The Lhasa Apso (Long-Haired Lhasa Dog) or Apso Seng Kye (Bark Lion Sentinel Dog or Bearded Lion Dog) is an ancient sentinel dog that originated in the Himalayan Mountains in Tibet. The breed was probably developed from a small mountain wolf that inhabited this region some 4.000 years ago. Experts believe that the locals had started domesticating and breeding these wolves sometime around 800 BC. A research study that was conducted recently revealed that the Apso is actually one of the ancient breeds. It is a group of 14 dogs most closely related to the wolf, considered the oldest and purest of all domesticated breeds. This puts the Lhasa Apso in the category with some of the most authentic primitive dogs in the world, such as the Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Shar-Pei, Samoyed, Shiba Inu, Shih Tzu, or Basenji. Apart from these well-known breeds, there is also another breed of dog from Tibet in this group called the Tibetan Terrier. This is a very close relative of the Lhasa, and was sometimes considered the same breed because of the almost identical appearance. However, later on they were separated into two unique breeds, with the Apso Seng Kye being the smaller of the two.
Back in time, the Lhasa Apso was primarily bred and used as a companion and sentinel dog by the Buddhist monks and Tibetan nobles. These watchdogs were often kept together with much bigger Tibetan Masitffs, whose job was to guard the entrances of the monasteries and temples. The Lhasa Apsos could have been most commonly found in and around the sacred city of Lhasa, hence such name of the breed. There this dog was considered sacred in the past. It was thought that when Lama (teacher of the Dharma) dies, his soul would enter the body of his Apso Seng Kye and thus awaited rebirth into a new human body. That’s why it is also called the Talisman Dog. For a long time, these sacred dogs couldn’t have been exported or sold abroad. The only way to get a Bearded Lion Dog was to receive it as a gift from Dalai Lama himself. In 1933, Thubten Gyatso, 13th Dalai Lama, gifted a pair of Lhamas to naturalist C. Suydam Cutting, who had brought them into the USA that same year. Today, the breed is well known and highly popular all around the world. Even though the Lhasa Apso is not included in the Spitz and Primitive Types class by the FCI, it was nonetheless recognized on a definitive basis back in 1960 in the Tibetan Breeds group, Companion and Toy Dogs class.
Lhasa Apso Personality And Temperament
The Lhasa Apso is a confident, strong-minded and hardy dog, not some small, cute couch potato as it might seem based on its tiny, “supermodel” appearance. In the past, Tibetans bred these dogs primarily for their fiery and grumpy temperament, not for cute looks. The Bark Lion Sentinel Dog is truly a lion trapped in a small body. He is very brave, fearless, self-possessed, noble, quarrelsome, tough, proud, and eager to please himself in the first place. Looking at these qualities, it is quite obvious that this dog can sometimes be a cocky bastard, especially if he is not properly trained and socialized. However, once used to people around him, the Lhasa Apso can be an exceptionally nice family companion, who will gladly spend time surrounded by all members of the household. He will usually be loyal, affectionate and devoted to all of them, but will only fully submit to his primary owner, one who dedicates the most time to him. That is not to say that this is 100 percent a one person dog, but Lhasa Apso definitely demands a firm and dominant leader, who knows how to treat him nicely and with respect. Now, if that all sounds nice and fine, here’s one thing you should definitely take into consideration before you decide to buy this dog.
The children, especially small ones, are not ideal companions for the Lhasa Apso. I already told you that this is a very proud and dignified dog, who won’t tolerate any kind of abuse or bullying. Unfortunately, we all know that small children can often be reckless and unaware of their actions. They can sometimes treat a dog like a toy or they can mess with the dog’s food. Well, the Bearded Lion Dog certainly won’t tolerate this kind of behavior, and will probably punish the abusers with a nip or even a straight out bite. This is, of course, unacceptable behavior and needs to be corrected as soon as possible. The best way to deal with it is to raise a Lhasa Apso with your children. Now, this will probably solve the “issue” with your own kids, but usually won’t have any effect with the kids from the neighborhood. This can definitely be a problem since the Long-Haired Lhasa Dog can be very protective and will for sure defend your child if he thinks it’s threatened. That’s why it is necessary to put your dog through extensive socialization with people of all ages. Also, you will have to educate your children how to properly treat a dog. With all that being said, it is perfectly clear that the Lhasa is mainly recommended for families with older children.
In Tibet, the Lhasa Apso has been bred for centuries as an effective and highly reliable watchdog. If this doesn’t ring your bells, then let me tell you that this dog really is an equivalent of a highly sensitive alarm. There is literally no way an intruder can sneak onto your property unnoticed and unannounced. Indeed, the Apso Seng Kye is an incredibly alert dog that will immediately react with high-pitched bark to every change in his surroundings, even when asleep. So, it is obvious that these dogs have extremely keen senses, but on the other hand they’re prone to obsessive barking. This is something you will definitely have to correct, or else you will have a bad time with your neighbors. Anyway, the Lhasa Apso is naturally so wary, cautious and suspicious with strangers that it will hardly ever become friendly with any person outside the family, even if properly introduced. On top of that, this is highly territorial and protective dog, who will, despite his size, defend your property like a lion. Yeah, I know that hardly anybody can be afraid of a running, fluffy thing of such size, doesn’t matter how angry it is, but it just shows how dedicated and loyal this dog is to his family. Needless to say, to avoid any unpleasantries with strangers, it would be best that you socialize your dog at an early age.
The socialization with other pets is also a mandatory thing for every Lhasa Apso. This is a little gangsta dog with huge heart and unbreakable spirit. So, it is not surprising that he can be really, really quarrelsome, grumpy, jealous, dominant, and outright annoying in the company of other pets. Besides, this is one of the jerkiest small dog breeds and what’s even worse, this lil’ fella thinks he is actually a lot bigger and stronger than he is. Told ya, the lion in a small body :) So, the Bark Lion Sentinel Dog can definitely make a mess in the dog park, especially if not properly socialized or raised with other dogs. Of course, he probably won’t do harm to any other dog, but can provoke an aggressive reaction from one of them with the bad consequences. Practically the same can be said for all other pets. The Lhasa Apso is maybe not large enough to kill a cat or a rabbit (probably not even a hamster :)), but that won’t stop him from annoying or bullying any one of them. That’s why it is of utmost importance that you raise your dog with other pets in combination with good training and socialization. Once a Lhasa gets used to your other dogs and pets, he will usually enjoy their company as much as of all family members.
Long-Haired Lhasa Dog Training
Training a very dominant, independent, stubborn, and self-assured dog is always a challenge, doesn’t matter how intelligent he really is. The Lhasa Apso is definitely an incredibly smart dog with excellent memory, but this is completely overshadowed by the fact that this is one of the most manipulative, headstrong and unruly dogs you can find. You literally won’t be able to force him to do anything, at least, if there’s not some sort of reward in the end. To successfully train this dog, an owner should be able to balance between the firm attitude of a natural leader and caring, dear personality of a sweetest person imaginable. This is not something one can pull off easily, which is why the Bearded Lion Dog is not recommended for novice owners. You should start training a puppy at 8-10 weeks of age. General rule is: the earlier you start with the training, the better. Training sessions should be short, constant and fun, but never repetitive. The positive reinforcement training with food and praise will give the best results. Also, try to be patient and calm as much as possible since Lhasa Apso will put your will to test. Nonetheless, I am sure you will definitely have a lot of fun working with this lively, whacky and entertaining dog.
Other Characteristics And Traits
Main Lhasa Apso characteristics are high intelligence, agility, boldness, protective nature, independence, stubbornness, strong will, alertness, dignity, playfulness, cheerfulness, cockiness, and curiosity. Although it might seem that this is a restless dog that can run and play a whole day, that is certainly not the case. The Apso Seng Kye is actually moderately active and will do quite well with a fair amount of daily exercise. You should usually play some interesting games with your dog (hide-and-seek, find the treat, fetch game), which will benefit him both mentally and physically. The play sessions shouldn’t be too long, but you will definitely have to mix different games to keep him engaged. Also, it would be nice that you take your dog for a short or moderate walk once a day. This way you will satisfy his natural need for exploration, which will certainly have a soothing effect on his steel will and fiery temperament. Like all other small dogs, this one tends to be quite nervous and jumpy at times, which is why it is necessary that you dedicate as much time as possible to your dog. Once properly exercised, the Lhasa Apso will usually be very calm, relaxed and cuddly, just like a plush toy in your lap.
The proper amount of exercise will definitely be very beneficial if you keep your Bearded Lion Dog indoors. In fact, this is something that is recommended in the case of this breed. Small and fluffy as the Lhasa is, there’s no doubt that this is really an excellent pet for owners who live in an apartment or a house in an urban area. These dogs do not require a lot of space for their little games and are not over-the-top jumpy and crazy like some other small breeds. However, there are a few things you should know before buying this dog. Although Lhasa Apsos are generally clean with no doggy odor, they have a long and lush coat that requires frequent grooming, including daily brushing. Fortunately, this is a low shedding breed, so even the people with allergies are allowed to own them. But the biggest problem with this dog is that it is extremely hard and challenging to housebreak. Yup, the crate training of a Lhasa Apso will probably bring you on the edge of your nerves. It will definitely take a lot of your time, which is why you will have to be consistent and patient to a maximum. For this reason only, I would recommend this breed primarily to owners who live in a house with at least some kind of a yard.
The Lhasa Apso is a breed of dog that has been bred for centuries in the mountains of Tibet. There, it used to live in the high altitudes and windy, cold climate, not some cozy and warm place like your apartment. So, despite its dwarf size, this dog is as hardy as you can get. That’s why it would be nice that you have some kind of securely fenced yard for your Apso to run and play in the open, especially if you live in the colder climate. It will suit him greatly and you definitely won’t have to worry, he will make some mess in your room or kitchen. However, if you have some garden in your yard, I suggest you put a fence around it, just in case. Letting your dog play off-leash in a yard will be particularly important if you are unable to exercise him regularly for some reason. The outdoor play with toys will usually meet his daily activity needs. Of course, the good thing is that the Lhasa is not an escape artist, which is not that surprising considering its size. This dog is neither jumper nor climber nor digger, so you won’t need a very high and deep-set fence around your yard. But like I wrote in the previous paragraph, you will completely appease his curiosity with a short daily walk, for which you can always find some time I guess.
Abso Seng Kye Health
The life expectancy of a Lhasa Apso is around 12-16 years, but there are many cases of these dogs living way over 20 years of age. This just proves how healthy and hardy this breed really is. However, like with all other dog breeds, there are some health problems that are more or less common in Lhasas, but none of them is listed as major concerns. Among the health issues evidenced in this breed are hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, intervertebral disc disease, juvenile renal disease, hypothyroidism, sebaceous adenitis (SA), and various allergies. Also, Lhasa Apsos are susceptible to certain eye problems, such as entropion, glaucoma, cherry eye, keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eye syndrome), distichiasis, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). So, it is obvious that you will have to pay attention mostly to your dog’s eyes, but also to his knees and skin. Some of these diseases are hereditary, which is why it is very important that you buy a Lhasa Apso puppy only from a registered breeder, one who can provide you with the evidence that the puppy’s parents are both tested and certified by the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals (OFA) and the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) as healthy and disease free.
Bark Lion Sentinel Dog Physical Characteristics And Appearance
The Lhasa Apso is a small dog of rectangular shape – visibly longer than tall at the withers. Its body is well balanced and compact, covered with the long, hard double coat. The undercoat is soft, moderate and very dense, acting as insulation, and topcoat is long, straight and coarse, neither silky nor woolly. The hair is very long and lavish all over the body as well as on the head, reaching the ground. It reminds me of a long human hair, which is why you can make various haircuts out of it. So, just use your imagination and be creative, it can certainly be a lot of fun. With such coat, the Long-Haired Lhasa Dog is well protected from the elements, but is more suited to colder climate. It’s not hard to guess that such long coat demands a lot of grooming. However, even though it might seem Lhasas shed intensively, that is actually not the case. Unlike many other dogs, they shed much like humans. They have constant, but light hairfall, so they are not hypoallergenic. Anyhow, daily brushing is a must to keep the risk of matting low. Also, you should bathe your dog with dry shampoo every three weeks. Main Lhasa Apso colors are black, white, red, sandy, golden, parti-colour, grey, slate, grizzle, honey, and brown.
The Lhasa Apso has a very hairy head with whiskers, beard and frizzle that are covering the eyes. The muzzle is quite short (one third of the entire length of the head), but not square. The skull is moderately narrow. The teeth meet in a reverse scissors bite. The small, rounded nose is usually black, but can be brown in lighter colored dogs. The medium, dark brown eyes are oval, deep-set and frontally placed. The quite feathered ears are pendant and relatively large in comparison with the head. Inspect and clean your dog’s ears and eyes at least twice a month. The neck is quite strong and nicely arched. The chest is narrow and not so deep, with ribs extending well back. The stomach is slightly tucked up and the loins are strong and muscular. The back is straight, long and strong. The well feathered tail is high set and is usually carried well over the dog’s back. The forelegs are straight, short and well furnished with hair. The hind legs are well muscled, strong and covered with lush hair. The rounded, cat-like feet with hard pads are well feathered. Looking at its physical characteristics, it is perfectly clear that the Lhasa Apso is a “short”, hardy dog with the fancy look of a supermodel.
Lhasa Apso Size And Weight
– Height between 10 and 11 inches (25-28 cm)
– Weight between 14 and 18 pounds (6,4-8.2 kg)
– Height between 9 and 10 inches (23-25 cm)
– Weight between 12 and 16 pounds (5,5-7,3 kg)
The Lhasa Apso means “Long-Haired Lhasa Dog”. This is actually a perfect description of this lovely looking canine. The breed is well known after its beautiful and splendid hair. It is long and lush, with the authentic parting along the middle of the dog’s back. The straight hair is nicely flowing down to the ground, covering the dog’s feet. It gives the impression of a nicely combed doll. So, you will certainly have a lot of fun with its coat, clip it the way you like and make a nice haircut. In other words, you will have your own fashion toy, which is why every lady will definitely love this dog sooo much. On top of that, Lhasa is light and small, so it can fit every lap perfectly. That’s why the Apso Seng Kye is truly a supermodel in the world of dogs. What’s even better, Lhasa is a type of dog that slowly matures (his puppyhood can last several years), so you will have a cheerful, playful and happy dog for years. Unfortunately, this is exactly the reason this dog is so hard to train – he just doesn’t care about rules like a child. So, even though the Lhasa Apso looks like an ideal showdog, that can prove a bit misleading. Yes, it will be possible for an Apso to compete in conformation show, but only with extensive training and socialization.
The Lhasa Apso is truly a wonderful companion, there’s no doubt about that. Even though this dog can be incredibly stubborn, independent and strong willed, he will nonetheless be a pure joy for every experienced owner. The Lhasa will engage you all the time on so many levels, but I’m sure many of you will enjoy this back and forth mental game with this little, bossy dog. Doesn’t matter where you live, urban or suburban setting, the Bearded Lion Dog will certainly be an excellent addition to your family. You will be able to take him everywhere you go since he is so small and charming. There’s no denying he will catch the eye of many people around you. However, you won’t only get an excellent companion with this dog, but a perfect, brave sentinel who will always be on the guard, ready to sound the alarm if there’s anything suspicious going on. On top of that, with adequate training you will be able to make your dog a successful competitor in agility, obedience and rally obedience trials. So, as you can see, the Lhasa Apso is truly an outstanding small dog with the soul of a lion – like a living toy that protects you. How nice :) This breed is a perfect choice for all patient owners, who are ready to dedicate a lot of time to their dogs.