Lhasa Apso Dog Breed

  • By: Mick Whitefield
  • Time to read: 8 min.
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The Lhasa Apso is a companion lap dog weighing around 6 to 7kgs and stands at just 23 to 28cm. They generally live for around 14 years and are a Pedigree breed recognised by all the major kennel clubs and placed in the Utility Group.

The Lhasa Apso

They are a wonderful companion thanks to their sweetly devoted and affectionate manner, very good with the elderly and children alike.

They are considered to be a Vulnerable Native Breed (becoming rare) and for many centuries were kept by Tibetan monks in their monasteries where they served not just as companions but also as watchdogs.

The Monks credited them with spiritual powers and locals considered that they would bring prosperity and fortune to any owner and was thus given the name of Talisman Dog. It was also believed that when a monk died, they may possibly be reincarnated as one of the chosen monastery dogs.

This highly prized breed was jealously guarded in the country of Tibet and was not known to have reached other countries until the late 19th Century. Once known about they were recognised by The Kennel Club in 1908 and were classified along with the Tibetan Terrier as Lhasa Terriers.

3 Lhasa Apso Dogs

In 1934 the two breeds were divided and since then both breeds have prospered in the show ring.

A few questions come to mind whenever we see a beautiful full bearded Lhasa Apso in all its glory and majesty. So at Top Lap Dogs we took the time to research more about the Lhasa Apso to give you, the reader a better knowledge of this prized little dog.

Do Lhasa Apso Have an Undercoat?

Lhasa Apso have a soft and short undercoat which insulates it from cold, and a long, tough, weighty, straight and thick outer coat which is probably why they survived so well in the Tibetan Mountains.

In climates that are warm, Lhasa Apso are likely not grow a plentiful undercoat as compared to when they are kennelled outside in very cold climates. The moderate undercoat of Lhasa Apso is a very reliable insulator which is shed in the summer to make way for the growth of a more thin undercoat.

Are Lhasa Apso Hypoallergenic?

No. Despite its luxurious look the outer topcoat of the Lhasa is toughly textured and functions as a waterproof external jacket for the Lhasa Apso. Although the Lhasa possesses a double coat, the outer coat doesn’t shed, it is just the undercoat that sheds. Because the undercoat of the Lhasa is very soft with a very light weight, it has tendency to be air borne for quite a long period, which can lead to breathing issues for people that are allergic to dog hairs.

The fact that Lhasa Apso has its origin from an area that has a very cold weather in the Himalayas, is one of the main reasons that it possesses a double coat, with an undercoat that serves to protect it from that adverse cold climate. The undercoat of Lhasa Apso does not only serve as insulator against cold, but also to give the outer coat a flat and smooth look, which enhances the overall beauty of the Lhasa.

The more tough outer coat that consist of protective hairs should look like a human hair, so that when touched, you can actually feel the strands of hair separately, but the undercoat is more fine and soft, so it needs to rest flat and merge into the outer coat.

A lot of Lhasa owners love to groom out the undercoat of the their Lhasa to make them look good as show dogs and to help with hypo allergenics, but while this might make them look good, you should not forget where Lhasa Apso comes from, an area that is extremely cold, so the undercoat of the Lhasa is very important in helping the dog to survive by adjusting its own bodily climate control.

The Lhasa Apso is an elegant, adorable show dog, that if well trained turn out to be a very loyal and dedicated dog to the owner. The beautiful coat of Lhasa Apso that comes in various colors is one of the distinguishing features of this adorable breeds, but there are some very interesting things about the undercoat that needs to be well understood by prospective Lhasa owners.

Lhasa Apso Undercoat.

The undercoat of the Lhasa is very important for the survival of these cute breeds, but the undercoat tend to cast if not well groomed almost every single day. Grooming should be done properly, that is brushed down to the skin of your Lhasa.

The undercoat of the Lhasa Apso will cast when your Lhasa is changing to an adult from a puppy.  While the topcoat of Lhasa is long, dense, and feels coarse when touched, the undercoat of Lhasa Apso is soft and short. 

Due to the fact the undercoat of Lhasa is softer than the outer coat, you need to regularly comb the undercoat so that tangles and mats are not formed. Also if the undercoat is not groomed well there is a tendency to have skin problems.

Because Lhasa Apso have a coat that doesn’t shed much, the soft undercoat form mats quite easily.  Because dog mats are tangled stacks of dog hair, they tend to gather dirt, other materials and dander.

Dander of course can be a major problem for humans with allergy problems.

The Coat Standard Of A Lhasa Apso

The ideal standard coat of a Lhasa Apso should be weighty, thick, and have a good length. The hair on the skull should be strong, and it should fall on both sides of the skull. The hair on the body should not get down to the ground, but both legs need to be covered to the toes.

The hair needs to appear to be hard when seen rather than as it is when touched. Make sure the hair of the Lhasa is straight to avoid curling. The dense, weighty, straight coat of the Lhasa protects and insulates it from different weather conditions, and as a way of wind proofing, a degree of felting of the dog’s undercoat is advisable and beneficial to the dog.

The ideal thick, straight double coat of the Lhasa leaves the topcoat open, so that the shed undercoat will be able to be removed naturally because the coat has a tendency to move to the end of the guard hairs.

My Lhasa Apso changed color

The curious changing of the coat of a Lhasa is an event in their life that is bound to take place, so Lhasa owners need to be ready for what will happen during this period.

The timing of the coat change is not fixed, but it generally happens between nine and fourteen months of age, though in some cases, the coat of the puppy Lhasa can start changing around six, or can delay till about when they are eighteen months old.

Lhasa Apso Color Change

This changing is a wonderful experience, the only part you may be afraid of is what happens during the coat color change. So what really gets Lhasa owners of Lhasa scared is the matting and the difficulty in grooming that happens in this period.

During coat change of a Lhasa, the puppy’s soft coat is replaced with an adult’s more harsh-textured coat, and when the more harsh coat of the adult is coming out, the soft looking coat of the puppy dies.

At this point, the coat will require proper brushing, if not done tangling and matting will occur, and during this period, you should groom your puppy every day in order to get rid of the soft puppy coat that has died.

How to Effectively Remove Matting From The Coat of Your Lhasa Apso

Due to the fact that Lhasa Apso have a double coat, they are prone to develop mats and tangles in the undercoat if not groomed properly. If you decide not to use the service of a professional groomer to remove the mats and tangled in your Lhasa, then you have to use some very useful and effective mat removing tools such as mat breaker and a rake.

These tools are very useful and effective especially for the points that are not easy to access. If you properly brush the coat of your Lhasa in the right direction where the hair is growing from, then the outer coat won’t be cut when you use these mat removing tools. 

You may also require scissors and clippers as some of the tools that you can use to remove small knots. Blunt ended scissors are safest as you will need to trim some vital points such as your Lhasa’s face.

Other areas that can have dense mats are between paw pads. But if you want to apply advanced methods of grooming to remove mats, then you will also need to buy pairs of long scissors and thinning scissors to trim your Lhasa’s coat.

Related Questions

What Is The History Of Lhasa Apso?

Lhasa Apso, also known as long haired Lhasa dog, bearded lion, bark lion sentinel dog (Seng Kye), is an old guard dog that has its origin from Tibet, in the Himalayan Mountain range. This dog breed was most likely gotten from mountain wolves that were small in size, these mountain wolves lived in that area about 4,000 years ago.

Some Lhasa experts are of the opinion that the local people began to domesticate and breed these mountain wolves around 800 BC. Out of all the wolf breeds that were domesticated at that time, Lhasa Apso is is regarded as the most pure and oldest. That makes Lhasa Apso in the same class with other genuine ancient dogs that are found now in the world. Some other dogs in that class are Shih Tzu, Chow Chow, Samoyed, Siberian Husky, Basenji, Alaskan Malamute, Shar-Pei and Shiba Inu.

What are the health problems of Lhasa Apso?

Lhasa Apso is a healthy and strong dog breed with a life expectancy of about twelve to sixteen years, though some Lhasa’s has been reported to live more than twenty. But just like other breeds, Lhasa Apso have their own health challenges, though none of these health issues are considered serious health problems. Some of the health problems that associated to Lhasa Apso includes:

•            Hypothyroidism

•            Intervertebral  disc

•            Hip dysplasia

•            Juvenile renal disease

•            Patellar luxation

•            Sebaceous adenitis

Lhasa Apso are vulnerable to some types of eye troubles like

•            Glaucoma

•            Entropion

•            Progressive retinal atrophy

•            Cherry eye

•            Dry eye syndrome

•            Distichiasis.

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