Lhasa Apso Breed Magazine - Showsight


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard for the Lhasa Apso General Appearance : Reflecting his Tibetan heritage as an indoor sentinel on the Tibetan Plateau, north of the Himalayan Mountains, the Lhasa Apso is a small, sturdy, well-balanced rectangular dog of moderation possessing a level topline and a tail carried well over the back. There should be neither exaggeration of any body parts nor hint of massive bone or body. A distinguishing characteristic of the Lhasa Apso is its heavy, dense, double coat that is parted in the middle from head to tail. In addition, the Lhasa Apso has good headfall and well-feathered feet and legs as these features protected this small dog against extreme temperatures and the rough terrain of his native land. A Lhasa Apso is subject to the same requirement of soundness recommended for all breeds. Structural faults are undesirable, regardless of whether or not such faults are specifically mentioned in the standard. Any deviation from the ideal described in the standard should be penalized to the extent of the deviation. Size : Variable, ideally between 10 and 11 inches at the shoulder. Bitches may or may not be slightly smaller but should possess feminine characteristics which easily distinguish females from males. Head : Expression - Alert, thoughtful, intelligent. Heavy head furnishings enhance the proper Lhasa expression with good fall over eyes, good whiskers, and beard. Full depth of dark pigmentation on eye rims and lips is essential to achieve the desired softness of expression. Eyes - Dark brown, almond shaped. Round full eyes and very small sunken eyes are undesirable. Ears - Pendant, set slightly above eye level and carried close to the cheeks, heavily feathered. Skull - Narrow, falling away behind the eyes in a marked degree, not quite flat, but not domed or apple- shaped. Stop - Moderate. Muzzle - Straight foreface of fair length with the length from tip of nose to eye to be roughly one-third the total length from nose to back of skull. A square muzzle is objectionable. Nose – Black. Bite - The preferred bite is either level or slightly undershot. Neck, Topline, Body : Neck - Moderate in length, blending smoothly into the shoulders. Body – Rectangular when viewed in profile, with the length from point of shoulder to point of buttocks being longer than the height at withers. Chest of good depth extending to or slightly below the elbow. Prosternum well developed. Well ribbed up with the ribs extending well back towards hindquarters, strong loin, well-developed quarters and thighs. Topline - level from withers to croup, whether standing or moving. Tail - Well feathered and set sufficiently high to enable the tail to be carried well over the back in a curl lying to the side; there may be a kink at the end. Low carriage of stern is a serious fault. This means that when the Lhasa is moving, the tail is carried well over the back. A dropped tail while standing is not to be penalized. Forequarters : Shoulders - Well laid back. Elbows close to the body. Shoulder blade and upper arm are ideally equal in length (i.e., length from point of withers to point of shoulder and point of shoulder to point of elbow should be equal.) Viewed from the front, the rib cage is oval in shape. Legs - Heavily furnished with hair. The legs are straight from elbow to pastern. The vertical distance from the withers to the elbow equals the distance from the elbows to the ground.

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Pasterns - Strong, perpendicular. Dew claws - may be removed. Feet - Well feathered/heavily furnished, should be round and catlike, with good pads. The hair may be trimmed for neatness.

Hindquarters : Well-developed rear assembly. Angulation of hindquarters should be in balance with forequarters to provide equal reach and drive. Legs - Heavily furnished with hair. Hocks - Well let down, set slightly behind the point of buttocks, perpendicular to the ground and turn neither in nor out. Feet – Same as forefeet.

Coat : Double coated, heavy, straight, hard, dense, not woolly or silky, of good length.

Color : All colors equally acceptable.

Gait : The Lhasa Apso gait is smooth and effortless with good front reach and equally strong rear drive without any hint of wasted action. There is no tendency towards hackney, exaggerated lift or rolling. The rear legs reach under the body and push out well behind, carrying the body forward in balance with the front. Going away, the pads of the rear feet give evidence of good follow through, without exaggerated kickup. The legs move parallel coming and going with a tendency to converge to a centerline as the dog increases speed. The topline is level and the tail is carried well over the back and may drape to the side. A Lhasa is shown at its own natural speed, neither raced nor strung-up. It is unacceptable to reward a Lhasa that consistently moves with its tail down. Temperament/Character : Alert and sensitive to their surroundings, Lhasas are usually gay and assertive but may be chary/aloof with strangers. Their regal attitude gives them an air of seriousness. The breed is extremely intelligent, charming and loyal.

Approved August 13 th , 2019 Effective October 1 st , 2019


By Barbara Schwartz & Jan Bruton


s the saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover. And you can’t judge a Lhasa without putting your hands on the dog. A long haired

magnificently groomed glamorous dog may turn out to be simply that—what is under the coat is of great importance. Th e Lhasa originated in Tibet where the elevation is about 12,000 feet—far greater than most of us have experienced, but if you are familiar with the feeling of being unable to breathe due to altitude, you will understand that the Lhasa needs to be a sturdy mountain dog. His structure must reflect an ability to traverse steep inclines. He is a rectangular dog, well ribbed up— meaning a longer ribcage to accommodate lung capacity needed at altitude. A strong loin is also required—again - suitable for the terrain of his country of origin. As with all Tibetan breeds, nothing about the Lhasa is ine ffi cient or overdone or exagger- ated. Th e Lhasa must be agile and is nei- ther overly coarse nor overly refined. Th e overall look of the Lhasa is that of a well-balanced rectangular small (about 10-11 " tall) dog—neither too much back length but not square either. Th e neck rises smoothly from the shoulders and a long straight heavy coat on the head and body with a feathered tail over the back complete the picture. Th is coat can be any color or combination of colors. Of course puppies and youngsters will not have the coat length of the more mature dogs. Lhasas are judged on the table. Most judges will start by looking at the side view of the dog and an exhibitor will appreci- ate a reasonable amount of time to get the dog prepared for examination. Always approach a Lhasa from the front—the head fall precludes peripheral vision, and Lhasas are chary (suspicious) of strangers. So a careful slow approach is appreciated. Never examine the Lhasa on the ground.

If you wish to re-examine an exhibit at any time, ask the handler to put the dog back up on the table. If you wish to compare two exhibits, both may be placed on the table, but never attempt to compare more than two at a time. Start your exam with the head by plac- ing your hand under the muzzle. Notice first the expression. Framed by the heavy head furnishings, a Lhasa possesses a soft but wise expression. Th is expression is achieved with a combination of a dark brown frontally placed medium sized oval eye with a minimal, if any, white visible, a muzzle ⅓ the length of the skull, and a black nose and eye rims. Th e skull is nar- row, not quite flat, but neither domed nor apple shaped. Ears are pendant and heavily feathered, and they are set near eye level. To evaluate the narrowness of the skull, gently push the hair toward the back of the skull. Th is allows you to evaluate the narrowness of skull without the illusion of width created by head fall. Th ere should be a strong, but not prominent underjaw, with no indication of snipiness. Th e pre- ferred bite is level or undershot. Breed- ers strive for a reverse scissors bite with

su ffi cient width to accommodate full denti- tion. Most important is that the bite should not interfere with the correct expression for the breed. Undesirable to the expres- sion are large round bulgy eyes or close- set small beady eyes, lower teeth showing, down-faced muzzles, and muzzles that are too short or too long and snipy. To evaluate the front, run your hands down both front legs. Th e standard asks for straight forelegs. Th e vast majority of Lhasas will have a slight bow and the front feet will toe out slightly. Th e brisket is level to or slightly below the elbow and there is a prominent pro-sternum. If you place the palm of your hand between the front legs there should be a width of three or four fingers. Both front and rear assemblies of the Lhasa are that of a normal canine. For the front assembly, the length from point of shoulder to elbow and point of shoul- der to withers are equal. Proper shoulder placement (well laid back) is essential for support, balance, and smooth transition from neck to topline. Th ere should be only a slight (1-2 fingers) space between the shoulder blades. Th e neck should be strong


and well proportioned. Run your hand along the neck to accurately determine where it flows into the shoulder. Note the body length. It is measured from the point of shoulder to point of but- tock and should be about one third longer than the height at the withers. Th e standard calls for a well ribbed up Lhasa and this is used to describe a long ribcage that will extend well back toward the loin area. Th is allows for the extra lung capacity desirable at higher altitudes. A Lhasa should be in good weight and be well muscled. Young- er Lhasas may display a tendency toward leanness as the breed is slow to mature. Check the topline as you examine the dog along with the tail set. Th e heavily feath- ered tail is set high enough to allow the tail to be carried well over the back in a screw or a curve. As you examine the body of the Lhasa, you may notice variations in coat texture.

Th e coat is ideally heavy, straight, and hard of good length. It is dense and is a double coat. When lifted from the body a mature coat will fall back into place. When feeling the coat texture, rub the coat between your fingers to feel individual hairs. Puppies will have a tendency to have a softer coat and there are various stages of development of the coat. Th e coat first matures at the with- ers and eventually works its way back. Parti colors will have di ff erent texture in the white vs. colored portions of the coat. Many Lha- sas do not have a fully mature coat until the age of 3 or 4. Th e length of coat need not be to the ground. It must be adequate for the purpose of protection from the elements. A cloak of hair, parted down the middle from nose to tail is certainly a magnificent sight—even more so when accompanied by correct structure and muscle tone. Rear construction as noted previous- ly is that of a normal canine. Hocks are

perpendicular to the ground, and slightly behind the buttocks. Front and rear angu- lation should be equal and balanced. A light, but thorough exam of the Lhasa is needed. Yes—you may have to “rearrange” the coat a bit, but judges who fail to check for body length, condi- tion and muscle tone are doing the breed a disservice. Judging the Lhasa based solely on coat is an indication that a judge is not familiar with the breed. You may be rewarding the grooming rather than the dog. While the dog is still on the table, take the time to evaluate overall balance. Remember—longer than tall, moderate bone and body, neck flowing into shoul- ders, level topline. Now it’s time to send the dog around the ring. Will what you felt translate into the anticipated movement? Lhasas should move freely with good and balanced reach and drive. When viewed


References: The Lhasa Apso Illustrated Guide, The Lhasa Apso Judges’ Education Presentation, The Of- ficial American Lhasa Apso Club Verbal Guide to the Breed Standard BIOS Barbara Schwartz | Mancos, CO Having started showing Lhasa

going away, the pads of the rear feet should be evident—but never kicking up with exaggerated motion. When viewed com- ing toward you, the front feet contact the ground well forward with no tendency toward hackney or exaggerated lift. From the side, the Lhasa should cover ground with ease. Th e gait should be smooth and free-flowing without any hint of wasted action. Th e neck is strong and carries the head with an air of assertiveness. As the Lhasa increases its speed there is a ten- dency for the head to be extended slight- ly toward the line of travel. Th e topline should be level and the tail must be carried over the back. Th e single fault mentioned in the standard is low carriage of stern. While at rest, it is common for a Lhasa to hold his tail in the down position, but the tail must come up and over the back once the dog begins to move. No champi- onship points should ever be awarded to a dog with its tail down. Th e Lhasa Apso is a gay and assertive dog and should move like one. Th ere is nothing more glorious than a fully coated Lhasa Apso, carry- ing his head with an air of assertiveness, moving e ff ortlessly and enthusiastically around the ring. The National Specialty for the Amer- ican Lhasa Apso Club will be in St. Lou- is MO in October of 2014 and in Boston MA in October of 2015. Plan to attend the Judges’ Education program there. For information contact Bobbie Wood at anbara@comcast.net. Our Illustrated Guide, a list of breed men- tors along with a brief video can be found on the ALAC website at lhasaapso.org.

pital. We got back into limited showing and applied for our judges’ licenses. I have been most fortunate to have been invited to judge the National Specialty for both of my breeds.

Jan Bruton | Portland, Oregon When my hus-

Apsos in 1974, I have been the breeder-owner- handler or owner- handler on all of my dogs and am a Register Of Merit Breeder of Lha-

band Larry and I moved to Port- land in 1971, we bought our 1st house and the next day bought our 1st dog- a Lhasa Apso. We even- tually acquired a Lhasa to show. Th is little dog had

sas. I am the immediate past President of the American Lhasa Apso Club, and have served as Show Chairman for three Nation- als as well as serving on the Board of Direc- tors and on the Judges’ Education Commit- tee. German Shorthaired Pointers are my second breed, and I have been involved with breeding and exhibiting them since 1984. In 1998, I joined AKC as Director of Show Operations, and then was pro- moted to Assistant Vice President of Show Operations and liaison to the Delegates Committee for Dog Show Rules. I served as the first Show Chairman for the AKC/ Eukanuba Invitational show in 2001. While working for AKC I also served on the Board of Directors of the North Caro- lina State Animal Response Team (SART), which was the founding organization for the Animal Emergency Response Teams. After retiring from AKC in 2003, we moved to Colorado where we own and operate the Mancos Valley Veterinary Hos-

2 traits that were perfect for novices like us - an indestructible coat and a great atti- tude. We showed to Keke (Blumberg) Kahn at our 1st show and despite going 4th in a class of 4, we were hooked. We had a very limited breeding program but bred winners of a National Specialty, a National Grand Futurity , a National Sweepstakes and a multi all-breed BIS and are ALAC ROM breeders. I have been active in the Ameri- can Lhasa Apso Club in several capacities including as Secretary and am currently serving on the Board of Directors and on the Breed Standard Committee. In my other life, I owned and operated a successful children’s bookstore in Port- land for 21 years. After retiring, I applied to judge and currently am approved for 4 Non-Sporting breeds. I had the huge honor of judging our National Specialty in 2012.



By Bobbie Wood Anbara Lhasa Apsos


here is a saying that a balanced dog has a title at both ends. Th is is true for many people who fi nish a Champion and then say, “What am

nothing but big dogs and my heart sank. But we keep going and I was thrilled to be learning a new way to train a dog. Th e methods have changed to positive rein- forcement of behaviors and soon Aleck was doing some exercises really well. So I asked my instructor if she thought Aleck would be ready to compete at our next National Specialty. Always an optimist, she said, “Of course he will and he will do very nice- ly”. So we trained and trained but by this time I knew a great deal more about the Lhasa temperament and how they think. Lhasas like to think everything they do is their idea, and as a trainer you must fi nd ways to convince them that it is more fun to do it your way. Th ey won’t repeat things over and over. Th eir thought is “I did it last week why do I have to do it again?” But Aleck did do it my way most of the time and he accomplished so much in his short career. He was High in Trial twice at the National Specialty making him the only Lhasa in the history of the breed to win both Best in Show and High in Trial at a National. He got his CDX when he was 10 ½ and was 3 legs short of his Rally RAE title when he died. He also had titles in other venues and had acquired over 20 titles in his lifetime. Th ere are many choices for competition in performance with your dogs. Th ere is Agility, Obedience, Rally, Nosework, and Th erapy work. I think anyone who has ever owned a Lhasa knows how empathetic they are when you are feeling low or just not having a good day. Some of them make wonderful therapy dogs. Th e AKC is now giving a Th erapy Dog title for dogs that have accumulated 50 hours of therapy work and many Lhasas are holders of this title. Becky Hughes is a Lhasa Breeder who has been very successful in breeding and training champions and obedience titled dogs and holds an ALAC Register of Merit in Conformation, Obedience and Rally. She was told “you cannot do

I going to do now?” Well there are many possibilities. Deciding which sport you would like and, most importantly, what your dog would like, could take some experimentation especially if you are com- mitted to training a Tibetan breed. In the early 70s, I trained my fi rst Lhasa Apso, Bo-Jangles, to compete in AKC obedience. He was not a conforma- tion dog, but he was from the fi rst litter I had ever bred and I wanted him to be a part of Lhasa history. We trained with the Poodle Club of Greater New York and there were days when I thought we would never make it as the Poodles learned so quickly and my Lhasa was only going to learn at his speed. Methods of training were a bit harsh and we were taught to do leash pops, ear pinches and rough correc- tions if the need arose. At that point I had no idea about training and really knew nothing about the Lhasa Apso. I think Bo-Jangles got his CD just to please me because he had no joy in his performances but we were devoted to each other. At this point, I had my fi rst show dog and had bred her and my interest turned to conformation. Fast-forward 40 years, many Champions later, 2 knee replace- ments, serious spinal surgery and I am now older… much older. I was retired and I had one dog, Aleck, who won the Best in Show at the National Specialty in 2001 and we were just sitting at home looking at each other. I got to thinking; since I really can’t handle in the show ring anymore maybe Obedience is the way to go. Th ere was a very good obedience school in my area, so I signed up for some classes. Aleck and I walked in and we were sur- rounded by Goldens, Labradors, Pitbulls,

obedience with Apsos, especially if you want to do conformation too”. Well she proved them wrong with her bitch, Ch. OB-One’s Ky-Ann Pepper, UD, RE, ROM who was one of her top produc- ers and a top Obedience competitor also. One of her other dogs “Chopper” Can/U CD Am/Can/Int Ch. OB-One’s Harley Davidson, CDX, RE, was the first and only Lhasa to win both High in Trials in Obedience and also receive a Select award in Conformation at the same National in 2001. She says, “Training for both the obe- dience ring and the conformation ring is not complicated and these dogs are really smart. You just have to make it fun and let them fi gure out there are rewards for doing things the right way.” Th e next venue that the AKC o ff ered titles in was Agility. Th is sport caught on Multi Group Winning, Multiple BISS, Multiple HIT National Specialty Winner 2001, National High In Trial 2006, 2008, Champion, ARCHEX Anbara Alasara Smart Aleck, CDX, RE, CD-HCH, CDX-H, RL1X3, RL2X2, RL3X, RLVX, VC (1998-2009) Owned and trained by Bobbie Wood


like wild fi re. And this sport was ready made for Lhasas Apsos, Tibetan Spaniels, and Tibetan Terriers. Th ese breeds all are similar in their training attitudes but they grow to love this sport. In 2011 there were 6 Lhasas that quali fi ed to go to Eukanuba Invitational in Florida and I had the plea- sure of watching these little dynamos strut their stu ff . Th ey had a ball fl ying around the course, ears and tail fl ying in the wind they created as they sped from jump to jump. Melissa Torgerson who owns and trains one of 2 MACH titled Lhasas writes: “Josie (GCH MACH3 Indian Hill MeLou’s Josie RA MXS MJC XF) and I started Agility competition in 2009. She has turned out to be an exceptional agility partner. Josie is currently competing at the highest levels in AKC Agility (Excellent B) and also com- peted in Rally earning her Rally Advanced title. Training Josie and my other Lhasa Apsos for Agility and Rally has been a learning experience. I have learned to be patient, not to rush the learning process, not to drill and limit repetitions and to just have fun with my dog. My dogs real- ly respond to positive motivation, really want to be right and any harsh or nega- tive corrections will worry them and ends up being counterproductive. I try to make training time fun and motivational, limit- ing it to 10-15 minutes and not to push for “just once more”. Josie has quali fi ed for the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 AKC Agility Invitational held in December of each year. Th e 2011 AKC Invitational in Orlando, FL was exceptional. Josie had matured, our partnership had solidi fi ed and she competed like a pro. She not only GCH MACH3 Indian Hill MeLou’s Josie RA MXS MJC XF. Josie is one of only two dogs in the USA with a Grand Champion title and a MACH6! Owned and trained by Melissa Torgorsen

Above: Ch. Kumi Kian Forget Me Not, CD, RAE (Emmy). The first and only Champion with an RAE title. Owned and trained by Bobbie Wood

ran four clean runs, she ended up in sixth place cumulatively, again earning a spot in the fi nals. Wow! Even more exciting we ended up in 3rd place missing 2nd by .58 of a second!! We sure didn’t need a plane to fl y home to Minnesota.” Saving the best for last, at least in my opinion, Rally is the newest competitive sport in which to title. Like Agility, you have a course to follow and the best part is that you can talk to your dog, praise your dog and I must say that Lhasas really do respond to all that praise. Marsha Susag is another breeder who enjoys both confor- mation and performance. She produces champions that compete in agility and rally and gain titles that are beyond the basic. Marsha writes: “ Th e Lhasa Apso is an exciting breed to work with, you must be smarter than the dog and think out- side the box with each and every one of them….at least in my experience. I have not had good success in the competi- tive obedience ring and I believe that is because I am not enjoying the training as much as I enjoy rally and agility. Because of my attitude, I would say that my train- ing methods are not as consistent as they need to be in order to get good obedience performances out of my dogs. Rally is fun for me because I can talk to my dogs. Th ose of you who know me, will get that statement! I talk to my dogs in the conformation ring and when we start training for the companion events, they are used to me giving them verbal encour- agement, letting them know that they are doing what I am asking them to do. Training has helped strengthen the bond and relationship between my dogs

and myself. I’m forever grateful for this opportunity to work with this fantastic, versatile breed.” BIO Bobbie Wood, pictured below with Aleck, of Anbara Lhasa Apsos, has been in the breed since 1968 when she received her first Lhasa. She is a member of the Ameri- can Lhasa Apso Club and has held many positions in the club including President. She holds ALAC Register of Merit status in Conformation, Obedience and Rally. She is an AKC approved judge for the Non- Sporting and the Toy Groups and in 2011 the AKC selected Bobbie as Breeder of the Year to represent the Non-Sporting Group at the Eukanuba/Invitational Show in Florida. In 2012, Bobbie was the recipient of ALAC’s Member of the Year award and AKC’s Outstanding Sportsmanship Award.




T he Lhasa Apso personality is unique and prized by those who love the breed. Although the per- sonality of every individual within the breed dif- fers, most have the following characteristics to one extent or another. Independent/Stubborn: Cat owners will understand a Lhasa personality, since Lhasas have a cat-like tendency to be rather independent and sometimes stubborn. When you ask them to “come,” they often take their own sweet time about it or look at you, very regally, as if to say, “Who? Me? Come to you? Whatever for?” Sensitive: Lhasas hate strict discipline and are best trained using a reward system. If you correct a Lhasa harshly, expect some future retaliation! However, high praise and rewards (especially yummy treats) yield great results. Devoted: A Lhasa is loyal to those he loves and to those who love him in return. When we have placed adult Lhasas in pet homes, they have easily transferred that loyalty to their new owners. The same is true for our show dogs who have left us for brief periods for a sojourn with professional handlers. Lhasas grow to love those they are with, who feed and care for and love them in return. Lhasas are devoted to family and home and, although content to be with and play with all fam- ily members, will often chose one “favorite” family member. Playful, Frisky, Fun-Loving, Clownish, Spirited, Happy: You get the picture! Most Lhasas love life and have an exuber- ant attitude that shows it. Many have a sense of humor and you’d swear they were grinning after pulling one of their little pranks! Some are “rough and tumble” types, and many Lhasa owners enjoy training these dogs for agility and rally compe- titions. Other Lhasas tend to be more regal and expect to be waited on hand and foot. Most retain their exuberance and happy attitude to the end of their lives, their spirit hampered only by the ravages of time on their bodies. Alert: Remember, the breed was originally bred to be an interior sentinel. They have keen hearing and will bark when they think an alert is necessary. Some even bark when there seems to be nothing to bark about. Lhasas are vocal, but not yappy, dogs. Suspicious of Strangers: Again, their heritage calls for them to be suspicious. The descriptor “chary” in the Stan- dard refers to the Lhasa’s aloofness around strangers. Lhasas like to size up a stranger before accepting him/her as a friend. They do not like people who come on too strong when they first meet. The proper way to greet a Lhasa is to let him come to you. Do not swoop down upon him, no matter how cute or cuddly he seems. Your welcome will not be appreciated! (Of course, some Lhasas have not read the Standard and have never met a stranger!) If you visit the home of a Lhasa owner, and the Lhasa seems shy and reluctant to greet you, ignore him. Chat with the owner, hold a friendly hand out to the dog when he approaches to check you out. He’ll let you know when he is ready for a pat on the head.




Smart: Lhasas are thinkers and plan- ners. (I’ve had Lhasas that are smart enough not to show how smart they are!) Lhasas remember people, places, and events. They understand what you say to them. If they could talk, they would carry on quite a conversation! Independent: Lhasas do not need constant companionship. Yes, they enjoy being with their people, but they are also happy to entertain themselves. They love toys and “chew” bones. They appreciate walks and exercise outside but, unless you happen to own one that is “high energy,” they do not need a great deal of exercise. Superior: Most Lhasas know they come from an ancient heritage where they were highly prized. They know they are

special, and they expect you to know it too! They may present a regal or aloof attitude. Not Lap Dogs! While their cute expres- sive faces and lovely coats tend to make people think Lhasas are lap dogs, their looks are deceiving. Those who expect their Lhasa to sit on a pillow and look pretty are in for a surprise. The breed is hardy and independent; dignified and aloof; inquisi- tive and intelligent; active and interested in the world around them. Most prefer being with you rather than being held (for long periods of time) by you. They want to be your companions and they certainly enjoy their share of hugs and cuddles, but make no mistake; the Lhasa Apso is not an ornament or a lap dog and should not be treated as such.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Joyce Johanson (Joyslyn’s Lhasa Apsos ROM) has owned, loved, bred, and exhibited Lhasa Apsos since 1973. Joyce earned the Register of Merit Breeder Award from the American Lhasa Apso Club (ALAC) in 1985 and is an AKC Breeder of Merit. She has owned, bred, or co-bred over 80 champions to date, including Best in Specialty winners, All-Breed Group winners, and NOHS Best in Show and top-placing winners. Joyce is a member of NAIA and OHA, one All-Breed club, the Greater Milwaukee Lhasa Apso Club, and the Twin Cities Lhasa Apso Club. She has served on the ALAC Board of Directors, as either a Director or an Officer, from 1984 to the present. She currently chairs ALAC’s Membership, Handbook, and Judges’ Education Committees and was a former chair of ALAC’s Breeder Education Committee and Nomination Committee. She is also a member of the Breeder Education and Breed Standard Committees. She is the proud recipient of ALAC’s Member of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards.



GUESS THE BREED A first encounter with this elegant little dog will have you admiring its beautiful coat, its regal essence and the human quality of its eyes. This dog seems to float across the floor with the balance and movement of a Thai Chi instructor! After forming your first impression, you will start thinking about whether the dog could fit your lifestyle. The answer is a resounding “Yes!” It is one of the most versatile and adaptable breeds on the planet. Its temperament is suited for tiny apartment living in the city, living in the ’burbs or romping in the open spaces of a country estate or farm. Its thick, layered coat provides the insulation needed to make it comfortable in any climate, hot or cold: romping through freshly fallen snow or basking in the sun! That’s not all about these lovable dogs! The breed is sturdy and seldom plagued with health issues. Their average lifespan ranges from fifteen to eighteen years; the oldest documented of this breed lived to age twenty-four! Many owners of these dogs will tell you stories about them living to a ripe old age while remarking about the mental and physical toughness the dogs displayed to the very end. The dog’s appearance is sophisticated and ele- gant; but underneath its appearance is a dog with endurance, energy and hardiness: a rough-and tum- ble romp with the toughest ten-year-old boy or girl finds this dog asking for more! If you are thinking about a dog that you can train to enter agility trials, the breed has established itself as agile and focused. On the flip side, this dog senses when it needs to be calm, loving and comforting. It is a great compan- ion for the elderly and is often trained as a Therapy Dog. Oh yes, it is a lap dog, too. Content to lie by your side or in your lap, the dog adjusts its behavior to that of its beloved humans. LIVING WITH THE BREED These dogs, compact and sturdy, are considered small dogs. The females usually weigh about twelve to fouteen pounds and the males are about fifteen to eighteen pounds. They are about 10 to 11 inches in height at the shoulder.

If your lifestyle includes car trips, your dog will be the first in the car. After gazing out the window, your traveling companion will quick- ly settle into a nap in the back seat and will happily take bathroom breaks when you do! Being very sociable, these dogs get along with other household crit- ters such as cats. In fact, they are happy to sleep side-by-side with other animals, assuming the introductions to other creatures are correctly facilitated by humans. There’s more! Being an excellent watchdog, he will “sound off” his bark alarm when something is not right. These dogs exhibit an aloof and wary reaction to strangers until given the “all clear” by their own- ers. You see, the dog’s history of watching over its owners dates back to the year 800 BC in Tibet. It was bred as a sentinel and companion in the monasteries and was the revered breed of Tibetan royalty. Its genet- ics are one of the most directly traceable to the ancient gray wolf and its “Being highly intelligent, these dogs are masters of observation and are quick learners. In fact, you will often hear dog owners commenting about the extent of their dog’s vocabulary; one owner documented seventy-five words to which the dog responded.”

history makes this breed intriguing. HOW TRAINABLE IS THIS DOG?

Being highly intelligent, these dogs are masters of observation and are quick learners. In fact, you will often hear dog owners comment- ing about the extent of their dog’s vocabulary; one owner documented seventy-five words to which the dog responded. Watching them perform tricks or competing in shows and/or agility trials, you will be convinced that seventy-five words may be an under- statement. Because these dogs are so intelligent, their owners must quickly become the leaders; otherwise, the dogs will gladly become the heads of your household! So why is this dog called “almost-perfect”? Some prospective owners shy away from its multi-layered coat which, left in full coat, can be a bit


The Almost Perfect Dog


SUBMITTED BY JULIE TIMBERS W hat does the future hold for the Lhasa Apso? In recent years, the Lhasa Apso has become a “low breed” count at AKC con- formation shows. AKC reports that the number of registered Lhasa Apsos has decreased by 70% in the last ten years! We also know that in 2018, members of the American Lhasa Apso Club (ALAC) registered less than 40 litters, which is directly related to aging and declining membership with very little new interest in the breed. The time has come: Lhasa Apso breeders/exhibitors cannot just hope there will be a turnaround in our breed’s number and popularity...it is time to take action before it’s too late. ALAC has recently put in place, a committee to take on the taunting task of “The Sustaining the Lhasa Apso For the Future Project.” The question is how do we create interest to bring new exhibitors and breeders to the breed? The Lhasa Apso is not alone, several other breeds find themselves in the same position of declining numbers. Working together with these breed clubs, the Sustaining the Future committee has begun a marketing campaign for the Lhasa Apso. After surveying the Lhasa Apso community, it seems that many of the younger generation do not know about the breed or they are under a false impression about the breed’s temperament and personality. What is the committee’s first step? Promote, promote, and promote! Make the Lhasa Apso a visible presence on the internet through Facebook and other social media. Promote and show the public that the Lhasa Apso’s loyalty, good health and long lives make them wonderful companion and family pets. How- ever, in the last decade the Lhasa Apso has proven to be so much more than just a “non-sporting” companion. The breed has excelled in all aspects of AKC events from agility, to nosework, to barnhunt to tricks titles. The breed is also proving to be wonderful therapy and emotional support dogs. Members of ALAC want the rest of the dog world and beyond to know that there is so much loyalty, love and versatility within the Lhasa Apso and to take a minute to contact a reputable preservation breeder and find out more about this beautiful, intelligent breed before it’s too late. Contact www.lhasaapso.org or www.akc.org for more information. SUSTAINING THE LHASA APSO

of a challenge to maintain. It does require regular grooming and brushing. However, the benefit of owning a dog that loses its hair similar to that of humans is they are low shedding; and therefore, there is very little vacuuming of dog hair for the owner. Owners who do not wish to keep the dog in full coat can opt for a puppy cut, which is adorable, still captures the beauty of their dog and requires very little grooming. If you haven’t guessed the name of this dog by now, it is not surprising. Often, this dog, because of its appearance, is considered a “designer dog” rather than a family all- around dog. Anyone who has owned this breed will tell you that a “designer dog” is far from the truth! In fact, once you give this breed a try, you will be hooked for life, whether you own one as a family pet, show one, or do agility trials or all of the above! The Breed: Lhasa Apso. So, don’t miss a chance to own this “almost-perfect” dog! HISTORY OF THE BREED Named for the ancient city of Lhasa in Tibet, the Lhasa Apso is the dog from the top of the world near Mount Everest! These highly intelligent and robust little dogs, raised to be companions to Tibetan monks, will bring some Zen to your life. This ancient dog will offer you unwaver- ing affection, love and protection just as his ancestors did for the Tibetan monks. Gifted with a “way of being” that pro- vides them with remarkable focus and intel- ligence, a keen sense of hearing and a confi- dent and feisty personality, these dogs were partnered with the noble Tibetan Mastiff. The Mastiff guarded the outside of the monastery while the little Lhasa Apsos were inside as sentinels, devotedly alerting the monks to possible intruders! The Lhasa’s genealogy places it as one of only fourteen breeds with DNA directly linked to the ancient gray wolf. Perhaps this genetic connection to the wolf accounts for the Lhasa being so physically and men- tally tough—with few health problems and longevity, the oldest documented lived to age 24. The dogs, whether in a short, puppy cut or in long, flowing coat, move with the grace and elegance of a super model. You cannot ignore the Lhasa’s overall physical beauty, coupled with his expressive eyes, often described as human-like, his black gum-drop nose and a personality that can only be acknowledged with lots of hugs! History suggests these loyal dogs would even crawl inside the sleeves of the monks’ robes to keep them warm and protected at night. Their double coats, which are more similar to human hair than fur, equip them with the ability to comfortably endure hot WHAT ABOUT THAT BEAUTIFUL COAT?

and cold climates—just as their ancestors coped with the extreme weather changes near Mount Everest. A BREED FOR ALL SEASONS Lhasa Apsos are so adaptable to their environment that they can happily live in a small city apartment or on a large coun- try estate. They are happy with a brisk, 30-minute walk with their humans; or they can get their exercise by romping inside with another family member: dog, cat or a rough-and-tumble 10-year-old child! Once you are owned by a Lhasa Apso, you will feel like you are on top of the world!



1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. In popularity, Lhasa’s currently rank #71 out of 192. This doesn’t classify him as “rare,” but does the average person on the street recognize the breed? Why do you think this is? 3. Is this popularity good or bad? Is it difficult to find breeding stock? Placing puppies? 4. We hear Lhasas have an independent streak and are often only loyal to one or two humans. Is this true? How does this make him a great companion? Any drawback to living with this stunning-looking canine? 5. What about his personality serves him well in the living room? In the show ring? 6. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 7. The breed requires a lot of grooming, and showing dogs is definitely not for the faint of heart. What is it that makes it all worthwhile? 8. What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? 9. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 10. What is your favorite dog show memory? 11. Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. SUSAN GILES I’ve been showing and breeding Lhasa Apsos since 1973, is an ROM 1984 breeder has had multiple National Specialty Winners, multiple BIS winners, multiple BISS winners and multiple Register of Merit dogs, and has had multiple #1 dogs over the years. I live just outside of Richmond, Virginia. In the few moments I’m not at a dog show I like reading, movies, traveling, gardening and running two businesses that sell dog products. PawMarks— just about everything you need for your long-coated show dog or pet. And Russo Pet Products—show leads, kindness leads, Daffy chalk and Daffy enhancer, etc. Does the average person on the street recognize the breed? They aren’t “rare” but they are now a low entry breed. Back in the 60s, 70s and 80s, they were in the 11-12 in the popularity range. And it took around 25 for a five point major at a show. Now it only takes six. And at the shows I’m often asked what breed I’m showing. I think in general new people are not into the amount of work a Lhasa represents in keeping up the coat. And the number of people showing and breeding has diminished as more and more people are aging out. Is the breed’s popularity good or bad? I definitely think it is bad. This is a wonderful breed that I think people would really enjoy if they had the opportunity to get to know them. As more and more people are aging out, fewer and fewer dogs are available at stud, fewer and fewer puppies are available for sale. Placing puppies is often hit or miss. You have the people that can’t find a Lhasa to purchase. And you have the people that don’t know that Lhasas are one of the healthiest breeds and end up getting something like a Havanese that requires all kind of health testing by the parent club. Do I believe Lhasas have an independent streak? Lhasas are quite intelligent and can be a bit stubborn. It is important to have a Lhasa think what you are asking them to do is their idea. If you can do that you are “in like Flynn”. Some Lhasas can tend to be single person dogs but in general they are a great family dog. They usually “Love the One they’re with”. They can make you think you are the most important until

you see them in the lap or at the feet of another person in the room two minutes later. One of the things l like about the breed as well is that they are NOT “needy”, “velcro” dogs. They are happy to be with you but they don’t have to be in your lap consistently. What about the breed’s personality serves them well in the liv- ing room and in the show ring? The Lhasa temperament is unique. They are rather calm and deliberate. Great guard dogs and are reluctant with strangers. They can be silly and clown like but they are never the fool. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? You can start really seeing poses and outgoing attitude at three and four months. I do puppy evaluations for conformation at 12 weeks of age but wait until six months when bites have come in totally to determine who will be the show puppy and who won’t. What is it that makes showing dogs all worthwhile? I love that you get to create a picture of a beautiful creature through bathing, drying and grooming. It is quite a sense of accomplishment to have a Lhasa in full coat all groomed for the show and looking great. The fabulous hair is also something that stops the public when walking through a dog show. They are almost always enamored with a Lhasa with a beautiful coat. However, I often get the comment “I bet that takes a lot of work to keep that coat up”. The truth is a good tex- tured coat is actually easy to keep up. The other thing about showing dogs that is great is the many friendships you develop with people from all parts of the world and walks of life. What is the most important thing about the breed for a novice to keep in mind when judging? The Lhasa is a breed of moderation and elegance. It is also a breed of thirds, 1/3 muzzle to 2/3 head. The head and neck are about 1/3, the body about a third and the legs to ground are about a third. And they are about a third longer (point of shoulder to point of buttocks) than tall (at the withers). If you keep that in mind you have the basic picture. My goal as a breeder is to consistently breed healthy, well-tem- pered dogs, while trying to improve with each generation without losing the basic concept of what a Lhasa is supposed to look like. The style Lhasa that I like is a somewhat compact, energetic dog with a narrow head, reverse scissors bite, good length of neck, clean shoulders, straight front legs, level topline and a good strong rear. And of course a beautiful flowing coat. And I would like to engage and mentor younger people. The longevity of this breed requires that we do that. My favorite dog show memory? There are many great moments in showing dogs but maybe the best was winning the National Spe- cialty with an 11 year old Veteran, who showed his heart out. And then with the same 11 year old winning his third Best of Breed at Westminster. His daughter later was only the 4th Lhasa to ever place in the group at the Garden. Lhasas are also very versatile. There are many Lhasas that per- form in Conformation, Obedience, Rally, Agility, Scent Work, Barn Hunt, Herding, Trick Dogs and Fast Cat and I’m sure a few other things I’ve missed. And many have multiple titles in front and behind their names. Their intelligence lends them to be able to learn just about anything you want to do with them. Lhasas were originally breed by the monks as guard dogs in the Tibetan monasteries. Their job was to alert to strangers and dangers that would alert the Tibetan Mastiff that was outside the monas- tery walls to handle the problem. To this day that characteristic is still part of their DNA. They will bark to alert you to someone approaching the house. And their bark is usually different depend- ing on if it is friend or foe.


A Breed Survey: LHASA APSOS


DON L. HANSON I’ve recently relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona from Anacortes, Washington. I retired from 38 years in education, mostly educational administration. Family, travel- ing and being an ardent soccer fan occu- pies my time outside of dogs. I’ve been in the sport for 40 years; my base breed is the Lhasa Apso, but I have also campaigned Schipperkes, Italian Greyhounds and Stan- dard Poodles. I’ve been a judge for 2 years. I live in Mancos, Colorado, a rural small town in southwest Colorado. Having recently retired from owning a Veterinary practice, I’m enjoying more time with the dogs and horses. I’ve been in the dog world for 46 years, showing for 42 of those years. I was registered to judge 12 years ago. CAROLYN HERBEL I reside in Oklahoma. Outside of dogs, I do very little, because as a retiree I am indulging myself mostly in many dog-related activities. I’ve been in the dog world since buy- ing our first AKC registered dog in 1956. My first experience showing dogs was when I entered her in obedience in 1959 (St. Joseph KC). My involvement in Lhasa Apsos started in 1965 and resulted in over 125 homebred champions. I’ve been judging since 1983—more than 30 years. BOBBIE J. WOOD BARBARA SCHWARTZ

I live in Portland, Oregon where for 21 years I owned and operated a chil- dren’s bookstore. I’ve been retired for 20 years or so and keep busy caring for large perennial and vegetable gardens, read- ing, piano lessons, attending the theatre and working for my parent club (ALAC), my all-breed club (Dog Fanciers Associa- tion of Oregon) and the Oregon Dog Judg-

es organization. My husband Larry and I have been involved with Lhasas for 45 years. We enjoyed breeding on a very small scale and we enjoyed showing the dogs we’ve bred. We’ve bred an all-breed BIS winner, a National Specialty BOB win- ner, Grand Futurity and National Sweepstakes winners and we are ROM breeders. I keep involved in the dog world by judging and studying about other breeds and currently judge 12 Non-Sporting breeds and 5 Toy breeds. BEVERLY A. DRAKE

I live in Glen Arm, Maryland on 11 acres. In addition to my love of dogs, I try to find time for a Red Hat Group that meets once a month. I also love to play golf and travel. I have marshaled at sev- eral PGA and LPGAs. I have had dogs my entire life. When my husband and I were married, we started out with German Shepherds. It wasn't until 1971 that we

became enamored with the Lhasa Apso. During that time, I started breeding and showing the Lhasa. It wasn't long before the desire to judge became my focus. DON EVANS I live in Huntingtown, Maryland, a remote DC suburb. I am a managing securities attorney with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. I began show- ing Lhasas in 1973 (43 years). I’ve also shown English Cocker Spaniels, Pointers, Papillons, Toy Fox Terriers, Whippets, Beagles and Greyhounds. I began judging in 1992 and currently judge the Sporting and Terrier groups as well as BIS.

I live in Cranford, New Jersey. Now that I am retired I must say that I am pretty much “in” dogs more than when I was working. However, my profession was as a sound effects artist so I love the- atre, movies and TV. I got my first Lhasa Apso in 1968, given to me by a good friend. I bred her to a Champion owned by a friend who showed and she encour- aged me to show. So I have been showing

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