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Lhasa Apso

Nicole Cosgrove

Height: 9–11 inches
Weight: 12–18 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Colors: Black, black & tan, golden, grizzle, cream, white, red, red-gold
Suitable for: Families living in apartments
Temperament: Confident, loyal, loving, happy, playful, bold, stubborn

Lhasa Apsos have been around for at least 1,000 years and were used as guard dogs in the Himalayas for Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and palaces. They have even been long connected with the Dalai Lama! Lhasa Apsos are bold and independent dogs that are also very merry and loyal when with their families.

They are famous for their coats that are parted in the middle and fall like curtains to the floor. They are also known for their perky, feathered tail that curls over their backs. They come in a wide variety of colors—everything from black to honey to a red-gold color. The fur on their heads and ears is dense and gives them a lion-like appearance, which is partly why they are sometimes called lion dogs.divider-dog

Lhasa Apso Puppies – Before You Buy…

noddy-lhasa apso-pixabay(1)
Credit: kshitijprakash, Pixabay

The Lhasa Apso does appreciate some activity and can be playful, but they are small in size and enjoy lounging around the house as well. They are very stubborn and independent dogs that can be a challenge to train, but they love their families and can be aloof with strangers. Lhasa Apsos are generally healthy dogs and can live well into their 20s.

What’s the Price of Lhasa Apso Puppies?

Lhasa Apso puppies can range from $1,000 up to $2,500 or more. While looking for a Lhasa Apso puppy, you need to avoid puppy mills and find a breeder that is reputable and responsible.

Here are a few suggestions for you when you start working with a breeder:
  • Meet the breeder: If you can, go to the breeder’s kennels so you can meet the puppies in person. This will allow you to check the state of the dogs’ living quarters—are they clean, and are the dogs happy and well looked after? Does it appear that the breeder has a strong relationship with their dogs?
  • Medical history: A responsible breeder should offer to show you their dogs’ medical history, and they should be upfront if there are any issues.
  • Meet the puppy’s parents: Take the opportunity to meet your prospective puppy’s parents as you can get a feel for their temperament and health. The parents’ physical appearance can also give you an idea of how your puppy might turn out as she grows up.
  • Ask many questions: An outstanding breeder will have no problem answering your questions. You should be prepared to ask as many questions as you think is necessary, and the breeder should welcome them.

There are additional costs beyond the price of the puppy to consider when you bring one home.

Some of the daily upkeep for a new puppy will include:
  • Water and food bowls
  • Treats
  • Puppy food
  • Toys for playing and chewing
  • Puppy training pads
  • Collar, harness, and leash
  • Crate and bedding
Other expenses to consider might include:
  • Veterinarian appointments
  • Vaccinations
  • Obedience/training classes
  • Spaying or neutering surgery
  • Grooming
  • Microchipping

You could also consider adopting a puppy or adult dog through a rescue group, where you can expect to pay about $300 for the adoption fee. Rescuing a dog is one of the most rewarding things you can do as you’ll give a dog a chance at a better life. Many rescue organizations will also lower or waive the adoption fee if you adopt a special needs or senior dog.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Lhasa Apso

1. They Are Known As The “Bark Lion Sentinel Dog”

Lhasa Apsos are called Abso Seng Kye in their native Tibet, which translates to “Bark Lion Sentinel Dog.” This name stems from their original job as sentinels within Tibetan habitations and from their association with the Snow Lion, a mythical guardian of Tibet.

2. The Lhasa Apso Is Long-Lived

These pups typically have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years of age, but the oldest recorded Lhasa Apso was 29 years old! If you take excellent care of your Lhasa, she might very well live into her 20s.

3. Lhasa Apsos Are An Important Part Of Reincarnation

During the reincarnation process, Tibetan Buddhists believe that lamas, or spiritual leaders, are typically reborn as the Lhasa Apso dogs before they are then reborn again as humans. The Lhasa Apso is a very important spiritual dog for the Tibetans.

lhasa apso-pixabay
Credit: PicsbyFran, Pixabay


Temperament & Intelligence of the Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is a very confident dog who can be a bit of a clown when with the family. They might be very small dogs, but they are robust and hardy overall. Because of their protective natures, some people might be rather surprised at their protectiveness for those they love. Their long, flowing coat combined with their small stature might give the impression of a pampered lap dog.

While Lhasa Apsos are very loyal to their owners, they are also very independent, stubborn, and usually enjoy doing their own thing.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

The Lhasa Apso is a very playful dog but would probably get along best with older children and will enjoy playtime with children who know how to handle them. Young and rowdy children won’t mix very well with these dogs, and all children in the household should be taught to respect and handle dogs well.

They do make excellent watchdogs and will protect their family quite fearlessly but aren’t necessarily aggressive dogs.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Lhasa Apsos are big dogs in small dog bodies, so they will attempt (and succeed) to take charge of dogs of all sizes. But they get along with other dogs quite well, and with proper socialization, Lhasa Apsos also get along with most other pets as well.

Image Credit: Duncan Woodhouse, Shutterstock


Things to Know When Owning a Lhasa Apso:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Feeding your Lhasa Apso will consist of finding high-quality food (like this one) that is designed for her age, size, and activity level. They need higher fat and protein levels because they have thick skin that helps to support the weight of their coats. Experts recommend feeding Lhasa Apsos food with more than 14% fat levels, but be careful not to overfeed.

Exercise 🐕

Lhasa Apsos are quite capable of exercising themselves by running around your house or apartment and will only require a few short walks every day. If it’s a yucky day outside, they can get their exercise inside and will be happy just playing and sleeping on your lap.

noddy-lhasa apso-pixabay(1)
Credit: kshitijprakash, Pixabay

Training 🎾

Training the Lhasa Apso can be a challenge thanks to their stubbornness and intelligence. They are smart enough to learn but independent enough to want to only learn on their own terms. The more you punish or bully the Lhasa Apso, the more stubborn they become, so it’s best to stick with short and consistent lessons.

Grooming ✂️

If you decide to cut your Lhasa Apso’s coat yourself, hoping it will reduce the amount of grooming they need, you’d be only slightly right. The shorter cut on the Lhasa Apso still requires regular maintenance and will need brushing several times a week, but the long coat could use a daily brushing to prevent mats. Bathing the Lhasa Apso with a good shampoo, such as this one, should be done every 2 to 4 weeks.

You should brush your Lhasa Apso’s teeth about 2 to 3 times a week, clean her ears about once a month, and trim those nails about every 3 to 4 weeks.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Lhasa Apsos are a very healthy and robust breed, which isn’t always the case with purebreds. However, there are a few conditions they are prone to inherit. The vet will thoroughly examine your Lhasa Apso’s eyes in addition to a regular physical exam when she’s a puppy to ensure she won’t inherit any of these conditions. Your vet will check your dog’s knees and hips and will run a urinalysis and a variety of blood tests to ensure your pup is in good health.


Male vs Female

One of the more obvious differences between male and female dogs is usually in size. The Lhasa Apso is no exception, but it is a little harder to detect. The female Lhasa tends to be only slightly smaller than the male.

The other very obvious difference is in the kind of surgery your dog needs. Neutering the Lhasa Apso male is typically an easier and, therefore, cheaper procedure than spaying the female. Experts say that spaying or neutering your dog will help prevent serious health conditions from developing later, in addition to improving behavioral issues.

Some believe that there are personality and temperament differences between female and male dogs. It is thought that males can be a little less affectionate and are more territorial than females, but this isn’t always the case. Overall, the true test of a dog’s personality starts while they are young and also depends upon how well socialized they were as a puppy, and how they have been treated as an adult. You can read more on this particular topic here.divider-multiprint

Final Thoughts

The Lhasa Apso has an incredible history and a personality to match. This breed will be a great fit for single people or families with older children.

Finding Lhasa Apso puppies shouldn’t prove too difficult as they are a popular breed that is adaptable to living in the country or the city. You can post your interest in finding a puppy on social media or locate a breeder in your area. Or you could consider adopting your pup from a rescue organization, like the Lhasa Apso Rescue, which shows how many of these dogs are available in each state.

If you’re on the lookout for a sassy, smart, and protective dog that can fit in your lap for a good cuddle, the Lhasa Apso might just be the perfect dog to add to your family.

Related Read: 22 Asian Dog Breeds

Featured image credit: Sonja-Kalee, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.