The Lhasa Apso dog breed is native to Tibet, where they were highly prized guard dogs in the palaces and monasteries of their mountainous homeland. Today, the Lhasa is no longer a palace guard but primarily a family companion who loyally protects his family from danger.
The Lhasa comes from Tibet, and it takes its name from the holy city of Lhasa. For thousands of years, the Lhasa was bred exclusively by the nobility and monks in monasteries to act as an indoor guard and protector. It is known in its homeland as Abso Seng Kye. The Lhasa's thick coat is protective; its native climate is one of intense cold and extreme heat.
The recorded history of the breed goes back to 800 B.C. A Lhasa was considered a good luck charm, but it was almost impossible to buy one: he was a guard dog in temples and monasteries and was therefore considered sacred. It was believed that when an owner died, the human soul entered the body of his Lhasa Apso. Lhasa's were not allowed to leave the country except when given as gifts by the Dalai Lama.
From the beginning of the Manchu Dynasty in 1583 until as late as 1908, the Dalai Lama sent Lhasas as sacred gifts to the Emperor of China and members of the imperial family. The Lhasas were always given in pairs and were thought to bring good luck and prosperity.
The personality of the Lhasa Apso is a special and interesting mix. He is a cheerful, mischievous and playful dog; he is also regal, independent and fierce. He takes seriously the task of guarding his home and family; he also takes a long time to mature, and even then he remains somewhat puppyish into old age.
The Lhasa may be small, but he is not fragile. He is sturdy and strong, and he is naturally wary of strangers. He will make friends, but not until he knows that an individual is not a threat. He is an excellent watchdog.
- Patella luxation (loose kneecap)