I have a hard time telling the difference between a lhasa apso (pictured) and a shih tzu, so I figured other people might not know the difference either. They are obviously closely related, but the main difference between the two breeds is size.
Lhasas are larger, about 13-15 pounds, while shih tzus are a member of the toy group and are sometimes as small as nine pounds. Lhasas have a narrower, terrier-like head while shih tzus have a flatter face (like a pug). Shih tzus are also generally more outgoing.
The lhasa apso originated in Tibet during ancient times, according to The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds by D. Caroline Coile. Buddhists believed these dogs were sacred and that the souls of lamas entered the dogs’ bodies after death. Lhasas were also used to guard monasteries.
During the 1930s, lhasas were seen in the Western world, according to Coile. The breed was recognized by the AKC into the terrier group in 1935 and was then reassigned to the nonsporting group in 1959. They come in all kinds of solid colors and combinations of colors.
Advantages to owning a lhasa apso:
1. At just 13-15 pounds, this breed is very easy to manage. They make great lapdogs and are easy to carry or travel with.
2. Lhasa apsos do not need a lot of exercise, but like any dog they still like to go for a walk.
3. They are in that perfect middle ground as far as friendliness, playfulness and energy. They are happy little dogs willing to tag along outdoors, but they won’t annoy you with endless excitement. They are perfectly happy to take a nap on the couch.
4. Lhasas can get by just fine in an apartment or house with a small yard. Just remember they tend to bark.
5. They are intelligent and tough little dogs. They are both physically and mentally strong and adapt well to most environments.
Disadvantages to owning a lhasa apso:
1. Lhasas bark a lot. They were bred to be watchdogs and will alert you of all visitors.
2. They are not easy to train. Lhasas can be independent and stubborn. They are not desperate to please their owners unlike so many other breeds.
3. Lhasa apsos have a long coat that will need brushing and trimming. Most people who don’t plan on showing their lhasas trim their coats so the hair is more manageable.
4. They are generally skeptical of strangers at first.
5. The breed is prone to knee problems.
If you would like to write a profile of your favorite breed, send me an email at Lindsay@thatmutt.com. I’ll use pictures of your dog and link to your site. I’m happy to feature any breed, including mixed breeds!
(Top image from wikimedia.org, bottom image from britannica.com)