Living With a Lhasa Apso: How Much Do They Really Shed?

Lhasa Apso at grooming salon during shedding season

When I decided to adopt a Lhasa Apso dog five years ago, I was worried about a lot of things, and the one that took precedence was “how much do they shed?”

I carried out some research and made enquires to understand how much this dog breed sheds. After owning a Lhasa Apso for many years, I was able to answer this question with confidence.

So, how much do Lhasa Apso dogs shed? Lhasa Apsos shed very low amounts each year regularly. This breed does not shed like other breeds, but they shed more like humans: very slowly and often continuously. Some owners of Lhasa Apso even claim that their dogs do not shed at all or shed minimal amount.

As a result of this, Lhasa Apsos are compatible with just about anyone; those with or without allergies. The nature of their hair, which makes it bulky and therefore less airborne, coupled with how little they shed makes them more hypoallergenic.

After five years, I have first-hand knowledge of how Lhasa Apso shedding actually is, and how to deal with it.

How Bad the Lhasa Apso Shedding Really Is and What’s It Like?

Lhasa Apsos are among the dogs that shed the least. They fall under the same category as the Tibetan Terrier, Chinese Created, Kerry Blue Terrier, Bichon Frise, and much more.

Lhasa Apsos are double-coated. Their coats are heavy, long, and straight, and as they grow, their hair gets even heavier. Due to the length and heaviness of their coat, it becomes very unsuitable for shedding too much hair frequently.

As a Lhasa Apso owner, you will hardly find hair strands on your floor, couch, or bed as these dogs do not shed at all or shed very little. Even if they do shed hairs, however, they are pretty easy to clean.

With this dog, you can go days without vacuuming your floors, and you will barely find one strand of hair. You should think about getting a Lhasa Apso if you’re the type who dislikes day-to-day cleaning and sweeping.

Below are the best ways to give you the perfect description of how Lhasa Apsos shed.

  • On the floor: If you can tell a home that has a dog by checking the floors for dog hair, you will get it wrong with Lhasa Apsos. Most times, my roommate and I spend days without finding a single strand of hair from our dog on the floor. During shedding season (usually in the Spring and Fall), we would see just a bit of hair here and there. But nothing close to a handful. On the carpet, it’s impossible to see dog hair even for months.
  • Clinging to clothes: If you hate having dog hair on your clothes, you should probably think about getting a Lhasa Apso. There’s usually no loose hair around, so there’s nothing to cling to your clothes. After going through our routine brushing of the dog’s coat, even while rubbing against Chief (that’s the name of our dog), it is hard to find even a strand of hair on our clothes.
  • Finding hair on your hand when petting the dog: This is never a problem with Lhasa Apsos. Even when you play with them with wet hands, it is almost impossible to find hair stuck to your palms. You can play with and pet your dog as much as you want without worrying about it.
  • On the bed, couch, and other upholstery: Our dog spends a lot of time on the couch more than he does on his bed. This is because he loves hanging close to my roommate, who spends most of her time on the couch. However, considering how much time the dog stays on the couch, we barely find hair on it. This is great because it would be annoying having to clean the couch all the time.

The Lhasa Apso has been around for thousands of years, originating from the Tibetan Himalayas. With the kind of cold weather there, the Lhasa Apso coat was less decorative and a lot more functional.

Their extremely long double coat consists of an outer coat with guard hair that keeps them protected and an undercoat which keeps them warm.

While their coat’s nature is what makes them shed very little, it also can be very tasking to maintain. The Lhasa Apso’s coat must be brushed regularly to ensure it keeps up with its slow shedding.

The coat needs to be groomed routinely to remove debris and dirt, thereby keeping the coat at its finest and healthiest.

How Hypoallergenic Are Lhasa Apsos?

There are a few dog breeds that people tend to refer to as hypoallergenic dogs because they are extremely low shedders. The fact is, there are no complete hypoallergenic dog breeds, only that some breeds come very close to being hypoallergenic.

All dogs shed off dander which is the primary cause of allergies. These, along with some other allergens, become trapped in the dog’s hair. A possibility of a dog causing an allergic reaction is highly dependent on how much hair it sheds and the weight of the hair. So, the more and lighter the hair, the higher the chances of being a non-hypoallergenic dog.

The analysis above puts the Lhasa Apso as one of the few dog breeds that allergy sufferers can coexist with perfectly. With the minimal amount of hair they shed, Lhasa Apsos do not produce enough danders to be a problem. Their hair is long and heavy, which prevents hair strands from becoming airborne, hence decreasing the amount of allergen in the air.

So, if you love dogs, but you just can’t stand to be around them because they get your allergies acting up, getting a breed like the Lhasa Apso will be especially perfect for you.

How to Reduce the Shedding of Lhasa Apso?

There is almost no shedding to reduce with these dogs. However, neglecting them and failing to take proper care of them can cause them to shed more. So, with Lhasa Apsos, you’re mainly trying to make sure the shedding is continuously low and slow.

Some owners claim that Lhasa Apsos do not even shed at all. So, with those kinds of dogs, your only focus would be to make sure they do not start shedding.

I have put together a shortlist of things you must do to keep your Lhasa Apso’s shedding low and steady.

  • Regular brushing: Lhasa Apsos are easily one of the high maintenance dog breeds. A lot has to be done to keep your dog looking clean and healthy, and one of them is regular brushing. This dog requires grooming, especially when you haven’t trimmed their coat. The need for daily brushing arises to stop your dog’s coat from tangling and preventing the matting of their coat. Brushing the coat with a pin comb and a slicker brush should be enough to get all the tangles and dirt off their hair. If brushing your dog’s hair daily becomes a problem for you, an easy solution is outsourcing that job to a professional groomer. Another solution is having your Lhasa’s hair trimmed professionally. This way, you would only have to brush your dog’s coat at least three times a week.
  • Regular bathing: Simply brushing your Lhasa’s hair is not enough to keep him clean and his coat healthy. You need to bathe your dog every two weeks (if his hair is not trimmed) and once every month if he has a trimmed coat. Over bathing is not a healthy way of cleaning up your dog; on the contrary, it leads to more problems than it solves. Bathing with a good quality shampoo is a good way of maintaining your Lhasa Apso’s shedding.
  • Use good quality shampoo: Bathing your dog with a shampoo that has terrible ingredients can be harmful to your Lhasa’s skin. It can lead to irritation which in turn will lead to abnormal shedding. Oatmeal shampoos have been known to produce excellent results on dogs’ coat and skin. You should get one of those for the improvement of your dog’s skin.
  • Supplements: The use of Omega-3 and supplement have been known to keep dog coats healthy and prevent excess shedding. However, you should only consider using supplements after you have consulted with a veterinarian to make sure no harm will come to your dog.
  • Well balanced diet: Providing your dog with the right amount of nutrients it needs will help their body cells and tissues to grow normally. Poor nutrition can weaken the hair follicle, hence causing your Lhasa to shed more than it should (which will not be so much but will be more than it should shed normally). Also, make sure your dog is given access to clean water, as dehydration is another root cause of excessive shedding.
  • Exercising: Keeping your dog busy and less idle is great, not just for their health but also for their coats’ improvement. Give your Lhasa Apso as much exercise as is needed.

Like I mentioned above, Lhasa Apsos will not shed so much that it becomes too noticeable (unless the shedding is abnormal). But you can notice a slight increase in the amount it sheds if you fail to keep it in good shape and ignore the need for regular grooming. The methods I’ve mentioned will help keep your dog healthy and happy with a clean coat.

Dealing with Shedding in the House

Vacuuming the house is enough to get Lhasa Apso hair off your floor and. However, you wouldn’t need to do this every day because you can go days and not find dog hair anywhere.

In the shedding season when there is a little spike in the way Lhasa Apsos shed, you still wouldn’t need to do much to take care of the shedding. The simple act of sweeping or vacuuming will still be enough to get all the hair out (except they get lodged in areas where a vacuum cleaner cannot reach).

It will only take a few minutes to do a full sweep of the house (depending on how big your apartment is). To get the hair out of areas that are out of the vacuum’s reach, you can use a wet cloth or wet paper towel to wipe the area. All the hair will cling to the wet material, and you can just throw it out after usage.

The few times you’ll find hair on your couch or bed can be easily taken care of with a vacuum. If you have one of those couches that makes it hard to clean with a vacuum, you can use rubber gloves to wipe the couch or bed’s surface. Of course, this will be effective when you wear gloves.

Spotting Abnormal Shedding

Lhasa Apsos are vulnerable to a condition known as “Sebaceous Adenitis“, a skin disease that affects some breeds and can leave bald spots as it progresses. If this happens, it is considered an abnormal shedding as natural causes did not prompt it.

If you notice hair loss on your Lhasa Apso that looks uneven and is associated with other conditions like a fever, redness, itchiness, or skin irritation, then it is time to visit a vet. Aside from Sebaceous Adenitis, other issues might lead to a loss of hair with your dog. Hence you must seek the appropriate help.

Some causes of abnormal shedding can be mild while some can be life-threatening, making it very important to detect it as early as possible to tackle the problem while it’s fresh.

My Final Thoughts

Lhasa Apsos are one of the most sought-after dog breeds because of their incapability of triggering allergies. However, this is not their only strength as these dogs are practically small but mighty.

Not only do they shed very little, but they are also intelligent, energy-filled, protective, and a great family companion.

You shouldn’t get this dog if you see yourself as being incapable of meeting their grooming needs as they require a lot of it.

If you suffer from allergies and would like a good, loyal, and amazing dog to be a companion, you should consider adopting a Lhasa Apso.

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