The Lhasa Apso is a tiny breed that believes it comes in a giant package. Dogs of this breed are extremely protective, independent, and loyal--and they're fantastic little companions for the right families. Luckily for those families, Lhasa Apso care doesn't take a great deal of work. Below you'll find plenty of info on raising a Lhasa Apso: puppy care and development, exercise requirements, Lhasa Apso dietary needs, and more. For tons of useful Lhasa Apso tips and maintenance needs, keep reading!
Lhasa Apso puppy development from birth to full maturity spans 18-24 months; this breed is unusual because, even though other similar small breeds mature socially by 14-16 months, the Lhasa takes longer to mentally mature--and even then, these dogs often retain their puppylike behavior for much of their adult lives. Physically, a Lhasa puppy grows rapidly in height and length for about the first six months, then those growth rates slow somewhat wile the puppy continues to add muscle mass and fat; a Lhasa is at or near its full adult size at about 12 months of age.
Socially, though, development is slower: they reach adolescence at about six months and sexual maturity at 10-11 months--but these dogs often linger in the adolescent period for up to two years of age or more, and may exhibit "puppyish" social traits for several additional years. Due to this slow mental growth (and also because of Lhasas' strong protective instincts), owners are urged to begin training and socialization as early in a Lhasa puppy's life as possible, and to try and be patient and consistent during the puppy's development. Detailed Lhasa Apso life stages in puppy development are listed below:
|Dog Age||Development Milestone|
|2-3 Weeks||Eyes/ears open, begins walking|
|2 Months||Old enough to be separated from mother, introduced to solid food; training/socialization should begin|
|3 Months||Can begin exercising; vaccinations/de-worming needed|
|6 Months||Long adolescent period starts, characterized by increased independence/disobedience; training/socialization should continue|
|10-11 Months||Sexual maturity; can be switched to adult food|
|18 Months||Continued training/socialization; adolescent may begin to show signs of maturity|
Activity requirements for these dogs are moderate overall. While fairly lively, Lhasas are not super-high-energy, so they'll be okay with two or three short walks each day, with an additional play period thrown in. And specifically how much Lhasa Apso exercise is needed? Depending on its age and overall activity level, an adult Lhasa will need about 45 minutes of daily exercise; you can begin exercising a Lhasa puppy at three months of age by taking it on short (5- to 10-minute) walks, then increasing the walks' duration as the puppy grows.
There are, of course, certain precautions that need to be taken when exercising your Lhasa. For one, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't participate in activities that require a lot of jumping and running, as doing so can injure their still-developing bones and joints. And regardless of age, a Lhasa should be leashed while in public. With these dogs' slow maturity rates, a younger Lhasa Apso may be harder to control than some other dog breeds--and though small, Lhasas are incredibly protective, so they may need to be kept from attacking other people or animals they perceive as a threat. Lhasa Apsos are also considered brachycephalic, meaning they have short noses that don't cool the air they breathe as well as some other breeds, so they can overheat easily in hot weather. Try not to exercise your Lhasa in extremely hot temperatures, and give the dog access to fresh water at all times.
Safeguards aside, it's extremely important to give your Lhasa some exercise every day. A bored or restless Lhasa--particularly one still in its long adolescence--will have various behavior problems like destructiveness, disobedience, and general unhappiness. So consistent physical activity will save a Lhasa's sanity--and your own, for that matter. A few exercise ideas:
- Walking: Two 20-minute walks per day is a good target
- Hide-and-Seek: Give the dog a treat when it finds you
- Fetch: Can be done indoors or out
- Swimming: Lhasas often enjoy the water; great on a hot day
- Hiking: Excellent bonding activity; make sure the hike isn't too strenuous
When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Lhasa access to one or more balls or chew-toys that allow the dog to release some pent-up energy. It's also recommended that you establish a consistent daily exercise schedule for your Lhasa, such as walks after breakfast and dinner combined with a play period in the afternoon.
Maintenance for these dogs in regards to shedding and drooling is fairly low. Lhasa Apso shedding is pretty minimal, and drooling is basically a non-issue.
Lhasas have single-layered coats that, while long-haired, don't leave many stray hairs everywhere. Some people consider the Lhasa Apso non-shedding or hypoallergenic, but that's technically not the case. Does a Lhasa Apso shed at all? It does--but only a little. Owners won't need to worry about frequent hair cleanup. Twice-weekly brushing, current owners say, should minimize the issue pretty well.
And a Lhasa may drool a bit in anticipation of food, but almost never otherwise. If your Lhasa Apso is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case veterinary care will be needed.
As with any breed, Lhasa Apso diet and nutrition is essential to these dogs' health and longevity. Though not extremely active little dogs, Lhasas still need premium food packed with proteins and omega fatty acids, both for energy and for keeping their luxurious coats healthy-looking. This means that feeding high-quality food (such as Royal Canin) to Lhasa Apso dogs is best; premium foods contain necessary nutrients that cheap foods simply don't have--and while premium food is more expensive, the dog will need to eat less of it. Some owners say their Lhasas are extremely picky eaters, so they mix prepared foods--chicken, fresh vegetables, and scrambled eggs, to name a few--with the dry food to make it more palatable to the dog.
So that's what to feed a Lhasa Apso--but how much of it? Adult Lhasas--and the amount may vary depending on the dog's age and activity level--need about a cup of premium dry food per day, divided into two meals. Lhasa Apso puppy food portions should be a little less: ¾ cup for a six-month-old pup, divided into three meals. For additional feeding info, see the Lhasa Apso puppy feeding guide below:
|Dog Age||Dog Weight||Food Type||Amount||Frequency|
|2 Months||2 lbs||Dry||0.1 cups||3x/day|
|3 Months||4 lbs||Dry||0.2 cups||3x/day|
|6 Months||8 lbs||Dry||0.25 cups||3x/day|
|9 Months||11 lbs||Dry||0.4 cups||2x/day|
|12 Months+||14 lbs||Dry||0.5 cups||2x/day|
In part because they can be picky eaters, obesity is not a glaring problem with dogs of this breed, though it's not unheard of. A fat Lhasa Apso will have digestive, breathing, and joint issues, not to mention a shortened lifespan. So it's best to try and stick to the above-listed portions, avoid feeding your Lhasa table scraps, and avoid "free-feeding" altogether. Free-feeding is leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time, allowing it to eat anytime it wants; veterinarians say it's the primary cause of canine obesity, and is a thoroughly unhealthy practice. Put your Lhasa's food bowl down only at mealtimes, then pick it up 15 minutes or so after the dog begins eating, even if food remains.If you fear your Lhasa is overweight, give the dog this simple Ribs Test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Decrease the dog's daily food consumption by one-fourth, and add an extra walk or play period to its daily exercise schedule.
Though opinions differ over what is the best dog food for Lhasa Apso puppies and adults, the most popular and sensible choice is premium dry food. Some owners do say they mix a bit of prepared food like chicken, eggs, or fresh vegetables to the dry food so the Lhasa will eat more of it.