Tibetan kyi apso

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Tibetan Kyi Apso
Origin Tibet (China)
Breed statusNot recognised as a breed by any major kennel club.
Weight 32–41 kg (71–90 lb)
Height 63–71 cm (25–28 in)
Coat Heavy double coat
Colour Black with pale extremities, other colours found
Life span ≈ 12 years
Dog ( domestic dog )

The Tibetan Kyi Apso is a breed of livestock guardian dog from Tibet. [1] [2] [3] In Tibet, the Pashmina of this breed is occasionally saved and used to weave small carpets. [4]



In comparison to the Tibetan Mastiff, the Kyi Apso has a bearded, shaggy muzzle and longer hair overall but also its bone is not as hefty. Most Kyi Apsos appear lighter and more athletic than a Tibetan Mastiff, and lack the huge, sagging lips or dewlaps, facial wrinkles, or a lot of haw. [4]

Considered a primitive breed, it typically retains the hardiness which would be required for it to survive in Tibet and the high-altitude Himalayan range. [5]

As a flock guardian dog in Tibet and in the West, it uses all the usual livestock guardian tactics (e.g., barking, scent-marking perimeters) to warn away predators and avoid direct confrontations. [4]


The earliest mention of this dog breed comes from writings in the 19th and early 20th centuries about dogs from Central Asia, Tibet and the Himalayan countries. It is related to the Tibetan Mastiff. [4]

Captain George Augustus Graham, best known among dog fanciers as the founder of the Irish Wolfhound Club of Great Britain, imported a dog called a "Tibetan wolf dog". [6] This dog is best described as a Kyi Apso. [7]

The 13th Dalai Lama is noted to have owned a dog of this type. [8]

Relatively few Tibetan Kyi Apsos have reached North America or Europe. Among the first to North America were imported in the late 1970s, or perhaps earlier, but none of those dogs seem to have left any progeny. [4]

The breed used to be well-represented and cared for by the now-defunct Tibetan Kyi Apso Club, which was established in 1995, but it collapsed in 1999 and registered no litters after 2000.

See also

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