Lhasa Apso

Last updated October 2009

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Well balanced, sturdy, heavily coated, without excess.


Gay and assertive.


Alert, steady but somewhat aloof with strangers.

Head and skull

Head furnishings with fall over eyes, but not effecting the dog's ability to see, good whiskers and beard. Skull moderately narrow, falling away behind eyes, not quite flat, but not domed or apple headed. Straight foreface with medium stop. Nose black. Muzzle about 4 cms (1½ ins), but not square; length from tip of nose roughly one third total length from nose to back of skull.


Dark. Medium size, frontally placed, oval, neither large nor full, nor small and sunk. No white showing at base or top.


Pendant, heavily feathered.


Upper incisors close just inside lower i.e. reverse scissor bite. Incisors in a broad and as straight a line as possible. Full dentition desirable.


Strong and well arched.


Shoulders well laid back. Forelegs straight, heavily furnished with hair.


Length from point of shoulders to point of buttocks greater than height at withers. Ribs extending well back. Level topline. Strong loin. Balanced and compact.


Well developed with good muscle. Good angulation. Heavily furnished with hair. Hocks when viewed from behind parallel and not too close together.


Round, cat-like with firm pads. Well feathered.


High-set, carried well over back but not like a pot-hook. Often a kink at end. Well feathered.


Free and jaunty.


Top coat long, heavy, straight, hard neither woolly nor silky. Moderate undercoat. Coat never impeding action.


Golden, sandy, honey, dark grizzle, slate, smoke, parti-colour, black, white or brown. All equally acceptable.


Ideal height: dogs: 25cms (10 ins) at shoulders; bitches slightly smaller.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.