These exotic dogs, with their long silky fur and deep-set eyes, come from Tibet, where they were used to announce the arrival of strangers in Buddhist monasteries. The breed, however, is thought to have originated much earlier,as much as 3000 years ago, making it one of the oldest known dog breeds.Lhasa Apsos are relatively small, averaging around 12 pounds (5.5 kg). They bind closely to their owners but, in keeping with their breeding, are slow to accept strangers, and require careful training if they are to interact with children or other pets.
Should you Purchase Insurance for your Lhasa Apso?
Lhasa Apsos tend to be fairly healthy, especially for small dogs, with lifespans averaging around 13 years. Owners should however keep watch for a number of common medical issues:
- Cherry Eye: some dogs develop an inflammation of a gland associated with the eyelids, which can become distended and inflamed and considerable discomfort. The condition can usually be treated successfully with medication or, in more severe cases, surgery.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): as the name suggests, this disease occurs when the cells of a dog’s retinas degenerate. A single gene mutation is responsible for the problem, though as yet no genetic test has been developed. It is therefore imperative to know the breeding history before acquiring a puppy in order to ensure that none of its ancestors has gone blind. There is no treatment for PRA, though affected dogs can almost always live full lives if kept indoors.
- Sebaceous Adenitis (SA): this disease occurs when the immune system attacks the oil-producing glands in a dog’s own skin; it may or may not be inherited. Symptoms include a dingy coat, hair loss and lesions on the skin. SA can be difficult to diagnose, usually requiring multiple biopsies, and may be masked by secondary infections. There is no known cure; treatment involves soothing the skin, treating secondary infections and lifelong administration of immunosuppressive drugs.
Lhasa Apsos are highly sought after, with puppies costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Many owners have found that pet health insurance makes sense for them as a way to ensure that they can protect the investment of money and love that one of these little dogs represents.
For other types of dogs, check out our full list of dog breeds.