As a breed of dog, the Lhasa Apso breed of dog is hundreds of years old. Originally, it was bread to be an interior guard dog for the royalty of Tibet, as well as the monks in the monasteries close to the sacred city of Lhasa.
In the early 1930s, the first of the Lhasa Apsos were introduced in to the United States when an admirer of the Dalia Lama presented them as gifts.
Today, the Lhasa Apso is more commonly found in a family setting and is an American Kennel Club recognized breed.
The Lhasa Apso is a small dog, with the male being approximately 10 to eleven inches high at the shoulder, and the female being slightly smaller.
They will be between 12 and 18 pounds when full grown, again, with the females being more petite then the males; at times by as much as six pounds.
Unlike many other breeds, the American Kennel Club does not favor one shade of coat over another.
The coats come in a variety of colors such as black, red, gold and brown. Frequently, the fur will have darker colors at the tip of the tail, around the eyes and bottom of the muzzle.
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The fur is heavy and very dense which leads some owners to keep their Lhasa Apos trimmed with a short, easily groomed cut.
To get the dogs to be patient enough to be trimmed, however, they need to be trained for a very young age.
Because they were originally bread to be interior guard dogs, Lhasa Apsos can be aggressive or stand offish toward strangers something you may not think to look at their little cute faces.
They are very loyal to their owners, though having a happy master is not necessarily what they are always striving for. They are mischievous and have a keen sense of hearing and smell.
These traits could lead to misadventures if the dog is left alone with unsecured food or household trash.
They prefer to be in a home with adults or older children; young children tend to be loud and unsettling to the Lhasa Apso.
Keeping in mind their history of being bread to serve as a guard dog, they require socialization with other dogs, animals and unfamiliar people throughout their lives.
Another evolutionary leftover from guard dog duty is the Lhasa Apos' preference for being in high places or spots with good vantage points to satisfy their need to know what is going on in their domain.
Lhasa Apos are not overly known for their aptitude when it comes to obedience training, but the loyalty to their master will be motivation to learn basic commands. One of the most unique traits of the Lhasa Apos is how they show happiness to their owners. Instead of settling for a belly scratch they will sit on their owner's feet or rub heads with them.