In 1934 Mr Suydam Cutting of Hamilton Farm, New Jersey, visited Lhasa and was given a present of five Apsos by the 13th Dalai Lama ( the one previous to the present one).
These he bred successfully. Mr Cutting was a great and well-known traveller and in 1937 he re-visited Lhasa this time with his wife.
The 13th Dalai Lama had just died before the arrival of Mr and Mrs Cutting and the Regent was in power. He told them that he would send them two Apsos. This he duely did and a beautiful pair of golden Apsos arrived the day before their departure from Lhasa, accompanied by the following letter from the Regent :
"I am sending you two dogs by way of Kalimpong. Please take great care when you receive them. Dated 7th of the 1st Tibetan month of the Water-Birth year. "
The Cuttings were thus able to infuse new blood into their by now famous Hamilton Kennels.
The Apso SEN-KYI, as the small dogs are always known in Tibet, as opposed to the large Apso (known in Britain as the Lhasa Terrier) were owned entirely by the noble families and high rank officials. They kept them very carefully pure breed.
The reason the small Apsos were so carefully kept and appreciated was that they were said to resemble the little lion which is one of the Baddhist emblems. Sen = lion Kyi = chien , in Tibetan.
The golden colour was the preferred one, naturally, being the colour of a lion. These small Apsos were always scarce and when the troubles with the Chinese arose after the 1939-45 War, they became almost unobtainable even in Tibet.