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Lhasa Apso

Group: Non Sporting (Group 7)
Club: Non Sporting Dog Club of Victoria Inc (Group 7)
Contact: Paula Semmel
Phone: 03 9387 6918

Brief History

The Lhasa is from the holy city of Lhasa, Tibet. The Lhasa was bred exclusively by nobility and monks in monasteries to act as an inside guard and protector, thus known as the "Bark Lion Sentinel Dog." The Lhasa's thick coat is protective; his native climate is one of intense cold and extreme heat. The breed goes back to 800 B.C. and was considered good luck. As a watchdog in temples and monasteries, they were thought to be sacred. Lhasas were not allowed to leave the country, except when given as gifts by the Dalai Lama.

Average Life Span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. The average life span is 12 to 15 years.  


The Lhasa is gay, assertive, but wary of strangers. House training the Lhasa can be challenging. Also, remember that this dog will likely take a long time to mature mentally. He may reach full size at one year of age, but his behaviour will still be quite puppyish. Be especially patient during training — keep it positive and consistent and be willing to go the long haul.

General Breed Description

Though small in stature, the Lhasa is a sturdy and independent dog. He can adapt to just about any home, including apartments, and even fit in well with novice pet parents. However, the Lhasa may challenge your leadership if you don’t keep up with firm, consistent training. He is naturally suspicious of strangers — an excellent trait for a palace guard — and he takes his job as protector seriously. Normally the coat is long, straight, and dense. It comes in the following colours: Golden, sandy, honey, dark grizzle, slate, smoke, parti-colour, black, white or brown.

Coat and Care requirements

Keeping the Lhasa coat gorgeous is time-consuming and difficult. Regular, even daily, brushing and combing are necessary, as is frequent bathing (every two to four weeks). Many owners elect to hire a professional groomer, because although a hardworking owner can learn to manage the Lhasa's coat, it's certainly not a job for beginners. In fact, it is not uncommon for owners to have their Lhasa's coat clipped short every 6 weeks to cut down on grooming chores. The beautiful flowing coat is gone, but what's left is a lot easier to care for.


Height: Males 25cms (10ins), Females: slightly smaller


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders in is recommended you enquire about breed health and what health testing the breeder does. The Lhasa Apso is generally a healthy breed, however health conditions do occur occasionally. These may include Cherry Eye, Patella Luxation, Allergies, Sebaceous Adenitis (SA), Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Familial Inherited Renal Dysplasia.


The Lhasa is a house dog and enjoys regular exercise and suitable for a variety of property sizes. They tend to bond with adults more than with youngsters, but this isn't a hard-and-fast rule. Older children, or young children who are exceptionally gentle with dogs, can live happily with the Lhasa.

In Conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or Dogs Victoria. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Dogs Victoria is about the responsible ownership of all dogs and in particular the preservation of pure breeds.

Link to ANKC Breed Standard:

Registered Breeders