Breed Lhasa Apso

BreedsAbout the Breed: Lhasa Apso

The Lhasa Apso is affectionate, fun, and easy to train, with a protective nature that can make them aloof and wary of strangers.


Lhasa Apsos were bred and raised to be an interior “lion” sentinel in Buddhist monasteries. Special care was given to have the breed resemble a lion in color and shape for maximum effect in alerting the monks to any intruders.

Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet, and apso is a word in the Tibetan language meaning “bearded”, so, Lhasa Apso simply means “long-haired Lhasa dog”.


Lhasa Apsos are affectionate, fun, easy to train, and love to just be with someone. They are however wary of strangers and take a long time to warm up to new people. They do bark a lot, but are very intelligent and aware of everything that is not “just right.” They require a lot of care and maintenance, and they live a long time, so don’t choose this breed of dog unless you know you will be able to care for a dog for 10-15 or more years.

Best with:

Experienced owners. They need to be socialized with constant firm rules. Obedience classes are very good for this breed.

Not for:

  • Those who don’t appreciate self-thinkers.
  • Small children.
  • People who are not home a lot.
  • People who want to keep their dog outside; these are strictly indoor dogs.


Affectionate, fun, easy to train, love to just be with someone.


Barking, and overly protective of property.



Lhasas average 10-12″ high at the shoulder, weighing 12-15 pounds.


All colors.

Energy Level:

Love to play but are quiet in-between play periods.

Life expectancy:

Average lifespan is 13 to 18 years.


Older Lhasas are generally good with well behaved children, but not 2 and under. They can act dominant and aggressive if they don’t feel someone is in charge.

Other animals:

Lhasas prefer to be the only dog, or with only one companion.


Lhasas can learn very quickly, but can also be stubborn and self willed.


High maintenance. Need to be bathed and groomed regularly. Even if they are shaved down, they have to be bathed to protect the skin. They do not shed and are good for people with allergies.


Dry eye, chronic skin problems from not being groomed regularly, often allergic to fleas.