Lhasa Apso

Although in the West, Lhasa Apsos are bred as companions or show dogs, in their native land they are watchdogs, often sitting in a high place where they can keep an eye on the comings and goings of the monks and warning of the approach of strangers.


High in the mountains of Tibet, monks bred this little dog as a watchdog and companion before the birth of Christ. It may have evolved from Central European herding dogs, such as the Pumi or Puli. The breed was regarded as a talisman and, although they were never sold, they were often gifted to the Chinese nobility. In 1904, a few dogs were brought from Tibet to the West, and in the early 1920s a Mrs. Bailey and other ladies bred from these dogs to form the nucleus of the breed in Britain.

In Tibet, the Lhasa Apso's name means "hairy barking dog". It is a good guard dog, barking at strangers.

These puppies will eventually have a heavy adult coat.


Although wary of strangers, the Lhasa Apso is loving with its human family without being too effusive. As a sole dog, it will probably bond with one person in the family very strongly but it also has a very independent streak and tends to be quite aloof, so it may not be so clingy as some people like their pet dogs to be.

must know

This breed is generally tough as befits a dog that has evolved in the harsh, cold climate of the Tibetan mountains. Some eye conditions are under investigation, so buy from tested parents.


This short-legged, long dog has a profuse and heavy coat which comes in several colours, including shades of gold, dark grizzle, smoke, parti-colour, black, white or brown. Dogs are 25cm (10in) in height, whereas bitches tend to be slightly smaller.

Strangers 4/5

Very suspicious; will warn of approach

Temperament 3/5

Affectionate but can be independent

Exercise 3/5

Three shorts walks a day or long walks

Grooming 5/5

Daily grooming and detangling

Other dogs 2/5

Not aggressive


An unusual breed for a discerning family

General care

This tough little dog is full of energy and is able to walk long distances. However, it can be happy with several short walks. The crowning glory of the breed is its glorious coat, which does need daily attention, otherwise it will tangle and matt. The coat can be kept short if you don't intend showing the dog.

Gallery of Lhasa Apso