The lion dog of Tibe – The Lhasa Apso is a proud dog that has been bred in Tibetan monasteries for centuries, and is enjoyed by dog lovers all over the world. This does not only depend on its extraordinary appearance, but also on its strong character, because in every little Lhasa Apso there is a great personality.
The dog of the Tibetan temples
Behind this breed lies a thousand-year history. The Lhasa Apso is supposed to resemble, aesthetically, the lions of the Buddha and in the course of tradition it was raised by the nobles and in the monasteries of Tibet. Lhasa is the capital of Tibet, but the origins of this breed are not rooted exclusively in this place. In the palaces and monasteries of the mountainous regions, the Lhasa Apso was not only a companion dog, but could also perform the duties of a guard dog. With its loud bark, this dog was able to make itself heard in an extraordinary way. In Tibet of past times, the Lhasa Apso was not sold, but given to close friends and as a good luck charm, as a sign of profound respect.
In its home country, the Lhasa Apso was believed to be the reincarnation of monks who did not exactly abide by the monastery’s rules. This extraordinary breed was introduced in Europe only in 1920, where it soon found a large number of admirers. Targeted breeding only became established in the 1950s in Great Britain and the United States. Today in these countries not only a breed standard has been established for the Lhasa Apso, but it is bred in different colors, unlike the colorful variants of Tibet. Britain now has the patronage of the breed.
A small dog, but with a great personality
It will also be a small dog, but beware: a lion’s heart beats in its chest. The Lhasa Apso is a very intelligent dog with a proud and independent character. The downside of such a character is a great stubbornness: the Lhasa Apso is subject only to its master. This submission occurs only if the master proves himself worthy of it.
It is usually the dog himself who decides who to make friends with. He is rather shy, defensive, and tends to be wary of strangers. We therefore recommend a good socialization from a puppy. Its strong and consolidated bond with the human being, however, distinguished the race for its great empathy. He is often able to interpret and react to the emotions of his pack members with great precision. Who in life has a companion with such an extraordinary character, has a friend of unshakable loyalty by his side. The respect of a Lhasa Apso must be earned, which is why a consistent and loving upbringing is important.
Educating the Lhasa Apso
These dogs are distinguished by their great intelligence: most of the time they quickly understand what their owner wants. Whether they deign to do so or not often depends on how consistent the owner’s behavior has been up to that point. A Lhasa Apso recognizes exceptions to the rule and will insist on these in the future if you let them have the opportunity to do so. Think carefully before secretly passing him a bite from your plate for the first time thinking: “only this time”: he will never stop insisting! Convince your Lhasa Apso of your training goals. It is a proud breed that does not contemplate servile submission at all, which is why mutual respect is a fundamental pillar of the education of dogs of this breed. Only then will he willingly cooperate. The best way to motivate such a dog is with praise given at the right time. The Lhasa Apso is a dog that tends to be solitary, which is why it is important to attend a dog school regularly. Here he will be able to develop his sociability and will be able to make beautiful friendships with his fellow men.
A sturdy build dog
The mountainous regions of Tibet have shaped this breed. Despite their small size, the Lhasa Apso is a very hardy and sturdy dog. Its thick fur protects it from the cold of winter and the heat of summer. In summer, however, it is important to protect it from any heat stroke in the dog.
Due to the conformation of its short snout, the Lhasa Apso may suffer from brachycephalic syndrome. This is a syndrome that mostly affects those dogs from farms that select very short-nosed specimens for breeding. Unfortunately, these excesses in the search for the standard often lead to disease. A short muzzle, for its part, has narrow nostrils, a reduced tracheal diameter and an elongated velopendulus. Dogs that snore can sometimes elicit laughter, but it can be a symptom with a complex cause, and can affect the quality of life of a snoring little nose. It is therefore of particular importance to talk about the problem with the breeder, and buy a Lhasa Apso only in farms where particular attention is paid to a healthy shape of the head, which guarantees the dog sufficient space to breathe. A healthy Lhasa Apso is very long-lived, and can reach an age of 18 years!
Feed the Lhasa Apso
In addition to choosing a kennel that sells specimens in perfect health, the best way to keep a long-lived dog is a healthy diet. Dogs are carnivorous animals , and it is for this reason that their diet must be characterized for the most part by meat. This means that regardless of whether you choose to feed him dry food or wet food, meat must be top of the list of ingredients!
Divide puppy food into three or four daily servings. Two meals a day are enough for an adult specimen. Check your dog’s weight every two weeks so that you can adjust the doses in case of weight gain or loss. The data on the packaging regarding the amount of food are only reference values, which may vary according to the constitution and how much activity your dog does. Of snacks without sugar for dogs, which contain a lot of meat, are perfect for reward and cuddle. It goes without saying that there should always be water within reach of your dog.
A dog fountain will ensure adequate hydration for your pet.
Care and well-being
We give you an advice immediately: already when buying a Lhasa Apso puppy, make sure that its parents’ coat respects the breed standard. To the touch it must be quite hard and smooth and never as soft as cotton. The hair of the Lhasa Apso is easy to care for: it is sufficient to brush it well twice a week. Place the dog lying on its side and brush it starting from the undercoat, following an oblique direction. Aantinode spray for dogs can make brushing easier, otherwise there is a risk that the hair will break very quickly. As for the bathroom, however, the strictly necessary rule applies: put the dog in the tub only when you have no alternative. Most dirt, once dry, can be brushed off easily. In case it is really necessary to bathe it, use a mild shampoo for dogs. In the care of the hair of the Lhasa Apso it should not be neglected the ‘ hygiene of eyes and ears.
Eyesight shouldn’t be hindered by too long hair, and his drooping ears can quickly become inflamed or affected by dog parasites. Also, don’t forget to check your nails: especially in dogs that weigh little and in older ones, they get very long because they don’t wear out enough. To prevent the dog from getting injured, it is important in this case to cut them regularly. Anyone who wants to take care of the dog’s dental hygiene can get him used to cleaning his teeth with a special toothbrush and toothpaste for dogs from an early age.
Lots of movement!
The stamina of this breed does not make it a parlor dog: the Lhasa Apso instead needs long walks. The most important contribution you can make to his health every day is sufficient and constant movement.
Dogs of this breed are very lively, love to hike, and if you have some garden work to do, they love to support you with their presence. However, they are not very playful dogs. They are not even the most suitable dogs for dog sports, such as Dogdance or agility for small dogs. It is also true, however, that the exception confirms the rule, and nothing prevents you from engaging in these activities with your dog.
Is the Lhasa Apso the right breed for me?
The Lhasa Apso is a proud dog, suitable for those who appreciate his personality. It is also suitable for beginners who want to approach dog education for the first time. The Lhasa Apso loves to live both with a family and with a single owner. If there are children, however, it is good that they are already old, because the Tibetan lion is not particularly suitable for small children. However, it is an extraordinary companion for older people, who can spend a lot of time with him, especially walking in nature. Those who want to welcome a Lhasa Apso into their home must then be ready to take care of their coat, a fundamental ritual for dogs of this breed. Before your arrival, look for someone to take care of your little dog during the holidays or in case of illness:a dog sitter or a dog boarding house may be for you. Leaving the dog alone for a long period of time is out of the question, but today it is fortunately possible to take your dog with you to many holiday resorts, for example where you can go hiking. Before deciding to get a dog, also consider the related periodic expenses for the coming years. Periodic expenses include the purchase of excellent quality food, regular veterinary visits, taxes and insurance.
Where can I find a Lhasa Apso?
Certainly today it is no longer necessary to go to a Tibetan monastery to find a Lhasa Apso; however the specimens of this breed are relatively rare, if compared to other dog breeds. It can happen that the nearest breeder lives hundreds of miles away, and even ends up on a waiting list, as the demand for puppies exceeds their availability. The efforts and waiting are always worth it when it comes to a serious breeder’s dog! Make a nice cross on those breeders who would like to sell you a dog without a pedigree and who cannot show a certificate certifying theirdog vaccinations. Health and pedigree are not the only elements that can raise some doubts. Socialization is another sore point, which especially in a stubborn dog like the Lhasa Apso can have serious consequences if not developed correctly. Gather information on breeders and litter times at clubs specializing in Tibetan dog breeds.
You could perhaps also orient yourself towards a similar breed: the Shi Tzu and the Tibetan Spaniel are other dogs that belong to the category of the lion dog (in a broad sense). The Tibetan Terrier, larger in size, is instead a dog recommended only for very sporty owners.
Those looking for an already adult Lhasa Apso can also turn to organizations that have specialized in breeds of Tibetan origin. In fact, it is unlikely that there will be a Lhasa Apso in a kennel looking for a new home: it is a very rare breed to find in such a context. To find the dog of your dreams, take advantage of the enormous possibilities offered by the internet. You will likely find many mixed breeds or other lion dogs. Since many of them have similar characters, do not preclude yourself from anything. Maybe another four-legged friend looking for a home will win you over with a charm all of his own. What matters is that his character is right for you. Before making a decision, find out about the dog’s past history and characteristics.
Final preparations before his arrival
Time is running out and your puppy’s arrival is getting closer and closer! Use the wait to prepare to welcome your Lhasa Apso: learn more about the characteristics of the breed and what are the most suitable foods for the breed. Before he arrives home, make it clear to all family members what the puppy will be able to do or not, because consistency is a key aspect of upbringing. Get the essential accessories such as bowls, leash, harness, indoor kennel and, of course, useful hygiene products such as the clipper, the carder, an effectivepesticide collar and a neutral shampoo for dogs. The breeder will probably give you a ration of the food the dog is used to. Keep giving it to him in the days following his arrival, and try to restock it. Don’t forget that a change in diet has to happen gradually. When everything is ready, it will also be time to welcome your new friend home! Especially in the beginning, take your time to get to know each other.
We wish you a great time with your Lhasa Apso!