Edited by Marsha Susag

AKC and other canine event organizations in the US and around the world, offer a variety of canine companion sports for owners and their Lhasa Apsos to earn titles.  Some of the most favorite are Obedience, Agility, Rally Obedience and Therapy Dog.  Newer sports include Barn Hunt, AKC Scentwork, Coursing Ability Test, Fast CAT and AKC Trick Dog Titles.  Links to these sports are below the summary and photos of each section.  A search engine for a calendar for all AKC events is listed on page 7, which you can use to find events close to you.

Some folks say Lhasa Apsos are hard to train.  I don’t agree, you just have to find something that will motivate them to do what you want them to do!  This can sometimes take some time, but is a most rewarding activity for owner and their companion Lhasa Apso.    


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14 year old Pepper, owned by Becky Hughes, clearing a bar jump.

AM/Can CH Ob-One's Ky-Ann Pepper UD RE


Aleck, owned by Bobbie Wood and Sarah Fitzgerald, returning over a jump with his dumbbell. 

CH Anbara Alasara Smart Aleck CDX RE


An obedience trial is an event at which dogs and handlers perform exercises as set forth in the American Kennel Club's Obedience Regulations.  Dogs are scored on the performance by AKC approved judges.

There are three levels of training.  Through the Novice Class, dogs earn the Companion Dog (CD) title, through the Open Class, the Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title; and through the Utility Class, the Utility Dog (UD) title. The team (handler and dog) compete against a top score of 200 to win A.K.C. Obedience titles. To earn a title, a team must qualify in three trials under three different judges by receiving at least 170 points out of a possible 200, and, in each exercise must receive more than half of the available points allotted.  In order to qualify, a dog must, on one command or signal, perform the principal feature of each exercise in an acceptable manner.  A table, available on the website linked below, includes the order of exercises in each class, and the principal feature of that exercise. Also, the available points for each exercise are given.  

Obedience is a fun way to meet other students training their dogs and learn to be a team with your dog.   Lhasas learn very quickly and if you keep it fun and positive, they love their training sessions.  Always choose a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) Trainer to help you learn the rules and train your dog.


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Josie has Rally titles, agility titles, Grand Champion and Champion titles proving that the Lhasa Apso is trainable and versatile! 

Josie is owned by Melissa Torgerson



Myth makes the weavepoles look easy!  She demonstrates agileness and flexibility.

GCH CH MACH3 Melou Shambhala MXG MJC T2B TKN
Myth is owned by Melissa Torgerson


Agility is a fun sport that emphasizes teamwork between the dog and the handler.  A course of obstacles (jumps, weave poles, tunnels, A-frame, dogwalk, teeter-totter and more jumps) is set up in an approximately 100’ X 100’ area.  Courses are designed by the agility judge.  The running path is such that the dog would not be able to complete the obstacles in their designated running order by himself and must have direction from the human on the team.  Speed and accuracy are important to being successful in agility.  Positive reinforcement and being more interesting than dirt are necessary for the handler to get the Lhasa Apso to perform!

There are two types of courses that are run:  a Standard course uses the teeter, A-frame, dogwalk, pause table, jumps, weaves and tunnels; a Jumpers course has jumps, weaves and tunnels.  Dogs are measured and jump at jump heights that are possible for them to do.  Dogs that are 11” or less at the withers jump 8” in AKC agility trials.  There is also a Preferred jump height where the dog jumps 4” less than the standard height for them.

Teams start competing at the Novice level, progressing to Open and then Excellent.  3 qualifying legs are needed to earn the basic titles in these divisions.  After earning the Excellent Jumpers with Weaves and Excellent Standard titles, teams can compete for the Master Excellent Jumpers or Master Excellent Standard titles and then earn a MACH (Master Agility Champion) title.

The training builds better communications between dog and handler.  The relationship that forms with the one-on-one training and better communication is especially strong.


AKC Rally©

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Aleck, owned by Bobbie Wood and Sarah Fitzgerald, working on a Rally course with Bobbie.

CH Anbara Alasara Smart Aleck CDX RE


Emmy watches Bobbie for cues while working on her RAE.

CH Kumi Kian Forget Me Not CD RAE
Emmy is owned by Bobbie Wood

Rally Obedience is definitely a sport for the novice exhibitor to begin competition with their Lhasa Apso.  It builds on the dog and handler learning to communicate with each other in a fun way.

Rally Obedience is a form of dog obedience with a twist - a total focus on fun and excitement for the dog, handler and spectator.  Dog and handler teams follow a set course, performing the exercise indicated by 10-20 consecutive signs. Signs are numbered to indicate the course the handler and dog take during the performance.

There is a lot of variety with each rally course.  And Rally Obedience is different than Obedience in that handlers may talk to their dogs, praise them, and give them needed verbal commands.  Handlers can even use hand signals, point and in Novice and Advanced, clap as often as the handler needs. And it's not only allowed, but encouraged - making it a really fun sport!

Here is a link to more information at AKC.


Maestro watches Bobbie for the next command while on the Rally course.
GCH CH Alasara Northwind Anbara Maestro CD RA BN PCD TCK CGCA
Maestro is owned by Bobbie Wood, Sarah Fitzgerald and Cindy Butsic

AKC Scent Work

AKC Scent Work is a sport that mimics the task of working detection dogs to locate a scent and communicate to the handler that the scent has been found. Real-life detection dogs are trained to search for a variety of things--drugs, explosives, human remains, currency, other contraband, living humans (such as for Search and Rescue), and much more.  AKC Scent Work takes this amazing working relationship and turns it into a fun game that any dog can play.

The Divisions

AKC Scent Work is broken down into two divisions. The Odor Search Division, in which the dog is searching for the odor of one or more specific essential oils, and the Handler Discrimination Division, in which the dog is searching for the scent of their handler.

The Elements

Searches in AKC Scent Work are completed in a variety of environments, known as "Elements." The Elements in AKC Scent Work are:

•Container: The target odor is concealed within a container (such as a cardboard box or briefcase), and the dog must indicate in which container the scent is hidden.
•Interior: The target odor is concealed on or in an object in an indoor search area.
•Exterior: The target odor is concealed on or in an object in an outdoor search area--this requires the dog to locate the scent despite changing airflow patterns, weather conditions, and natural distractions.
•Buried: The target odor is concealed within a small container and then buried underneath the ground.

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Reese, owned by Marsha Susag demonstrates container, interior and buried searches.  

CH MLS Dakota The Man in the Suit

The Difficulty Levels

Each element in the Odor Search Division, and the Handler Discrimination Division, has four difficulty levels: Novice, Advanced, Excellent, and Master. Dogs will begin with the Novice level classes and move up as they earn titles, and may progress through the elements at different speeds (i.e., a dog may compete in the Novice Interior class and the Advanced Container class). Factors such as the size of the search area, the number of hides, whether the number of hides is known or unknown to the handler, and the  maximum height of the hides will change with the difficulty level.

The Odors

The Odor Search Division of AKC Scent Work uses four odors: Birch (Betula lenta), Anise (Pimpinella anisum), Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata), and Cypress (Cupressus sempevirens). Novice searches are for Birch only, Advanced searches are for Birch and/or Anise, Excellent searches are for Birch and/or Anise and/or Clove, and Master searches are for Birch and/or Anise and/or Clove and/or Cypress.


Therapy Dog

Therapy dogs go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.  From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people.

Therapy dogs are not servtherapy1.jpgice dogs. Service dogs are dogs who are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help a person who has a disability. An example of a service dog is a dog who guides an owner who is blind, or a dog who assists someone who has a physical disability. Service dogs stay with their person and have special access privileges in public places such as on planes, restaurants, etc. Therapy dogs, the dogs who will be earning the AKC Therapy Dog™ title, do not have the same special access as service dogs.

It is unethical to attempt to pass off a therapy dog as a service dog for purposes such as flying on a plane or being admitted to a restaurant.

The Purpose of This Program

The purpose of this program is to recognize AKC dogs and their owners who have given their time and helped people by volunteering as a therapy dog and owner team.

•AKC does not certify therapy dogs; the certification and training is done by qualified therapy dog organizations. The certification organizations are the experts in this area and their efforts should be acknowledged and appreciated.
•AKC Therapy Dog titles can be earned by dogs who have been certified by AKC recognized therapy dog organizations and have performed the required number of visits.
•The AKC Therapy Dog™ program awards official AKC titles to dogs who have worked to improve the lives of the people they have visited.

Therapy Dog Titles

  • •AKC Therapy Dog Novice (THDN)            
  •  Must have completed 10 visits.
  • •AKC Therapy Dog (THD)
  •  Must have completed 50 visits.
  • •AKC Therapy Dog Advanced (THDA)
  •  Must have completed 100 visits.
  • •AKC Therapy Dog Excellent (THDX)
  •  Must have completed 200 visits.
  • •AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished (THDD)
  •  Must have completed 400 visits.

Cruiser, owned by Jill Kozeluh, brings big smiles and joy to many patients in nursing homes.

Ch Northwind The Savvy Traveler CGC TDIAO


AKC Trick Dog Titles

From the 1920’s and 1940’s when trick dogs such as Rin Tin Tin and Lassie won peoples’ hearts, trick dog training has become one of the most exciting new areas in dog training today.

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 AKC Trick Dog titles are official AKC titles listed on the dog’s title record.

•Novice Trick Dog (TKN)
The dog performs 10 skills from the Novice list. (see link to “Application” below for lists of skills). If a dog has a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate or title on record at AKC, it can do 5 Novice tricks (CGC + 5) to earn the Novice title.
•Intermediate Trick Dog (TKI)
The dog must have the Novice title, plus perform 10 Intermediate tricks.
Advanced Trick Dog (TKA)
The dog must have the Intermediate title, plus perform 5 tricks from the Advanced list.
•Trick Dog Performer (TKP)
In this title, handlers perform a short routine with at least 10 tricks previously learned.

Coursing Ability Test (CAT)

The Coursing Ability Test (CAT) is an introductory event fashioned after the sport of lure coursing. It tests a dog’s basic coursing instinct or hunting-by-sight ability. The dog chases an artificial lure, and the test is a non-competitive pass/fail event with dogs run one at a time. To pass the test, a dog running alone must pursue a lure, completing the course with enthusiasm and without interruption within a given time. Most dogs will happily go after the lure! The CAT provides a lively and healthy activity attractive to many dog owners.


Fast CAT

The purpose of the AKC FAST CAT® event is to provide all dogs and their owners an enjoyable, healthy activity in which they can participate. Dogs run singularly. The dog's time to complete the 100 yard dash is converted into MPH. Dogs earn points based on their handicapped speed. Titles are awarded when a dog has accumulated a given number of points



Dogs have a very keen sense of smell—100,000 times stronger than humans! That’s why dogs are often used to find lost people and animals, drugs, avalanche and disaster victims, and even to detect cancer and oncoming seizures. AKC Tracking is a canine sport that demonstrates a dog’s natural ability to recognize and follow a scent, and is the foundation of canine search and rescue work. In tracking the dog is completely in charge, because only he knows how to use his nose to find and follow the track. For many, the greatest pleasure of tracking are the hours spent outside, training and interacting with their dogs.

For more information about events for you and your dog visit:



To find events close to you use the following link to AKC’s calendars of events: