His history is intertwined with Buddhist beliefs, including a belief in reincarnation. The souls of lamas were said to enter the sacred dog's bodies upon death, thus imparting an added reverence for these dogs. The dogs also performed the role of monastery watchdog, sounding the alert to visitors, thus giving rise to their native name of Abso Seng Kye (bark lion sentinel dog). It is likely that the breed's Western name of Lhasa Apso is derived from his native name, although some contend that it is a corruption of the Tibetan word Rapso, meaning 'goat' (in reference to his goatlike coat). In fact, when the breed first came to England, he was known as the Lhassa Terrier, although he is in no way a terrier. The first Lhasa Apsos were seen in the Western world around 1930, with some of the first dogs arriving as gifts of the 13th Dalai Lama. The breed was admitted into the AKC's terrier group in 1935, but was reassigned to the nonsporting group in 1959. After a slow start, the Lhasa quickly outpaced his fellow Tibetan breeds to become a popular pet and show dog.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

Shelters with Lhasa Apso Dogs

Some animal welfare organizations with Lhasa Apsos ready for adoption:

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