All about your Lhasa Apso

The small and playful Lhasa Apso is also smart and strong. Learn more about this lion-hearted and courageous dog, from his grooming and exercise needs, to the things you can do to keep him happy and healthy.

    Breed information & advice

    A hardy little dog, the Lhasa Apso belongs to the utility breed group and was originally trained to keep watch over the monasteries of his mountainous homeland of Tibet. His primary instinct is to protect his owners, and he makes a loving and fiercely loyal member of any family.

    • This breed is very independent and while he’ll always be respectful of you, he’s not always about pleasing you
    • Keeping his long, glossy coat tangle-free and looking great takes time – and he will need brushing and combing every day
    • Typically he will weigh between 5kg and 7kg
    • A healthy Lhasa Apso will usually live for 12 to 15 years

    Typical size of a Lhasa Apso: Small: 23cm-28cm

        Recommended exercise & nutrition

        Do not be fooled by his size, as the tough Lhasa Apso will happily walk for miles by your side over all terrains. That said he’ll enjoy up to an hour of exercise each day, and you’ll find that off-the-lead playtime at home, whether inside or outdoors will be enough to let him burn off some of his excess energy. Keep an eye on him around strangers and other dogs – while he’s friendly and happy amongst family, his stubborn instinct to protect makes him wary of those he doesn’t know.

        Feed him high-quality food so you can be confident he’s getting all the right nutrients, although the amount will vary depending on his size, age, and exercise regime. For portion sizes check the back of your dog’s food packet.

          Up to one hour of exercise per day

          A happy and playful dog, your Lhasa Apso will enjoy his exercise time with you, whether at home, in the garden or out on a walk.

              Common health problems & illnesses

              Your Lhasa Apso will need all of the usual vaccinations and check-ups to help protect him against common ailments. There are some conditions which this breed is more prone to though, and you may want to familiarise yourself with the symptoms, so you know what to look out for.

                1. Eye problems

                Dry eye is a condition that affects many breeds, including the Lhasa Apso, and occurs when the immune system attacks the tear glands. Tears help to keep the eyes lubricated and healthy, and without them the eyes can become inflamed, sore and infected. Signs to look out for in your dog include excessive blinking, uncomfortable and red eyes, discharge or pus, and corneal ulcers – caused when the protective surface of the eye is damaged. The sooner dry eye is detected the better, as ointment or drops can be given to control this degenerative condition.

                  2. Cushing’s Disease

                  Dogs with Cushing’s disease produce too much cortisol, an important hormone that helps to regulate the body’s metabolism. The Lhasa Apso is susceptible to this condition, which is quite often caused by a benign tumour growing on the pituitary gland. Some signs to watch out for in your dog are excessive thirst and more frequent urination, increased appetite and a loss of weight or muscle tone, hair loss and panting. Cushing’s can be managed with medication.

                    3. Gastroenteritis

                    Vomiting and diarrhoea are common symptoms that might affect any dog at any time. Be aware that these symptoms could also signal inflammation of the stomach and intestines, or gastroenteritis, which can affect the Lhasa Apso. Other symptoms to look out for include lethargy, loss of appetite and a tender abdomen. Gastroenteritis can be caused by infectious diseases, parasites, allergies to food or other underlying health problems. Treatment will vary depending on the cause, so your vet will need to do a thorough investigation, but it’s often treated with antibiotics and steroids.

                      4. Skin conditions

                      A healthy Lhasa Apso’s skin should be smooth and pink or black in colour, while his coat should be glossy, and without bald patches. However, he can be prone to skin conditions, and you might want to look out for any changes during your dog’s daily grooming sessions, including around his ears. Keep an eye out for dry, scaly or flaky skin, hair loss and notice whether he is repeatedly scratching or licking the same area of his body. Depending on the cause, treatments will vary.

                        5. Dislocated kneecap

                        Patellar luxation occurs when the kneecap becomes dislocated, and is one of the most common joint problems in smaller dogs such as the Lhasa Apso. It is often genetic and while there are various symptoms, you might notice a general lameness in your dog’s hind legs, see that he is having difficulty straightening a knee or that he has developed a ‘skipping’ limp where he occasionally can’t put his full weight on one of his legs. Weight management, physiotherapy and exercise are some of the non-surgical treatments, while surgery could be suggested in a puppy to avoid further deformity as he grows.

                            Dog name popularity

                            If you’re struggling to think of a name for your Lhasa Apso, take a look at the most popular ones at Tesco Bank Pet Insurance for inspiration.

                              1 Teddy
                              2 Lola
                              3 Alfie
                              4 Buddy
                              5 Rosie

                              Average treatment costs

                              Wondering whether pet insurance for your Lhasa Apso is worth it? We’ve put together the top five conditions claimed for by Tesco Bank Pet Insurance customers in 2019, and the average cost of treatment.

                                Top five conditions and average costs

                                Top five conditions and average costs

                                Dry eye






                                            Cruciate rupture


                                                Cushing's disease


                                                    Tesco Bank Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/09/19 to 31/08/20.

                                                    Considering Lhasa Apso insurance?

                                                    We know your dog is an important member of the family, so give them the protection they deserve with Tesco Bank Pet Insurance.

                                                    Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.

                                                    Grooming advice

                                                    The Lhasa Apso is a proud dog, and he’ll appreciate you putting time and effort into keeping his long, thick coat beautifully groomed. Regular – daily, if possible – brushing is needed to keep his hair from becoming matted. You might want to consider a professional groomer to help with this, as it can be a difficult and time-consuming task.

                                                    His teeth will also need brushing once or twice a week to prevent tartar build-up, although daily brushing is always recommended if you have the time.

                                                    As with every dog, check your Lhasa Apso’s ears regularly and be on the lookout for any redness, swelling, unpleasant odours and wax build-up, as these could all be a sign that he has an infection.

                                                    Try to get your dog used to his grooming routine right from being a puppy. That way, it can be an enjoyable experience for both of you.

                                                      Fun & interesting facts

                                                      • The Lhasa Apso was thought to be lucky by the Tibetans, bringing good health and peace to his owners.
                                                      • The breed also went by the name of Abso Seng Kye, Tibetan for ‘Bark Lion Sentinel Dog’.
                                                      • They’re thought of as the ‘supermodel dog’ because of their long, flowing hair, and can have diva-like moments, living up to their glamorous reputation.
                                                      • An extraordinarily healthy breed, the Lhasa Apso is one of the longest-living dogs and some have been known to live well beyond 20.
                                                      • Celebrity owners through the years have included actress Elizabeth Taylor and singer-songwriters Barbra Streisand and Gwen Stefani.

                                                      Important information

                                                      Key information

                                                      The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to pet breeds, but does not constitute expert veterinary advice. If your dog or cat falls ill or has an injury, contact your vet immediately. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance has a partnership with vetfone™ which means that as a customer, you can benefit from their advice as part of your policy.

                                                      Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

                                                      All facts and figures were correct at date of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.

                                                        What is vetfone?

                                                        Vetfone™ is a 24/7 unlimited, free telephone or video call service that provides expert advice from nurses qualified with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need reassurance on grooming, feeding or general advice, vetfone™ is there to help.

                                                        As a Tesco Pet Insurance customer, you can access expert veterinary advice provided by RCVS registered vet nurses as a standard benefit with your policy, and the service is provided at no additional cost. A quick telephone call or video call could answer any questions you have about your pet, give you peace of mind and could even save you a trip to the vet.

                                                        Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

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