Intelligent, watchful, alert, and independent dogs. As good watchdogs, they may bark. Stubborn tendencies may be lessened by using reward-based training involving small treats. Lhasa Apsos are moderately active dogs and since they are small do well in apartments. They can be wary or shy around strangers and may require careful socialization to prevent or reduce defensive aggressive tendencies.
The Lhasa Apso originated from the areas surrounding the sacred city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, around 800 BC and recent DNA testing has identified the Lhasa Apso as one of the fourteen most ancient dog breeds in the world. Also known as the Abso Seng Kye, "Bark Lion Sentinel Dog", the dog was traditionally kept indoors as a second line of defense against intruders, where its keen hearing and ability to distinguish strangers from intimates were put to good use. The breed was raised by the monks that resided in the monasteries in Tibet and it was not uncommon to find these small, precious animals in the company of a monk. The monks believed that to be in the presence of a Lhasa Apso was to be blessed with good fortune. In the 1920's, the Kennel Club of England recognized the Lhasa Apso as a separate and unique breed. After World War II, several of the dogs were imported from China and, in the early 1930's, the first American pair of Lhasa Apsos was given to C. Suydam Cutting, by the 13th Dalai Lama. The American Kennel Club officially accepted the Lhasa Apso as a breed in 1935.