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The Lhasa Apso is an ancient breed that originated in the Himalayan Mountains in Tibet. The name 'Lhasa' refers to the capital of Tibet, whilst the term 'Apso' means goatlike due to his long coarse coat resembling Tibetan goat's.
The Lhasa Apso was originally bred as a guard dog for temples and monasteries. The breed's original name is Abso Seng Kye, which translates to Bark Lion Sentinel Dog.
The small Lhasa Apso dog breed is affectionate, fun-loving, and considered an excellent companion. He is a popular dog breed owing to his charming and adorable look.
Are you looking for a handsome guard dog that is not necessarily massive in size? Check out this brief background of Lhasa Apso.
The Lhasa Apso dog is of Tibetan origin and takes the name of the holy city of Tibet—Lhasa. His name is derived from Lhasa City and 'Apso,' which is a Tibetan word that means goatlike. In Tibet, he is called Apso Seng Kye, which means Bark Lion Sentinel Dog.
The Lhasa Apso breed's primary purpose is to guard the homes of Tibetan nobility and Buddhist temples and monasteries near the sacred city of Lhasa. Although Tibetan Mastiffs were utilised to guard the entrances, Lhasa Apso dogs serve as burglar alarms when intruders get past the Tibetan Mastiffs.
The Lhasa Apso is amongst the oldest recognised dog breeds in the world, dating as far back as 800 BC. In fact, DNA evidence shows that the breed is closely linked to wolves. It is also believed that Lamas (spiritual masters or high priests) can enter into the bodies of Lhasas.
The Lhasa Apso is highly treasured, similar to dog breeds like the Tibetan Terrier. The only way to own one is to receive one as a gift to bring 'good fortune and prosperity' to the receiver.
In 1933, a pair of Lhasa Apso dogs was gifted to C. Suydam Cutting, who travelled to Tibet and met Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama. Also in this period, one Lhasa Apso was already registered in England.
It was in 1901 that Sir Lionel Jacob described and named the Lhasa as 'Lhasa Terrier.' It was only changed back to Lhasa Apso when a formal breed club called Lhasa Apso Club was founded in 1970.
The Lhasa Apso was first recognised by the Kennel Club in 1908 as the 'Lhasa terrier, 10-inch type.' The very first Lhasa Apso dog in the United States arrived in 1933. In 1935, he was considered as the first Tibetan breed registered in the American Kennel Club and categorised under non-sporting group breed.
The Lhasa Apso is small and sturdy, sporting a long, heavy, lush coat that covers his entire body and can almost reach the floor. He wears a beard and a moustache, and a patch of hair hangs over his head and falls over his eyes but must not impede his vision.
The Lhasa Apso has brown eyes, a black nose, small pendant ears, and a level or slightly undershot bite. In form, the Lhasa must be longer than he is tall, standing 25 – 28 cm and weighing 6 –7 kg. His tail is heavily feathered that is carried over his back.
The Lhasa Apso wears a heavy, straight, and very dense double coat that comes in a variety of colours including black, red, white, and gold with several shadings.
The Lhasa Apso owns thick and long hair, but he is a minimal shedder, making him a hypoallergenic dog. He is a great furry companion for dog lovers suffering from allergies.
Grooming a Lhasa's long coat is time-consuming and difficult. Unlike most breeds, he will require daily brushing and combing as well as bathing every 2–4 weeks. Most often, owners hire a professional groomer to make sure the beauty of his coat is maintained. You may also request the groomer to get him a puppy cut to manage his coat easily.
To keep the Lhasa Apso healthy, other grooming regimens must be included; Make sure to check his ears regularly for any signs of irritation or infection. Also, clean the ears using a cotton ball and a vet-approved solution to prevent wax build-up.
The Lhasa Apso dog's teeth should also be thoroughly brushed every week to prevent tartar build-up and avoid gum disease.
His nails should also be trimmed especially when they grow too long. You will know when you hear clicking sounds when he walks on the floor.
The Lhasa Apso was originally bred as a guard dog and a companion dog, so he is naturally wary and aloof around strangers. However, he is very affectionate and sociable to the people he knows and trusts, especially his family members. This small dog is considered a lapdog that likes to cuddle and thrives in spending time with his owners.
The Lhasa has a huge personality. Despite his small size, he sees himself as a big dog, often fearless and bossy, demanding attention.
Training-wise, the Lhasa Apso's intelligent but stubborn nature can make it hard to train him. This utility dog is often happier when he can do his own thing, and he is also known to ignore commands, depending on his mood.
The Lhasa Apso dog can quickly show a more dominant nature if the pack order has not been established. In other words, this dog breed is not well-suited for first-time dog owners.
The Lhasa Apso is not good around other dogs when not properly socialised. Although he is a small dog breed, he is often snippy with a suspicious and dominant nature. However, since he has a low prey drive, mixing small animals with this lapdog does not necessarily end in disastrous results.
The Lhasa can coexist with other animals if given the right training. When it comes to children, this lapdog is better suited to households with older children who know how to handle his lively nature. He does not take kindly to rough play where he can be pushed around or mishandled. Therefore, supervision is necessary during play.
Give your adult Lhasa Apso is 3/4 to 1 cup of high-quality dog food daily. Keep in mind that not all dogs will require the same type or amount of food. The nutritional needs of each dog are determined mainly through his age, size, gender, build, metabolism, and activity requirement.
If you are not sure how much food your Lhasa Apso dog needs, consult a trusted veterinarian for advice.
Typical daily calorie needs of an adult Lhasa Apso weighing 5 kilos:
The Lhasa Apso is a small breed that requires a more calorie-dense dog food. Most small dogs prefer small pieces of kibble as well, but it is important to feed him with grain-free dog food to avoid common allergens such as wheat and corn.
How long do Lhasa Apsos live?
The Lhasa Apso is a normally healthy, robust, and long-lived dog. When well-cared-for and properly fed, he can live between 12 - 15 years or beyond. In fact, the oldest Lhasa Apso dog is 29 years old.
The Lhasa Apso dog is one of the dog breeds that are very likely to develop dry eye. It is an eye disorder, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS). This is a result when tear ducts produce an insufficient amount of tears.
The usual symptoms of KCS in Lhasa Apso include pain, redness, irritation, and pus-like discharge. This condition requires lifelong treatment, which involves stimulating tear production and replacing the tear film.
Ophthalmic medications and a tear production stimulant will be prescribed by the vet to address this health problem. For dogs with inflamed and irritated eyes, topical anti-inflammatory and antibiotics are needed to relieve these symptoms.
However, if the Lhasa Apso does not respond well to medications, the next step will be a surgical correction. Note that this is a high-risk process. Thus, it should not be performed unless the other medications were unsuccessful. A Lhasa Apso with dry eye requires lifelong medical care.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
PRA is a hereditary optical disease that results in the slow degeneration of vision. If your Lhasa Apso dog has a hard time moving through the house at night, it is a sign that he is suffering from PRA. This condition can lead to eventual blindness over months or years.
This ocular disease in Lhasa Apsos does not have any cure, although antioxidant therapy is recommended to hinder vision loss. However, there is an insubstantial amount of evidence to support its effectiveness.
To prevent PRA from spreading within the Lhasa Apso breed, health screening is the best option. This process will weed out potential breeding dogs that have high chances of inheriting the disease.
Small dog breeds like the Lhasa Apso are highly prone to patellar luxation, which occurs when the kneecap becomes dislocated.
Arthritis may gradually develop due to this condition. It puts affected dogs in extreme pain and makes movement difficult. Lameness is also another result of patellar luxation.
Depending on the disease's severity, the cure can range from medications to surgery. It also includes exercise restriction and physical therapy. For obese dogs, weight management is necessary to prevent placing strain on the affected joints.
Due to the Lhasa Apso's drooping ears, he is highly vulnerable to ear infections. That's because the ears' formation is more likely to accumulate dirt and bacteria. It also makes the ear canal damp, which leads to the proliferation of bacteria.
Preventing ear infections in the Lhasa Apso requires regularly cleaning the ears and checking for signs of infection. These signs include redness, discharge, itchiness, and irritation.
After giving a Lhasa Apso a bath, do not forget to dry his ears completely. Be sure to frequently trim excess hair in the ears as well to keep bacteria from thriving.
Sebaceous Adenitis (SA)
It is a skin disorder that is often passed through genetics. SA happens when the immune system attacks the sebaceous glands, causing gradual hair loss on the affected dog.
The Lhasa Apso's skin will turn dry, thick, and scaly. Itchiness, lesions, and hotspots also accompany other symptoms. SA usually occurs in 1 to 12-year-old dogs.
This disease cannot be cured, but there are available treatments that can manage it. Topical therapies like keratolytic shampoo and oil baths are usually used as primary treatments. Vitamins and omega-3 supplements will be prescribed by the vet as well.
If SA triggers bacterial or yeast infection in Lhasa Apso, medications such as antibiotics and corticosteroids will be administered to prevent the condition from worsening.
The Lhasa dog is not highly active and is content to stay indoors. Unlike other breeds, the Lhasa Apso does not require rigorous activities. But he will enjoy short 20 to 60-minute walks and play sessions with the family. He is well suited for people who lead sedentary lifestyles.
Keep in mind that the Lhasa Apso is a brachycephalic breed. Excessive exercise can cause breathing difficulties, whilst hot weather can induce heatstroke. Thus, set limits on your dog's daily exercise regimen, and take him out for outdoor exercise only during the cooler time of the day.
A well-bred Lhasa Apso puppy costs £1,400–£2,000. Feeding him high-quality dog food and treats can set you back £30–£40 a month. The total costs for basic supplies such as lead, collar, bowls, crate, bed, and toys are estimated at £200.
If you opt to acquire pet insurance for your Lhasa Apso, the fees depend on where you live and your dog's health and age. A time-limited cover can cost £18 a month, whilst a lifetime one can cost up to £40 a month.
The Lhasa Apso's vet services such as consultations, initial vaccinations, boosters, and neutering or spaying may cost £900 for the first year. After that, you may need to set aside £500 per year for his vet check-ups.
On average, the minimum cost to care for a Lhasa Apso is £60–£90 per month depending on your pet insurance premium. This estimate does not include the rates for other services such as dog walking and grooming.
Are you sure the Lhasa Apso is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
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