It is a very old breed, whose origins go back to at least two thousand years ago. It was raised mainly for herding sheep, guarding monasteries, hunting rodents or as a companion dog. It was very appreciated by Buddhist monks, considered a sacred symbol, it was never sold only given as a gift. It is related to the Lhasa Apso. It arrived in England around the 1930s due to a doctor, Grieg, who for healing a Tibetan princess, received some specimens of this breed. The first specimen arrived in the U.S.A. in 1956.
It is a medium-sized, strong, robust dog, with a square-shaped body. The head is proportional to the body, the skull and the muzzle are equal in length and the nose is black. The head is covered with long hair, falling in front, over its eyes, forming mustaches and a small beard. The eyes are big, set apart and dark. The ears are medium-sized, V-shaped, drooping but not close to the head, being covered with bushy fringes. The tail is of medium length, carried in a curl on the back and covered with bushy fringes. The fur is double-layered with a soft and short inner layer and an outer layer with thick, long, straight or a little wavy hair, fine without being either silky or woolly. It can be black, white, of various shades of beige, grey or mutlicoloured.
It is an intelligent, lively, courageous, tenacious, watchful, calm and gentle dog. It is affectionate and devoted to its master, it accepts children if they don't bother it, it is reserved and cautious with strangers. It must be socialized from an early age, not to have problems later on with other animals and other dogs, otherwise it can have the tendency to be dominant.
The fur should be brushed daily not to get tangled and it should be washed regularly. Excess hair in the ears and between the footpads should be removed.
It is a dog that can adapt to the offered living conditions - outdoors or indoors. It has a rather high level of activity, it has a lot of energy, it likes exercise and fun such as agility contests and flyball. It needs socialization and training.
It's an intelligent dog, sensitive to the tone of the voice and that's why with a calm, gentle but consistent training the desired results can be obtained.
It is used both as a guard dog and as a companion dog. In its country of origin it is still used for guarding sheep.