The Lhasa Apso has been based in Tibetan monasteries as an indoor sentinel for more than 2,000 years. Very wary of strangers, their job was to raise the alarm if any intruders managed to slip past the watchful eye of the Tibetan Mastiff on guard outside. The Lhasas were well equipped for the job of special indoors guardian being extremely intelligent, blessed with acute hearing, plus a finely tuned instinct for differentiating between friend and foe. These qualities are still very evident today, they never lost their keen watchfulness and hardy nature.


The Lhasa has a double coat with a moderate undercoat that provides good insulation that is cast out for summer when a thinner undercoat grows. The topcoat is of a hard texture and serves as a weatherproof outer jacket. The good fall of hair over the eyes is protection against dust, wind and intense glare found in the Tibetan climate.

Average Lifespan

Up to 17 years old


Independent, strong-willed and assertive, with a cheerful personality, the Lhasa is a real little character. They constantly give the impression that inside their small frame is a big dog trying to get out. They are very alert and lively, and are more suitable for adult homes or those with older children.


Requires considerable grooming to maintain their luxuriant coat in good order.


The Lhasa requires a good deal of exercise, which they usually manage to get via the endless games they will play with anything or anyone.


For the latest research in breed-related problems in the Lhasa Apso, visit the University of Sydney’s LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals) website.

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