The temperament and physical appearance of the Lhasa Apso can vary greatly from dog to dog, which can make choosing a Lhasa Apso puppy from a litter a difficult task. Luckily, there are a few simple tests you can do to see what a pup’s personality will be like. These tests apply to all dog breeds but are particularly important for the Lhasa, since there is so much variation in temperament with this breed. Choosing a good natured pup will mean a much happier relationship with your pet, which is so important considering how long these animals live. It also means there is much less risk of any problems with aggression later in life.
Test 1: Does the puppy play with the rest of the litter?
Watch your chosen puppy carefully with his litter mates. Is he hanging back on the side-lines or is he busy jumping and biting at one of his siblings? You can usually tell a lot about how dominant or submissive a dog is going to be by watching his social interactions. Ideally you want a dog that comes somewhere in the middle: not too submissive, but not too dominant.
Test 2: Does the pup mind being handled?
How does the puppy react to being handled? Pick him up and cradle him on his back, as you would to a baby. Does he struggle with all his might, or does he stay completely still? A puppy in the middle of these two extremes (one that wiggles a little bit, and then relaxes) will probably have the best temperament.
Test 3: Does the puppy show an interest in play, and does he have the energy for play?
Play with the puppy to test his energy levels and his personality. Does he have a healthy interest in playing with toys? Is he hyper or very docile? Does he seem shy or brave? It’s up to you to decide if the traits he displays fit with the kind of pet you would like to have.
Test 4: How does the pup react to loud noises?
When the puppy is least expecting it, take out a set of keys and rattle them suddenly above his head. Does he attack the keys? If so, he might have aggressive instincts. Does he look frightened and cower away from them? If so he may be timid and fearful. Does he just look at them and then lose interest after a while? Then he probably has a calm temperament.
Other quick tests for Lhasa Apso puppies
Aside from the behaviour of the puppy, don’t forget to look for the following traits in your potential new companion. Check off these key points for both the puppies in the litter and the mother, where possible:
Check that the skin and fur of all dogs is in good conditionn
Lhasa Apsos need careful grooming, and the last thing you want is to pick up a new pup with a skin problem or matted fur which is going to cause a lot of stress and effort to treat.
Look at the eyes
Lhasa Apsos are prone to eye problems, particularly with the retina. So, look carefully at the mother’s and puppy’s eyes and check that they are clear, bright, responsive and can focus on moving objects. Don’t be afraid to ask the breeder if there have been any eye issues down through the bloodline. A lot of these issues won’t appear until adulthood.
Look at the gait
Check how the mother and puppies walk. Do they have an even, confident stride? Signs of limping or wobbling could be an indicator of a bone problem, many of which can be hereditary in Lhasa Apsos.