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Meet the breed: Lhasa Apso

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle presents the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for an affectionate companion and watchdog to keep you company, learn everything you need to know about the Lhasa Apso.


  • Calm
  • Spirited
  • Loyal
  • Playful
  • Mischievous


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Hailing from the Himalayan Mountains, the Lhasa Apso was meant to guard and protect Tibetan monasteries and Buddhist temples. Named after the city of Lhasa, the breed was considered sacred. Gifted to the U.S. from the Dalai Lama, the Lhasa Apso became a loving household breed. Intelligent and loyal, this is a great breed for single adults or older children.

Breed standards

  • AKC group: Non-sporting
  • UKC group: Companion
  • Average lifespan: 14 – 16 years
  • Average size: 13 – 15 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Dense and hard top coat
  • Coloration: Cream, light or brindle; black markings on the face
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Longer in body than tall; balanced and compact; dark oval eyes; feathered ears and tail; long, oversized coat, but may be altered into a puppy cut for easier grooming
  • Possible alterations: May be darker in color

Is this breed right for you?

A kind yet sturdy breed, the Lhasa Apso is absolutely devoted to his master. A good guard dog, he is aloof with strangers and requires a good amount of training and leadership to avoid developing small dog syndrome. A bit impatient, he may not do well with young children but will get along well with other animals. Not requiring too much activity, he does well in apartments and is OK being indoors all day as long as he’s kept in good company. Needing a lot of grooming, his coat can be trimmed down to avoid daily brushing.

Breed characteristics

A dream day in the life of a Lhasa Apso

A simple breed, the Lhasa Apso requires little to be a happy dog. Loving constant companionship, he will be all smiles as long as he’s in his owner’s company. Keeping an eye out on the house, he’ll guard his space and owner throughout the day. An affectionate dog, he will be sure to cuddle close with a lot of petting, rubbing and stoking and follow his master from morning until night.

Other breeds you might like

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Bichon Frise

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