Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso: Elegant, Sturdy, Agile, And Smart

Very few other dog breeds can compete with the Lhasa Apso regarding its elegant coat. Although they may look delicate, they are sturdy dogs that can compete in dog agility events. Looks and athletic ability are all combined in a regal-looking dog who is a comedian at heart.

The bright and regal Lhasa Apso is an excellent family dog. With early socialization, they love playing fetch with children. However, like most small dogs, they can be fearful of smaller humans. They are excellent watchdogs and will raise the alarm when necessary.

Their name comes from Tibet’s capital city, [wiki]Lhasa[/wiki], and an Anglicized Tibetan word apso. The exact meaning of apso is unclear. It may mean “long-haired dog.”

Originally part of the AKC Terrier Group,  the Lhasa Apso is now, since 1959, part of the Non-Sporting Group. In 2019, it was 71 on the AKC list of  196 most popular dog breeds.



Lhasa Apsos Are Loyal And Loveable

Dog at school
Lhasa Apsos are intelligent, loyal dogs who love to cuddle. Lapdog. Yes, sir, that’s me!

The Lhasa Apso is a great companion dog and will soon be your best friend. They are loyal little pets with a stubborn but adorable streak that you will love. They are playful yet calm and not too rowdy.



They don’t require a lot of outdoor activity except for trips to do their business. Your remote will still be warm when you return from your walk.

Lhasa Apsos Are Healthy Dogs

Dog wearing a face maskThey are healthy and usually live longer lives than other dog breeds. Their average lifespan is 12 to 15 years, and they sometimes live up to the early 20s. That’s twice the average life of bigger breeds, which may only live ten years.



If they live into their late teens, their eyesight may deteriorate, but they seem to do well even as their vision dims.

They shed a little but are considered a hypoallergenic breed. They don’t shed all at once but more like a human, consistently over time.

Lhasa Apsos Are Small

The Lhasa Apso tips the scale at under 20 pounds, making it a good size for apartment living and as a watchdog. This makes sense because they were bred to be indoor monastery guard dogs. They are alert with a keen sense of hearing and smell.

Another factor favoring smaller size dogs is they eat less. The cost of food over its lifetime will be substantially cheaper for this small breed than for those big dogs that weigh 50 pounds or more.

Lhasa Apsos Can Be Stubborn

While they are reasonably intelligent, they will not make the valedictorian of their class. This, coupled with stubbornness, may make house training an ordeal. They will eventually learn that the whole house is not a bathroom with time, patience, and persistence.

Lhasa Apsos Have Lots of Hair

Lhasa Apso wearing hairbows, 2 years old, in front of white backgroundHair. And lots of it. It never stops growing. They need to be brushed every day and twice on Sundays. You have to brush them even if you keep their hair short.

Your groomer will soon know you by your first name. If you don’t routinely brush this dog, it will get mats and tangles uncomfortable for the dog and a pain for you to get out.

They also need relatively frequent baths, probably at least once a month.   If you want a low-maintenance dog, look for a different breed.

The Lhasa Apso coat comes in several colors and markings. Although their hair will grow long, most owners, I suspect, will opt to keep their Lhasa Apso with a shorter haircut. This will probably be more comfortable for both the dog and its owner.


This dog is an excellent choice for the person who wants a small dog with a big personality. Probably not a good farm dog, but it will do well in the suburbs or an apartment. They are such regal, loyal, and good-looking dogs that you would be proud to say, “Why yes, that is my dog.”

For More Information

You can get more information about the Lhasa Apso on the American Lhasa Apso Club website. The Club also publishes a Club Flyer and a Flip Magazine.


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