Where Is the Lhasa Apso From?
Lhasa Apsos were kept in Buddhist monasteries in Tibet for both companionship and protection. Dalai Lamas would occasionally send pairs to royal families in China, as they were thought to bring good luck and success to those who owned them. The breed inspired much folklore, specifically a myth about a flying “Snow Lion” that made nests in the skies and birthed two Apsos: one with wings and one without. The Snow Lion laid the wingless Apso on Tibetan ground, creating the very first Lhasa Apso dog.
It was also thought that deceased monks were brought back as Lhasa Apsos and, likewise, when a Lhasa Apso dog died, they were brought back as a human child. With all the mythology and sanctity surrounding the breed, they were kept very close and isolated to Tibet for many centuries. It wasn’t until the 1930s that an American received a pair as gifts from the 13th Dalai Lama, establishing the breed in the United States for the first time. By 1935, the breed was registered with the American Kennel Club as part of the Terrier Group, but was ultimately transferred to the Non-Sporting Group in the 1950s.