Lhasa Apso Dog Breed Profile

Lhasa apso sitting on chair, portrait
Cultura RM/Arundhati Bharati/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

The Lhasa Apso a relatively small but quite sturdy dog with a long and dense double hair coat. This breed is known to be happy and playful, but also independent and mischievous.

Caring for Your Lhasa Apso

Many owners choose to keep their Lhasa's hair trimmed in a short "puppy coat." Others, especially those in the show world, prefer the natural long and heavy coat. Either way, a strict grooming routine is an absolute necessity.

The Lhasa's hair grows constantly, so haircuts will be needed. Those who keep the coat short will need to have the hair trimmed every 2-3 weeks and brush the hair every 7-10 days. If the hair is kept long, thorough brushing is vital every 1-2 days. 

The Lhasa has a mind of its own and a strong-willed nature. Because of this, training is an absolute requirement. However, this breed is quite smart and can learn well with persistence. Proper socialization is also important so your Lhasa will be comfortable in all kinds of situations.

The Lhasa had a medium energy level and does not need a tremendous amount of exercise. However, daily walks and fun activities like games can help keep your Lhasa mentally and physically stimulated.

Lhasa Apso History

The Lhasa Apso is originated in Tibet over 1,000 years ago and evolved perfectly for the harsh climate of the Himalayas. Named for the sacred city of Lhasa, these prized creatures were the indoor watchdogs of temples and palaces.

In Tibet, the breed is called the "Apso Seng Kye", or "Bark Lion Sentinel Dog".

In the 1930's, Lhasas were given as a gift from the Dalai Lama to American C. Suydam Cutting, a world traveler and naturalist. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1935 as the Lhasa Terrier, but was re-named Lhasa Apso in 1944.

In 1959, the breed was moved from the terrier group to the non-sporting group.

Lhasa Apso Information

Group: Non-sporting

Size: 12-18 pounds

Colors: Can be nearly any color, but are most commonly seen in black, white, gold, gray, cream or a combination of these.

Lhasa Apso Health Problems

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

Who Should Get a Lhasa Apso?

The Lhasa's small size makes this breed ideal for apartments and small homes. This breed may not be an ideal first choice for households with children, but it can get along with some kids if raised with them and well-trained/socialized. This is an intelligent and protective breed that will bond closely with its owner, but also a playful and mischievous dog. Lhasas are known for their sense of independence and ability to make wonderful companions.

Also, because the Lhasa is one of many hypoallergenic dog breeds, this breed may be suitable for those who are mildly or moderately allergic to dogs.


As with any breed, if you think the Lhasa Apso is the right dog for you, be sure to do plenty of research before adopting one. Talk to other Lhasa owners, reputable Lhasa breeders and Lhasa Apso rescue groups to learn more.