Getting to Know the Lhasa Apso’s Temperament

As pet lovers, we often hear about the different temperaments of dog breeds, but understanding the specific traits of our furry friends can be a complex task. The Lhasa Apso, known for its beautiful, long coat and loyal personality, is a breed that fascinates many, yet few know the depths of their temperament. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to understanding the Lhasa Apso temperament. From their ancient roots and guard dog tendencies to their independent yet protective nature, we’ll delve into every aspect of their personality. We’ll also explore how to train and care for your Lhasa Apso’s temperament, including their exercise and grooming needs. So, join us on this journey, and let’s learn more about these captivating companions.

The History of Lhasa Apso Temperament

The History Of Lhasa Apso Temperament
The Lhasa Apso is a unique breed that has been around for centuries. To truly understand their temperament, it’s important to know their history. These dogs have ancient roots and were initially bred to be guard dogs in Tibet. Despite their small size, Lhasa Apsos have always been fiercely loyal and protective. Today, they make great companion dogs, and it’s essential to train them properly to ensure they are well-behaved. Let’s delve into the history of the Lhasa Apso temperament and explore how their personality traits have evolved over time. For more information on training your Lhasa Apso’s personality, please refer to our article on training Lhasa Apso personality.

Their Ancient Roots

The Lhasa Apso has ancient roots stemming from the Tibetan Plateau, where they were originally bred to protect monasteries and palaces. These sturdy dogs were highly valued as guardians and were often given as gifts to foreign dignitaries. The Lhasa Apso’s loyal nature made them essential to preserving their owners’ lives as well as their property.

According to National Geographic, the Lhasa Apso was a sacred dog to the people of Tibet, and they believed that these dogs would bring good luck and success to their households. They were also considered to be a symbol of the mythical lion, which was an important emblem in Tibetan Buddhism.

Their ancient roots have influenced their temperament to this day. Lhasa Apsos are independent and intelligent, which can make training them a challenge. However, their loyalty and protective instincts make them excellent companions for those who are willing to put in the effort to train and care for them properly.

If you want to learn more about the Lhasa Apso’s personality traits, check out our article on Lhasa Apso personality traits. Additionally, if you’re interested in learning how to prevent aggression in your Lhasa Apso, we have some great tips in our article on Lhasa Apso aggression tips.

Their Role as Guard Dogs

The Lhasa Apso breed has been used as guard dogs for centuries, especially in Tibet where they originally come from. Their job was to protect Buddhist monasteries from intruders and alert the monks of any danger. This history influenced their temperament to become fiercely loyal and protective, even towards their family members.

Characteristics of Lhasa Apso as Guard Dogs

AlertnessLhasa Apsos are naturally watchful and observant, making them excellent guard dogs. They will sound the alarm at any sign of danger, which can be useful for protecting your home and family.
ProtectiveDue to their history as guard dogs, Lhasa Apsos have a strong natural instinct to protect their owners and territory. They will fiercely defend their family from any perceived threat or intruders.
LoyaltyLhasa Apsos are known for their unwavering loyalty to their family. They will not hesitate to defend their owners, even at their own peril. Their loyalty is one of the main reasons they make great guard dogs.
BraveryLhasa Apsos are brave dogs that will not back down from a challenge. They have a strong sense of courage that is deeply ingrained in their temperament. This makes them perfect for protecting their owners.

It’s important to note that while Lhasa Apsos may make great guard dogs, they are not aggressive by nature. They will only act aggressively if they believe their family is in danger. This instinct to protect is deeply ingrained in their temperament and stems from their history as guard dogs.

If you’re looking for a loyal and protective companion, the Lhasa Apso might be the perfect match for you. However, it’s important to remember that they also make great companion dogs and have a loving and affectionate temperament. To learn more about the Lhasa Apso’s companion dog personality, check out our article “Understanding the Lhasa Apso’s Companion Dog Personality: Traits and Characteristics”.

Lhasa Apso Personality Traits

Lhasa Apso Personality Traits
When it comes to Lhasa Apso temperament, many different traits come into play. These small dogs have a unique personality that sets them apart from other breeds. From their independence to their loyalty, Lhasa Apsos have a wide range of qualities that make them great pets. In this section, we will explore some of the most notable personality traits of Lhasa Apsos and what makes them a beloved companion for many dog owners. Let’s dive in and discover what makes these furry friends so special.


One of the most notable personality traits of Lhasa Apso dogs is their independent nature. These dogs were originally bred as guard dogs, so it’s no wonder that they have a strong sense of self-reliance. Lhasa Apsos are known for being **self-sufficient** and not overly demanding of attention or affection.

This independent streak can sometimes come across as stubbornness, particularly when it comes to training. Lhasa Apsos have a reputation for being difficult to housebreak, but with patience and consistency, they can certainly be trained. It’s important to remember that these dogs like to do things on their own terms, so a firm but gentle approach is key.

Despite their independent nature, Lhasa Apsos are still loyal to their human companions. They may not be as clingy as some other breeds, but they still crave attention and affection from their owners. They are also known for being **hardy** and adaptable, able to thrive in a variety of environments and situations.

To keep your Lhasa Apso happy and engaged, it’s important to provide them with plenty of mental stimulation. This could mean taking them on different walking routes, providing them with interactive toys, or even enrolling them in agility training classes. By keeping them physically and mentally active, you can help prevent them from becoming bored or destructive.

The independent nature of Lhasa Apsos is just one aspect of their complex personalities. With the right training and care, these dogs can make wonderful and devoted companions for the right family.


One of the most striking personality traits of the Lhasa Apso is their loyalty.

  • They are incredibly devoted to their human family and will fiercely protect them against any potential threat.
  • Once a Lhasa Apso forms a bond with their owner, they will stick by their side through thick and thin, making them a great choice for a loyal companion.
  • This breed’s loyalty extends beyond just their family, as they are known to be fiercely protective of their home and territory as well.
  • While they are not particularly tolerant of strangers, their unwavering loyalty and protectiveness make them an excellent watch dog.
  • It’s important to note that their loyalty can sometimes lead to separation anxiety when left alone for long periods of time, so be sure to train them gradually and provide plenty of mental stimulation.

The Lhasa Apso’s loyalty is a defining trait that adds to their charm and makes them a beloved companion for many pet owners.


One of the personality traits that Lhasa Apso dogs are most well-known for is their protective nature. These little dogs may be small in size, but they have big personalities and will fiercely protect their family from any perceived threats.

Lhasa Apsos are particularly protective of their home and will bark to alert their owners of any strangers or suspicious activity. They can also become quite territorial and may not get along well with other animals or dogs that enter their territory.

However, it’s important to note that this protective nature is not always a welcome trait for everyone. Some owners may find this behavior creates a challenge in social situations or in public places. It is important to socialize your Lhasa Apso from an early age to avoid any aggressive or overly protective behavior.

Additionally, while their protective instincts can be beneficial in certain situations, it can also lead to behavior problems if not trained properly. It is crucial to establish yourself as the pack leader and teach your Lhasa Apso the appropriate times and behaviors to exhibit their protective nature.

The protective nature of Lhasa Apso dogs is a trait that many owners find endearing and valuable. Their watchful eye and fearless demeanor make them excellent guard dogs and loyal companions. However, proper training and socialization are essential to ensure that they are well-behaved and not a danger to those around them.

Table: Pros and Cons of Lhasa Apso Protective Nature

Excellent guard dogsMay become territorial and aggressive towards other animals or dogs
Loyal and protective of their familyMay exhibit overly protective behavior if not trained properly
Will alert their owners of any perceived threatsMay bark excessively in social situations

Reserved with Strangers

As a breed, Lhasa Apso dogs are known for being reserved when it comes to interacting with strangers. This trait can be attributed to their past as guard dogs, where they were trained to be suspicious of anyone who was not part of their family or immediate circle.

Table: Reasons for Lhasa Apso’s Reserved Nature with Strangers

Past Role as Guard DogsLhasa Apsos were trained to be suspicious of outsiders in order to protect their owners and family.
Breed InstinctsLhasa Apsos are bred to be independent and self-reliant, which can lead to a lack of trust in unfamiliar situations.
SizeLhasa Apsos are a small breed and can feel vulnerable in the presence of strangers.
Early SocializationIf a Lhasa Apso wasn’t socialized with a variety of people during its early developmental stages, it may be more wary of strangers later in life.

However, with proper training and early socialization, Lhasa Apsos can learn to trust and be relaxed around new people. It is important for owners to expose their dogs to a variety of individuals in different situations so that they learn to differentiate between friend and foe.

Tip: If you have visitors coming over, it may be helpful to introduce your Lhasa Apso to them outside of the house first. This can help to build trust and make your furry friend feel more comfortable when they enter your home.

It is also important for owners to understand and respect their Lhasa Apso’s reserved nature. Pushing your dog to interact with strangers before they are ready can actually increase their anxiety levels and make the problem worse.

By being patient, consistent, and providing positive reinforcement, you can help your Lhasa Apso build confidence and overcome their reserved nature with strangers.

Training Your Lhasa Apso’s Temperament

Training Your Lhasa Apso'S Temperament
One of the most important aspects of raising a happy and well-behaved Lhasa Apso is ensuring that they receive proper training. However, training these independent and protective dogs can be a daunting task for many pet owners. In this section, we will explore some practical tips and techniques for training your Lhasa Apso and shaping their temperament. Whether you are a first-time pet owner or an experienced dog trainer, these strategies can help you establish a strong bond with your furry companion and lay the foundation for a healthy and positive relationship. So, let’s dive in and explore some effective methods for training your Lhasa Apso’s temperament.

Positive Reinforcement

One of the most effective ways to train a Lhasa Apso’s temperament is through positive reinforcement. This training method involves rewarding your dog for exhibiting good behavior rather than punishing them for bad behavior.

How Positive Reinforcement Works

Positive reinforcement works by associating desirable behavior with a positive outcome, such as a treat or praise. Over time, your Lhasa Apso will learn that when they exhibit the desired behavior, they will receive a reward.

Benefits of Positive Reinforcement

There are several benefits to using positive reinforcement to train your Lhasa Apso’s temperament. These include:

Encourages good behaviorPositive reinforcement encourages your Lhasa Apso to exhibit good behavior by rewarding them for it.
Builds trust and bondUsing positive reinforcement to train your Lhasa Apso’s temperament helps build trust and strengthen your bond.
Creates a positive learning environmentPositive reinforcement creates a positive learning environment for your Lhasa Apso, making them more receptive to training.
Reduces stressPositive reinforcement reduces stress and anxiety for your Lhasa Apso, making training sessions enjoyable for them.
Maintains a happy dispositionSince positive reinforcement involves rewarding your Lhasa Apso, they will maintain a happy disposition, which is essential for their overall well-being.

Examples of Positive Reinforcement

Some examples of positive reinforcement when training your Lhasa Apso’s temperament include:

  1. Using treats as rewards for exhibiting good behavior
  2. Giving your Lhasa Apso verbal praise, such as “good job” or “well done”
  3. Offering your Lhasa Apso toys or playtime as a reward
  4. Using a clicker to mark good behavior, then rewarding them with a treat

By using positive reinforcement, you can effectively train your Lhasa Apso’s temperament while also building a strong bond and maintaining a happy and healthy companion.


Consistency is key when it comes to training your Lhasa Apso’s temperament. This breed can be strong-willed and stubborn, so it’s important to establish clear boundaries and expectations from the start. Here are some tips for staying consistent in your training approach:

  • Establish a routine: Dogs thrive on routine and predictability, so establish a feeding, exercise, and training schedule that you can stick to consistently. This will help your Lhasa Apso feel more secure and confident in their environment.
  • Use consistent commands: Choose a set of commands for basic obedience behaviors (sit, stay, come, etc.) and use them consistently every time you train. This will help your Lhasa Apso learn to associate specific behaviors with specific cues.
  • Provide consistent rewards: Positive reinforcement is an effective training tool, but it’s important to provide rewards (such as treats or praise) consistently and immediately after desired behaviors. This will help your Lhasa Apso understand which behaviors are desirable.
  • Be consistent in your reactions: Dogs can pick up on subtle changes in body language and tone of voice, so it’s important to be consistent in your reactions to different behaviors. For example, if your Lhasa Apso jumps up on you, respond with a consistent “off” command and turn away from them every time.

Consistency is important not only in training, but also in everyday interactions with your Lhasa Apso. For example, if you allow them on the couch one day but not the next, they may become confused and anxious. By establishing consistent rules and routines, you can help your Lhasa Apso feel more secure and confident.

Early Socialization

Early socialization is crucial for shaping the temperament of your Lhasa Apso. During this time, your puppy’s brain is like a sponge, soaking up everything it experiences and learns. It is important to expose your Lhasa Apso to a variety of people, animals, and environments while they are still young. This will help to ensure that they become well-rounded and confident dogs.

Here are some tips for early socialization of your Lhasa Apso:

Tips for Early SocializationExplanation
Start EarlyStart socializing your Lhasa Apso as soon as possible. The critical period for socialization is between 3 and 14 weeks of age, so it’s important to start as soon as you bring your puppy home.
Expose to Different EnvironmentsTake your Lhasa Apso to different environments such as parks, streets, and shopping malls, to expose them to new sights, sounds, and smells.
Introduce to Other Dogs and PeopleAllow your Lhasa Apso to interact with other dogs and people, especially children. This will help them become comfortable with strangers and prevent aggressive behavior later in life.
Use Positive ReinforcementUse positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, to encourage your Lhasa Apso to be calm and confident in new situations.
Be PatientSocialization takes time and patience. Be prepared to spend time and effort on this process, and don’t rush your Lhasa Apso into uncomfortable situations.

By socializing your Lhasa Apso early and properly, you can help them become a well-adjusted and happy dog that is a joy to be around. Remember to keep the process positive and enjoyable for both you and your furry friend.

Lhasa Apso Temperament and Health Issues

Lhasa Apso Temperament And Health Issues
As we delve deeper into the world of Lhasa Apso temperament, it’s important to address the potential health issues that can arise in these beloved dogs. While they are generally healthy breed, Lhasa Apsos are prone to certain health conditions that can affect their behavior and overall well-being. In this section, we will explore common health issues that can arise in Lhasa Apsos, and how they can impact their temperament. It’s essential to be aware of these issues to ensure your Lhasa Apso lives a happy and healthy life.

Common Health Issues

Taking care of a Lhasa Apso’s temperament includes being aware of some of the common health issues that these dogs may face. These small dogs are generally healthy but like all breeds, they may be prone to certain ailments. Knowing these potential health issues beforehand will help you take better care of your Lhasa Apso throughout their life.

Here are some of the common health issues that Lhasa Apso may face:

Health IssueSymptomsTreatment
Patellar LuxationLimping, inability to bear weight on the limbSurgery, weight management, pain management
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)Night blindness, decreased vision, ultimately leading to complete blindnessNo cure exists, but dogs can adapt to the blindness with the help of their owners
Hip DysplasiaLimping, difficulty climbing stairs or jumping upSurgery, weight management, pain management
Sebaceous AdenitisDry, scaly, or itchy skinTreatment with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, or other medication prescribed by a veterinarian
AllergiesItchy skin, hot spots, redness, and rashesIdentification and avoidance of the trigger, medication such as antihistamines or corticosteroids, or a change in diet.

It’s important to note that not all Lhasa Apso’s will develop these illnesses, but it’s important to stay on top of their health and visit the veterinarian regularly. Additionally, keeping up with their grooming, hygiene, and maintaining an optimal weight can all help prevent these health issues from arising.

How Health Can Affect Temperament

The health of a Lhasa Apso can have a significant impact on their temperament. As with humans, when these dogs are experiencing pain or discomfort, they can become irritable, anxious, or even aggressive. It is essential to keep an eye on your Lhasa Apso’s health and take steps to address any issues that arise quickly. Here are some specific ways health problems can affect your Lhasa Apso’s temperament:

  • Pain: Dogs in pain tend to become irritable and may snap or growl when touched or approached. Lhasa Apsos are no exception to this rule. If your dog seems unusually grumpy or snappy, it may be because they are experiencing discomfort. Take them to the vet for a check-up to determine the cause of the problem.
  • Anxiety: Health problems can also lead to anxiety in Lhasa Apsos. If they are not feeling their best, they may become more clingy or nervous, seeking constant reassurance from their owner. Changes in appetite or sleep patterns can also be a sign of anxiety.
  • Frustration: Some health problems may limit your Lhasa Apso’s mobility, making it difficult for them to perform tasks that they could normally complete with ease. This can lead to frustration, which may manifest as destructive behavior or disobedience.
  • Depression: If your Lhasa Apso is in pain or experiencing chronic health problems, they may become depressed. Signs of depression in dogs include lethargy, disinterest in food or play, and excessive sleeping. If you suspect your dog is depressed, talk to their vet about potential treatments.

It is crucial to pay attention to any changes in your Lhasa Apso’s behavior, as they may be a sign of an underlying health problem. By addressing these issues promptly, you can help your dog feel better and avoid any negative impacts on their temperament. Regular check-ups with your vet, a balanced diet, and plenty of exercise can all help keep your Lhasa Apso healthy and happy.

Caring for Your Lhasa Apso’s Temperament

As a responsible pet owner, you understand the importance of taking care of your furry friend’s physical and emotional needs. Caring for your Lhasa Apso’s temperament is just as vital as providing them with food and water. This breed is known for their independent and protective nature, which requires specific attention and care to ensure their well-being. In this section, we will discuss the exercise needs, grooming requirements, and how to provide a safe haven for your Lhasa Apso to thrive. Let’s dive in and explore what it takes to keep your Lhasa Apso’s temperament healthy and happy.

Exercise Needs

Lhasa Apso dogs are small in size but have a lot of energy, so they need a good exercise routine to keep them physically and mentally fit. Adequate exercise can help prevent health problems and behavioral issues in these little dogs.

A daily walk of around 30 minutes is sufficient for Lhasa Apso dogs. It is important to bear in mind that their level of activity will be influenced by their age, health condition, and individual temperament. When exercising your Lhasa Apso, it is essential to keep them on a leash, as they tend to be independent and may run off on their own.


| Exercise Needs | Details |
| — | — |
| Frequency | Daily |
| Duration | 30 minutes |
|Off-leash Exercise | Not recommended for this breed |
|Recommended Activities | Walks, indoor playtime, interactive games |
|Recommended Environment | Indoor or outdoor, depending on weather conditions |

In addition to walks, you can also provide your Lhasa Apso with indoor playtime and interactive games, such as fetch or hide-and-seek, to help them burn off excess energy. Mental stimulation is also crucial for these intelligent dogs as they can easily get bored.

It is important to be aware of your Lhasa Apso’s exercise limitations, as they are prone to respiratory issues and overheating. It is recommended to avoid exercising in extreme temperatures and always provide plenty of water during and after exercise.

Providing adequate exercise for your Lhasa Apso is essential for their physical and mental well-being. By understanding their exercise needs and limitations, you can provide them with a safe and enjoyable exercise routine that they will look forward to every day.

Grooming Requirements

Keeping your Lhasa Apso well-groomed is a crucial aspect of their overall care. Due to their long, flowing coat, they require frequent grooming to prevent matting, tangles, and other coat-related issues. Here are some grooming requirements that you should be aware of if you decide to welcome a Lhasa Apso into your home:

  • Daily Brushing: Lhasa Apsos require daily brushing to keep their coat healthy and tangle-free. Use a slicker brush or metal comb to gently remove any knots or mats. Pay close attention to areas such as behind the ears, between the legs, and under the tail.
  • Bathing: It is recommended to bathe your Lhasa Apso every 3-4 weeks to keep their coat looking clean and smelling fresh. Be sure to use a gentle shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for dogs.
  • Trimming: Regular trimming of your Lhasa Apso’s coat can help prevent matting and keep them looking neat and tidy. It is important to have a professional groomer do the trimming to ensure that they are not cut too short or unevenly.
  • Nail Care: Nails should be trimmed every few weeks to prevent overgrowth and splitting. Be sure to use proper nail clippers and avoid clipping the quick, which is the sensitive part of the nail that contains blood vessels.
  • Cleaning: Regular cleaning of your Lhasa Apso’s ears and teeth is also important to maintain their overall health. Use a cotton ball and a specially formulated ear cleaner to gently remove any debris from their ears. Brush their teeth with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to help prevent dental problems.

In addition to the above grooming requirements, it is also essential to check your Lhasa Apso’s coat for any signs of irritation or infection. Pay attention to their skin for any redness, rashes or lumps, and contact your vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary. By taking care of your Lhasa Apso’s grooming needs, you can ensure they stay healthy and happy for years to come.

Providing a Safe Haven

Ensuring that your Lhasa Apso feels safe and secure is a crucial aspect of caring for their well-being. Here are some tips for providing a safe haven for your furry friend:

  • Designate a cozy spot: Your Lhasa Apso should have a comfortable place to retreat to when they want some alone time. Choose an area in your home that is quiet and away from foot traffic, and place a soft bed or blanket for them to snuggle up in.
  • Be mindful of loud noises: Lhasa Apsos can be easily startled by loud noises, so try to avoid exposing them to sudden, jarring sounds. If you know that fireworks or thunderstorms are coming, create a calming environment by closing the curtains, turning on a gentle fan or music, and comforting your dog.
  • Provide a secure yard: Lhasa Apsos have been known to be escape artists, so make sure your yard is fully secured with a fence or other barrier to prevent them from roaming. Also, be sure to supervise them when they are outside to ensure their safety.
  • Create a predictable routine: Lhasa Apsos thrive on routine, so establish a predictable schedule for feeding, exercise, and rest. This will help them feel secure and confident in their environment, which can be beneficial for their overall temperament.

By taking steps to provide a safe and secure environment for your Lhasa Apso, you can help them feel happy and content, and strengthen the bond you share with them.


In conclusion, understanding the temperament of a Lhasa Apso is crucial for their well-being and a harmonious relationship between them and their human family. Lhasa Apsos have a long and rich history as guard dogs that bred independence, loyalty, and protectiveness into their temperament. These traits are still evident in modern-day Lhasa Apsos, making them great companions and guardians.

Training a Lhasa Apso’s temperament requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Early socialization and exposure to different situations and people can help prevent aloofness and aggression towards strangers. Additionally, maintaining the dog’s health through regular checkups and addressing common health issues can also contribute to their temperament and overall well-being.

Providing a safe haven and a regular exercise regimen can help keep a Lhasa Apso’s temperament balanced, prevent destructive behavior, and ensure their physical and mental health. Regular grooming is also essential to keep their long and luxurious coat in good condition and prevent skin issues.

Ultimately, Lhasa Apsos are unique and wonderful companions that bring joy and loyalty to their human family. By understanding their temperament, caring for their health and well-being, and providing proper training and grooming, you can enjoy a happy and long-lasting relationship with your furry friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the temperament of the Lhasa Apso like?

The Lhasa Apso is an independent and protective breed that can also be loyal to their family but reserved with strangers.

2. Do Lhasa Apsos make good guard dogs?

Yes, Lhasa Apsos have a history of being guard dogs and can be protective of their family and territory.

3. How can I train my Lhasa Apso’s temperament?

Positive reinforcement, consistency, and early socialization can all help train a Lhasa Apso’s temperament.

4. What are some common health issues for Lhasa Apsos?

Lhasa Apsos are prone to health issues such as hip dysplasia, allergies, and eye problems.

5. Can health issues affect a Lhasa Apso’s temperament?

Yes, if a Lhasa Apso is in discomfort or pain due to a health issue, it can impact their temperament and behavior.

6. How much exercise do Lhasa Apsos need?

Lhasa Apsos have moderate exercise needs and enjoy short walks and playtime indoors.

7. What are the grooming requirements for Lhasa Apsos?

Lhasa Apsos have a long, dense coat that requires daily brushing and regular grooming appointments to maintain.

8. Can Lhasa Apsos live in small living spaces?

Yes, Lhasa Apsos can adapt to living in small apartments as long as they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation.

9. Are Lhasa Apsos good family pets?

Yes, Lhasa Apsos can make good family pets due to their affectionate and loyal nature.

10. Can Lhasa Apsos get along with other pets?

Yes, with proper socialization and training, Lhasa Apsos can get along well with other pets in the household.


Matthew Farthing

Matthew Farthing

Сontributing author at DogCareHacks, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.

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