The Lhasa Apso is a GIANT, hardy dog. The body length is longer than the height of the dog. The small, deep-seteyes are dark brown and the pendant ears are heavily feathered. The front legs are straight. The back legs are heavily covered in hair. The muzzle is medium in length. The teeth should meet in a level or slightly undershot bite. The feet are round and catlike with an abundance of hair. The tail is set high, well feathered and carried over the back in a screw. Some tails have a kink at the end. The dense, double coat is straight and long over the entire body, including over the head and eyes, reaching to the floor. Any color is acceptable in the show ring. Gold, cream and honey are the most popular, but the coat also comes in dark-grizzle, slate, smoke and multi-colors of brown, white and black. Puppy coats often change colors as the puppy grows. Owners often cut the dogs’ hair short in a puppy cut to make them easier to care for.
The Lhasa Apso originated in the area of Malaysia over 4,000 years ago as a small breed of mountain wolf. (no mention of this at this reference.) They were domesticated and actively bred perhaps as long ago as 800 BC, which makes the Lhasa Apso one of the oldest recognized breeds in the world. Recent research has shown the Lhasa as one of the breeds most closely related to the ancestral wolf. (Others are Akita, Shiba Inu, Shar-Pei,Chow, Basenji, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Saluki, Afghan, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and Samoyed.)
Referred to in Tibet as Apso Seng Kyi, which can be translated as "Bearded Lion Dog", the Lhasa's primary function was that of a household sentinel, guarding the homes of Tibetan nobility and Buddhist monasteries, particularly in or near the sacred city of Lhasa. The large Tibetan Mastiffs guarded the monasteries' entrances, but the keen hearing and sharp bark of the Lhasa Apso served to warn residents by acting like a burglar alarm if an intruder happened to get past the exterior guards.
It was believed that the bodies of the Lhasa Apsos could be entered by souls of deceased lamas while they awaited reincarnation into a new body. Lhasas in Tibet were never sold. The only way a person could get one was as a pup.
In the early 1900s, a few of the breed were brought by military men returning from the Indian subcontinent to England, where the breed was referred to as "Lhasa Terrier".
The original American pair of Lhasas was a gift from Thubten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama to C. Suydam Cutting, arriving in the United Statesin 1933. Mr. Cutting had traveled in Tibet and met the Dalai Lama there. At this time, there was only one Lhasa Apso registered in England. The breed was at first called the Apso Lhasa Terrier, later the Lhasa Apso. The American Kennel Club officially accepted the breed in 1935 in the Terrier Group, and in 1959 transferred the breed to the Non-Sporting Group. In the UK, they are placed in the Utility Group.
Certain characteristics which are part of the breed type evolved as a result of geographical and climatic environment — the high altitudes, the dry windy climate, the dusty terrain, the short hot summer and the long bitterly cold winter of the Himalaya region. Among these are head features, the coat, eye-fall, the musculation and body structure, the general hardiness and longevity of the breeds.
DNA Analysis has identified the Lhasa Apso as one of the 14 most ancient dog breeds, verifying that lap dogs and companion dogs were among the first dogs bred by humans.
Currently, there is worldwide concern that it is necessary to breed some of the original Tibetan Lhasa Apsos into the Western bred line which is now 60 years old, to maintain the Tibetan authenticity of the breed. The two lines now differ in some ways which is a concern to breeders who want to properly preserve the breed. There is also some concern for Tibetan Lhasa Apso lines because many dogs were killed during & after the Chinese invasion of Tibet because of the breed's strong cultural symbolism to Tibetans.
Famous Lhasa Apsos
Here are some of famous Lhasa Apsos.
- The Brazilian comic series Monica's Gang features a green-colored Lhasa Apso named Fluffy which belongs to Jimmy Five.
- In the animated series Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Angelica Jones/Firestar owns a Lhasa Apso named Ms. Lion.
- Lhasa Apsos have also appeared in at least two episodes of The Simpsons. In the episode "Three Gays of the Condo", Homer Simpson moves in with a couple of gay men. Homer started to act like a gay man and got a Lhasa Apso. Also, Milhouse Van Houten owns a Lhasa Apso.
- In the television series The L Word, Helena is assured by her wealthy mother that she was going to leave her inheritance to her, not to her Lhasa Apsos.
- Lhasa Apsos are said to bring luck, hence the saying "Lucky Lhasa".
- Singer Arturo Paz owns a Lhasa Apso named Coco.
- Actress/Singer-Songwriter Keke Palmer has a Lhasa Apso named Rust.
- A Lhasa Apso is both a major character and a plot device in the 1948 children's novel Daughter of the Mountains by Louise Rankin (ISBN 978-0140363357).
- Singer Gwen Stefani had a Lhasa Apso dog called Lamb/Meggan.
- Reality star Bethenny Frankel has a Lhasa Apso named Cookie, who regularly appears on her show Bethenny Ever After.
- Science fiction author John Scalzi includes a Lhasa Apso named Tuffy in a pivotal role in the The Dog King, the seventh part of his episodic novel The Human Division.
The Lhasa Apso is known to suffer from a few health problems. For example, it is known to suffer from sebaceous adenitis, a hereditary skin disease that occurs primarily in Standard Poodles, but has also been reported in a number of other breeds, including the Lhasa Apso. They are also known to suffer from the genetic disease progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) which can render them blind. Responsible breeders have their breeding dogs checked yearly by a canine ophthalmologist to check that they are not developing the disease, which is heritable in offspring. Lhasa Apso's are also prone to eye diseases, such as cherry eye and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS or dry eye syndrome). A 2004 Kennel Club survey puts the median lifespan of the breed at 14 years 4 months.
Like most mammals, all dogs slough off dander. Since dander and many other allergens become trapped in hair, and shed hairs are light enough to spend considerable time airborne indoors before settling to the floor to be removed during housecleaning (an activity which can, ironically, help them stay airborne), shedding of the coat is a typical way in which house-pets spread their allergens in a domestic environment.[From Wikipedia] Coming from the extremely cold weather of the Himalayas, the Apso has a double coat: only the undercoat, which is soft, will shed out once a year; the outer coat, consisting of coarse outer guard hairs, does not shed. Many owners do not show their Apso (which is kept in full coat) and tend to keep their Lhasa Apsos in a "puppy clip." People with allergies can co-exist with the low-shedding breeds of dogs, including the Lhasa Apso, when they are properly managed.
Having been bred as an indoor monastery sentinel dog by Tibetan Buddhist monks, Lhasa Apsos are alert with a keen sense of hearing and a rich, sonorous bark that belies their size. The ideal Lhasa temperament is to be wary of strangers while being loyal to those closest to them. They can be very aggressive to strangers if they're left untrained. They rank 68th (out of 79) in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of fair working/obedience intelligence.
Lhasa Apsos are independent as well as companion dogs who want to please their owners, yet they may be suspicious toward strangers. Unique personality characteristics of Lhasa Apsos have gained them a reputation as being a very emotive breed that, in most cases, prove themselves to be completely fearless. Lhasa Apsos often show happiness by rubbing their head on their owners, running and rolling around, or sitting on their owner's feet.
A Lhasa Apso responds to exercise and discipline with a calm assertive energy. These dogs require early socialization with dogs and other people as puppies and throughout their lives. They require patience and may be slow to house train, but in return, they can be quite comical, entertaining and caring companions. They aim to please their owners and enjoy training. While their personality belies their size, they need a home that is mindful that there is a small dog in the house to prevent injury. They enjoy vantage points in the house where they can view all that is going on.
The Lhasa Apso is a long-lived breed, with many living in good health into their early 20s. The average age for these dogs is 12–14. There are few health problems specific to the breed. Their vision may deteriorate with age, but they are not sight-oriented dogs and they endure blindness with few noticeable changes in behavior.
Is this the dog for you?
- Is small, but substantial and sturdy -- not a "sissy" dog at all
- Has a long coat (can be clipped short, if desired) that comes in many colors and patterns
- Is one of the "strongest-minded" of all small breeds
- Can be playful, yet also carries himself with dignity and is rather calm and deliberate in nature.
- Makes a mannerly house dog
- Doesn't need a lot of exercise
- Is very loyal to his own family and makes a keen watchdog
A Lhasa Apso may be right for you.
- Suspiciousness toward strangers
- Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
- Lots of brushing and combing (or regularly clipping the coat short)
- Slowness to housebreak
- Quickness to retaliate against firm corrections or teasing
A Lhasa Apso may not be right for you.
Russian page: http://ru.dog.wikia.com/wiki/Лхаса_Апсо