Lhasa Apso

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 left untrained. They rank 68th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being of fair working/obedience intelligence.

Lhasa Apsos are independent as well as companion dogs who want to please their owners, yet they may be suspicious toward strangers. Unique personality characteristics of Lhasa Apsos have gained them a reputation as being a very emotive breed that, in most cases, prove themselves to be completely fearless. Lhasa Apsos often show happiness by rubbing their head on their owners, running and rolling around, or sitting on their owner's feet.

A Lhasa Apso responds to exercise and discipline with a calm assertive energy. These dogs require socialization with dogs and other people early 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. They aim to please their owners and enjoy training. While their personality belies their size, they need a home that is mindful that there is a small dog in the house to prevent injury. They enjoy vantage points in the house where they can view all that is going on. They have a sharp bark.

If properly trained early as a puppy, the Lhasa Apso will come to appreciate bathing, hair combing and clipping, but they generally do not enjoy bathing or swimming as this is not part of their breed traits.

The Lhasa Apso is a long-lived breed, with many living in good health into their early 20s. The average age for these dogs is 12–14. There are few health problems specific to the breed. Their vision may deteriorate with age but they are not sight-oriented dogs and they endure blindness with few noticeable changes in behavior.

Chihuahuas

Chihuahuas are comical, entertaining, and loyal little dogs. They are absolutely brimming with personality – often a quirky and eccentric personality unmatched by any other breed.

Other than that generalization, Chihuahuas are extremely variable. You can find individuals who are lively or placid. Bold or timid. Feisty or mellow. Confident or nervous. Stubborn or eager to please.

How a Chihuahua turns out depends very much on the genetic temperament of his parents and grandparents. In other words, entire lines of Chihuahuas are social or antisocial. If you bring home an individual who has inherited genes for a bad temperament.... well, let's just say that's not a wise thing to do unless you're prepared to live with an unstable dog. Socialization and training often can't overcome bad genes in a Chihuahua.

But socialization and training ARE still extremely important! As long as your Chihuahua has inherited genes for a normal temperament, how you raise him will determine how he turns out.

Chihuahuas do not have a particularly good reputation among the general public. Ask a few people, "Do you think Chihuahuas are nice dogs?" and see how many of them exclaim, "No! They're mean and nasty and they bite!"

Sadly, I have to say that this reputation has some basis in truth. So many people stupidly breed two Chihuahuas whose temperaments are not good. Then their puppies inherit genes for a bad temperament. Duh.

Other people take a perfectly good Chihuahua and treat him like a stuffed toy or doll, or as a substitute for a human infant. They carry him everywhere in their arms, don't teach any commands, laugh at signs of aggression, make excuses for bad behavior, and soothe and coo over the dog constantly.

It's no wonder so many Chihuahuas are neurotic! They're made that way by their owners. All dogs, whatever their size, must be taught how to walk on their own four feet, how to do what they're told, and how to get along peacefully with the world.

Now, "getting along peacefully" doesn't always mean that a Chihuahua LIKES everyone. On the contrary, many Chihuahuas are naturally suspicious toward strangers. But if you raise them properly, they can be suspicious without letting everyone within earshot know it, or without progressing to threats. It's up to YOU to draw and enforce the line.

Similarly, while most Chihuahuas get along great with other pets in their own family, they tend to raise a ruckus when they spy a strange dog. Again, YOU have to put a stop to this from day one or it will get out of hand.

Fortunately, there also exist Chihuahuas who are standoffish, but who will eventually approach people in their own good time, especially if the person isn't pushy or insistent. And some Chihuahuas are very friendly right from the get-go and will go to anyone.

Chihuahuas do seem to recognize and prefer their own breed, so it's a great idea to keep two of them. They keep each other company when you're gone, they play together, clean each other's ears (Chihuahuas can be obsessive ear-lickers!), and keep each other warm by snuggling together.

Chihuahuas adore warmth, oh, yes! They will seek out the tiniest sunspot in which to bask, and they tunnel under blankets and towels. You have to be careful whenever you sit down on your sofa or bed, as there could be a Chihuahua tucked under there!

The most difficult thing to teach a Chihuahua? Housebreaking. Chihuahuas are VERY difficult to housebreak – one of the most difficult of all breeds – especially in cold or wet weather. Consider an indoor litter box, or a doggy door that leads out to a covered potty area.


 

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