- Height: Varies
- Weight: 10 to 20 pounds
The Lhasapoo is a cross between a Lhasa Apso and a Poodle, usually a Miniature Poodle. He may have the curly coat of a Poodle or the long, straight coat of a Lhasa Apso, but he always has a cute, alert face, and sturdy body. The Lhasapoo can come in a multitude of solid colors or in a particolor pattern (a color plus white).
The Lhasapoo is a crossbreed. Opening your heart and home to a crossbreed is like opening a beautifully wrapped package on your birthday: you never know what’s going to be inside. It’s often assumed that a crossbreed will combine the best of two or more breeds, but genetics doesn’t always work that way. The way genes combine and express themselves is not necessarily in a breeder’s control, even less so when two breeds are crossed. That’s something to keep in mind before you lay down lots of money for a dog that you have been assured will be hypoallergenic or healthier than a purebred.
At their best, Lhasapoos are friendly and affectionate, although some may have the suspicious nature of the Lhasa Apso, whose original purpose was to serve as a temple watchdog. Lhasapoos generally weigh 10 pounds to 20 pounds, making them a comfortable size for most homes. They are excellent watchdogs but can be on the yappy side. They also have a quick mind, making them highly trainable.
Lhasapoos have a moderate activity level and adapt easily to their owners’ lifestyles. They need a nice walk or active playtime each day, and if you’re interested (and the dog’s overall health is good), they are athletic enough to participate in such dog sports as agility, obedience, and rally.
Both of the breeds used to create Lhasapoos tend to be smart and learn quickly. If you begin socialization and training early and use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards, you’ll have a wonderful companion.
Poodles have a reputation for being hypoallergenic, meaning that they can be tolerated by people who have allergies to dogs. Thus, Lhasapoos are sometimes promoted as being hypoallergenic. But allergies are caused not by a particular dog coat type but by dander, the dead skin cells shed by all dogs. There is no scientific evidence that any breed or crossbreed is more or less allergenic than any other dog. Some people with allergies react less severely to particular dogs, but no reputable breeder will guarantee that her dogs are hypoallergenic.
Lhasapoos are companion dogs. They love their people and need to live in the house, never outdoors.
Lhasapoo puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, and that makes the Lhasapoo a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. But there’s no need to pay big bucks for a Lhasapoo. You can often find a wonderful example of this crossbreed at your local shelter or through adoption organizations.
Other Quick Facts
- Lhasapoos come in many coat colors and patterns, depending on the genes they inherit.
- Most Lhasapoos are best suited to homes with older children who understand how to behave around dogs.
The History of the Lhasapoo
People have been crossing types of dogs for millennia in the attempt to achieve a certain look, temperament, or working ability. That’s how many well-known purebreds, including the Affenpinscher, Australian Shepherd, Black Russian Terrier, Brussels Griffon, Doberman Pinscher, German Wirehaired Pointer, Leonberger, and more, originally got their starts.
But crossing two breeds over and over does not a breed make. A breed is a group of animals related by descent from common ancestors and visibly similar in most characteristics. To achieve consistency in appearance, size, and temperament, breeders must select puppies with the traits they want and breed them over several generations for the traits to become set.
Crossbreeds such as the Lhasapoo have become popular over the past 10 or 20 years as people seek out dogs that are different from the everyday Yorkie or Poodle or that they think will have certain appealing characteristics. For instance, it’s often claimed (falsely, by the way) that cross-breeds are hypoallergenic or have fewer health problems or will carry the best traits of each breed.
Unfortunately, genes aren’t quite that malleable. Genetic traits sort out randomly in each dog, so without selecting for certain characteristics over many generations, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the best of each breed. And no matter what his breed or mix, an individual dog may be more or less allergenic or intelligent or healthy.
Whatever his breed, cross, or mix, love your dog for what he is: a unique, special, and loving companion.
Lhasapoo Temperament and Personality
Temperament is affected partly by inheritance and partly by environment, so it can be variable. A Lhasapoo’s temperament depends on several things including the temperaments of his parents, especially the mother, who is more likely to influence a puppy’s behavior; the amount of socialization he receives; and the particular genes he inherits. He might be standoffish if the Lhasa side of his family dominates or more playful if the Poodle side prevails. Both Lhasas and Poodles can have a proud and dignified demeanor, but Poodles are more likely to enjoy showing off their tricks and good looks.
A Lhasapoo can be smart. He also might sometimes be a little stubborn and independent — those are traits from his Lhasa side — but if you train him with positive reinforcement techniques, showing him what you like by rewarding him with praise, play, and treats, he’s likely to learn quickly.
Start training your puppy the day you bring him home. Even at eight weeks old, he is capable of soaking up everything you can teach him. Don’t wait until he is 6 months old to begin training or you will have a more headstrong dog to deal with. If possible, get him into puppy kindergarten class by the time he is 10 to 12 weeks old, and socialize, socialize, socialize. However, be aware that many puppy training classes require certain vaccines (like kennel cough) to be up to date, and many veterinarians recommend limited exposure to other dogs and public places until puppy vaccines (including rabies, distemper and parvovirus) have been completed. In lieu of formal training, you can begin training your puppy at home and socializing him among family and friends until puppy vaccines are completed.
Talk to the breeder, describe exactly what you’re looking for in a dog, and ask for assistance in selecting a puppy. Breeders see their puppies daily and can make uncannily accurate recommendations once they know something about your lifestyle and personality. Whatever you want from a Lhasapoo, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.
What You Need To Know About Lhasapoo Health
All dogs, whether purebreds, crossbreeds, or mixes, have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the mixed breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the mixed breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.
Lhasapoos may be susceptible to the health problems of both the Lhasa Apso and Miniature Poodle, but there’s also a chance that the genetic diversity introduced by mixing two breeds may lower the chances of developing certain inherited diseases. The very nature of genetic variation makes this difficult to predict for a mixed breed dog. Please refer to the breed guides on Lhasa Apsos and Miniature Poodles for an overview of some of the inherited diseases reported in these two breeds.
Not all inherited conditions are detectable in a growing puppy, and it can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these maladies, which is why you must find a reputable breeder who is committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible. They should be able to produce independent certification that the parents of the dog (and grandparents, etc.) have been screened for genetic defects and deemed healthy for breeding. At a minimum, ask the breeder to show evidence that both of the puppy’s parents have the appropriate certifications from health registries like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Canine Eye Registry Foundation, etc.
If the breeder tells you she doesn’t need to do those tests because she’s never had problems in her lines, her dogs have been vet checked, or any of the other excuses bad breeders have for skimping on the genetic testing of their dogs, walk away.
Careful breeders screen their breeding dogs for genetic disease and breed only the healthiest and best-looking specimens, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas and a puppy develops one of these diseases despite good breeding practices. Advances in veterinary medicine mean that in most cases the dogs can still live good lives. If you’re getting a puppy, ask the breeder about the ages of the dogs in her lines and what they died of.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new puppy into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the more common health problems: obesity. Keeping a Lhasapoo at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to extend his life. Make the most of diet and exercise to help ensure a healthier dog for life.
The Basics of Lhasapoo Grooming
Lhasapoos can have different types of fur, including soft, tight curls; big looping curls; loose waves; or straight hair. Most have a curly or wavy coat with a minority having either the typical Poodle coat or the straight Lhasa coat. Curly or straight, it’s always soft. A Lhasapoo coat looks its best with professional grooming every four to six weeks, and it requires brushing or combing every two to three days to prevent mats or tangles, as well as regular bathing between appointments with the groomer.
Lhasapoos are among the breeds that commonly develop reddish-brown tear stains beneath their eyes. Your best bet is to wash the face daily, carefully wiping beneath the eyes, to prevent stains from setting.
Your Lhasapoo doesn’t need a bikini wax, but you do need to trim the genital area for cleanliness or have the groomer shave the lower belly area.
The rest is basic care. Trim his nails every week or two, and keep his ears clean and dry. Small dogs are especially prone to periodontal disease, so brush his teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Finding a Lhasapoo
Put at least as much effort into researching your puppy as you would into choosing a new car or expensive appliance. It will save you money in the long run. Whether you want to go with a breeder or get your dog from a shelter or rescue, here are some things to keep in mind.
Choosing a Lhasapoo Breeder
Finding a good breeder is a great way to find the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy and will, without question, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. She is most interested in placing pups in the right homes than making big bucks.
Good breeders will welcome your questions about temperament, health clearances, and what the dogs are like to live with, and come right back at you with questions of their own about what you’re looking for in a dog and what kind of life you can provide for him. A good breeder can tell you about the history of the mixed breed and discuss what health problems affect them, and the steps she takes take to avoid those problems.
Avoid breeders who seem interested only in how quickly they can unload a puppy on you and whether your credit card will go through. You should also bear in mind that buying a puppy from a website that offers to ship your dog to you immediately can be a risky venture, as it leaves you no recourse if what you get isn’t exactly what you expected.
Lots of reputable breeders have websites, so how can you tell who’s good and who’s not? Red flags include puppies always being available, multiple litters on the premises, having your choice of any puppy, and the ability to pay online with a credit card. Quickie online purchases are convenient, but they are almost never associated with reputable breeders.
Whether you’re planning to get your new best friend from a breeder, a pet store, or another source, don’t forget that old adage “let the buyer beware”. Disreputable breeders and facilities that deal with puppy mills can be hard to distinguish from reliable operations. There’s no 100% guaranteed way to make sure you’ll never purchase a sick puppy, but researching the crossbreed (so you know what to expect), checking out the facility (to identify unhealthy conditions or sick animals), and asking the right questions can reduce the chances of heading into a disastrous situation. And don’t forget to ask your veterinarian, who can often refer you to a reputable breeder, rescue organization, or other reliable source for healthy puppies.
And before you decide to buy a puppy, consider whether an adult Lhasapoo might better suit your needs and lifestyle. Puppies are loads of fun, but they require a lot of time and effort before they grow up to become the dogs of your dreams. An adult Lhasapoo may already have some training and will probably be less active, destructive, and demanding than a puppy. With an adult dog, you know exactly what you’re getting in terms of personality and health. If you are interested in acquiring an older dog instead of a puppy, ask breeders if they know of an adult dog who needs a new home.
Adopting a Dog From a Lhasapoo Rescue or Shelter
Lhasapoo puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. But there’s no need to pay big bucks for a Lhasapoo. There are many great options available if you want to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. Here is how to get started.
1. Use the Web
Sites like Petfinder.com can have you searching for a Lhasapoo in your area in no time flat. The site allows you to be very specific in your requests (housetraining status, for example) or very general (all the Lhasapoos available on Petfinder across the country). AnimalShelter.org can help you find animal rescue groups in your area. Also some local newspapers have “pets looking for homes” sections you can review.
Social media is another great way to find a dog. Post on your Facebook page that you are looking for a specific breed so that your entire community can be your eyes and ears.
2. Reach Out to Local Experts
Start talking with all the pet pros in your area about your desire for a Lhasapoo. That includes vets, dog walkers, and groomers. When someone has to make the tough decision to give up a dog, that person will often ask her own trusted network for recommendations.
3. Talk to Rescue Groups
Most people who love Lhasapoos love all Lhasapoos. Search online for Lhasapoo rescues in your area. Poodle rescues and Lhasa Apso rescues are also good resources for this crossbreed. They also often offer fostering opportunities so, with training, you could bring a Lhasapoo home for a trial to see what the experience is like.
4. Key Questions to Ask
You now know the things to discuss with a breeder, but there are also questions you should discuss with shelter or rescue group staff or volunteers before you bring home a dog. These include:
What is his energy level?
How is he around other animals?
How does he respond to shelter workers, visitors, and children?
What is his personality like?
What is his age?
Is he housetrained?
Has he ever bitten or hurt anyone that they know of?
Are there any known health issues?
Wherever you acquire your Lhasapoo, make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. Petfinder offers an Adopters Bill of Rights that helps you understand what you can consider normal and appropriate when you get a dog from a shelter. In states with “puppy lemon laws,” be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.
Puppy or adult, take your Lhasapoo to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.