The Lhasa Apso is a non-sporting dog breed originating in Tibet. It was bred as an interior sentinel in the Buddhist monasteries, to alert 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 Lhasa dog”. There are, however, some who claim that the word “apso” is a form of the Tibetan word “rapso”, meaning “goat-like”, which would make the equivalent translation “wooly Lhasa dog”.
Male Lhasa Apsos should ideally be 10.75 inches (27.3 cm) at the withers and weigh about 14 to 18 pounds (6.4 to 8.2 kg). The females are slightly smaller, and weigh between 12 to 14 pounds (5.4 to 6.4 kg). The breed standard requires dark brown eyes and a black nose, although liver-colored Lhasas have a brown nose. The texture of the coat is heavy, straight, hard, neither woolly nor silky, and very dense. They come in a wide variety of colors including black, white, red and gold with various shadings. Lhasas can be with or without dark tips at the ends 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.