Breed Standard for Lhasa Apso


A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance 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 Kennel Club website fr details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should on be present in the right measure.


Well balanced, sturdy, heavy coated, without excess.


Gay and assertive


Alert, steady but somewhat aloof with strangers.


Head furnishings with fall over the eyes, but not affecting the dog's ability to see, good whiskers and beard.  Skull moderately narrow, falling away behind the eyes, not quite flat, but not domed or apple-headed.  Straight foreface with medium stop.  Nose black.  Muzzle about 4cm (1.5 ins), but not square; length from the tip of nose roughly one third total length from nose to back of skull.


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


Pendant, heavily feathered.


Upper incisors close just behind 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. (Amended 02/09/2003)  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.


Free and jaunty.


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


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


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


Ideal height: 25.4 cm (10 ins) at shoulder for dogs; 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.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
2009: Reprinted with kind permission from The Kennel Club