Lhassa Apso Breed Origins and Caracteristics

In the descriptions of his trips in Asia, Marco Polo mentions among others topics the dogs. Thanks to its relatively detailed description, it is supposed that he referred to the Tibetan Mastiff and the Lhassa Apso, a small, golden yellow and long-haired dog. It may be possible that he might have referred to another breed, because even nowadays, it is not easy to differentiate the Lhassa Apso from the Shih Tsu. According to many experts, the breed was born from the cross of the Tibetan terrier and the Tibetan Spaniel, for others, it is a breed of Chinese origin that arrived to the Tibet later. Either way, the explorers of the 20th century have arrived to Tibet and have found these dogs especially in Tibetan Monasteries where they kept the treasures of Buda. The Lhassa Apso received its first standard in 1934, and it is not excluded that this breed might have been confused with other Tibetan breeds.

While the Lhassa Apso performed its duties in the monasteries, another dog a bit bigger with untidy hair watched over the herds of yacks in the mountainous difficult lands. This typical sheepdog, which some people think is a relative of the Puli, received from the English the name of Tibetan terrier but it has nothing to do with the terriers. It has a different character and it is not irritable as the actual terriers. Although its hair needs regular and thorough care, the dog has extended outside its country of origin and it is appreciated as a pet dog.

Lhassa Apso: Size: 25-28 cm. Weight: 5-7 kg. All the colors are authorized but the golden and yellow (1), smoke gray or chalkboard gray are preferred. The long hair on the head falls like a waterfall over the eyes and it constitutes an important decoration while the beard and the mustache fall over the teeth. The hair of the ears is long and thick. The tail is covered also by abundant hair, and it is straight and high on the back (a horizontal tail is a great defect).

Tibetan Terrier. Size: male 35-40 cm; female 32-37 cm. Weight: up to 15 kg. Colors: white, golden, cream, smoke gray, black; the two-color or tricolor dogs (2) can have a combination of these colors. Chocolate brown is not authorized.

Dog Breeds Descriptions by Breed Neapolitan Mastiff Tibetan Mastiff Mastiff German Shepherd Groendaell or Belgian Shepherd Collie Shetland Shepherd, Shetland or Sheltie Bobtail Pembroke Welsh Corgi Briard or Brie shepherd Pumi Affenpinscher or Monkey Pinscher Doberman Miniature Pinscher Schnauzer Boxer Bulldog Bullmastiff German Mastiff or Great Dane Bordeaux Mastiff Mastiff or English Mastiff Neapolitan Mastiff Rottweiler Hovawart Leonberger Pyrenean Mastiff Newfoundland Saint Bernard Great Swiss Mountain Dog Airedale Terrier Bedlington Border Terrier Fox Terrier Irish Terrier Jagdterrier or German Terrier Lakeland Terrier Manchester Terrier Welsh Terrier Dandie Dinmont Terrier Norwich Terrier Scottish Terrier Sealyham Terrier Skye Terrier West Highland White Terrier Boston Terrier Bull Terrier Yorkshire Terrier Kerry Blue Terrier Teckel Siberian Husky Alaskan Malamute Spitz Chow-Chow Basenji St. Hubert Hound or Bloodhound Foxhound Beagle Basset Hound Bavarian Red Dog German Short-Haired Pointer Stichelhaar, Pudelpointer and Spinone Weimar Pointer Hungarian Pointer or Viszla Large Munsterlander Brittany Spaniel Pointer English Setter Gordon Setter Labrador Retriever Golden Retriever Wachtelhund American Cocker Rhodesian Ridgeback Cocker Clumber Spaniel Springer Spaniel Irish Water Spaniel Maltese Caniche or Poodle Belgian Griffon Hairless Dogs Lhassa Apso Shih Tsu Chihuahua Dalmatian King Charles Knight King Charles Spaniel Chin or Japanese Spaniel The Pekinese Spaniel French Bulldog Pug Barzoï Whippet