Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso dog breed
Lhasa Apso courtesy Vickie Kuhlmann

Quick Facts

  • Weight: 12 – 18 pounds (5.44 – 8.16 kg)
  • Height: 9 – 11 inches (22.86 – 27.94 cm)

The Look of a Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso has a small, sturdy frame covered in a long, dense coat that can come in light brown, cream, slate, brown, black and white. Its head, which is draped in long hair, has a square muzzle, black nose, moustache & beard, hanging ears and—when you can see them—dark, medium-sized eyes. Its feathered tail curls over the back. Overall, the Lhasa Apso looks cheerful but determined.


  • Lively
  • Confident
  • Clever
  • Elegant
  • Protective

Ideal Human Companion

  • Retirees
  • City dwellers
  • Couch potatoes
  • Families with older children

What They Are Like to Live With

Lhasa Apso is not your typical lapdog. Lively, friendly and outgoing around the home, it is also bold and full of spunky attitude. These charming and elegant canines believe themselves to be the protector of the household, and they take that job very seriously. The Lhasa Apso develops close bonds with its owner and may seem suspicious of strangers, but it has an excellent sense of restraint and judgement.

The Lhasa Apso is very strong-willed. When training, it’s important to try and maintain the authority. They do not respond to harsh training, but they do respect a firm, positive leader. You’ll have to earn the respect of a Lhasa Apso, but once you do you have a friend for life.

Things You Should Know

Though it makes an ideal apartment dog, the Lhasa Apso needs daily exercise to maintain its upbeat attitude. Fresh air and walks will also keep it healthy. If you can allow the Lhasa Apso some time to play in a protected open area, by all means do. It is also a sturdy and well-behaved traveler.

The Lhasa Apso can live as long as 18 years. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, kidney problems, respiratory ailments and skin disorders. Grooming is fairly easy, but more attention should be paid when the hair is long. Daily brushing and the occasional bath will keep it looking good. Also remember to check the Lhasa Apso’s ears for signs of infection.


Known in its home country as the “bark lion sentinel dog,” the Lhasa Apso was used to guard Tibetan palaces and temples. This bold and alert canine’s duty was to guard the interior of the building, while its massive and imposing partner (the Tibetan Mastiff) was charged with guarding the outside. In the early 1930s, the Dalai Lama helped introduce the Lhasa Apso to America and other parts of the world.

4 thoughts on “Lhasa Apso”

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