The Lhasa Apso (lha-sah ap-so) is a non-sporting dog breed originating in Tibet. It was bred as an interior sentinel in the Buddhist monasteries, who alerted the monks to any intruders who entered. Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet and apso is a word in the Tibetan language meaning "bearded," so Lhasa Apso simply means "long-haired Tibetan dog."
Male Lhasa Apsos should ideally be 10.75 inches at the withers and weigh about 14-18 pounds, 6-8 kg. The females are slightly smaller, and weigh between 12-14 pounds, 5-7 kg. The breed standard requires dark brown eyes and a black nose, although liver coloured lhasas have a brown nose. The texture of the coat is heavy, straight, hard, neither woolly nor silky, and very dense. Colors include white, golden, rust and parti-colored with various shadings. Lhasas can be with or without dark tips at the end of ears and beard. The tail should be carried well over the dog's back. The breed standard currently used by the American Kennel Club was approved on July 11, 1978.
Lhasas can change colour as they get older, starting with a dark brown coat which gradually turns lighter.
A movement called the Tibetan Line Breeding Programme exists, to breed preseve the original Tibetan Lhasa Apso. This movement is based on the premise that after 60 years of Western breeding, the breed is losing key characteristics of their original Lhasa ancestors still living in Tibet and Bhutan.
They can be strong-willed dogs and a bit cheeky at times, and some dogs have digestive problems that require frequent cleaning around the tails.