Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso

Group: Non-Sporting Group

Origin: Tibet

– Males: Between 10-11 inches (25-28 cm), maximum 11 ½ inches (30 cm)
– Females: Slightly smaller.

Lhasa Apso
CH. Tsuro’s Save the Last Dance (Dolly)
Photo courtesy of Tsuro Lhasa Apsos

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Breed Profile

The Lhasa Apso was bred in Tibetan monasteries for over 2,000 years and was originally named the Abso Send Kye, “Bark Lion Sentinel Dog”. Lhasas were never sold but given as gifts to dignitaries. While the Tibetan Mastiff was used to guard the outdoors, the Lhasa was the indoor guardian. His keen hearing and instinct for identifying friend from stranger make him an ideal watchdog.

The Lhasa Apso is a loyal and loving companion to those he knows. He has a unique temperament and is said to have a big dog personality. He can be rather independent and stubborn with a regal attitude. He views himself as big and important and expects to be treated as such. Patient understanding is a must and no harsh or strict discipline is advised for this breed.

The Lhasa’s coat is his outstanding characteristic: long, heavy, straight and hard with an abundance of hair on the head and a plumed tail carried over the back.


Health Issues

The Lhasa Apso is a very healthy and hardy breed, relatively free of health problems. Kidney disease is the most serious health problem found in the Lhasa. The average life expectancy is 12 to 18 years.

If you are considering the adoption of a Lhasa Apso puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:



With the Lhasa’s beautiful coat comes the necessity of almost daily grooming to keep it free of mats. Bathing once a week or biweekly is also suggested. A small amount of conditioner and water used in a spray bottle can help make brushing easier between baths and also help to cut down on static. Care must also be taken to keep the ears clean and to trim the hair on the pads of the feet.

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.

Breed Listing

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

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