Lhasa Apsos and Children

by Joyce Johanson

We Lhasa breeders may be contributing to the decline in Lhasa popularity by the information we provide about the breed in our ads and on our websites. In an attempt to protect our dogs, we often end up giving the breed a bad image, especially when it comes to Lhasas and kids.

It is true that many Lhasa breeders refuse to sell puppies to people who have young children. I find that interesting because most of us are parents, and now grandparents. Our own children were raised with our Lhasas, and now our grandchildren get to visit and play with the dogs. In our case, we owned, showed and bred Lhasas for 5.5 years before our first child was born. The dogs and children were raised together and expected to get along! They did.

In spite of my good experiences with Lhasas and children, I am often leery about letting people with young children buy a puppy - and it is not because I distrust the Lhasas as a breed or my own puppies as individuals not to "be good with children." It's more that I don't trust other people's children to "be good to the puppy!"

For example, we once adopted a Lhasa female whose breeder had taken her back from the people she sold her to because the breeder heard reports that the puppy was being abused. As it turned out, the rumors were true. Chrissy was being poked at and teased when she was in her crate. The children would also put her on a lead and drag her on her belly down the sidewalk when she refused to walk. Now, what is true about Lhasas is that they have long memories, they bear grudges, and like any other dog or person that has been bullied, they reach a saturation point where they will retaliate. So, yes, Chrissy growled and snapped at the children, and even when she came to our home where she was safe, she was always touchy and protective about her crate. Away from it, she was happy and loving with the kids. Some memories are just hard to erase. I'm sure other breeders have had similar experiences that have resulted in the "not available to homes with young children" statement in their ads.

A Lhasa Apso is fine in a home with children whose parents teach them respect for animals and other people. When people tell me they have children, I generally ask the ages. I ask them to be honest with me and themselves about how the children behave and if they, as parents, can honestly attest to how the children would interact with the puppy. Sometimes we come to an agreement that the situation is a good one for a puppy. At other times, the potential buyers opt to wait a few more years until the child is ready to interact appropriately with a puppy.

Some Lhasas, like some people, simply don't like children. Children's unexpected movements, screeching, general exuberance, and unconscious disregard for others are annoying.

Other Lhasas, like most people, love children so much! I once sold a young adult female to a single person who lives in a large city. The dog was born after our children were grown and before the grandchildren were born, so she had never even seen a child. Yet, her owner tells me the dog loves children and when she goes for walks and sees a child, she cries until her owner allows her to greet the child. Liking or disliking children is a personal preference, not a breed characteristic.

Please note: Permission to reproduce and/or circulate information in this article is granted. However, the article must be disseminated in its entirety and credit must be given to Joyce Johanson, Joyslyn's Lhasa Apsos. Thanks!

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