If you're considering bringing a Lhasa apso into your life but you already have other dogs or regular canine visitors, take temperament into consideration. Whether your Lhasa will get along well with another dog depends on that dog's temperament. If the other dog is dominant, there might be a problem.
Knowing a breed's history is important in understanding the makeup of your dog. The Lhasa apso originated in Tibet, where it went by the name "Bark Lion Sentinel Dog." That name's a pretty good description: The Lhasa apso is a brave guard dog who doesn't hesitate to raise the alarm.
In wealthy ancient Tibetan homes, a mastiff was chained outside to discourage intruders, while the Lhasa apso stayed indoors to warn his owner if strangers approached. To this day, Lhasas are suspicious of strangers, so it might take quite a while for them to warm up to new friends of their owner, human or canine.
Your Lhasa might be small and cute, but he's one tough pup. Nothing much fazes him. Independent in some respects, he's also extremely devoted to his person, according to the American Lhasa Apso Club. He's a thinking dog that takes his time before he accepts people or other animals. For that reason, he's often not an initially friendly dog. The Lhasa matures slowly, so yours won't take on the full mantle of their inherent dignity until the age of 3 or 4 years. Although he's active and can be playful, your Lhasa's a serious dude. He might be fine with dogs of similar temperament.
If you've got another dog in your house, your Lhasa should be top dog. If your other pooch is submissive, the situation can work out well. Because the Lhasa is smart, always figuring things out, a bad first impression with another dog doesn't mean it can't work out eventually. Because he's a small dog, topping out at 15 pounds, you don't want to endanger your Lhasa by trying to have him "work things out" with a much bigger, aggressive canine.
For any dog, socialization is important. It's especially true for the Lhasa, who isn't the friendliest dog on the planet. Take your puppy to puppy kindergarten for basic obedience classes and the opportunity to meet and greet other dogs. If your naturally reserved Lhasa doesn't meet many other dogs, it will be harder for him to get along with the occasional visitor. Lhasas are fierce home guardians, but on neutral territory they're more open to people and pets. If you take him for romps in the local dog park, for his safety keep him in the area reserved for little dogs.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.