THE ALMOST PERFECT DOG COURTESY OF THE AMERICAN LHASA APSO CLUB
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
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , N OVEMBER 2019 • 363
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