THe LHASA APSO HoW BiG is Too BiG?
consider faults. The AKC’s standard con- tains no such statement. This seems the correct place to stop and ask, Should it? Maybe something a bit more to the point, such as, “The foregoing descrip- tion is that of the ideal Lhasa Apso. Any departure from the above described dog shall be penalized to the extent of the deviation.” I am okay giving a great deal of leeway to a judge who just happens to be a long time, highly successful breeder of the Lhasa Apso. But, what are your thoughts of the judge whose primary breed is the Saint Bernard, Whippet or Irish Setter and now wants to get their ticket punched for the Non-Sporting group? Since the breed’s recognition by the American Kennel Club in 1935, there has been a great deal of improvement in the Lhasa Apso. Clearly, the credit should go to the passionate and dedi- cated member breeders of the Ameri- can Lhasa Apso Club who have worked so diligently to standardize the breed in size and coat. Over the course of the past three decades, the quality of very good Lha- sas has been rewarded with numerous group placements, Non-Sporting Group wins and Best in Show victories. A Lhasa of correct size and conformation, shown in good physical condition and well groomed, possessing showman- ship and presented competently always stands to excel in both the breed and group rings. Although credit for the breed is gained with every show ring triumph, the true value of a highly successful Lhasa goes far beyond his or her show ring record. If, as a sire or dam, a Lhasa with genetic prepotency is able to pass on to his or her superior attributes to succeeding generations they will have contributed far more to the betterment of the breed. by William Given
T he current standard for the Lhasa Apso states that size is “variable, but about 10 inches or 11 inches at the shoulder for dogs, with bitches slightly smaller.” Under body shape the stan- dard states that “the length from point of the shoulder to the point of the but- tocks should be longer than the shoul- der height of the dog.” Although the Lhasa Apso is not a member of the Toy Group, he is in the same size range as the Havanese and the Shih Tzu. So, how does one, especially a judge, fix in his or her mind the correct size of the Lhasa Apso? And, just how much longer than high should the Lha- sa be? The standard does not say. One inch, two inches or even ten inches? Maybe the standard should read, “The Lhasa Apso should be slightly longer than the height at the withers.” Many standards read that way. That still gives judges plenty of leeway when adjudicat- ing the dogs entered under them. Then we have to ask ourselves, “How much flexibility do we want judges to have in interpreting the standard?” Now back to the height of about 10 inches or 11 inches. Does the use of the word “or” make 10 inches just as cor- rect as 11 inches, and if they are equally correct, does that make 10 ½ inches ide- al? Does the use of the use of the word “about,” make 9 inches or 12 inches fully acceptable? The British standard for the Lhasa Apso is a bit more exacting than is ours. It calls for a height of dogs to be 25 cen- timeter (10 inches) at the shoulders, bitches slightly smaller. In both coun- tries you can find some truly good dogs and bitches at the 10 inch mark. For the sake of argument only, let me state that I am one who tends to fancy those dogs at, and even slightly over the 11 inch mark. There are two reasons for this. First, at 11 inches, I believe the
Lhasa Apso is less likely to be confused with the Havanese or the Shih Tzu. In no way do I want the Lhasa be to be mis- taken for a member of the Toy Group, do you? Second, some of the smaller 10 inch dogs and bitches, lack elegance in movement and it could be that their legs simply are not long enough to give them that smooth gait so important to the sharp looking Lhasa Apso. In any discussion about the size of the Lhasa Apso, there should also be consideration of his weight. Although the Standard is entirely lacking any mention of his weight, scrutiny must be given to weight. The Lhasa Apso is not a Toy, so it seems expected that he should possess good substance without being massive. A Lhasa in proper weight will be neither too fat or too thin. The aver- age weight of the Lhasa is in the range of 13 to 16 pounds. Some young dogs, not yet in full coat, may at first glance look a bit large as they have a tendency to look high on the leg and lanky in body. However, a Lhasa that is in full coat may look larger than he really is because of his coat. On occasion, as in all breeds, a very coarse specimen may appear and if measure- ment is applied and the dog being more than 11 inches high it will be on the large size. At times, a dog with very heavy coat might look as if he is large but would measure in. Let us go back to the British stan- dard for a moment. It includes the fol- lowing: “Any departure from the fore- going points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded is in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.” Although, possibly a little ver- bose, it does provide the judge with clear instruction as to how they are to
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