Know about Breed: Lhasa Apso
- Litter size: 4-6 puppies
- Life expectancy: 12 - 14 years
- Coat: Long, dense
- Temperament: Devoted, Friendly, Obedient, Energetic, Lively, Intelligent, Fearless, Steady, Spirited, Assertive, Alert, Playful
- Colors: Black, White, Honey (Color), Brown, Sandy, Golden, Dark Grizzle
- Height: Female: 25-28 cm, Male: 25-28 cm
- Manipulative. Dignified. Mischievous. Tough. All of those words describe the lovely Lhasa Apso. The breed's name means bark lion sentinel dog, a reference to his purpose as an alarm dog for Buddhist monks as well as to his lionlike appearance. The Lhasa is not a fearful dog by any means, but he is cautious. Lhasas are thinkers and they like to study people and situations thoroughly before accepting them. They have a moderate activity level and their size makes them suited to any home, from an apartment to a palace.
- The sturdy Lhasa Apso once lived as a monastery watchdog in Tibet and is still a good watchdog today. Toward strangers, he is suspicious. This is not a dog who will invite the burglar in and show him where to find the silver. He is affectionate with family members, but independent enough that he doesn't need constant attention.
- The Lhasa pegs his activity level to that of his family. Exercise is good for him, though, so make sure he gets some activity daily. A brief walk is a good way to get him out and about, but he will also enjoy playtime in the home.
- The Lhasa can be a wonderful family companion if children are old enough to treat him with respect. He is not a breed that will put up patiently with having his ears, tail, or hair pulled.
- Pleasing his people is not high on Lhasa's list of goals in life. Lhasas are smart, but they can also be stubborn and independent. Train them with patience and positive reinforcement techniques, and be firm and consistent in what you ask of them. This is a breed that is easily bored. Keep training sessions short and fun.
- That said, there are Lhasas who compete successfully in agility, rally, and obedience trials. At least one Lhasa has achieved a Utility Dog title. If you have a Lhasa who is motivated by praise, attention, and applause, these sports can be a fun way to spend time with your dog. Lhasas with outgoing personalities is popular therapy dogs, providing a dose of Lhasa love to hospital patients and residents of nursing homes.
- If you are looking for a dog with an easy-care coat, it's safe to say that the Lhasa Apso is not the right choice. That glamorous Lhasa you see sweeping around the show ring is the product of endless hours of grooming. For a pet, expect to brush and comb the long, straight, heavy coat at least every other day. Pet Lhasas can be kept clipped short, but that still means frequent professional grooming. Neglected coats become tangled and matted, which is painful and can lead to serious skin infections. A Lhasa needs a bath at least every two to three weeks; his nails need to be trimmed and ears cleaned every week or as needed. And don't forget to brush his teeth.
- The perfect Lhasa doesn't come ready-made from the breeder. Any dog, no matter how nice, can develop obnoxious levels of barking, digging, counter-surfing, and other undesirable behaviors if he is bored, untrained, or unsupervised. And any dog can be a trial to live with during adolescence.
- Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at 10 weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don't wait until he is 6 months old to begin training or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
- All dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, do not walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
- In Lhasas, health problems include hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, juvenile renal disease, intervertebral disc disease, and eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy, dry eye, and glaucoma. Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for these defects and deemed healthy for breeding.
- Not all of these conditions have screening tests, but the breeder should be able to show evidence that both of a puppy's parents have OFA hip and patella (knee) clearances and certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that the eyes are healthy. Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. If a breeder tells you she doesn't need to do those tests because she's never had problems in her lines and her dogs have been "vet checked," then you should go find a breeder who is more rigorous about genetic testing.
- If you are looking for a dog with an easy-care coat, it's safe to say that the Lhasa Apso is not the right choice. That glamorous Lhasa you see sweeping around the show ring is the product of endless hours of grooming. Even if your Lhasa will be a pet, his long coat will still need regular care.
- For a pet, expect to brush and comb the long, straight, heavy coat daily. When you brush, be sure you get all the way down to the skin. If you just go over the top of the coat you'll miss many mats and tangles. Your dog's breeder can show you the best techniques to use. The American Lhasa Apso Club also has good grooming advice.
- Pet Lhasas can be kept clipped short, but that still means frequent professional grooming. Neglected coats become tangled and matted, which is painful and can lead to serious skin infections. A Lhasa needs a bath at least every two to three weeks. The good news is that he doesn't shed much, but you will still find a few hairs here and there.
- The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually every week or two. Small dogs are prone to periodontal disease so brush the teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
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