Lhasa Apso

Strong-willed, courageous, and resourceful


Strong-willed, courageous, and resourceful

From his position as a one-time guardian of Tibetan monks and nobles, the Lhasa Apso is now a cherished companion to families all over the world. His name means “bark lion sentinel dog,” which confirms his former lofty position and his “lionlike” appearance.

Bred 2,000 years ago by Buddhist monks in Tibet, the Dalai Lamas, the spiritual leaders of that country, gave these long-haired, short-legged dogs as gifts to Chinese royalty.

The dog’s 10- to 11-inch small rectangular body and efficient features reflect the breed’s ancient Tibetan heritage as high altitude, mountain dogs. The Lhasa’s long, heavy, weatherproof coat of any color helps protect the Lhasa from cold weather. Hair over the face guards him against sun and the wind. His round, large cat-like feet provide sturdy traction in snow and on steep icy slopes.

Far from fearful, this member of AKC’s Non-Sporting Group is intelligent and views strangers with caution and people in his pack with love and affection. ~Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz

Breed Standard

Official Standard of the Lhasa Apso

American Lhasa Apso Club, Inc.

Character: Gay and assertive, but chary of strangers.

Size: Variable, but about 10 or 11 inches at shoulder for dogs, bitches slightly smaller.

Color: All colors equally acceptable with or without dark tips to ears and beard.

Body Shape: The length from point of shoulders to point of buttocks longer than height at withers, well ribbed up, strong loin, well-developed quarters and thighs.

Coat: Heavy, straight, hard, not woolly nor silky, of good length, and very dense.

Mouth and Muzzle: The preferred bite is either level or slightly undershot. Muzzle of medium length; a square muzzle is objectionable.

Head: Heavy head furnishings with good fall over eyes, good whiskers and beard; skull narrow, falling away behind the eyes in a marked degree, not quite flat, but not domed or apple-shaped; straight foreface of fair length. Nose black, the length from tip of nose to eye to be roughly about one-third of the total length from nose to back of skull.

Eyes: Dark brown, neither very large and full, nor very small and sunk.

Ears: Pendant, heavily feathered.

Legs: Forelegs straight; both forelegs and hind legs heavily furnished with hair.

Feet: Well feathered, should be round and catlike, with good pads.

Tail and Carriage: Well feathered, should be carried well over back in a screw; there may be a kink at the end. A low carriage of stern is a serious fault.

Approved July 11, 1978

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