Group 7: Non
Level: Not a hyperactive dog, but a robust
and sturdy dog with lots of energy for fun and play.
Function: companion, watchdog in Tibet
Playful, Alert, Devoted. Highly intelligent.
for: All people of all ages. Due to their high intelligence,
training is recommended.
Need a lot of grooming only if kept in long coat. Most
pet owners have a beautiful 'teddy' clip done about 3 times a year.
Feet and ears need to be clipped and plucked regularly.
18 to 20 years
10" for males and females slightly smaller (to the
Gold, sandy, silver, slate, smoke, parti-colour, black,
brown, red or white. Many of the original style have black
masks and ear tips.
Top coat - Straight and coarse, making grooming easy. Undercoat
- Finer than topcoat, but should not mat easily.
Appearance: Small sized body, slightly longer
in length than height to shoulders. Long coated ears that hang to
the side of the head, but prick up when alert. Eyes must be black
and almond shaped with no white showing at top or bottom. Tail curled
up and carried over on to the back.
TRUTH OF THE ORIGIN OF THE LHASA APSOS
It is impossible to separate out the Lhasa Apso
from the Tibetan people with their strong practice of Buddhism,
as this comes before anything else. As the famous Lama Thubten Yeshe
said, "Tibet is not some magical Shangri-la, it is simply that
Tibetans all try to practice compassion for all living beings".
It is sometimes difficult for us in the 'west' to understand that
"lack of attachment" (not to be confused with a cold 'detachment')
ceases unhappiness as we are taught the opposite is true. Tibetans
practice lack of attachment, aversion and ignorance (or lack of
awareness) all the time, which is what has brought them world acclaim
since they came out of Tibet. I mention this, because their dogs
are not "owned" and grasped after as "mine"
as we do with our dogs. So from the very beginning we must look
at the different approach to a Lhasa Apso that the Tibetans have
in order to understand how they treat all living beings, including
I believe that over the hundreds of years that Lhasa Apsos have
been bred and owned by Tibetans that some of their characteristics
have become inherent as a result of this. They expect kindness,
they do not bark unless there is a reason, they are a calm and strong
dog, they are loyal and excellent watch dogs. They respect humans
and expect the same in return.
Firstly, according to Tibetan belief, a "dog rebirth"
is said to be brought about due to lack of awareness (I.e. ignorance)
in a former life. For this reason it is not considered to be anywhere
near the preciousness of a human rebirth in which we have the opportunity
to be kind, loving and aware of our actions, all due to our own
choice. An animal rebirth does not have this choice.
Therefore humans have the opportunity to show kindness to animals
as they are dependant upon their owners, for food, shelter, love
Secondly, an animal, (like a human) has various 'degrees' of a higher
rebirth. As a consequence a truly loved Lhasa Apso was often given
to a high Lama as an offering for its life - not for the Lama's
pleasure, in the hope that it would attain a human rebirth next
life or at the very least some 'good karma' would rub off onto the
dog from hearing prayers all day . [Lamas do not own dogs as a "need"
- they need nothing and many great Lamas have lived in caves in
the wild forests eating old bones and thistles for decades.]
This brief explanation might shed some light on how the Lhasa Apsos
came to live in monasteries and homes of the Tibetans who would
love and care for them well, just as we do. The general thought
is not that the dog is "theirs", but rather that they
have a duty to care for it and to stop it creating negative karma:
hence, their dogs are well trained.
Never have Lhasa Apsos been considered "holy" in any sense
of the word! If the dog were holy, it would not be a dog, it would
be a human. Mind you, I have plenty of friends who firmly believe
their Lhasa Apsos are "not dogs"! Calling a Lhasa Apso
a 'holy dog' is simply not true. However, due to their high intelligence,
Tibetans nuns and monks often say with a smile that these dogs were
nuns or monks in a previous life. Many of them sit on their back
legs and "pray"!
By Pema Sarah Cash
[who has lived with Tibetans and in their monasteries]
LONG COAT: daily combing is needed to keep the coat tangle free,
a neglected coat will be come a matted mess.
SHORT COAT: They can be clipped to keep the maintenance lower. Bath
when needed, about every fortnight.
regular playtimes and walks are all that is needed to keep them
fit and happy. They are a self-exercising dog and love to run around
the garden for exercise.
Generally speaking, they are one of the healthiest of any breed.
Although recently some Lhasas have suffered from PRA (eye), luxating
patella and kidney problems.
For Diet and other general dog health information Health/Nutrition