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 their grooming and exercise needs to the things you can do to keep them 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 their mountainous homeland of Tibet. Their primary instinct is to protect their owners, and they make a loving and fiercely loyal member of any family.

    • This breed is very independent and while they’ll always be respectful of you, they're not always about pleasing you
    • Keeping their long, glossy coat tangle-free and looking great takes time – and they will need brushing and combing every day
    • They'll typically 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 their size, as the tough Lhasa Apso will happily walk for miles by your side over all terrains. That said they’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 them burn off some of their excess energy. Keep an eye on them around strangers and other dogs – while they're friendly and happy amongst family, their stubborn instinct to protect makes them wary of those they don't know.

        Feed them high-quality food so you can be confident they're getting all the right nutrients, although the amount will vary depending on their 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 their 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 them 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.

                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.

                  Patella 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's often genetic and while there are various symptoms, you might notice a general lameness in your dog’s hind legs, see that they're having difficulty straightening a knee or that they've developed a ‘skipping’ limp where they occasionally can’t put their full weight on one of their 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 they grow.

                    Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) tops the list of common health issues, which is a condition which causes the dog to be unable to walk and can seriously compromise the dog’s quality of life. IVDD is curable and recovery is possible without surgery, but it does require patience and a lot of guidance from a pet professional. Conservative management of IVDD is a multi-step process that combines a lot of different treatment options.

                      "Cherry eye" is a common term for prolapse of the third eyelid gland. This third eyelid contains a special gland that produces a significant portion of the eye’s protective tear film. When this gland prolapses or 'pops out' the condition is known as "cherry eye". Surgical repair is required to correct this defect.

                        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 Poppy
                          3 Alfie
                          4 Lola
                          5 Bella

                          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 2021. To give you an idea of how much vet bills can vary, we’ve shown both the average cost and the top 10% most expensive costs for each condition.

                            Top five conditions and average costs

                            Top five conditions and average costs


                            Average cost

                            10% most expensive







                                        Dry eye






                                                    Otitis externa



                                                          Tesco Bank Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/01/21 to 31/12/21.

                                                          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 Ltd.

                                                          Grooming advice

                                                          Lhasa Apsos are proud dogs, and they’ll appreciate you putting time and effort into keeping their long, thick coat beautifully groomed. Regular – daily, if possible – brushing is needed to keep their 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.

                                                          Their 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 they have an infection.

                                                          Try to get your dog used to their 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 their 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

                                                            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 Ltd. 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.

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

                                                              As a Tesco Bank Pet Insurance customer, you can access friendly, expert advice from qualified Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons 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 Ltd. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

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