When we think about a dog for a retreat location or for home security, thoughts turn to German Shepherds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, or, like my neighbors a few lots down, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs. All of these are large, protective, fierce looking and loud. They also eat a lot, need to be well trained and disciplined, and can be intimidating to guests.
There are other, smaller options. The Lhasa Apso is one such breed. The Lhasa Apso originated in Tibet, and was developed as a household sentinel for Tibetan nobility and Buddhist monks. The first Lhasa Apsos in the US were given as a gift in 1933 from the 13th Dalai Lama. Among the many fans of the breed have been Bob & Delores Hope, Elizabeth Taylor, and your's truly.
Our dog, Louis (pronounced Louie), is nearly nine years old, yet still has a lot of puppy activity in him. As is typical of the breed, he is very loyal and loving to us, very sociable with welcome guests, and very alert and territorial. If someone pulls in our driveway, he lets us know it. If we are out back, and someone drives down the neighbor's driveway past our yard, he will run and bark along the fence until they are long gone. He also defends our airspace from crows and vultures, keeps rabbits and squirrels out of the garden, and will monitor the undersink cabinet for hours on end if he detects a mouse under there. He has even adopted the practice of conducting a scan of the backyard perimeter from the porch as the last thing he does before going to bed each night. If we try to go to bed without him doing it, he is very antsy and will not let me go to sleep until I get out of bed and he herds me down the hall and I open the back door for him to make his check.
If you want a pet that can function as a watchdog, without the trouble and feeding expenses of a large, traditional one, check out the Lhasa Apso.
|Louis says Lhasa Apsos rule!|