The breed standard requires dark brown eyes and a black nose, although liver-colored lhasas have a brown nose. The texture of the coat is heavy, straight, hard, neither woolly nor silky, and very dense. The tail should be carried well over the dog’s back.
They come in a wide variety of colors including black, white, red and gold with various shadings. Lhasas can be with or without dark tips at the ends of ears and beard.
Having been bred as an indoor monastery sentinel dog by Tibetan Buddhist monks, Lhasa Apsos are alert with a keen sense of hearing and a rich, sonorous bark that belies their size. The ideal Lhasa temperament is to be wary of strangers while being loyal to those closest to them. They can be very aggressive to strangers if they’re left untrained. Lhasa Apsos are independent as well as companion dogs who want to please their owners, yet they may be suspicious toward strangers.
A Lhasa Apso responds to exercise and discipline with a calm assertive energy. These dogs require early socialization with dogs and other people as puppies and throughout their lives. They require patience and may be slow to house train, but in return, they can be quite comical, entertaining and caring companions.
The Lhasa Apso may suffer from a skin disease. They also may suffer from the genetic disease progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) which causes eye-problems like cherry eye. Responsible breeders have their breeding dogs checked yearly by a canine ophthalmologist.