Lhasa Apso

By EVOest Staff 0 comments

The Lhasa Apso is one of the more distinctive dog breeds in the world today, not only because of it's unique look but also because of its unusual history.
All existing dog breeds originated from wolves well over 100,000 years ago. All modern dog breeds retain 99% of the wolves' genetic structure. That's when the domestication of lost or abandoned wolves began, and as the population of grew, ancient peoples started rudiment interbreeding to select the traits they most valued.
Despite its lap-dog appearance, the Lhasa is a tough character. It is independent, stubborn and bold. Although it is eager for a romp or game, it will be happy as long as it is given exercise. It will also happily snooze beside its owner. These characteristics make it an excellent small companion in adventure. It is somewhat reserved with strangers.
The Lhasa Apso originated in Tibet in the Himalayan Mountains hundreds of years ago. It's named after the sacred city of Lhasa.
The Lhasa Apso is unusual also because while most dog breeds have evolved from human directed intervention, i.e., selective breeding, the genetic structure of the Lhasa Apso has remained pretty much the same since they were first domesticated in Tibet tens of thousands of years ago. This is because the Lhasa Apso is still uniquically adapted for the harsh, cold, high elevation environment of the ancient Himalayas.
Unusually alert and intelligent, their guardian instincts and calm watchful demeanor made them the perfect companions and watchdogs for Tibet's Dali Lamas. Indeed, the Dali Lamas believed their intense loyalty and fearless protectiveness coupled with their circumspect calm aloft natures was due to the spiritual properties of the dog, e.g., perhaps serving an earthly vessel for the sprits of past Dali Lamas.
For years the breed remained solely bred in Tibet by holy men and nobles. It was used as a watchdog in temples and monasteries. The dog was considered sacred. The belief was that when its master died the master's soul entered the Lhasa Apso's body. The breed was not easy to come across and was hard to buy. The dogs were considered good luck to their owners.
The Tibetans also believed that the Lhasa Apso was a good luck talisman bringing health, peace, and prosperity to their owners. This belief, coupled with the belief that they carried the reincarnated souls of the Dali Lamas and other Tibetan holy men, made them almost impossible to buy before the 20th century. They made their way around the world starting only as gifts from the Dali Lamas to foreign dignitaries and diplomats.

 

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