Named after the sacred city of Lhasa in Tibet, the Lhasa Apso was at one time considered a sacred dog. It was believed that when the dog's master died, his soul entered the Lhasa Apso's body.
They are a hardy little dog with a body longer than it is high and a tail that curls over the back. They have a dense, double coat which covers the whole body including the head and ears which can come in many colours. The coat could naturally reach the floor but they are often trimmed to make grooming easier.
They were bred by Tibetan monks as a guard dog for temples and monasteries. They are friendly, spirited and intelligent. They have a stubborn streak but can make a very good pet, affectionate and loving to friends and family. While they are head strong, they are keen to learn with gentle, positive training methods. They are quite jovial dogs and a bit of a clown.
They have excellent hearing and will give plenty of vocal warning of any perceived threat. They are naturally wary of strangers but a well brought up Lhasa Apso can be sociable with strangers, children and other animals. They are an active breed indoors but enjoy a daily walk too and have surprising stamina.
Regular brushing and combing keeps the coat matt free but this is easier if they are trimmed. Some health problems have been reported: skin problems, hip dysplasia, kidney problems, eye problems and ulcers but they are generally a very healthy and long-living dog. Diet plays a huge role in some of the skin conditions and regular grooming helps with skin issues.