A small event which had repercussions on the the dog lovers’ world occured in France in spring 2006. Five Lhasa Apsos – whose parents were both coming from Tibet – were born.That event constitutes a real hope for the true fanciers. In fact, regaining the genuine type of a breed that has been fascinating western people for more than seventy years gives a new run-up and allows interesting observations, when selection abuse has greatly perverted the breed.

We owe this initiative to  Mrs Masset -the well-known breeder- who has been looking after Tibetan dogs for more than 30 years.
Mrs Masset and her husband have always been very close to the Buddhist philosophy and they know many Tibetan monks.

Both of them were invited to take part in religious ceremonies in India or in Nepal. They even  flew in company of religious dignitaries  who were taking back Kaudoum Tibetan Master’s mortal remains to the monastery of Bothna.

Those exceptional circumstances –happening in a quite closed world- have allowed Mrs Masset to obtain a little bitch from Sikkim. After mating  her with a Tibetan sire, coming from Mr D’Aoust’s former breeding, five puppies were born- 3 males  and 2 bitches. All of them of genuine strain from Tibet. The interesting observations that have been made from their birth till they were 5 months let us realize that the first standard of the Kennel Club was established in 1935 with the same type of  dogs .

Each of us is aware that for 70 years  the standard has been adapted to the dog evolution.

This is both pathetic and inevitable, owing to fashions and mentalities which have been considerably changing since the end of WWII. Dogs -as everything else- have suffered  from these changes. Shows have taken over from canine exhibitions and breed types have given way to hyper types.That was the end of genuine type.

And moreover, the one that is regarded as the man’s best friend had to suffer the worst constraints in order to achieve outstanding results .

But excess ends up distroying itself. Over the past 30 years Lhasa Apso breeders have kept on mentioning this : improve…., we must improve….., we have improved…... And they have forgotten that these dogs belong to another culture.

Now it seems that we can hear another refrain. Today’s prevailing tone brings us back to a little more moderation and a little more modesty. Environment, ecology, respect of nature are in the nature of things. Yet, new rules such as  putting a ban on cutting ears and tails for some breeds might  have changed our thoughts.Concerning the Lhasa Apso, our point of view has been affected by the too heavy coat. We first have to change our mind and understand that if nature has given this breed a double coat it has been in order to bear the inhospitable climate in Tibet, and not in order to get wave effects. This dog belongs to a different culture from ours ; now we have adapted him to our western tastes.
So, today, when we become aware of the disasters caused  by mankind all over the planet we have to change our point of view on many fields of our environment.

Dogs are close witnesses that make us assess the changes which affect the living species under man’ s control.

During the  past 30 years this breed has achieved so much success in the dog shows that  it has been blown away in a kind of whirlwind.Very few people were wondering if this dog, shaped into the western fashion, was corresponding to the harsh little animal of the Himalayan mountains that Tibetans appreciate so much. Preservation of the species didn ‘t  matter at the time.

It is the reason why – today – we can’t help having a very  moving  feeling : coming 70 years back and seeing in these puppies the expression of the first dogs of the breed Mrs Bailey brought into England or Mr Cutting into the States.

The long way since their arrival until now had a positive aspect despite some deviations. It helped maintaining the history of the lhasa and dreaming of it's comeback.

This promise of a beginning of a genuine strain from Tibet – which Madame Masset aims to do – can’t leave anyone unmoved. This return to the origin is nothing but  an enrichment .

Take care of them

In 1937 when Mr Cutting went back to Lhasa with his wife, the 13th Dalaï Lama had just died.Therefore, the Regent gave them a couple of golden Apsos ( Pema  and Lee) with a letter ( dated from 7th of the 1st Tibetan month, Year of the Water Bird) which was specifying :

«  I send you two dogs through Kalimpong. Take great care of them when you get them. »

We can be afraid  that the content of this letter with its implication of a testament has not been understood .

« Take great care of them » didn’t only refer to the material appearance.  Indeed this dog reflects a country where spiritual takes precedence over material, where nature shapes living beings in harmony with environment, where spitituality impregnates people, and animals as well, giving those ones an aristocratic bearing and expression that, today, have disappeared from the actual Lhasas.

Yolande De Zarobe