The Lhasa Apso is an ancient dog breed originating from Tibet, where they were bred and revered as temple guard dogs and companions to Tibetan monks. They were considered sacred and were never sold but occasionally given as gifts. The breed's history can be traced back over a thousand years, making them one of the oldest dog breeds known to exist.
Lhasa Apsos can suffer from degenerative myelopathy and progressive rod-cone degeneration. Specific hereditary conditions that they should be tested for include oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) and hemophilia B.
Lhasa Apsos are known for their assertive and independent nature. They can be aloof around strangers and make excellent watchdogs, alerting their owners to any potential intruders. While they form strong bonds with their families, they may display a somewhat stubborn streak, which can make training a challenge. Early socialization and consistent, positive reinforcement training are crucial to encourage good behavior.
Lhasas served as guards insides dwellings, while Mastiffs served outside in Tibet. The Lhasa Apso is also known as the "Bark Lion Sentinel Dog" due to their historic role as watchdogs and the belief that their appearance resembled that of a lion.
These dogs are long-lived, frequently living into their late teens, with a record holder who lived to 29 years!
Royalty's Companions: Lhasa Apsos were often given as gifts to Chinese emperors and other royalty, and it was believed that they carried the souls of deceased monks.
Spiritually Significant: In Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, Lhasa Apsos were considered spiritual sentinels and were allowed to roam freely. It was believed that harming these dogs brought bad luck.
Slow Maturation: Lhasa Apsos typically have a slow maturation process, both physically and mentally, and may not reach their full size and mental maturity until they are around two years old.