Lhasa Temperament, All You Should Know Before Owning One


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Having owned a Lhasa Apso for seventeen years, temperaments these cute dogs do have, I have grouped together here what I have learned about this lovely little dog’s temperament. From a loving companion to an assertive guard dog, and many others in between.

This cute little dog, the Lhasa Apso, has so many different temperaments, so it would be good to know all before becoming the proud owner of one. We will look now at these temperaments before deciding to become an owner.

  1. Devoted
  2. Lively
  3. Friendly
  4. Fearless
  5. Assertive
  6. Steady
  7. Stubborn
  8. Intelligent
  9. Independent


Ah, that beautiful little dog the Lhasa Apso, so sweet and charming, be careful because these little bundles of fluff have a character that will need a strong master to control and teach them. Bred as a guard dog by monks so long ago, they have this guardian temperament still in them, they were also the companions of Tibetan monks, they still need this attachment to people, wanting to be with a human most of the time. But can you handle these temperaments? learn below what these temperaments are, and you can cope with them when your newly acquired pet has a tantrum!


You and I are naturally devoted to our partners and children, what does devotion really mean? Reading the Cambridge Dictionary reveals these qualities, ”loyalty, and love or care for someone or something”  also these other terms below are used.

  • Committed
  • Constant
  • Faithfull
  • Faithfulness
  • Faithfully
  • Fidelity

The Lhasa Apso is a real devoted pet to own, they have a way of showing this temperament by wanting to be always close to you. Lucky our Lhasa is always under the feet of my wife, which can sometimes become too much! He follows her everywhere!

If we take this devotion using the terms above the first we see is committed, well they sure are committed to the person that they feel is their leader. they love you, and they show this by a lick (kiss) Lucky will always find me in the grounds where I work and give me a little lick on my leg to let me know he is there.

These little beauties will commit their life to you, nothing is too difficult or dangerous to them. On one occasion Lucky chased near our house a wild boar of 100kg!! He went to attack the Boar as if he was a Roaring Lion and for sure he scared the life out of the Boar and me when I saw the size of the beast. Lucky was showing his commitment to me.

A 100kg wild boar for Lucky to chase

The next term stated above is constant. Lucky is constantly by my side on the grounds. Lucky has the constant habit to find me wherever I am working, to show me his presence. This constant desire to be next to me is part of his devotional temperament. Constantly never changing always staying the same, a constant friend who is loyal to you, you can not find a better breed that the Lhasa Apso.

Faithfulness also comes under the devoted temperament. Your Lhasa will be faithful to you no matter what. It is one of the qualities of the Lhasa Apso that make this breed stand out against the others.

How many court cases do we read or see on television where someone is an infidel? Too many for sure, sadly couples do break up for one reason or another. But if you are deciding to become the owner of a Lhasa then you can be assured they have a huge fidelity towards you for such a little dog.

For this first temperament, devoted, we can give it a thumbs up. All the qualities are in the Lhasa Apso’s favor here.


Let us take the word Lively which also means

  1. Active
  2. Outgoing
  3. Full of life
  4. Spirited
  5. Vibrant

One thing you will find in your new Lhasa puppy is a body full of energy, These little dogs do have for their small size so much energy and are so lively, Lucky just loves to run around all the time. Having such an active and outgoing temperament you will have your hands full with a Lhasa Apso. But do not let this liveliness be a negative thought when deciding to own one.

If you find it difficult to be lively with your new pet friend do not worry as the Lhasa can make do with short walks. This is the minimum they need, so they do not become overweight, they must have some exercise, you can read here if you think your Lhasa is getting overweight.

Keep in mind that they can live well into their late teens, Lucky is approaching seventeen, and they remain lively to around thirteen or fourteen years, then slowly this activity starts to slow down and they will spend more time resting and sleeping. That said, Lucky still has his mad moments and will gallop about the grounds for five mins before resting again.


With those lovely big eye’s Lhasa’s make friends very quickly, I am a sucker too! Lucky and I became friends over sixteen years ago when I found him as a stray in the gardens and that friendship just keeps building. I take him on my winter holidays which he enjoys as much as I do, running and playing in the snow. I do put little snow boots on his paws though.

He would come with me all day, sitting on the tractor guarding it for me when I got down to do some work. It did take a little time to teach him to stay sitting there, but he soon learned. That was bonding our friendship.

If you are searching for a dog that is going to be friendly with you and your family then a Lhasa Apso is a very good choice. Although being such good company towards you and the family they are much less friendly towards strangers that are about.

They are cautious little dogs and take their time to becomes friends. Once you have won their friendship they will shower you with their love and companionship for life. As with our human friends we like to spend time together. Take time to share your life with your Lhasa dog. Go on holiday, go do some sport, go shopping, I would say swimming but my Lhasa hates the pool, but he does like to run along the beach and get his paws wet sometimes!

A friendly Lhasa Apso


Such a small dog with such a large fearless temperament is incredible. The Lhasa Apso is one heck of a fearless dog. Originally bred by Tibetan monks to protect their monasteries these little bundles of fluff pack a fearless character and will show this by loud barking.


They have very keen hearing and can hear a leaf drop, I know this because when my Lhasa was younger and his hearing was top he would bark in the still of the night then when I take a look outside all there was were some fallen leaves blowing around!! He was not scared to go out there and attack, even if this time it was only leaves.

I live in a forest area where wild boars roam around freely, big nasty critters that can get up to one hundred kilos, and as the first part says WILD they are. Take a look at the internet and some of the videos where people and animals get attacked by these wild boars. Horrifying!

Part of the Lhasa Apso’s fearlessness is that they have no idea that they are small and weigh in at around ten kilos!! They think ”I’m a ferocious Lion dog” Now you would think they are no match against such a wild animal, weighing in at up to one hundred kilo’s right? but it is totally wrong I have seen Lucky chase these wild boars clean out of our grounds with his ferocious barking! to my utter amazement and of course, my fear for his little life. A Lhasa Apso will make a wonderful fearless guard dog for your home


When you or I need to get our opinion heard by someone we become more assertive and confident in the way we talk and our comportment will change as well. Being a dog breed that was bred to be guard dogs the Lhasa apso is indeed assertive. Each dog is different just as we are, although they are much alike varying degrees of assertiveness can be found from one dog to another.

This temperament in the Lhasa needs to be controlled at an early age, this is achieved by training, do not forget to give them a reward each time they perform correctly in the training program. The Lhasa is a dog that needs to know who the boss is, and during your training, they will learn you are the boss.

Whilst training and giving orders do not become too affectionate, this will act against your assertiveness. They want to be boss in the home and will sit or sleep where they want, your training and you being assertive will let them know they can not do just as they want rules are rules.

So an assertive dog want’s to be the leader of the pack, well maybe at home he is the only pet. Please please never leave your Lhasa or any dog for that matter alone with any child, so many accidents happen to young children this way by “dogs” that get on well with the children.

Your pet dog must never become the leader of the pack at home, and you can assert your leadership by taking them for long walks before you feed them, and then only give their food when they are calm and listening to your orders.


With their steady temperament, Lhasa’s will always be unfaltering in their wish to please you by carrying out your commands. As they grow and learn you will notice they have a regular way of doing things, I remember Lucky would go and dig a hole, always in the same corner of the yard, to bury a treat or small bone that I gave him, a natural and habitual action.

Your Lhasa will be a steady rock by your side, we picture a large rock that does not move or waver, a Lhasa is the same, they will stand rock solid by you no matter what happens.


I think of stubbornness and I remember my daughter learning to ski, at the age of four or five years old we were at the top of the novice slope, I was telling her how to prepare herself and how to ski. Now Chloé has this stubborn temperament and it manifested there and then as she did not listen to a word I had said and skied off the way she wanted too.

The Lhasa Apso has this stubbornness inbuilt as well. You might give a command, come, sit or some other order. Then that stubborn streak in the Lhasa kicks in and they just look at you, then go and do what they want to do, or follow your orders when they want and not before. You are not going to take away from them their stubbornness, that is impossible but you can tame it to some extent.

Being a stubborn dog this is not going to help in the training program, in fact, it becomes counterproductive, making it very difficult trying to get your pet to obey your commands. Persevere and be patient with your training and you will see results. It may be hard and stressful at times but do not waver and your Lhasa will be a well-balanced family member one day


What is your IQ level? I do not know mine and do not want to know for that matter, it is possibly less than yours anyway 🙂 When it comes to dog breeds the Lhasa Apso comes out with a high IQ level in the dog world.

Along with this intelligence is a desire to please their masters or leaders, to the point where they will try and manipulate the leaders. Keep this under control with firm training right at the start while still puppies.

Use this intelligence to the best effect, constantly teaching them to achieve new commands regularly. An intellectual mind needs to be stimulated daily so bear this in mind that a Lhasa Apso requires this stimulation.

My Lhasa’s intelligence can sense if I am going to leave home without him, he will race to the car and jump in if a door is open. He can pick up on things like if I am packing the suitcase, he knows I am going to leave and will be in a mood just till the day I leave and put him inside the car.

Lucky the intelligent skateboarder


An independent temperament in the Lhasa manifests in them looking to be on their own often, although they are great companions and do enjoy some lap time, they also enjoy their solitude and will often get up after five mins sitting on the couch with you, then jump up and go off to that place they call their own.

This independence has to come under your authority during his training. Establish mutual respect, praise him for his independence when worthy, and being firm when needed so you gain their respect. This will be easier if you reward them with praise and especially some little treats

Being independent is a good quality for a dog and the Lhasa Apso is not a sissy type of dog. They will give you years of satisfaction, many times they will have you laughing with their comical antics, and make a wonderful guard dog to have around.


With all these many temperaments will the Lhasa Apso be the right choice for you when deciding which puppy to introduce into your family? They are so cute and furry balls as puppies but need lots of coat maintenance when older taking up lots of time, they are stubborn, independent, which could be hard to master, but they are also loving, fearless, I would never have thought I would own such a little dog, I was looking for a German Shepard at first but when my little Lucky turned up on the doorstep I cracked and took him into my home and family.

The Lhasa Apso can live for many years the oldest on record being twentynine years old. You will have many years to control these temperaments and after get as much joy from your pet as I have over the seventeen years Lucky and I have been together. Maybe it was because he was abandoned that he appreciated me and was an easy dog to train, if only he could talk and tell me!!

I do hope reading this article has helped you to understand a little about the temperaments of the Lhasa Apso and, like myself, you become the proud owner of one of these “Barking Lion Dog”

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