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When dog lovers hear the phrase “mountain dog,” their innovations naturally flip to the huge guys: Saint Bernards, incredible Pyrenees, Bernese Mountain dogs, and different tremendous, immensely powerful breeds created to protect flocks and rescue luckless travelers amid the realm’s extraordinary mountain stages. However dogs especially bred to thrive in excessive altitudes are available all sizes. The small but sturdy Lhasa Apso, and its equally diminutive cousin the Tibetan Spaniel, come effortlessly to intellect.
Lhasas have been bred for many centuries to be companions and watchdogs at isolated Tibetan monasteries. Tibet, known as the “roof of the world,” is a high plateau surrounded by way of mountains, together with the monstrous Himalayas. The Lhasa’s domestic turf is a few 13,000 feet above sea degree. The air is extraordinarily thin, containing forty p.C much less oxygen than is present in the lowlands. The terrain is uneven and rugged, and the temperatures are severe.
The Lhasa was built to thrive in its apparently inhospitable homeland. The compact, muscular dog under the flowing coat has the constitution required to conserve heat on subzero Himalayan nights and the stamina to negotiate rocky mountain passes. The broad muzzle and comparatively tremendous lungs (with a physique lengthy satisfactory to accommodate them) enable Lhasas to breathe effortlessly at high altitudes.
The dense, weatherproof coat gives warmth on snowcapped mountaintops and acts as a solar guard in the blazing midday sun of the valleys. The feathered tail arching over the back is a parasol providing additional insurance policy from the sun, and the lavish facial hair shields the eyes from grime and thistle. The ft are circular and big, making certain traction in snow and on treacherous, icy slopes.
The Lhasa Apso is proof that a mountain dog isn’t necessarily as big as a mountain.
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The breeders and caretakers of Lhasa Apsos had been Tibetan monks, whose certain brand of Buddhism is from time to time called Lamaism and whose spiritual leader is the Dalai Lama.
The monks bred canines for themselves as companions, watchdogs, and protectors, and additionally gave them as presents to leaders of Tibetan society and foreign potentates. For the reason that the founding of the Himalayan monasteries within the seventh century, the Tibetan dog breeds—the Lhaso Apso, Tibetan Mastiff, Tibetan Spaniel, and Tibetan Terrier chief among them—have held a special symbolic, and sometimes sacred, area in Lamaist fable.
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