When I see a Lhasa Apso, I feel poetry flowing through me…those flowing tresses, beautiful expressive eyes, nice body line…they have everything that a poet looks for. Here’s some more info about this exotic breed. One look at the Lhasa Apsos and you will see a fur ball with a nose, full of life and fun. “Having a Lhasa Apso as your companion, is like a dream come true. It is a treat to the eyes to see them walking,” says Kumud Singh, a breeder of Lhasa Apsos for the last 7 years. He is a real pleasure to be with. “His keen intelligence and steadfast loyalty make him an ideal companion,” tells Partha Sekhar Chatterjee, licensed judge of Kennel Club of India.
A beautiful dog in a small package
Lhasa Apsos are small breed dogs who are not very tall and the proportion of their length and height is almost 2:3. They measure 10-11 inches at shoulder. They have a dense, long, heavy and shiny coat with an undercoat. Their long coat serves as an insulation barrier, keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The coat grows to floor length, even covering the eyes, which are protected by long eyelashes. The texture of the coat is neither soft nor silky. A puppy starts developing coat between 4-6 months. “When they sit, you cannot distinguish between their head or tail,” says Kumud Singh. They have a healthy bushy tail which falls on one side of the waist line and is not hooked. Their eyes are covered with fur and the only thing that you can notice on their face is the tip of their nose. But, once a Lhasa looks into your eyes, you will be floored, such is the power and the charisma of this breed. Their eyes are simply adorable and the way they look at you is totally mesmerising. Their ears have a black outline.
“Their coat varies over a wide range of colours and shadings from black at one end of the spectrum to solid white at the other,” tells Partha Sekhar. They are found in a lot of colours – golden, tri-colour on white (black, brown and golden), liver, sandal and sable, etc. They have a long life of upto 16 years and weigh around 5.9-6.8 kg.
Lovable and adorable
“A Lhasa Apso is assertive, with even temperament. He is receptive to socialisation which is an invaluable part of the training of every dog,” tells Partha Sekhar. “If a Lhasa Apso is looked after well, they make adorable and loving family pets,” tells Kumud. These dogs are good for apartment living and are very active indoors. They are wary of strangers and don’t make friends very easily. They are intelligent and are good with children as well. They make excellent watchdogs with a loud, persistent bark, which gives the impression to intruders of a much larger dog.
They emanate an air of dignity and comedy at the same time. “A Lhasa Apso is a pleasure to keep as they fulfil all your emotions. They can be your children, your companion and your friend,” tells Kumud proudly.
Adopting a puppy
Kumud advises that it is better to adopt a 2-month-old Lhasa Apso puppy. They should be duly vaccinated, dewormed and fed properly. “The puppy should be handled moderately, included in family activities, and associated with pleasurable experiences at the hand of those who are now his family. In this way, he will not only learn to be responsive to human needs and ways, but will also learn the limitations that must be observed in his new lifestyle,” advises Partha Sekhar. “They are extremely playful and love to splash in water. However, they can fall sick and it should be avoided. Also, they love to put things into their mouth and care should be taken that they do not swallow things like plastic and polythene,” advises Kumud.
Keeping them fit and fine
They are easy to maintain as they are hardy and healthy. They love to go out for a walk and play games like fetching a ball, run around the free space, etc. “A regular walk is required to keep them healthy and happy,” tells Kumud. One thing that a Lhasa Apso owner should remember is that they thrive on love and we should shower them with it to keep them blooming.
Styling and hygiene
They are easy to groom. Comb their hair once a day to keep them silky and tangle-free. “A thorough grooming begins with a thorough brushing with the dog lying on his back or on a grooming table or on your lap. Begin by brushing the hair under his chin. Holding the hair in one hand, brush a layer forward with each brush stroke, making sure that each layer is brushed thoroughly right down to the skin. Proceed brushing the hair out one layer at a time down the length of his underbody to his hindquarters. Each time a layer is brushed out, brush it down to the skin. When the dog has been brushed thoroughly, use a comb to put in the part with the end tooth of the grooming comb with the dog standing,” tells Partha Sekhar. It is also important to keep their eyes clean as they are covered with fur. Use a cotton swab and water to clean them. A periodical check of ears is also required and so is to clean the areas between the paws digits.
Watch out for health problems
“They have minimum health problems if they are taken care of and inbreeding is avoided,” tells Kumud. Care needs to be taken of their eyes and ears. Kumud concludes that everybody should keep a pet as they serve as great emotional anchor and even children learn a lot of things from them. She, however, advises not to mix love with discipline and hygiene as this can later turn into problems which may lead to abandonment of pets.
(With inputs from Kumud Singh and Partha Sekhar Chatterjee. Kumud has been breeding Lhasa Apsos for the past 7 years. She can be contacted at 020-26853642 0r 9422316285. Partha Sekhar is a licensed judge of Kennel Club of India and has also bred and exhibited several breeds of dogs. He can be contacted at 033-23505877, 9830795502.)