Non-Sporting

The cute intelligent Lhasa Apso breed

Are you aware the Lhasa Apso breed of dog was the watchdog for nobles and monasteries in the nation of Tibet? The accepted belief is this wonderful breed of dog was kept indoors with the monks to warn of any intruders. Centuries of careful breeding have produced a very intelligent dog, and many people have discovered they are great pets and companions.

Lhasa Apso breed

While small in stature, the Lhasa Apso breed more than makes up for this with great loyalty, a fearless attitude, and intelligence. Wonderful with all humans from very young children, to the elderly, these dogs will win your affections quite quickly. Often called little lion with a small bark this is because when fully grown the Lhasa Apso breed appear much like a miniature version of a lion with their large coat of fur. It is due to centuries of living in the cold mountains of Tibet, along with their heavy layer of fur, that make these dogs enjoy cold weather and playing in snow with children or adults is an activity the dogs enjoy immensely.

Males normally weigh in around 18 pounds and females at 15 pounds. The breed has a very long life span compared to many other breeds. It is quite normal for the Lhasa Apso to reach fifteen years old and occasionally a few years long than this. Physically the breed is small but very muscularly stout, and has very good endurance capabilities. They will fearlessly defend their owners and property, and have been known to intimidate much larger breeds of dogs by their aggressiveness towards any animal or person they feel is a threat.

A good description of their general attitude is given in the following Wikipedia article:

Lhasa Apsos are independent as well as companion dogs who want to please their owners, yet they may be suspicious toward strangers. Unique personality characteristics of Lhasa Apsos have gained them a reputation as being a very emotive breed that, in most cases, prove themselves to be completely fearless. Lhasa Apsos often show happiness by rubbing their head on their owners, running and rolling around, or sitting on their owner’s feet.

While they may sound like the perfect dog, and in many ways they are, you should be prepared for the fact these are what we can refer to as “high maintenance” animals. Due to the long thick coat of hair daily brushing is required. If not done on a daily schedule the hair quickly becomes a tangled mess, and will have to be cut to remove. The eyes are prone to developing cataracts, and the long ears are in need of constant cleaning to ward off ear mites and infections.

If you are thinking of adding the Lhasa Apso breed to your family there are plus’s as well as the above mentioned negatives, but overall this is one breed of dog suitable for a great house dog, those who live in small apartments, and the elderly.

Have you owned this breed? Please leave comments and tips below.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Donella

    Dec 31, 2017 at 2:32 am

    My Lhasa Apso was a rescue dog from a LA County high kill shelter. The organization that rescued him and flew him into Canada must have seen something special in him. We were not sure of his breed and after a lot of research online and consulting with breeders, we have discovered that Ringo has all the traits of a Lhasa defending the family home, extremely friendly with children and seniors alike, loved by all who meet him and is my loyal, devoted best friend. He is now a pet therapy dog and we make weekly visits to the local hospital and retirement homes to bring smiles to all. I get him groomed about 4 times a year and I do not find he is high maintenance at all. Extremely well behaved and calm and does not require a large amount of exercise outdoors. I cannot imagine my life without him and he has brought so much joy and love into our lives that I often wonder who rescued who!

  2. C

    Nov 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Our baby Molly was our Teddy Bear.
    She was the sweetest, lovable, smart, but played dumb.
    Fearless,independent and very wary of strangers.
    She would not let anyone else touch her unless she new them very well. She also ran the roost. Lol
    But that’s what we led her to believe! Lol
    We all miss her very deeply. She was almost 14 years.
    I would love to have another Lhasa some day❤️

  3. Drake

    Oct 24, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    My dog Columbo is by far my best friend. He is already nine years old and I take him to work nearly everyday. All my customers love him and is soo good around children. He loves babies! This is the third Lhaso I have owned in my lifetime and it is always soo painful when they get old and die. I would like to say that all three of my male companions had unique one-of-a-kind personalities and were all extremely intelligent. I am shocked that the Lhaso has not been ranked in the top 10 intelligent dog breeds. Because I know for a fact that the emotional intelligence of a Lhaso is off the charts! I would also like to add that Columbo is extremely entertaining and funny. The only drawback to anyone considering buying a Lhasa Apso for the first time is that they are a little difficult to potty train. Columbo has a tendency to pee in the house on occasion. Also, the Lhaso is not the type of dog you can train with command words. These dogs are more likely to train you over time!

  4. Stan Brazzell

    Aug 7, 2017 at 12:13 am

    My lhasa wicket was my best friend.He loved to ride with Me in my truck and let the wind blow in his face.He lived to be 19 years old and I miss My little buddy every day he was a very Special friend.

  5. Becky B

    Jun 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I've had many dog breeds, but the Lhaso"s are definitely the best! Their personalities are tops; very loving and very smart. They are protective and usually protect one main person in their family. They do require lots of maintenance however with brushing and grooming. Their hair grows exceptionally fast! They don't require a large space or frequent long walks. Instead, short walks and inside activities are often enough for these dogs. I would highly recommend them for empty nesters or those with small children. Truly, one of best breeds around!

  6. yvonne Hatch

    May 27, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    My Lhasa, Marley will be 9yrs old…he was the best gift I have ever had…he was 8 wks old when I got him…he was very easy to train…is very social, never meets a stranger. ..is a mama's boy…loves to go for rides…fussy about food so I cook for him…extremely intelligent, have to spell some words around him cause he nearly understands everything I say…lol…If I mention walk or ride , he's ready immediately, so I spell it…He's a barker tho…definitely a watch dog…very loving & affectionate. ..I love him to the moon & back…Anyone who says that diamonds are a girls best friend has never owned a Lhasa…

  7. david

    Jan 16, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    Our Lhasa Apso is named Molly, she is going on 12 years old now. She has been the best dog we have ever had,lots of personality. Very headstrong since a pup and very willing to please when it suits her lol. House training was started around 7 months old and took about 5 months to perfect. Her older age has caught up with her and not as active anymore due to genetic conditions, SARDS and Onychodystrophy. These have made her blind and with nail abnormalities. However, she is a tough little dog that has all her needs taken care of and lives a very happy life in our home. Love her more than anything.

  8. Mike

    Jan 16, 2017 at 12:04 am

    My Patsy is the most precious gift that god made. She is seven years old now. She is very loyal and gets smarter all the time. She loves showing me affection by rubbing her head/neck in my neck like she is marking me. I have major depressive disorder and couldn’t cope without her. Oh I about forgot there are times that we can have some major discussions. I will be talking to her and when I’m done she will think a minute and the reply. She helped me take care of my mom. If I was downstairs or in another room all mama had to say was patsy go get daddy. Patsy would come and get me and bark and look in the direction of where mama was. So yes I am a very proud daddy. Love her with all my heart and soul.

  9. kathy

    Nov 27, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Puff is my Lhasa and he just turned 16. He is a smart, cunning, and very loyal dog. He is a fun little companion and is good natured. He loves to ride in cars and any loud type vehicle…doesn’t ever fear loud noises and seems happy around a lot of activity. I will say, he was stubborn and a bit hard to train, but it paid off as I have a good companion. The best thing is they don’t bark!

  10. Colleen

    Mar 29, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Love my Lhasa. Adopted her from Humane Society. What a little diamond she is, and a loving little dog.

  11. LORNA

    Dec 5, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    ..my lhasa apso is a gem.. PIA as we call her at 7yrs old.. has the alpha trait .. everything described of her breed are true.. first and foremost their adorably smart.. protecting its master to perfection.. very traineable and very passionate and also sensitive ..detecting emotions of peoples that surrounds her… our household consider her as a family member and she return same loving and cuddly personality.. that we cannot resist but treat her like the baby or the princess.. but when she’s in her protective trait she’s like as said has the roar of supposedly like of a larger breed..and of determination to guard you and will snarl and step up to anyone suspicious that’s moving about me and will not hesitate to probably attacked if truly provoked.. my lhasa apso loves to play barking and running around preteding she’s in control of the game.. she actually initiate playfuness after her walks.. she loves squeaky toys .. there’s much more.. but best to say.. with my PIA I’m so glad that this is the breed I ended having, without knowing what Lhasa Apso’s are all about before owning one…

  12. Digby

    Oct 14, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I am on my 4th Lhasa. They are very smart but it takes work as they are very stubborn and independent, socialization as a puppy is very important. Grooming is essential for keeping coat, mine have always been in full coat and groomed daily. I wouldn’t have any other breed.

  13. Doug

    Feb 22, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    As they are rated 68th for ‘Fair Working/Obedience Intelligence’ – I’d hardly say they were intellegent. I can certainly claim that, knowing 2 – one a non-stop eating machine, the other a nervous/anxious wreck – both of whom were ‘brought up’ in a loving family, (albeit lack of training) that they are indeed high maintenance.

    I’d stress the need for good training though as their ‘waryness’ of strangers makes them barking morons if left unchecked.

  14. M.W

    Oct 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    My Lhasa Apso Tedd is my best friend and was easy to train. However he has a bad habit of chewing socks. LoL. He is very strong willed and stubborn and will only be coaxed with cheesy treats. He always alerts us of any visitors- because of the watchdog bit. Overall the Lhasa is a wonderful breed to have. My dog is my best friend 🙂

  15. michelle ferraro

    Feb 25, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    My Teddy is the best dog i have ever owned!!! He is just so smart and the maintenance isnt that bad. He will be 5 in July and he has had only one ear infection. If you keep his coat fairly short he will be fine. Just a perfect dog.

    • Sarah

      Feb 22, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      My dads dog Freddie is gorgeous but looks a lot like a massive Teddy Bear. I love him too pieses. He also had a ear effection x

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