Lhasa apso is assumed to be thousand years old, which were used as watchdogs by the native people in their houses and monasteries, in high Himalayan Mountains. Its history can be traced back to 800 B.C, where it was considered as good luck and was regarded as a sacred dog. Lhasas are related to the Dalai Lama for centuries, and without his permission, the pet was not allowed to leave the country. From the early years of 1583 to 1908, this breed was sent as gifts by Dalai Lama to the Imperial family members and Emperors of China. It was always given in pairs, and they assumed it brought good luck.
In 1933 it entered the United States when 13th Dalai Lama gave it as a gift to C Suydam, naturalist, and world traveler. These two gifted dogs became the starting point of his kennel. In 1935, Lhasa Apso was recognized as a breed by American Kennel Club (AKC).
Temperament & Personality
The disposition of Lhasa Apso is an exciting mix, it is not only playful, happy and mischievous, but also fierce and independent. It bonds closely with its family and seriously takes the job of guarding their family and territory. They like to stay close with their family members and always follow them room to room. It likes to get involved in every household activity. It takes a longer time to grow up and also remains a bit puppyish in its old age. Lhasa is a small dog, but it is not fragile like other small breeds, it is enough sturdy and strong.
They remain watchful of strangers and become friends only when they realize the stranger is not a threat to its family. With early socialization, they do well with other dogs and kids in the house, but their interactions require supervision. It is not an ideal pet for the first time owners. They are an excellent pet for apartment living.
As a result of their independent nature, Lhasa is not prone to suffer from separation anxiety if left for a longer duration. However, their disposition depends upon various factors like training, hereditary, and socialization. Dogs who inherit lovely temperaments are always playful and curious, while other dogs stay calm, quiet and serious, these type of pets require early socialization.
Lhasa is a moderately active dog who likes to live indoors. They do not require heavy exercising techniques like others. Their exercising activity will include short walks, indoor games and play sessions with their owner. Games like a ball rolling, hide and seek, etc are liked by them. Mental stimulation will be in the form of training sessions, puzzle games, etc. Also, to keep them busy and prevent them from doing mischievous activities, offering them chew toys is beneficial. Moreover, take them to Dogs Park once or twice a week for a change, they will like to move and play in an open space.
This breed has a gorgeous coat and maintaining them is not a job for the first time owners. They require high grooming standards to maintain their luster and shine. Combing and brushing with a wide tooth comb is necessary. Bathe them frequently (twice or once a month). During their shedding time brush them twice a day to remove loose fur from their coat. Some owners clip their coat short to minimize grooming standards. Grooming them is not easy, and some owners hire a professional groomer to groom them.
Brush their teeth regularly to prevent tartar buildup and other bacterial problems, bad breath, and gum diseases. Trim their nails minimum twice in a month or when they have a clicking sound while walking, to restrain tearing problem. They have bold vessels in their nails and cutting them too long can result in bleeding. Hence, it is advisable to contact a professional groomer for trimming.
Their droopy ears are prone to ear infection, check for bad odor or redness which indicates infection. Clean them with pH-balanced ear solution or a vet prescribed cleaner to minimize infection. Also, while brushing their coat check for redness, sores, rashes, skin inflammation, etc.
Like other healthy breeds, it is also prone to some health issues like Patellar Luxation, Cherry Eye, Allergies, Sebaceous Adenitis (SA), PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, Familial Inherited Renal Dysplasia, etc. Occasional tests like a full body check-up, blood tests, eye checkups and random vet visits will keep it healthy.
Teaching Lhasa is a challenging job, and the trainer needs to be patient while training them as they stay puppyish, but reach its full size in one year. Positive and consistent training will help them to learn early.
Teaching them housetraining can be difficult, therefore it is advisable to opt for crate training. Socialize naturally by taking them to different busy places like a supermarket, bus stops busy roads and Dogs Park, etc. It will allow them to meet unknown faces, different sounds and situations and make them more flexible.
To prevent the pack of the leader issue obedience training is crucial. Command training is essential to polish their skills, enhance the relationship between the dog and the owner and to minimize their excessive barking behavior. Commands like ‘no,’ ‘yes,’ ’stop,’ ‘come’ are some simple commands which are essential.
They do well with a high-quality food or homemade food. But it is essential to visit a dietician or a vet before opting for the food. Generally, 3/4 to 1 cups of dry food is advisable for this breed. Also, owners can opt for a raw meat diet to offer them protein. It is advisable to create a diet depending upon the dog’s size, age, activity level and metabolism. The owner should offer them small meals multiple times a day and prevent heavy exercises to minimize the risk. Owners should check their weight level and calorie consumption. If they gain weight reduce table scraps, treats, etc.