Lhasa apso (läˈsə ăpˈsō) [key], breed of small, alert nonsporting dog developed in Tibet many centuries ago. It stands about 11 in. (27.9 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 13 to 15 lb (5.9–6.8 kg). Its heavy, straight coat is long and very dense. It may be any of various colors or combinations of colors, although shades of gold are preferred. The Lhasa apso was raised in the lamaseries and villages outlying Lhasa, the ancient center of Lamaism. Specimens of the breed were traditionally given as gifts by the Dali Lamas to the Chinese emperors and other dignitaries. Today it is raised as a watchdog and pet. See dog.