Brave, affectionate, loyal, and friendly are just a few words that are used to describe the Lhasa Apso!
The Lhasa Apso is often mistaken for the Shih Tzu or Pekingese. The Dalai Lama presented a Lhasa Apso to an American naturalist visiting Tibet as a gift in 1933. This breed was considered so valued in Tibet that they were only presented as "gifts" from the Dalai Lamas.
Courageous and Leery of Strangers
This little breed has no issues asserting themselves and protecting their territory from any intruders. They are known for their courageous and brave attitude. The Lhasa Apso is happy to bark and alert of visitors, often refusing to quiet down even after the visitor has been invited into the home. The Lhasa Apso will do best in an environment that provides them consistent training early on. They can make excellent companions for apartment/condo living if their barking is controlled.
Does Well When Socialized
The Lhasa Apso will need proper socialization at a young age to help with their behavior around children and other dogs. Typically, small-breed dogs don't do well around rambunctious children, as they are often accidentally stepped on or rough-housed with. Teaching children to be respectful and kind around smaller breed dogs is imperative to ensure proper interactions over the long term.
The Lhasa Apso is a smart breed, so training should come easily when working with them. They are known to be a little "snarky" around other dogs, so consider doggy daycare at a young age to help socialize them properly with other dogs.
Loyal and Royal
This breed is a wonderful family pet, and they bond quickly with their family members. They enjoy being with you at all times, but they tend to have a "royal" attitude and enjoy being pampered. However, many Lhasa Apso's develop Small Dog Syndrome because they are overly spoiled and coddled. This behavioral trait can easily be prevented by establishing rules, boundaries, and training.
Oh My! All That Fur!
Matting is the main concern for the long, luxurious Lhasa Apso coat and daily brushings will help prevent unruliness. Trimmings aren't necessary, but many pet-parents opt to have their coats cut short for easier maintenance. This breed sheds very little, making them desirable for allergy sufferers.
Nail trimmings should be done every 8-12 weeks, and eyes and ears should be cleaned weekly to help prevent infection.
The Lhasa Apso is a very healthy breed. Some health issues may be skin based (if the coat isn't properly maintained), but they've also been known to deal with hip dysplasia, kidney issues, cherry eye, and bleeding ulcers. Their average life span is approximately 15 years or longer.
As you begin looking for a Lhasa Apso, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe