We know, from the 1989 movie starring Burt Reynolds, that "All Dogs Go To Heaven," but the Tibetan Lhasa Apso may very well be first in line -- and for good reason:
The Lhasa Apso originated over two thousand years ago in Tibet, Bhutan and other countries bordering on Tibet. The Buddhist monks began to breed the Lhasa terrier (its original name) over eight hundred years ago in the sacred city of Lhasa, Tibet's traditional capital and home of the Dalai Lamas. The Dalai Lamas honored the Lhasa Apso as both as a good luck talisman and as a sacred animal in the Buddhist religion. The Buddhist monks believed that when the master of the Lhasa Apso died, the master's soul reincarnated into the body of the Lhasa Apso if he was not quite ready for Nirvana. Because of this, the Lhasa Apsos were virtually impossible to buy. Instead, the Buddhist monks breed them and trained them for exclusive ownership by the nobility. [...]
All breeds of dogs are some convergence of evolutionary factors and breeding. Some breeds are more "man made" than "nature made," i.e., there is little influence on their form and function from the forces of natural selection. For example, the bulldog breed was bred 'backwards' to create a longer-legged, more energetic version of the original breed. The Tibetan breeds, the Lhasa Apso, the Tibetan terrier, on the other hand, is more a product of evolutionary rather than human forces and factors. Of the five recognized Tibetan breeds, the Tibetan Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Tibetan Spaniel, Do-Khyi (Tibetan Mastiff), and the Shih Tzu, the Lhasa Apso is unarguably most strongly influenced by the harsh, demanding Himalayan Tibetan climate. [...]
We can trace the Temperament Of The Lhasa Apso back to its original purposes -- it breeding, and to natural evolutionary factors.
The early Tibetans were hunters and herders and they could depend on the characteristics of the native Tibetan dogs to hunt, guard flocks, and to serve as companions and guards inside their tents. The Dalai Lamas originally breed Lhasa Apsos in the sacred city of Lhasa (Tibet's traditional capital and home of the Dalai Lamas) be sentinels (i.e., watchdogs): they guarded the monasteries and warned the large Tibetan Mastiffs (a typically ferocious and aggressive breed, at least in Tibet) of approaching strangers. Together, the Lhasa Apso (with its acute hearing and natural suspicion of strangers) and the Tibetan Mastiff (with it's willingness to confront predators the size of wolves, leopards, and humans) made for a formidable combination against attackers. [...]
Because of its breeding and its nature as a sentinel, the Lhasa Apso is alert, intelligent, and highly independent. All of these characteristics can negatively impact your life with an Lhasa Apso, but - forewarned is forearmed: the better you know and understand your Lhasa Apso, the more successful you'll be in integrating the Lhasa Apso into your family life.
First, while the Lhasa Apso is an independent breed, it is definitely not an anti-social animal: it will seek you out for company, for petting, and for grooming - all of the activities both you and your Lhasa Apso will greatly enjoy. Remember, however, that the Lhasa Apso's goal in life is not to please you, as it is for most dogs. It is bred and driven to be a watchdog and guardian, and this is how it will act. [...]
The temperament and characteristics of the Lhasa Apsos that make it a great watchdog (i.e., its assertive, intelligent, & independent nature) can also make it difficult to get along with other dogs.
First, the Lhasa Apsos tend to be dominating, more so than other breeds. Dogs need to know who is boss - if one dog is clearly submissive to a more dominant dog, they'll usually get along; however, it's not immediately which dog is "boss"; they'll immediately challenge each other, and if one doesn't back down, it will quickly escalate into a fight. Compounding the problem, many Lhasas are possessive of their food and toys. [...]
"The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken." ~ Samuel Johnson.
Samuel Johnson, one of England's best-known literary figures, gives some great advice here when it comes to potty training your Lhasa: what you want to do - if you want to be successful with minimal pain and effort - is start training early and be consistent. Experts recommend these following steps:
First: you'll want to catch and correct any physical problems or medical complications that could negatively affect not only potty training but also training in general. [...]
How much exercise does your Lhasa Apso need?
Short answer: not much.
Longer answer: the Lhasa Apso is a cold adapted animal, which means it is great at conserving heat, and it does not have a lot of excess nervous energy, like other breeds, that it needs to burn off through exercise. However, the Lhasa Apso does need some exercise, and your Apso will enjoy spending time with you on 15-20 minute walks a few times each week. [...]
All dogs have natural instincts to keep their coats clean, e.g., rolling around on the floor, licking or chewing any mats in their fur. However, for optimal cleaning, your Lhasa Apso will need some help from their best friend - you.
When you regularly groom your Lhasa Apso, you not only help keep them clean, you are also helping to keep them healthy: ignored matted hair can lead to yeast infections; uncared for teeth can lead to periodontal disease; overlooked ears can lead to a buildup of ear wax that can trap dirt and bacteria causing ear infections. [...]
There are many different types of dog shows: in the "Conformation Show," dogs compete based on how well their appearance conforms to a specific breed standard. These are the most common shows. In the "Obedience Trial Show," dogs compete based on how well they perform a specific set of tasks; in the "Dog Agility Show," dogs and their owners compete based on how they both handle an obstacle course. The "Field Trial Show" and "Tracking Show," are typically highly competitive events for hunting and tracking dogs. Finally, there are the offbeat shows, such as the "Novelty Shows" where dogs or both dogs and their owners compete in various categories, e.g., dog-owner look-alike contests, best-dressed dog contest, etc. [...]
The Lhasa Apso is one of the more distinctive dog breeds in the world today, not only because of it's unique look but also because of its unusual history.
All existing dog breeds originated from wolves well over 100,000 years ago. All modern dog breeds retain 99% of the wolves' genetic structure. That's when the domestication of lost or abandoned wolves began, and as the population of grew, ancient peoples started rudiment interbreeding to select the traits they most valued. [...]