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Understanding and Training a Lhasa Apso

Lhasa Apso

This is also a stubborn and strong-willed breed that will only respond to nonpunitive training, often refusing commands from family members who have not established their leadership.

In as much as the Lhasa is a "big personality" in a small body, this is also quite a sensitive breed, known to either sulk or snap if pushed too far. Therefore, one must train with patience and consistency. Correct unwanted behaviour with mild "Ah Ah's" versus a raised voice, and reinforce/reward desired behaviour by responding to this dog as if they were as important as they believe themselves to be.

It is important, however, to maintain your status and not be permissive as this clever little dog will create opportunities from permissiveness. The words that best describe the Lhasa Apso are: bold, hardy, assertive, lively and playful. Spoiling this breed will most assuredly transform these cheeky traits to a demanding tyrant. On the flip side, a happy, well-balanced Lhasa is a proud & loyal, "lion dog" companion for life!

Breed Profile

Breed Name: Lhasa Apso

Domestic Dog Group:

Brief Description:

  • General Size: 13 - 15 lbs (2 - 3kg); 23 cmm
  • General Temperament: Bold, Lively & Loyal
  • General Description: Treat this little lion as the as the big personality they believe themselves to be, yet maintain your leadership status and you will have a loyal, endearing companion for life.

Breed’s Key Traits

  High Med-High Medium Med-Low Low
Requires Experience   x      
Good Family Dog     x    
Exercise Required     x    
Activity Indoors   x      
Ease of Training       x  
Sociability with Strangers       x  
Grooming Requirements     x    


Brief History

The Lhasa Apso origins date back to the 600's in Tibet where they were used as companions in monasteries. Never bought or sold, the breed was a traditional gift of the Dalai Lama. The Lhasa's keen sense of hearing also made them popular in villages as the "Bark Lion Sentinel Dog" used to ward off strangers as their bark sounded the huge Tibetan Mastiffs to investigate further. The nickname "lion dog" was re-coined by the Buddhists, believing that the Lord Buddha had tamed the lion to follow at his heels like a loyal dog - a nickname that is still often used to this day.


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