15 Questions Answered Before Adopting a Lhasa Apso


N.B This post contains links that will redirect you to my Amazon Affiliate Program.


  1. Choosing a reputable Dog Shelter
  2. Decision-making takes time
  3. Do you have enough free time 
  4. Check your income resources
  5. Time for the dog to adjust 
  6. Tattoo’s microchip and dog tags
  7. Neutering or Spaying
  8. Grooming
  9. Food
  10. Exercise and playtime
  11. Training
  12. Worm and Tick prevention
  13. An area for your dog
  14. Showing your love
  15. Making your yard dog proof

Like myself, you are undoubtedly a lover of dogs, and you have decided not to buy your Lhasa Apso but to adopt one. Owning a Lhasa Apso is the same whether you adopt one or if you buy one. In my particular case my Lhasa Apso, Lucky, actually adopted my family.  I found him wandering and lost in my garden, I think he was abandoned, he was about 1 year old,  he has been with us for 17 years now.

So you’re thinking about adopting a Lhasa Apso?  Yes, well done, that’s a great move and the Lhasa Apso is a great little character of a dog. They will bring you many years of happiness. I am going to answer these 15 questions, knowing the answers will help you with your final decision in adoption.


1 Choosing a reputable Dog Shelter

Trying to find a reputable Dog Shelter to make your adoption application is not an easy task.  With so many around how do you choose the best reputable shelter? One of the best ways is always by word-of-mouth, a good shelter people will talk about and recommend. They will, of course, talk about a bad shelter, but not recommend it.

No doubt you will now have a couple of shelters to choose from, obviously, you need to go along as a visitor and see what the conditions are like yourself. Although your friends and well-doers have given you their recommendations, go check them out for yourself. Prepare yourself with some questions to ask the personnel. Are the staff friendly towards you? Can they answer all your questions? Do the dogs in the shelter look well cared for?


2 Decision-making takes time

After weeks and weeks of looking for that reputable shelter that takes care of their animals, you feel happy with them so you now need to make a decision. The most important decision you have to make is are you going to adopt a male or a female Lhasa Apsos. Each gender has its characteristics (you can read more about male and female Lhasa Apsos characters on one of my other posts here)

After reading about the Lhasa Apso characters on that post you will have finally made your decision, what did you choose male or female?  I personally had no choice as Lucky adopted us so my Lhasa is a male.

Whilst visiting the shelter you will have seen so many adorable little puppy faces looking up to you,  each and everyone you want to take home with you. Of course, this is not possible and you’re next major decision is, do I take a puppy or do I take an older dog?

If you have fallen in love with a puppy Lhasa Apso, which I think everybody would,  you will have the joy of having a baby which includes teething potty training obedience training and all that goes with a small baby.

If your decision has fallen for an older Lhasa Apso, then these early stages will already be accomplished before they were left in the shelter. But, and a big butt it is, this is where you must take your time because these older dogs may have picked up bad habits. Are you prepared to retrain a dog that has been badly trained or mistreated? They may also have emotional problems if they have been badly treated by a previous person.


3 Do you have enough free time

You will surely say course I have, sorry but you need to look at your daily and weekly schedules.

Are you a student and live on a campus which does not allow pets? If you can only touch home at the weekends your new companion is going to miss you whilst you’re at college.  Probably you live at home but leave in the morning for school early and don’t return home until late in the afternoon, although this is a better scenario than the person that lives on campus, your pet Lhasa is going to have an empty day when you’re nowhere around.

If College and campus life is long behind you and you are now in an active working situation the same applies to you, your Lhasa Apso is going to be home all day on its own which I strongly condemn.

Your new little fur baby is going to need lots of attention and teaching,  you really do need time to be next to them. Do you have a sports club you attend that will take your time away?  Adopting a Lhasa Apso will mean you need to reorganize your time schedules.

If you are young and still at home with your parents, this can be a solution as they can help enormously whilst you’re away

           Spending lots of time together


4 Check your income resources

Ok, now we’re getting somewhere after the first three questions. You have chosen the shelter,  taken time in deciding whether to choose an older dog or a young puppy. You’re happy that you can organize your time, to give precious time towards your new Lhasa Apso.

The next question concerns the financial commitment that it is going to be assessed,  not only the initial stages, not only all vaccinations and tests that have to be paid for before you even leave the shelter.

Once home you will want to spoil your new friend with toys, a nice soft bed, grooming brushes and combs amongst much other paraphernalia. To get some idea of the items I have for Lucky and the latest prices you can check them out on my products pages here.  As you can see these items are not expensive and they are normally a once only buy.

A regular expense is their food and treats. Luckily for us, the Lhasa Apso is a small dog with a small appetite, I once owned a German Shepherd who would get through the 25-kilo sack of dry meal in no time.

It would be very sad if you had to take your gorgeous Lhasa Apso back to the animal shelter because you cannot financially meet the commitment of owning one.


5 Time for the dog to adjust

Having adopted a dog from a shelter you must try and understand what’s going through the mind of your new friend. They were once in a home with someone as their parent. Now torn away from that person that they believed was going to look after then for the rest of their lives, they are locked up with other barking dogs, they could be emotionally upset.

The staff at the shelter should be able to tell you about your chosen pets previous life-history.  This indeed will prepare you for the days and weeks ahead knowing what they have suffered, you are going to have to have patience and love to win the heart of your new friend.

They will, of course, be so happy to be out of the shelter and into a new family home, you have probably saved their life. Your newly acquired Lhasa Apso is going to need time to adjust to his new surroundings, sights and sounds, new smells, your love and regulations, the new training you are going to give them.


6 Tattoo’s, microchips and dog tags

Here in Europe and no doubt in the American states you have enormous problems with dognapping, dogs are taken off the street hustled into a van and taken to unscrupulous dealers and shelters to be sold onwards. The police have enough on their hands with serious crime and cannot sadly allocate enough time catching these dog thieves.

This is where getting your new Lhasa Apso companion microchipped and getting them some dog tags is good, although becoming less and less used here in Europe dogs used to be tattooed with a number inside their ear which was traceable.

In today’s modern technology era, most dogs now have a small microchip placed just under the skin on their neck, my own Lucky has a microchip buried into his neck skin just under the left ear.

Having a collar with some dog tags are an excellent addition to the microchip.  if you’re Lhasa runs off after a cat for example and gets lost or doesn’t come back, because they are a stubborn breed, then tags with your phone number and contact details allow people that find your dog to contact you or bring it to your home. I would advise not to put your dog’s name on the tag as this helps dog thieves, already knowing a dog’s name they can entice it into the vehicle.


7  Neutering or Spaying

You have done a very noble jest in adopting an animal from a shelter, saving it from maybe a fatal injection to put them to sleep.  Each year in the United States alone between 6 to 8 million different types of animals are left in animal shelters and 50% are put to sleep. Up to 4 million animals destroyed each year. Don’t let anybody put you down because you adopted your pet, there is nothing at all to be ashamed of, the contrary,  you should be thanked and praised for doing what you have done.

Neutering or Spaying your new pet will help to reduce those numbers being placed in shelters and of course the reduction of the unfortunate ones being put to sleep. You have a home, somewhere to live, just imagine if the roles were reversed and us humans were destroyed because there is no place for us on the planet.

What does neutering or spaying involve? You probably know this renders your male or female dogs infertile. In the female they remove the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus,  this has the beneficial effect that the female will no longer have her heat cycle, with the result of no blood loss. The male has his testes removed. This will stop him from being able to reproduce and curb his sometimes embarrassing breeding antics.


8 Grooming

We all take pride in ourselves and how we look,  and an important question I’m going to answer here is the grooming needed for your new pet. The most satisfying part of grooming is when you brush and stroke your pet’s hair. Lhasa has hair and not fur! This is therapeutic for us and helps us to relax and unwind after a stressful day, with the benefit your dog is getting his daily brushing.

I also give Lucky a massage over the top of his shoulders and his neck, he absolutely adores it, he almost falls asleep.

Grooming is not just about brushing your dog, you will need to do many other tasks,  I have a post specifically about grooming which you can read here,

Small dogs have problems with their teeth and tartar build up so you need to regularly keep their teeth clean and brushed.  I found this very difficult with Lucky even trying to use a specific chicken flavored dog toothpaste he still would not let me brush his teeth,  so I used chewy dental sticks which helped for many years.

After speaking to my veterinarian I have learned how to trim his claws, although not a difficult task many people are scared to undertake this part of grooming.  I have made a video where I show how to cut a Lhasa Apsos claws, of course, I used Lucky as my model.  If you would like to watch the video it is on YouTube here

Allowing the claws to get too long will interfere with they’re walking, can sometimes get caught on tissue with some bad results if the claw breaks, as the dog tries to pull away. A young dog full of energy will in his daily activities keep their claws to the correct length naturally. It becomes important as your dog becomes older and is less active, as in Lucky’s case, that you must pay particular attention to their claws.

One area to watch and treat are the brown stains that some Lhasa Apsos get from their eyes,  releasing liquid, staining in their fur. Although not a problem medically, it is unsightly.

Grooming time for Lucky

9 Food

We need food daily to obtain vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial for our health, to build healthy teeth, bones and strong muscles it is vital we choose healthy food. Your new furry friend cannot read the ingredient list on the food packaging, so you have the responsibility of selecting the correct food for your breed of dog, it’s age and sometimes male and female foods are added to the enormous range available.

Some Lhasa Apso owners will cook chicken and rice for there pet and they are fine. Personaly I leave Lucky’s food bowl with dry biscuits and a bowl of fresh water available all day for him,  beware Lhasa Apsos can be very difficult eaters. At lunchtime, my wife and I will give him a small amount of what we are eating, this is a special treat for him.

One type of food that is very beneficial for humans has totally the opposite effect for dogs, that food is chocolate. Never on any occasion allow your dog to eat any form of chocolate. Other foods can also be dangerous for our pet dogs, these would include raisins, onions, macadamia nuts, grapes, etc. Do be very careful and ask your veterinarian, check out on the internet for foods that are ok for your Lhasa.

Although being active and loving to run around, the Lhasa Apso, if you are not careful in their feeding plan can become overweight. Again as your Lhasa Apso increases in age, the activity will be reduced and they will stand a chance of becoming obese. You can read one of my other posts on this website that is titled ‘is my Lhasa Apso overweighthere.


10 Exercise and Playtime

This question follows well the questions above about their food, not becoming overweight and the time needed to exercise your Lhasa Apso.  Just as our body needs exercise to keep us on form physically and mentally so your new adopted Lhasa Apso is going to need exercise.

Even though Lhasa Apsos are a small breed they need to be exercised daily. In general the minimum would be 30 minutes daily, you can spend as long as you are able, even up to 2 hours exercising/playing or going for a long walk together.

The responsible pet owner will always be watching thier pet to see signs of over-exercising,  these would include heavy panting, laying down, not wanting to do anything and any form of limping. You should also keep a close eye on their paw pads when the temperatures are high. As I am writing this post, here in the South of France, we are having a record-breaking heatwave, temperatures reaching 45+ degrees in the sun, the concrete and tarmac road surfaces are well into their  50° maybe even 60° which will very quickly burn your pets paw pads.

Talking about the heat you must also remember our dogs can also get heatstroke in these hotter months. Our small Lhasa Apsos may become dehydrated and if their body temperature reaches over 160° it could have serious detrimental effects on their well being and can even be life-threatening.

These extremely hot periods are rare, you need to be careful all the same. The rest of the year your dog can continue it exercises normally, but can you over-exercise your dog?

Yes, you can over-exercise your dog, once again if you do very long walks on rough road surfaces check their paw pads for signs of wear, splitting and bleeding.

They might enjoy the running around and chasing the ball or a stick so much they don’t want to stop and you’re having a great time with them and you continue. The next day your dog may be over-exercise and will be suffering from sore muscles.

Next day when you call your pet for his or her exercise and they are excited to go and play, did you notice them struggle to get up? You know exactly how they feel, when you have done any energetic physical sport, the next day your muscles are aching as well!

One last point on exercising your Lhasa Apso, remember they are subjective of having patellar luxation, too much vigorous jumping and running may induce this problem which you can read all about on one of my other posts here.

         Lots of exercises

11 Training

Now that you have your adopted Lhasa Apso with you at home you need to think seriously about their training. Just like our children, if they were untrained and uneducated in life, they could become uncontrollable and lost. As loving parents, we teach our children right from wrong, so they can enter the adult world with a good solid base. We need to do the same for our Lhasa Apso, they must learn you are their master,  they must learn to obey you and your commands.

Coming from a shelter they are going to need your love,  this will be returned by their loyalty towards you. If you have adopted a young puppy you need to start training them now, probably to stop biting and chewing furniture, any misplaced growling at you or anyone else and of course, they need to be trained to go outside for their toilet.

Whilst you are training and your pet obeys your commands always give them a reward,  this does not have to be little biscuits every time, it can also be encouraging words and cuddles showing your contentment,  your dog will pick this up very quickly, knowing what they have done has pleased their master.

If you visit friends with dogs then it would be another good training opportunity for them to encounter other dogs, to learn animal social behavior. If visiting your friends involves transportation in a car then you will need to train your new pet to travel, for small distances to start with. Lucky at the beginning was very car sick,  today he is fine in a car and actually jumps in even before we do. I have a post on this website where you can learn how to train  your pet to travel in greater detail here


12 Worm and Tick Prevention

An adopted pet that has lived in an animal shelter for some time may have picked up kennel cough or other contagious problems that can arise in shelters. The day you collect your new Lhasa Apso from the shelter the owner will provide you with the health documents or passport with all vaccinations and deworming that has been administered to your pet.

Give your adopted pet the chance to have a longer and healthier life. To do this you need to regularly vaccinate against the many various diseases dogs are prone to get, and of course, treat against ticks and fleas. Depending on which country and which region you live in, ticks and fleas can be an almost all year round problem. I would like to invite you to continue reading about ticks and fleas here on my website my Lhasa Apso.com

In rare cases ticks can spread a disease that might kill your dog, it is rare, if treated in time it can be life-saving, on the other hand, heartworm, if your dog picks this up, as the name clearly suggests, it is a worm that gets inside your pet’s heart with fatal results. You must treat against heartworm for your dog.

Regular visits to your veterinarian, who will do blood tests and other examinations, will be able to put your mind at rest, they can diagnose any illnesses that you cannot see visually.


13 An Area for your Dog

As silly as this may sound your dog will need their own area where they can go and be alone with their own thoughts, just like you and I sometimes need, to escape from the world, your pet Lhasa needs that same personal space.

If you’re living space permits, there could be an area in one of your rooms where you can place their bedding and some soft toys that they like, I still have the very first homemade bedding that lucky had 17 years ago. I recently purchased a new bed for Lucky but he will not sleep in it at all. So I decided to remove the new soft interior and replace it with his old bedding from 17 years ago, he jumped straight in and went to sleep. It’s a comforter for him, I suggest you do the same for your dog.

If you have a large garden you can fence off an area for them to play in on their own with their toys. There are various types of fences that can be used to contain your new pet Lhasa. Some people use an electrical system whereby a wire is buried underground and your dog wears a device on a collar when your dog approaches the buried wire the device on the collar gives off a small electrical discharge and your dog learns not to go beyond this area you have determined with the buried wire. If this seems too painful then another alternative is a physical fence that can be placed on your lawn/grass area. Giving you the peace of mind that your pet is not going to get an electrical discharge.

14 Showing your Love

We all like to be loved by someone, it makes us feel wanted. Time spent with the person that loves you is invaluable, precious and we can’t get enough of it.

Your pet Lhasa Apso coming from a shelter has not received this personal love from a human. You selected your new friend to enter into your home and your life, it will come so natural to shower them with your love. Lots of cuddles, stroking, brushing, grooming, talking, going for walks, having fun times together.

Dare I say, letting your tiny Lhasa Apso sleep in your bedroom!! I will admit to you now, my Lucky sleeps on the foot of my bed. Sometimes to my discomfort, as he takes up my feet area,,   he is like a child to me and I spoil him rotten. Do make your Lhasa Apso, that you have adopted and maybe saved their life, the most spoilt Lhasa Apso ever.

  Love your Lhasa unconditionally

15 Making your Yard Dog Proof

The final question or advice that I would like to give you is to protect your adopted pet, make sure your yard is protected by a barrier. This will prevent your precious pet escaping or chasing after cats etc, and will impede any other dogs in the neighborhood from entering your yard and attacking your Lhasa. I would recommend physical fencing or barriers rather than the underground electrical wire type of barrier. The reason being an attacking dog will have no collar with the electrical device that would stop them. These underground fences are only to keep your pet inside a confined area. The attacking dog can enter your grounds and attack your Lhasa.


I would like to thank you on behalf of all the animals in shelters. You have done a very noble jest in saving a dog from certain death. Probably your chosen Lhasa Apso is a cross-breed and will never enter a dog show for the best  Lhasa Apso in the world. Be assured they don’t care about that! that’s for humans to talk about, your Lhasa Apso is going to love you with all his little heart,





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