Lhasa Apso: Dog Breed Profile

Country of origin: Tibet
Shoulder height: 23 – 26 cm
Weight: 5 – 8 kg
Age: 12 – 14 years old
Color: solid gold, sandy, honey, grey, two-tone black, white, brown
Use: companion dog, companion dog

The Lhasa Apso is a small, self-confident companion dog who is very absorbed in his caregiver without giving up his independence. It is docile, intelligent, and adaptable. With enough exercise and activity, the Apso can also be kept well in an apartment.

Origin and history

The Lhasa Apso comes from Tibet, where it has been bred and highly prized in monasteries and noble families since ancient times. The small lion dogs served their owners as guard dogs and were considered lucky charms. The first specimens came to Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1933 the first Lhasa Apso breed club was founded. Today, the Lhasa Apso is significantly better known in Europe than its larger cousin, the Tibetan Terrier.


With a shoulder height of around 25 cm, the Lhasa Apso is one of the small dog breeds. Its body is longer than it is tall, well-developed, athletic, and robust.

The Lhasa Apso’s most obvious external characteristic is its long, hard, and thick coat, which provided ideal protection from the harsh climatic conditions of its homeland. With appropriate care, the top coat can reach the ground, but it should never interfere with the dog’s freedom of movement. The hair on the head that falls forward over the eyes, the beard, and the hair on the hanging ears are particularly lush so that it is not uncommon for one to only see the dog’s black nose. The tail is also very hairy and is carried over the back.

The coat color can be gold, fawn, honey, slate, smoky gray, bicolor, black, white, or tan. Coat color can also change with age.


The Lhasa Apso is a very confident and proud little dog with a strong personality. The born watcher is skeptical and reserved towards strangers. In the family, however, he is extremely affectionate, tender, and willing to subordinate, without giving up his independence.

The attentive, intelligent, and docile Apso is easy to train with sensitive consistency. With the stubborn head, however, one does not achieve anything with exaggerated severity.

A Lhasa Apso is relatively uncomplicated in keeping and adapts well to all living conditions. He is an ideal companion for single people but also fits well in a lively family. The Lhasa Apso is also suitable as an apartment dog, provided it is not cuddled and treated like a lap dog. Because the robust guy is a nature boy who loves long walks and likes to frolic and play.

The long fur must be regularly groomed, but then hardly sheds.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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