The Origin Of the Lhasa Apso


These little shaggy coated dogs come from the mountains and high plateaus of Tibet. They have lived relatively unchanged in the monasteries and homes of the Tibetan people for hundreds of years. They were never sold but always given as gifts, being a talisman of the rich nobles and Buddhist monks.
Tibet lies in a remote section of south-central Asia bordering on China, Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan. In the southern part of the Tibetan plateau, the Himalayas rise higher than any other mountain range in the world. Lhasa the principal capitol city is about 12,000 feet above sea level. Its extremes of weather include harsh winds with low temperatures in the winter and, hot dusty daytimes in the summer.
The breed probably descended originally from European and Asiatic dogs such as the Puli and the Pumi. The history of the breed is somewhat hazy, it would seem, at least, that some were bred and selected with care, being jealously guarded by the Buddhist monks. One of the reasons why it has been so difficult to establish the breed outside Tibet is that the majority if typical specimens were confined to the monasteries or owned by the nobles who, like the Lamaist monks, were seldom willing to part with them.

In 1901, Miss Marjorie Wild acquired her first Lhasas Apso from the Honorable Mrs Mclaren Morrison, who saw the breed in Darjeeling, India, and brought some with her on her return to England. Thereafter, Miss Wild devoted some seventy years to breeding and showing the breed until her death in 1971. Unfortunately World war 1, decimated the breed, and the comeback of the breed was the return of Lieutenant Colonel Eric and the Honorable Mrs Bailey bringing five descendants, Taktru, Droma, Tsitru, Pema, and Litsi.

The Lhasas that you see today in the UK, in and out of the show ring, originate from these first few.
Early in 1933 Mr and Mrs Suydam Cutting, who had seen the Baileys’ Apsos in Nepal, were given two by His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. A further pair of golden Apsos were sent to the Cuttings after His Holiness’s death, and yet another pair arrived in 1950 from the 14th Dalai Lama. It is largely through the efforts of Mr and Mrs Cutting that the Apso found its place in the American show scene and their Hamilton Kennels became known throughout the world.

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