OVERVIEW OF THE LHASA APSO
The Lhasa Apso dog breed is known for its luxurious floor-length coat. Their coats generally part in the middle and drape down on each side of their body. Despite their small size, these dogs were originally watchdogs in palaces and monasteries in Tibet. With a shoulder height between 9 to 11 inches when fully grown, Lhasa Apsos consider themselves to be much larger than they are.
A well-trained pup will be a loyal guardian of your home and family. His protective nature can make him aloof and suspicious of strangers, but when it comes to family, this companion dog is a loving, playful, and intelligent member of the gang. As much as he loves being around his people, he is somewhat independent and adapts well to a variety of homes including apartments.
If you’re considering getting a furry guarding companion for your palace, here’s what you need to know to give him the best home possible.
LHASA APSO FOOD AND HEALTH
When obtained from a reputable breeder, the Lhasa Apso is a generally healthy dog. Fully grown they weigh between 12 and 17 pounds and have lifespans of 12 to 15 years, even longer if they live a healthy life.
The dog’s most common health problem is hereditary kidney dysfunction, however, breeders that are aware of this generally remove affected pups from the program. As with most breeds, hip dysplasia can occur, especially as they age. Other conditions you may want to ask your breeder about are dry eye, cherry eye, and progressive retinal atrophy.
Due to their long coats and thick skin which supports their locks, they need a diet high in protein and a healthy amount of fat. Food with a fat percentage of around 14% is recommended with protein in the form of fish, meat, and game. Meals can be fed dry or moistened with a grain-free sauce. They don’t need a lot of food and even just a little overfeeding can lead to digestive problems. An important thing when feeding your Lhasa Apso is to keep meal times consistent.
Keep your pup’s teeth clean with a few brushes weekly and ask your vet to do a mouth inspection whenever you go for check-ups. Their ears also need to be checked regularly to prevent anything from accumulating that will cause infection.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR LHASA APSO
Your pup doesn’t need excessive activity but does need to get out for at least a twenty-minute walk daily. He requires good training with consistent leadership and creative ways of doing things. Lhasa’s don’t enjoy repetitive drills, so keep it interesting to hold their engagement.
Training a Lhasa Apso requires a lot of patience as they mature slowly and remain a little like puppies despite having grown to full size. However, positive and consistent training will pay off in the long haul when they do eventually outgrow their puppy-like behavior (around three years of age).
Train your pup from a young age to feel comfortable walking on a leash or harness. We recommend a front-clip harness for these small dogs. Front-clip harnesses are a good middle ground between restricting their breathing (which is already a sensitive issue due to their short noses) and taking the lead.
While a collar can place too much strain on your pup’s neck, restrict breathing, and cause choking, a back-clip harness may encourage pulling. Leading your pup with a front clip harness establishes you as the pack leader and allows you enough control without hurting the little guy.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR LHASA APSOS
Just like you, your pup needs enough quality sleep to keep him happy and functioning well. Although he enjoys playing and frolicking outside, his sleeping den should be indoors. As much as he’ll love sitting on your lap and being with you, a Lhasa Apso appreciates his personal space too. With his advanced reasoning abilities, crate training is the best option for this pup. A crate can also serve as his secure space for a comfy night’s sleep.
A thirty-inch crate is a good choice for a Lhasa Apso. Remember that your Lhasa Apso is still growing while in the puppy stage. To avoid having to replace his crate with a bigger version later, you may want to opt for a good quality crate from the beginning that he won’t outgrow.
The crate needs to offer plenty of airflows and an ample amount of space. Your pup will want to retreat somewhere he feels is his safe place when anxious or stressed. Making his crate a little haven of comfort can serve as this space.
A therapeutic bed to support his joints is an ideal option. These beds come in different sizes with orthopedic memory to support your dog’s body. The interior surface of the bed (excluding bolsters or frames) needs to be big enough for your furry friend to fit comfortably. If you live in a cold climate, consider getting something that offers extra insulation, especially for puppies. Dog beds that are machine washable (or have a removable cover for easy washing) and odor-resistant are great options.
BEST TOYS FOR LHASA APSOS
Lhasa Apsos need to get some activity but they don’t require nearly the same amount of exercise as some other larger breeds. Keeping them stimulated physically and mentally will keep them out of mischief and put their intelligence to work.
When your furry companion is still a puppy make sure he has some chew toys. Be sure to stock up on toys that will distract your pupping from gnawing at your furniture. Teething toys and cooling toys are perfect for the overexcited puppy.
As they get older, teeth cleaning toys like a chew brush will help keep their dental health in better condition, preventing tartar buildup. It is, however, not a replacement for brushing their teeth.
Lhasa Apsos enjoy playing fetch, so ball launchers are a good option along with mentally stimulating games such as treat dispensers and treat finders. These types of toys require treats to be placed inside a ball or in between grooves. Your pup then has to figure out how to get to them. Once he’s mastered the puzzle, some models allow you to adjust the difficulty level.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR LHASA APSO OWNERS
Lhasa’s come in a range of colors including honey, white, black, tan, and different shades of brown. Their hair is naturally long, straight, and dense. This does make their hair require more maintenance than other breeds. They require a good shampoo every two to four weeks with daily brushing and combing to prevent knots and tangles.
Many owners get a professional groomer to help with grooming duties, which will also include trimming nails (which requires some special care due to blood vessels) and keeping their ears in check to prevent infections. Some Lhasa owners prefer to keep their pup’s coats on the short side for easier upkeep.
A very important part of your pet’s grooming and health is brushing their teeth two to three times weekly. This will help prevent gum disease and harmful bacteria build-up.
Get your little Lhasa used to be brushed and checked from early on. If they aren’t used to getting their teeth, nails, and ears checked from a young age it can be unpleasant when they’re older. Always make it a positive experience for them with lots of encouragement and rewards.
BEST LHASA APSO ACCESSORIES
Although Lhasa’s are classed as non-shedding dogs, loose hairs will still fall out which makes brushing through their undercoat and topcoat very important. Get a slicker brush for grooming as this removes any dead undercoat hairs while giving the outer coat a beautiful finish. Pin brushes and rotating tooth combs are both ideals for preventing breakage and snags. Always opt for an anti-static brush when possible.
A dog car seat is another great accessory for your Lhasa. Make sure you get something with a non-slip base so it doesn’t shift in the car. The car seat should have an adjustable seat belt that clips around the back of the seat and around the headrest for a secure fit. Some models have flaps that zip up to form a box or basket. This allows you to customize the setup depending on where the seat is positioned. Most pups like to lie, curl up, or sit in the box as they would in their basket or bed at home.
If the car stops suddenly your pup won’t go tumbling off the seat since they’re in the basket and it is securely fastened to the seat. These are great when taking your pup to the vet, the beach, and especially if he joins you on holidays and road trips.
To learn more about small breeds like the Lhasa Apso, check out our breed hub page.