Lhasa Apso

Breed History

Lhasa Apso Grooming

Lhasa Apso is a toy sized, sturdy, protective dog with a long and dense coat that is long enough to drag on the floor. Small dog with a fearless personality and first-time owner is in shock at the independence this dog displays.

Protect their environment at all cost they were bred to protect property of royal families. Working in conjunction with Tibetan Mastiffs as an internal guarding system while the Mastiff was in control of the external elements making these areas airtight from intruders. Guardian dog for Buddhist Monasteries.

Himalaya Mountains is the area these dogs are from in the region of Tibetan. One of the few dogs that come from Tibetan at this size. Their name means long hair Lhasa or woolly hair which is a description of the dog’s coat.

One of the oldest breeds in the world they are in documentation B.C.E. by almost a thousand years. Most dogs don’t go back this far in history. There are many dogs that look similar in nature, but this breed is always older than most small dog breeds.

Never for sale in their earlier days these dogs would only be a gift from someone who had the dog as a gift as well. Royalty and other elites had this breed and no one else until much later in history.

Came to America from England in the 20th century you will see they were given registration in 1935 by the American Kennel club. It is safe to assume they were in the states before this time frame.


Being such an old breed that are known all over the world and are shown recognition from all the major Kennel Clubs. After leaving their hometown they were given as presents to other countries, like Europe.

Once they were given away from the Himalaya Mountains and other countries began to breed them, they were now entered different Kennel Clubs internationally and locally. They would create a breed standard and start to track the bloodline later in history.

Here are the kennel clubs that recognize the Lhasa Apso


Male Height: 10-11 inches

Female Height: 9-10 inches

Male Weight: 12-18 pounds

Female Weight: 12-15 pounds

Men are larger than females slightly but not by much. It is hard to tell if you are looking at a male or a female dog in this breed group.

Litter Size

Average litter size is 4-5 puppies but can be smaller or larger at any given time. There are reports that the mother can carry close to 10 puppies or as little as 2 or 3. At this time there are no known birth issues with the mother, and she has a natural birth.


All colors are acceptable and there is no qualification of any color involving this breed. There are colors that are more common than others. Here are the most common colors you will see.

  • Black
  • Black and Tan
  • Cream
  • Gold
  • Grizzle
  • Red
  • White
  • Red and White


The average price is $1,000-$5,000. There is a strong possibility that the dog can cost much more depending on what type of dog it is. Prices vary depending on inflation, supply, demand, currency exchange, and other factors depending on where you are in the world.

Dogs with papers are going to cost more than dogs without papers. Tracking the bloodline is the biggest advantage. You can see what countries they come from and when the breed got to America with your dog.

Without papers you can expect to pay a few hundred bucks. Paying these prices will lower the quality of the dog in most cases. Make sure you fully understand the breed standards and what this dogs’ parents should look like. Proper research will help in this regard.


  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing this dog will need to happen multiple times per week. Using the right equipment is more important as well. A metal brush will help with removing tangles and this needs to happen often.

Combing is going to be a huge task and should be done multiple times per week. Failure to comb the coat can result in matting and tangles. Painful grooming sessions can occur from this lack of attention to detail.

Bathing should happen every month on average or maybe a little longer. During shedding season brushing and bathing can accelerate the process of removing dead or loose fur.

Ears should be clean at least once per month. Due to the nature of humans having this dog in the house you will not have to worry about many ear infections but cleaning them are good for prevention.

Nails should be trim from exercising. If you don’t exercise, which we don’t recommend, you will notice that the nails are longer on average. You will need to clip them with nail clippers.

Life Span

12-13 years is the lifespan. That is a long time to own a dog and much longer than other dog breeds. They enjoy a long senior life and should be taken care of with exercise and training from day one.

Health Issues

Patellar Luxation – kneecaps are something that affects all small dog breeds and you should take an exam to make sure that the knees are good to go. X-rays will show you how much damage is done to the knee or if the knees are not in bad condition. Exercise will be affected and should be the main cause of concern if your dog is favoring their knees or not willing to do basic exercise every day.

Hernias – Most common type is the umbilical hernia and it may or may not require surgery. Depending on age that will affect the healing ability. If you don’t notice the health issue and it persists for a long time, they will require surgery.

Ulcers – Sores that form inside of the stomach and they’re hard for us to determine. Knowing the symptoms can be lengthy but there are many behaviors that should prompt you to go to the vet. These can be treatable, but some cases are not able to get any treatment. Keep an eye out for weight loss, loss of appetite, and stomach pain.

Bladder Stones – this condition is very painful to the dog and they will urinate in short burst most of the time when they have this condition. Very dominate for this breed to have this issue.  High rates of bladder stones happen, and owners of this dog should be fully aware of what can happen.

Breed Group

Lhasa Apso will be in the Non-Sporting Group, but are also in groups like Tibetan, toy, or companion depending on the Kennel Club. Dogs in this group differ from the toy breeds because they all have some type of job but nothing that fits into different categories.

Although a miscellaneous type of group with nothing much in common you can tell all of these dogs are popular in many countries.

Here are some of the dogs that make up this breed group

Exercise Needs

You will hear a lot of lies and stereotypes with this breed regarding exercise. Most people think they can tell you a breed doesn’t need much exercise because of their small size. Fortunately, you are learning this from me and not somebody who is taking some wild guess.

Let’s skip pass the guess work and let’s figure out the real exercise requirements. Look no further than your own dog.

Is you dog jumping, scratching, barking a lot, whining, anxiety, aggressive, digging, chewing up items, or has a lack of appetite? If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you have a dog that needs more exercise.

If your dog is calm and not experiencing none of these bad behaviors, then you are exercising enough. Nothing is going to be a prediction of weight. Just like humans some of us are higher energy than others.

You must experiment with your dog to find out if one hour or two hours is enough to get them behaving the way you would like in your house.

Here is a basic guideline that we recommend.

Morning: One hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 minutes (run, walk, or treadmill)

Once you do this for about a week you should notice some shocking changes. Doing this for a year will make people see your dog and say “Wow, what a great dog”. We must be mindful that exercise is a daily event.

Believing that you exercise you dog, but they are just misbehaving is one of the myths we hold. Exercising overtime will enable you to train and teach your dog the rules of the house. Without exercise training will become too difficult because the dog is having a fulfillment issue.


  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Training is one of the most time-consuming and on-going events until you reach a certain point. That can only happen with hard work and daily dedication.

Exercising program is the only activity you can do to make everything easier or non-important. Most of the people who needs help training their dog are refusing to exercise their dog. Taking the time to exercise one to two hours every day will change the relationship. Going from never telling your dog anything to walking them and making them listen for two hours per day changes the relationship. You will spend most of your time in this portion of the training.

Command training will be the smallest portion of the training. Once the dog learns the command in a few days they can perform the command for many years to come. People think this is training a dog but sit, stay, and lay doesn’t teach the dog to behave only exercise does that.

Socializing after exercise is the best thing you can do. Sometimes you need to do the regular morning routine, get to the dog park, and depending on the behavior take them for another walk. There are times when you don’t enter the dog park because of the behavior and go to the park just to walk them even further. One day the dog will calm down enough and you go in calmly.

Correcting the dog is a large portion of the training at first and will decrease as time passes. For example, you will correction a lot at first and end up having a hard time remembering the last time you corrected the dog. That’s why it is a big part at first and decrease as the dog learns the rules.

Are Lhasa Apso’s Good Family Dogs?

These dogs are fantastic additions to the family. Small enough to fit into the apartment building lifestyle for those who haven’t bought a home. Protection of the home is something this breed excels at and owners should be aware. Family, friends, and other dogs will be easy to socialize with this dog.

Lhasa Apso’s don’t need a lazy owner that doesn’t want to exercise and train them. If they find someone who will meet this demand, they will be a great addition to any family.

Additional Resources