lhasa apso – lhasa apsos
The lhasa apso originated in the area of Tibet over 4,000 years ago as a small breed of mountain wolf. They were domesticated and actively bred perhaps as long ago as 800 BC, which makes the Lhasa Apso one of the oldest recognized breeds in the world. Recent research has shown the Lhasa as one of the breeds most closely related to the ancestral wolf. (Others are Akita, Shiba Inu, Shar-Pei, Chow, Basenji, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, Saluki, Afghan, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, and Samoyed.
Referred to in Tibet as Apso Seng Kyi, which can be translated as “Bearded Lion Dog”, the lhasa apsos primary function was that of a household sentinel, guarding the homes of Tibetan nobility and Buddhist monasteries, particularly in or near the sacred city of Lhasa. The large Tibetan Mastiffs guarded the monasteries’ entrances, but the keen hearing and sharp bark of the Lhasa Apso served to warn residents by acting like a burglar alarm if an intruder happened to get past the exterior guards.
It was believed that the bodies of the lhasa Apsos could be entered by souls of deceased lamas while they awaited rebirth into a new body. Lhasas Apsos in Tibet were never sold. The only way a person could get one was as a gift.
In the early 1900s, a few of the breed were brought by military men returning from the Indian subcontinent to England, where the breed was referred to as “Lhasa Terrier”