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Is Lhasa Apso Good for First-Time Owners? Important Facts & FAQ

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

lhasa apso

The Lhasa Apso is an ancient breed that served as a sentinel for palaces and monasteries in Tibet. Now, these small but hardy dogs are kept as companion pets, bringing delight for their owners while staying confident but aloof with strangers.

If you’re a first-time dog owner, the Lhasa Apso is a good choice, but there are some things to be aware of before you bring one home to your family.


Are Lhasa Apsos Suitable for Novice Owners?

Yes, the Lhasa Apso is an ideal breed for new pet owners. They have natural guardian abilities, but they have a small and manageable size that’s more fur than mass. They adapt well to life in apartments and small homes just as well as their ancestors’ roaming grounds in the Himalayas.

These dogs aim to please, but they can have a willful streak. Without strong boundaries, your dog may walk all over you. They enjoy spending time with their owners and playing or exercising, but they can entertain themselves if they’re left alone.

While Lhasa Apsos are generally agreeable, they can be overly protective. It’s important to socialize your Lhasa Apso well to avoid problems with aggression and guarding behaviors. As a first-time dog owner, professional obedience training is a good investment to ensure you have a well-adjusted and well-behaved adult dog.

Lhasa Apso
Image Credit: CC0 Public Domain, needpix

Are Lhasa Apsos Good for Families?

The Lhasa Apsos are a good choice for families with children, but must be socialized early. These are naturally stubborn and protective dogs, so they may learn to resource guard children and may become aggressive to “claim” a child.

It’s vital to monitor interactions between your dog and children, however, and teach children how to play gently and appropriately. Lhasa Apsos are small dogs that can get injured easily if children play too rough. They may also get defensive with rough children and lash out, leading to injuries.

Are Lhasa Apsos Good in Multi-Pet Households?

Lhasa Apsos get along with other dogs and cats as well, but again, early socialization is important. These dogs can get protective of their owner or their stuff, like a toy or food dish, which could create conflict with other dogs in your home. Make sure you introduce your new dog slowly and carefully to other dogs and monitor interactions, at least until you see how these dogs get along.

In addition, some Lhasa Apsos have a high prey drive and may enjoy chasing cats, so keep this in mind if you plan to bring one into your home. Generally, these dogs are better with cats if they were raised with them rather than being introduced to cats as an adult.

two lhasa apso dogs are pressed against each other
Image Credit: FOTOGRIN, Shutterstock



The Lhasa Apso is a regal companion dog that displays the traits of their ancestors—protectiveness, independence, and bravery—along with a playful “class clown” personality. They’re a great choice for first-time owners and families, but like any dog, they need proper training and socialization to avoid behavioral issues.

Featured Image Credit: kshitijprakash, Pixabay

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