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How To Breed Lhasa Apsos

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Published on
Friday 25 September 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
how to breed lhasa apsos
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Do you want to know how to breed Lhasa Apsos? We do not blame you since this is an ancient breed that combines its lovely looks with its independent and mischievous personality.

This breed has special features and in recent years they are actually small in number, so breeding Lhasa Apsos in a proper way is crucial to prolong the breed. They can be stubborn and cold to strangers, however, if they receive early socialization, they are very playful and affectionate. They are leaders by nature and great watchdogs.

Background of Lhasa Apso Breeding

Do you want to discover more about this charming and confident dog? Then, you must read our full guide about Lhasa Apso breeding.

Origin and History

The meaning of its name can give us a little glimpse of what kind of dog this is. Since Lhasa is the name of the capital of Tibet which is regarded as a holy city, while Apso comes from a Tibetan word that means “longhaired dog”. So, let’s get right into learning more about their past. The Lhasa Apso has its origin in Tibet, more specifically, on the Himalayan Plateau. This is one of the breed, along with the Tibetan Terrier and the Tibetan Spaniel breeds, that has its roots in this in country. That is why it is not a surprise that they share many historical similarities.

Lhasa Apso is considered as an ancient breed since it has been domesticated since 800 B.C. They were exclusively for nobility and monks because they were thought to bring good luck and prosperity. That is why they would never leave the country unless it was because they were given as gifts to honored guests.

These dogs were not just symbols of majesty, but monks also had very strong beliefs about them. It was thought that when a Lama, who was a Tibetan priest, died. His soul would then enter into the body of his Lhasa Apso while he awaited to rebirth into a new body. They served as excellent watchdogs in monasteries since they would warn by barking not only monks, but also residents whenever they saw an intruder or anything suspect. That was actually their main function.

lhasa apsos
They were exclusively for monks because they were thought to bring good luck and prosperity.

Arrival to the US

The US finally acknowledge the existence of this breed, when two Lhasa Apsos were given as gifts to Suydam Cutting- a famous naturalist and world traveler- by the 13th Dalai Lama called Thubten Gyatso in 1933.

Cutting is known for the establishment and reputation of this breed in America and what is more, these two Lhasa Apsos became the foundation stock for his kennel.

Then, in 1935 The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially accepted the Lhasa Apso as a breed, and years later, in 1959 they were transferred to the Non-sporting Group. In recent years, the number of Lhasa Apsos has been declining, however, many efforts have been made to preserve their line.


The Lhasa Apso is ranked #71 out of 195 dogs in the AKC Breed Popularity Ranking, which puts them in a very prominent position. However, their popularity is not only reflected by this rank, but also by their presence in the entertainment industry, as we will see right below:

  • Many artists, among them, Keke Palmer and Gerald Wolfe own Lhasa Apsos, named Rust and Wookie respectively
  • It has also had appearances as a character in series like “Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends”, “The Simpsons” and “Princess”, in movies such as the remake of the movie “Lady and the Tramp” and novels like “Daughter of the Mountains”

Well, after seeing this, we can say that Lhasa Apsos are almost celebrities, as they have made appearances in such a bunch of popular productions. Isn’t that crazy?


The appearance of Lhasa Apsos is peculiar and despites a lovely vibe. That is why you will definitely want to turn to see them on the streets if you come across them.

Many of their characteristics are a result of the geographical and climatic environment of the Himalaya region, its place of origin. So, let’s check out what the Lhasa Apso breed standard is.

lhasa apso appearance
Lhasa Apsos originated from the Himalayan region.


Lhasa Apsos are small-sized dogs. To be more accurate, let’s see what the ideal measures for a Lhasa Apso are.

This is the range for a male Lhasa Apso according to:

  • Height: 11 inches
  • Weight: 14 to 18 pounds

While these are the numbers for a female Lhasa Apso:

  • Height: 9 inches
  • Weight: 12 to 14 pounds

The expression of Lhasa Apsos is given by good fall over eyes, good whiskers, a long beard, and their softness vibe is given by the dark pigmentation on eye rims and lips.

Talking about their eyes, these are dark brown in color and almond in shape. In some cases, they are almost hidden due to their long hair.


Their ears appear hanging down in graceful folds of long hair, set slightly eye level and carried close to the cheeks.


They have a sturdy, well-balanced, and rectangular structure and a well-feathered tail that is carried well over their back in a curl lying to the side.


This is the most outstanding feature of the Lhasa Apso without a doubt, therefore many people in the past used to refer to it as “The Lion dog”. The Lhasa Apso has a very long, straight, heavy, dense, not woolly or silky, double coat. These are the most common colors in which comes:

  • Leonine shades of wheaten
  • Honey / Gold with black on the tips of the ears, tail, and beard
  • Reddish
  • Black
  • White

And even though grooming involves a time-consuming and difficult activity, it is worth to maintain its coat gorgeous as always. That being said, it is true that after knowing the characteristics of Lhasa Apsos, it is difficult not to fall for their charms.


Lhasa Apsos’ temperament can be similar to a kid’s temperament since it is a mix of stubbornness and playfulness. Lhasa Apsos are smart watchdogs since they are protective by nature and can bark really loud to warn their owners of possible burglars.

They like staying close to their families and are very mischievous dogs who are affectionate to people they trust. Even so, they can find it difficult to get along with either pets or humans and are highly independent, they will just do things when feeling like doing them, so expose them to early, positive socialization.

They are not extremely energetic, but they do enjoy short walks and playing sessions. To sum it up, Lhasa Apsos can be aloof and suspicious toward strangers while being loyal, comical and good companions to people who are close to them, but it is almost sure that you will be able to handle it.

lhasa apso coat
Lhasa Apsos were called Lion dogs in the past because of their coat.

Health Concerns When Breeding Lhasa Apsos

Lhasa Apsos are actually healthy and robust dogs. However, they can still be prone to get some diseases. Let’s see what Lhasa Apsos’ health problems are.

Sebaceous Adenitis

It refers to an uncommon skin condition that is inherited by Lhasa Apso’s parents. Sometimes, people mistake this disease by allergies, but this is not the cause. This happens when the sebaceous glands in its skin become inflamed, and eventually destroyed. These are some of the visible signs we can see in our dog:

  • Silver dandruff that adheres to the coat
  • Dull and brittle coat
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Hair loss
  • Skin lesions

There are many options as treatments, below you will see some:

  • Bathing and soaking them in mineral oils and washing them with antibiotics shampoos to remove the scale blocking the follicles
  • Immunosuppressants and Corticosteroids can be also supplied
  • Giving them dietary supplements such as Omega-6, Omega-3, and Vitamin A is also helpful



PRA stands for Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is a group of genetic diseases which are characterized by the gradual degeneration of the retina that ends in blindness.

It starts with decreased vision at night and as the disease progresses, they lose sight during the day. That is why Lhasa Apsos breeders must be sure to get their dog’s eyes checked at least once a year.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment available yet. However, specialists affirm that dogs will not suffer in the process of vision loss and can adjust very well to it if their surroundings remain the same.

Cherry Eye

This disease is easily detected since it appears as a red mass at the inner corner of their eye.

It is usually diagnosed when the dogs are still young and if it is not treated, it can later develop the Dry Eye Syndrome.

Surgery is the most common way of getting rid of the problem. Fortunately, this is not considered as an inherited disease.

Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca

Also known as Dry Eye Syndrome, is the conditions referred to the inflammation of the cornea and surrounding tissues resulting from the lack of ability to produce adequate amounts of tear film, to be clearer when the tear production is deficient. It is very common in this kind of breed and it is thought to be a genetic disease. Some of the causes include:

  • Diseases that are related to their body’s immune system, which can damage the cells that produce a portion of the tear film.
  • Canine distemper virus infections.
  • Some medications.

Your Lhasa Apso can be suffering from this illness if you notice some of the following signs in it:

  • Red and irritated eyes
  • If they hold their eyes shut or blink excessively
  • A thick, yellowish mucoid discharge from their eyes

If your dog requires treatment, they will need one of two options. The use of ophthalmic medication once or twice daily to stimulate tear production may be required. The option of a replacement of the tear film to keep the cornea moist and healthy may also be considered. If you are responsible and take your dog to yearly check-ups, then you will have them a long time with you, since its life expectancy is from 12 to 15 years.

How To Breed Lhasa Apsos

Many people are trying to prolong this breed as few of them can be found nowadays, which is a shame, however, breeding Lhasa Apsos can also result in profitable business. Whatever the reason is for you to breed them, here we will provide you some tips so you can successfully do it.

Choosing the Bitch and Stud

This is an extremely important task since you must find pure Lhasa Apso studs to continue the breed and also have a higher profit. To find the right stud, you have to:

  • Check papers and certificates that assure its pedigree
  • Evaluate the dog’s temperament and physical features so you can have an idea of how the puppies would be
  • Do not choose a stud too old but neither one too young, a middle-aged stud is best

On the other hand, to find the right bitch, you have to:

  • Make sure that it has received yearly check-ups to verify it has none of the hereditary diseases we have mentioned before
  • It is not correct to choose a bitch that has had more than four litters since it can be suffering from some health issues, and also it is not considered as something correct

Finally, be sure to establish conditions and to sign a contract so you will not have to spend more money than you thought.

Litter Size

The litter size of Lhasa Apsos goes from an average of 4 to 6 puppies. However, in extraordinary cases, a Lhasa Apso can have up to 8 puppies. You can know exactly how many puppies are coming by taking it to the veterinarian. There some exams that can be done, for example:

  • Echography
  • Womb palpitation
  • X-ray

Even so, this last one is not recommended, since radiation can have harmful effects on the bitch and the litter. Lhasa Apsos are ready to breed at the age of 18 or 24 months and they usually go into heat twice a year.


Birthing Issues

Like any other breed, Lhasa Apsos are no stranger to suffering from birthing problems. The large, blunt, round shape of the head of the fetus can cause delivery issues. Another cause is the bitch’s overweight from improper diet and lack of exercise. For example, one of these issues can be the Dystocia, which is the term referred to the inability of the bitch to pass the fetus through the pelvic canal. There are some predisposing factors to Dystocia, such as:

  • Age
  • Abrupt changes in the environment before the dog goes into labor
  • Toy breeds

In complicated cases, C-section or Caesarean section can be performed. So, by what circumstances are these cases characterized? The bitch must be suffering from an:

  • Abnormal pelvic structure that would preclude natural delivery
  • Or, it is completely exhausted, so it needs help to deliver the puppies

If you act fast, then both, the bitch and the puppies will manage to survive. That is why, to avoid this scenario and in order to reduce the chances that your bitch suffers from dystocia, you should feed you Lhasa Apso with a diet high in proteins which prevents overeating. Besides, the bitch should do exercise daily to develop stamina and musculature. So, do not forget to implement healthy routines in your pet’s life.


Publishing on social media what kind of breeder you are, the certificates you have, and the good quality dogs that you offer can make you breeding business take off, taking into consideration that we are living in an era in which everything we want to know we find it on the web.

What is more, if you are breeding pure Lhasa Apsos, it will attract many more people to buy a dog from your business, so be sure to implement a good marketing technique.

Exploit the good side of Lhasa Apsos, which we have a lot to talk about. Also, post pictures of them, since their lovely physical features make anyone fall in love with them.


The price of a dog can vary depending on many factors such as:

  • Lineage of the puppy
  • Breed popularity
  • Training and socialization efforts

Talking specifically about this breed, we can find two different scenarios regarding their price:

  • You can pay the average amount of $500 for a Lhasa Apso, but this is when you get one without breeding rights nor quality evidence
  • Or, you can expect to pay between $1,300 to $5,100 for a Lhasa Apsos puppy with all the Kennel Club certificates, evidence that shows their quality, superior pedigree, and breeding rights
is a lhasa apso a toy breed
Lhasa Apsos are lapdogs.

Lhasa Apso Breeding – FAQs

We have made a compilation of topics that are still poorly understood and by answering questions that involve these topics we hope to clear these doubts.

At what age can you breed a Lhasa Apso?

The recommended age for them to start breeding is of 18 to 24 months. It is possible that some people say that they can start at the age of just six months, but this would be a terrible idea since it can damage their organs forever.

If you follow this advice, your Lhasa Apso will have developed all its internal organs and will be healthy enough to breed. Usually, they are in heat twice a year and their heat cycles are six months apart.

An important thing to know is that the standards suggest that the ideal time to stop breeding is six years. In that way, you will not make your Lhasa Apso suffer and it will remain healthy for a longer time.

Is a Lhasa Apso a toy breed?

The Lhasa Apso is regarded as a toy breed by the AKC. This is due to their small size and also because they are described as “lapdogs”. In fact, most ancient breeds are in this group. This is because of the big amount of similarities they share:

1. They have outstanding coats
2. This breed enjoys close contact
3. They do not need a big amount of exercise; just short walks can make them happy
4. They can easily adapt to live in small spaces
5. Even though they like being with people close to them, they can be reluctant to create bonds with strangers

The name of this category can sound as if they were playthings, however, this is not what they are. What they are really referring is to companion dogs.

How many puppies do Lhasa Apsos have?

The Litter size of Lhasa Apsos goes from an average of 4 to 8 puppies. Nevertheless, you can know the exact number of puppies that are coming by visiting a veterinarian and making an x-ray exam. This can only be performed after seven weeks since it is at this time that the bones of the puppies are fully formed.

Nevertheless, this is a method that can be harmful to the dog and the litter due to the radiation. It is better to opt for other safer methods such as womb palpitation.

Is a Lhasa Apso good with babies?

As stated before, Lhasa Apsos are reluctant to meet new people and can be snippy sometimes, so it can be difficult for them to interact with babies at first. However, it is also said that when they know someone and are expose to early socialization, they are really lively.

So, it depends on the treat a family gives them from the very first moment. If they feel that they can trust in the people who surround them, they will show affection to them.

Actually, Lhasa Apsos are also very comical and entertaining, even silly sometimes, so if you take care of all the points stated before, they will love the presence of babies in their families and will be protective of them.

How long do Lhasa Apsos stay pregnant?

The gestation period Lhasa Apsos can vary between 58 and 68 days which is equal to nine weeks, it depends on the number of puppies the bitch is carrying, but it is overall a short period.

This period can be broken into three stages each about three weeks in duration and you can realize that your Lhasa Apso is pregnant because, after some weeks, they tend to become ill showing loss of appetite or vomiting.

This is truly a wonderful breed with a playful nature. Their stubbornness makes it so much rewarding to own and train a Lhasa Apsos into a wonderful household pet.

3 comments on “How To Breed Lhasa Apsos”

  1. Edith Stark

    thank you

  2. Eugene Obimma

    Thank you for the enlightenment.

  3. Adipue Ahamefula

    How does one achieve color variations

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