This is a question breeders have to ask themselves, I think.
The Lhasas that first made their appearance at British shows at the beginning of the 20th century possessed the unique qualities that enable them to survive in the very inhospitable climate of their native country, Tibet. I do not mean that they were just heavily coated but that nature had given them the skull shape, natural lung capacity and very sound natural compact balance needed to cope with the dramatic climatic conditions of a high altitude home and primitive lifestyle. Recently I judged a club championship show and was dismayed to find a high proportion of incorrect broad skulls and ribcages, plus really poor front construction on a lot of young males. This was made equally more surprising by the high quality of the young females, although even their fronts could generally have been better.
My findings made me reflect on whether as a breed we are doing enough to instruct new breeders on the very define points of the Standard and the necessity of them.
This year our club ran a very successful symposium, together with a seminar that committee members and knowledgeable people in the breed were involved in. Luckily, these were well attended and we tried to emphasise both the written and unwritten Standard.
However, I know other Lhasa clubs who had to abandon planned teach-ins through lack of support. Why is this ? Are we becoming apathetic and complacent ? Can a Lhasa win without necessarily possessing the breed type our Standard calls for ? Unfortunately I think that this is very possible and feel it is up to our specialist judges to be vigorous in the protection of our Standard.
I personally believe it is possible to breed Lhasa Apsos that are true in type to their Tibetan forefathers and have the glamour and showmanship that is necessary to take to the top in the modern show ring.
Perhaps more care should be taken in the selection of show puppies and planned matings.
A careful, honest list your bitch’s virtues and faults would be a first step after all if you mate broad skull to broad skull you will perforce produce puppies with broad skulls (this basically, is how to create a new breed by doubling up on certain features). These puppies in turn will be more certain to throw broad skulls, even when mated to a dog with a moderately narrow skull.
It is the same with poor fronts, bad mouths, round ribcages etc… You should look to mate your bitch to a dog that possesses strength of features where yours is weak. Take advice from more experienced breeders on the quality and selection of your stock.
My mother and I believed that a young male had to be of excellent quality to even consider keeping him he had to possess a good front, head and ribcage because he would be required to sire more puppies and throw his type much more that a bitch who would possibly have just a couple of litters.
Having just been involved in a Shih Tzu symposium I feel still more strongly that care must be taken to keep the right balance, skull and ribcage on the Lhasa Apso.
For centuries the Lhasa lived in Tibet. If after just 100 years in this country it degenerated into a poor replica of another breed I would be totally ashamed, how about you ?