February 1975
Dear Madame,

I brought a whole series of “Apzos” from Lhasa, which were taken into the U.S.A by the Americans in 1945.
I published nothing on “Apzos”.
I am sorry not to be able to help you, but according to what I know it is Colonel Bailey who imported “Apzos” in England and breeded them there.

There are no pure breed dogs in Tibet because the “Zpzos” there were of different size, shape and coat, some were very similar to Pekinese (specially the smallest ones) others with longer leggs look a little bit like Pinschers with long hair.
That is all I can tell you.
I apologize for not having answer to your son ……

Dr. Ernst Schäfer



June 28, 1975

Ernst Shäfer
3133 Göhr


Dear Madame de Zarobe,

Having been once more travelling, please excuse me for not having answered earlier to your kind letter of the 13th March 1975.
I am pleased to give you the information concerning the Lhasa-Terrier.
1° In East and North-East, as well as in the center of Tibet I never came across dogs similar to "Apzos", but only in the Lhasa and Shigatse provinces, also in the classic Tibet, which has been for a long time ,very closely linked culturally to China.
There, animals were almost exclusively owned by priviledged persons (nobles and lamas ) as domestic and house dogs.
Animals varied very much in size and fur structure. All crossings from Spaniel to Lhasa-Terrier, including Tibetan- Terrier. There was no question whatsoever of pure bred.
I therefore think that Europeans were the first to establish and follow breeding rules and targets and that they were the only ones to make a difference between the above mentioned " breeds."

2° I found Tibetan Molosses, specially in North East Tibet, belonging to nomades. They were used as watchdogs and not as sheepdogs. In the classic Tibet they were very rare.

3° The by far most commun Tibetan dogs (about 90% ) were " Paria dogs " with a fur from short to hirsute, with long legs, looking like terriers, in all colours, forms and sizes ( up to 30 pounds ). However, concerning colour, "BEIGE" was dominant as it is also most commun in Apzos. These Terriers were stray dogs, most often without owners, which lived on garbage and were not bred.

4° In the East of Tibet, the Mollosses did not keep village entrances, neither were they mainly belonging to rich Lamas, they were nomade' s dogs keeping tents, encapments. They were not dogs with kennels.

Regarding what is mentioned in "Tibetan Spaniel" I only saw in some aristocrats (Bhutias) of Sikkim who were all related to Lhasa Tibetan, that also in Sikkim there was no systematic dog breeding.

As I have already told you, in the Classic Tibet (Lhasa ) Apzos of all colours, all sizes were widely expanded. Pure breed was unknwon.
I therefore cannot believe that any breeding existed in Tibet to obtain "Lion Dogs". I am more inclined to think that the cultural relationship existing between China and Tibet since the 7th century resulted in the fact that one could find, in very early days, Chinese toy dogs in the Tibetan high society. These dogs crossed with local Tibetan dogs and probably gave birth to Apzos of great variety. I never heard that "Lion Dogs" and Apzos were holy breds nor that they were considered in Serra or Ganden (where I spent several days) as reincarnation of Lamas. Nor that they were used as mausoleum to high personalities, this is part of legend. Corpses of important Tibetans were cut into pieces and exposed to vultures. Errant Paria-dogs took the rest.

Concerning the origine, in my opinion, I repeat : the Chinese dogs from Peking had been taken into Tibet and not the other way round. This is applicable also to material culture of Tibetan aristocracy. Concerning the crossing resulting in the Sti-Tsu, I agree with the author. It is difficult to ascertain if this happened in China or in Tibet..

In 1931 and 1939 it was easy for me to acquire Tibetan dogs, there was no protection by religious dogmes condemning the sale.

In 1939 I took about 15 to 20 Tibetan Apzos of all sizes from Lhasa (Tibet ), together with Tibetan Terriers and Mastiffs.

At the end of the war they were taken by American soldiers from the Cologne Zoo to an unkwon destination.Some of these Apzos came from Prime Minister family Tsarong Shape. These looked very much to the photos you sent me.I have not brought any document proving, in whatsoever manner, the purety of the two Tibetan breeds.In my opinion, England has first obtained a pure breed by crossing several varieties

Hoping my information will be usefull to you .
Dr. Ernst Schäfer