The American Lhasa Apso Club Code of Ethics

The mission of the American Lhasa Apso Club is the preservation and welfare of the Lhasa Apso. This breed of dog is a product of centuries of Tibetan culture and as such deserves to be valued and protected for its historic and aesthetic merit as well as for its modern use as a companion. To this end, the American Lhasa Apso Club has defined a standard of excellence for the breed and sponsors competitions to improve the breeding population and educate breeders.

Dedicated breeders of the Lhasa Apso are distinguished from those who exploit the breed for profit by their adherence to a set of ethical principles. Our goal is to produce dogs in conformance with the official breed standard that are uniform in type, sound of mind and body, and well-suited to their original purpose as small indoor guardians and companions. The welfare of individual Lhasa Apsos and the welfare of the breed as a whole govern our behavior in all aspects of breeding, exhibiting and marketing. The American Lhasa Apso Club endorses the following ethical standards for members and those who aspire to membership.

Members contemplating breeding a litter or providing stud service to a bitch should focus on producing Lhasa Apsos of exceptional quality. Each mating should have as a priority the improvement and preservation of the breed as well as the goal of achieving excellence according to the breed standard. Type, temperament, health and conformation of both sire and dam should be carefully considered in the planning of any future litter. This presupposes a careful study of the breed standard, pedigrees, canine health and genetics.

No Lhasa showing a serious inherited defect in type, structure, or temperament should be used for breeding. Lhasas used for breeding should be in good mental and physical health. To ensure the health of their breeding stock, responsible breeders may use a number of pre-breeding tests. Examples include, but are not limited to, brucellosis screening, hip and patella x-rays, and complete eye exams. Testing is particularly important for individual Lhasas that are having a significant genetic impact on the breed, for example popular sires. >

Bitches should be bred only when they are in prime condition and fully mature. No bitch should be bred prior to eighteen months or later than nine years old. Bitches should not produce puppies more than two out of three consecutive seasons.

Owners of stud dogs should not accept for breeding any bitch lacking in merit, defined as one manifesting a serious inherited defect in type, structure or temperament, nor should they service females of unknown or uncertain background. Stud owners are responsible for ascertaining that the owner of the bitch has the knowledge and ability to provide appropriate pre- and post-natal care for the mother and her offspring. Stud owners are further obligated to ensure that any litter resulting from a service they provide will not be used in a manner detrimental to the welfare of the breed. Providing a stud service to produce litters or individual dogs to be wholesaled, brokered or sold through pet shops is a violation of this code.

Stud owners should avoid providing service to bitches owned by persons who are breeding without serious intent to improve breed quality, particularly if the resulting puppies will not be sold with limited registrations or spay/neuter contracts. It is the responsibility of all members but most particularly stud owners, to educate the public and discourage casual breeding.

If a dog or a bitch produces an offspring with serious inherited defects that impact the animal’s well being and subsequently produces similar results with a different mating partner, the owner should refrain from further use of this animal for breeding.

Kennel Management

Members of the American Lhasa Apso Club are required to maintain the highest possible standards of sanitation and canine health, including mental health.

Members should have the means and the facilities to provide for the physical and emotional needs of all their dogs. The extra health and nutritional requirements of brood bitches and their litters should be anticipated before breeding. Responsible breeders are familiar with local market conditions and prepared to care for puppies for several months until sold to appropriate homes.

Dogs should be kept in the home with their owners or in a permanent kennel structure where they are not exposed to climate extremes. The dogs and the facilities should be kept clean and protected from fleas and other parasites. Provisions should be made so that all dogs have regular outdoor exercise.

Because Lhasa Apsos have hair that grows continuously, coat care is of the utmost importance. Members should house only the number of dogs they are able to maintain on a regular grooming schedule. Keeping dogs in an ungroomed, matted state is not considered responsible behavior for breeders or owners of Lhasa Apsos.

Lhasa Apsos are companion dogs that have traditionally lived in close proximity to people. They do best when they have the opportunity to bond with their human caregivers and proper socialization to produce sound companion puppies requires such interaction.


Pet over-population is a widespread problem and many communities are considering legislation that prohibits breeding dogs in their jurisdictions. Before deciding to breed, each breeder should carefully consider how many litters he or she is producing per year and the potential impact on the population problem in their area.

Ethical breeders are discriminating in the placement of their Lhasa Apsos. ALAC does not consider ethical any of the following practices: the consignment or sale outright to pet shops, catalogue houses, animal brokers, or other commercial sources of distribution; the donation of Lhasa Apsos as prizes for raffles, auctions, or contests; and the wholesaling or brokering of Lhasa Apso litters. Sales to persons known or suspected of such practices are considered detrimental to the breed. Sales schemes that demand a higher price for a pet Lhasa with registration papers than without registration papers are considered unethical.

Puppies should be sold in a clean and healthy condition, never less than eight weeks old. No adult or puppy should be sold without adequate protection against disease including, but not limited to, age appropriate vaccinations.

Breeders should provide instructions to all buyers on proper care and training including grooming, feeding, health, and socialization. It is the breeder’s responsibility to follow up with the new owner, ensuring that the transition of the puppy to its new home is a smooth one, and be available to answer any questions that the owner might have in the future.

According to American Kennel Club rules, breeders should furnish the signed AKC registration application or transfer slip with each puppy sold unless a written agreement is made with the purchaser at the time of sale that the papers will be withheld. ALAC strongly supports the practice of accompanying the sale of all puppies or adults sold as pet quality with a “spay/neuter contract” stating that no AKC registration papers will be transferred to the buyer until the seller has received veterinary certification that surgery has been performed.

The sale of all puppies and adults is best accompanied by a written health guarantee that provides for replacement, refund or other mutually agreeable restitution. The health guarantee for puppies should include both short term provisions for infectious diseases and longer term provisions, minimum of one year, for hereditary or congenital conditions that would prevent a puppy from developing to the potential for which it was purchased. This includes a pet puppy that develops a hereditary condition that would not allow it to fulfill its function as a companion animal.

To increase opportunities for mentoring, ALAC encourages breeders to maintain an interest, via co-ownerships, limited registrations or other written agreements, in the show potential puppies they sell, particularly those sold to newcomers. Such agreements should be in writing and state the expectations and responsibilities of all parties.

ALAC members should endeavor to take back any Lhasa Apso that has been sold by them and subsequently displaced. If unable to do so, a member will assist ALAC Rescue or a regional club rescue in the re-homing of said Lhasa Apso.

It best serves the breed if a Lhasa Apso puppy or adult considered to have a serious hereditary defect or a serious deviation from the standard either be sold without papers to be spayed/neutered or humanely destroyed. If sold without papers, this should be clearly understood by the buyer and both parties should sign a written agreement to that effect.

Advertising and Sportsmanship

The value and quality of the Lhasa Apso should be upheld in both advertising and selling. Advertising should not be worded to attract undesirable buyers or encourage raising dogs for profit.

Members of the American Lhasa Apso Club should show good sportsmanship at all times while maintaining the highest degree of honesty and integrity. Ethical breeders do not malign other owners or breeders by making false or misleading statements regarding their dogs, breeding practices or person.

When advertising Lhasa Apsos in any media (magazines, Internet web sites, mail, email, etc.) members should not knowingly misrepresent their dogs. They should use a picture of another owner’s Lhasa Apso only with written permission and clearly identify that Lhasa and owner in the ad.

Members known to have deliberately violated American Kennel Club rules regarding registration and the exhibition of dogs should expect the consequences of being reported.

Written Agreements

Members should use and maintain signed copies of written agreements detailing price, description, AKC registration number of dog (or numbers of both parents), as well as details of all additional terms and conditions. Contracts should be signed by all parties with one copy provided to the buyer and another copy retained by the seller. Applicable written agreements include co-ownership agreements, sales of companion as well as show Lhasa Apsos, stud agreements, brood matron leases, health guarantees, and any other transaction involving transfer or utilization of a Lhasa Apso.

Revision adopted April 15, 2004