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Lhasa Apso

Country/Date of Origin: Tibet/600s

In the holy city of Lhasa there is a beautiful palace called Potala and there the high priest called the Dalai Lama sat on the Lion Throne of Tibet. His palace guardians were tiny watchdogs bred to resemble the sacred lion that is believed to be the protector of Buddha. An ancient breed and probably foundation stock for some of the Chinese dogs, the Lhasa didn't reach the West in the 1920s when the Dalai Lama gave some as a gift to an English doctor. The breed made its way across the Atlantic via Britain and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1935.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Bark Lion Sentinel Dog

AKC Group: Non-Sporting

Breed Club: The American Lhasa Apso Club

Rescue Club: The Lhasa Apso Rescue Network

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Body Type:

  • A small dog whose long, flowing coat completely hides its face
  • Height: 10-11 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 13-15 pounds
  • The plume tail is carried high over the back and is never altered
  • The hanging ears are not altered


  • Very alert and watchful
  • Suspicious of strangers and will bark an alarm
  • Independent and stubborn
  • Loyal and faithful to family


  • A double coat. Topcoat that is heavy, straight and rather hard
  • Undercoat is moderate
  • Long in length, the coat touches the ground and is parted down the back
  • All colors are acceptable. Golden or lion colors are preferred
  • Grooming is very high maintenance. Daily brushing is required

Health Concerns:

  • Particularly robust
  • Subject to kidney ailments
  • Allergic skin disease
  • Eye injuries and tear deficiency
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • A translation of the Tibetan name is Bark Sentinel Lion Dog
  • Slow to mature, but long lived and ages gracefully
  • Lhasas are a watch dog that seems to have an uncanny ability to distinguish friend from foe
  • Not really suitable as a child's pet. Lhasas are not lap dogs or companion animals. They are guard animals by nature

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