Pure bred vs. well bred …

What exactly does that mean … “pure bred versus well bred”?  In my many years of involvement with rescue, I’ve had countless “pure bred” Apsos with “papers.”  Papers being a document saying the dog was registered with the AKC (or any of the other questionable registries which have sprung up to circumvent AKC’s DNA requirements).  However, having “papers” in hand does not mean the dogs in question were “well bred.”  “Well bred” meaning they had the qualities and characteristics that make an Apso “an Apso” … a dog possessing breed type.  “Well bred” meaning the breeder strived to produce a dog that could, on any given day, survive at altitude in its native homeland of Tibet (this link contains an excellent article on what makes a Lhasa Apso).  “Well bred” meaning the breeder could document at least five generations of dogs and the health of those dogs.  Dogs whose pedigrees reflect a multitude of champion relatives — not just one or two champions in five generations.  Dogs whose breeders stand behind what they produce for the life of the dog.

Next question is  … where does one find a well-bred dog?  Certainly not from a pet store as supplied by the puppy mills.  Or a “backyard” breeder  (“BYB”) who has thrown a couple of dogs together for a quick profit.  Despite the broad brush used by the animal rights movement to paint all breeders, the majority of show (hobby) breeders strive to produce sound, healthy dogs.  Hobby breeders cannot keep every dog they breed and maintain a breeding line — much like rescue can’t keep every dog that arrives in foster care.  These breeders often have retired champions, young adult show prospects that didn’t turn out as well as anticipated, or pet-quality puppies available for placement … well-bred dogs that need homes of their own.  And for much less than what you’d pay for a puppy produced in the mills and sold by a pet store. 

Always an advocate for rescue, I also believe in providing prospective families with options other than the petstore or BYBs.  A sad fact is 100% of my rescues have come from either pet stores or backyard breeders.  So even though one is obtaining a “rescue,” they were produced for profit with little thought given to their health and breed type. 

Remind your family and friends what breeding does: Every kitten or puppy born is a death sentence to a shelter cat or dog waiting to be adopted.

As a responsible owner and long-time rescue volunteer … I take an exception to the above statement. If not for the responsible, ethical breeders, good representations of my chosen breed would have vanished into the mists of the Himalayan mountains decades upon decades ago. It is only through the work of quality breeders that the Lhasa Apso has survived a forced flight into Nepal, Bhutan and India as well several genetic bottle necks and the invasion of the Chinese into Tibet.  
I have more than done my part when it comes to rescue. However, it is not by any of my actions that there are dogs and cats in shelters. Now, I am supposed to give up the breed I love … and have worked tirelessly for … because someone else was irresponsible?  That *all* breeding is bad and my only option is to accept what is coming out of the mills?  That my only choice is an ill-bred dog with a myriad of health problems?   Seriously??  Perhaps if the statement had made mention of “puppy mills,” it would go a bit further in educating the public.
Following is listing of well-bred dogs looking for homes of their own.  While these dogs are located in the western half of the US (or Canada), they can be flown to a new home.  In many instances, dogs can travel to other areas with exhibitors headed to shows.  Depending on location, a road trip may be in order.  Don’t like the full coat?  No problem … Apsos can also be kept clipped in a “wash-n-wear” version.  
Vinnie:  retired champion, on the larger size, about six-years old.  Very loving dog; great with adults, never been around children; teens would be okay.  Needy in that he wants to be right with you on the couch, etc.  Would need to be neutered.  Located in New Mexico.
Zach:  retired champion, almost two-years old.  Still in full coat.  Quite loving and a lap dog; enjoys sitting in the recliner with my husband and will do so for hours.  A real people dog.  Needs a home where he is an only dog or could live with a female dog.  Located in Wisconsin.
Big Boy —  He was 1 year on Aug. 30.  I gave him a haircut yesterday; he has a wonderful coat. His markings aren’t as red as his brothers.  I don’t think that he will be hard to housetrain as it was going good until I got sick. The brother didn’t have any accidents. He is very playful, gets along good with other dogs and kids. He is very sweet!!!  Located in Minnesota.
Oreo and Ready — retired champions (4-5 years old).  Fully housetrained, would be spayed/neutered prior to placement.  Oreo is very outgoing, wags her tail at everyone, never met a stranger.  Ready is more of a “got-to-get-to-know-you” type; probably do best in a home with no other males.  Located in Utah.
Gracie — red/white parti-color female, 10-weeks old.  Dew claws removed, dewormed, tattooed (ID), vet checked, first vaccs.  She loves to have attention and is very playful. She loves toys and actively plays with her brothers. She loves people and has had lots of interaction as she was born and raised in my family room. Located in British Columbia
If interested in any of these dogs, please contact me directly at:  ApsoRescue@aol.com.  Serious inquiries only … the breeders of these dogs are looking for owners that will commit for the life of the Apso.

I am a Lhasa Apso …

Ch. Everglo Zijuh Tomba

By Ellie Baumann 
Lhasa Tales ~ Nov 1977
I am a small dog whose ancestors managed to adapt to the rigors of the Himalayan plateau. The fittest survived, prospered and, eventually, some of the descendants reached this country in the early Thirties. I am descended from this stock.
Adverse conditions high in the mountains of Tibet forced my evolution to follow paths on which other high altitude dwellers were also embarked. Since the area from which I came is an especially cold one with killing frosts as early as August, my body structure had to adapt to the cold as well as to the height of my homeland. I have a shorter tail, shorter limbs, and shorter ears than dogs who live in the tropics. My body is very sturdy and solid with short, heavy bones. I look as if I could go long distances and not tire easily.
Under my coat is a sound body that is quite heavy for its size. People are surprised when they find that under all that hair is an animal who is put together like a tank. I need heavy construction to stand the stress of cold and altitude.

I have not been in this country too long compared to some other dogs you see at a dog show, but those who already know what I look like will probably remember very clearly where you first ran into me. I am not like any other dog that you would meet on a city street or a county lane.

I have a long coat that stretches down to the ground and completely covers my feet. Some people call me the “Jelly Bean” dog because I come in all colors. I can be one solid color or a blending of several colors. I can be plain, or I can be spotted. Of course, with a long-haired spotted dog, the coat just keeps growing and the spot stretches out into a stripe instead. If that happens, I’m called a parti-color. I’m even brindled but again, as the coat grows longer and longer, those brindle lines all run together and you have something like layers of different colors – an overlay.

My head is a little hard to see sometimes for there is so much hair on it. I have a beard. Yes even our ladies are bearded – and my ears blend right into the beard and all the rest of the coat. And, unless the hair is out of my eyes, you wouldn’t know that I could actually see you for my eyes are well hidden by what my owner calls the “head fall.” My tail is generally up, carried in a curl over my back and it’s often hard to know if I really do indeed have a tail. It can be held so tight to my back that you don’t know that it is really there, until I straighten it out and stretch it out on the ground behind me when I sit down …

Sometimes I can be found in a pet shop, but I hope that if you go looking for a Lhasa, you will go to a breeder who is trying to produce the perfect dog rather than the one who is out to sell a litter a month or so many dozen puppies a year.

I am a breed that was raised to be an indoor dog. In Lhasa – the capitol of Tibet – I used to live in the palace of the Dalai Lama before the Communists took over, and in almost every big monastery in Tibet there were a lot of my relatives living right there with the monks. Some people call me the “The Holy Dog of Asia” because of this, but all that I really did was to keep the monks company in their lonely and cold cells. Some people say that I am the faithful dog who followed the Lord Buddha around and who could be turned into a ferocious lion in the twinkling of his eye. I guess that is why so many call me the “Lion Dog.”

The AKC Standard alls for me to be the golden colors of the lion, but the Tibetans say that their lion is the mythical snow lion who is always white with a blue mane. I haven’t seen any white Lhasa with a blue mane so far, so I guess we’ll just have to stick with the western idea of how a lion should be colored.

I can live a long time if you care for me properly and my breed generally outlives the great big dogs, like the Saints and the Danes, or the little ones like the Chihuahuas and the Pomeranians.

There aren’t any bad personality traits in my breed that have to be beaten out or trained out of me in order for me to live in close contact with all kinds of people. I have an even, obliging disposition.

Of course, when I’m going to a dog show, then I look super beautiful because that is first of all, a beauty contest, and I want to look my very best. But with general care and brushing, I can stop traffic on any street, for I am a beautiful, graceful and elegant animal.

After all, I AM A LHASA APSO!!


 Editorial note: Dog shows were originally started in the mid 1800s in England as a means of evaluating breeding stock … a process which continues today. It is not a “beauty contest” as noted above … although some might argue otherwise. Dogs shown in conformation events are not being judged against each other. They are judged against the written standard which outlines the “ideal” dog for that particular breed. If interested in learning more about the dog show, AKC has an excellent resource … A Beginner’s Guide to Dog Shows.

A Free Tibet …

Many an Apso fancier has been intently watching the recent events unfold in Tibet, ever mindful that the breed we hold so dear teeters on the brink of extinction in its native land.  The same holds true for the Tibetans, their culture and their religion which is an integral part of their day-to-day thoughts and activities.  Some of us have begun protesting, both physically and monetarily.  I know I’m checking labels much more closely these days for origin of manufacture. 

Tibet: Her Pain, My Shame 

China Digital Times [Wednesday, March 26, 2008 00:02] 
Tang Danhong (born in 1965 ) is a poet and documentary filmmaker from Chengdu, Sichuan. She has made several documentaries in and about Tibet since the 1990s. She wrote the following essay this week and published it on her own blog (hosted outside of China), partially translated by CDT:

For more than a decade, I have frequently entered Tibet and often stayed there for a long time, traveling or working. I have met all kinds of Tibetans, from youngsters on the streets, folk artists, herders on the grasslands, voodoo doctors in mountain villages, to ordinary cadres in state agencies, street vendors in Lhasa, monks and cleaners in monasteries, artists and writers.Among those Tibetans I have met, some frankly told me that Tibet was a small country several decades ago, with its own government, religious leader, currency and military; some stay silent, with a sense of helplessness, and avoid talking with me, a Han Chinese, afraid this is an awkward subject. Some think that no matter what happened, it is an historical fact that Chinese and Tibetans had a long history of exchanges with each other, and the relationship must be carefully maintained by both sides. Some were angered by the railway project, and by those roads named “Beijing Road,” “Jiangsu Road,” “Sichuan-Tibet road,” but others accept them happily. Some say that you (Han Chinese) invest millions in Tibet but you also got what you wanted and even more; some say you invest in the development but you also destroy, and what you destroy is exactly what we treasure …  What I want to say here is that no matter how different these people are, they have one thing in common: They have their own view of history, and a profound religious belief.

For anyone who has been to Tibet, he/she should sense such a religious belief among Tibetans. As the matter of fact, many are shocked by it. Such attitude has carried on throughout their history, and is expressed in their daily lives. This is a very different value, especially compared with those Han Chinese who have no beliefs, and now worship the cult of money. This religious belief is what Tibetans care about the most. They project this belief onto the Dalai Lama as a religious persona.

For anyone who has been to Tibet, it should not be strange to see the “common Tibetan scene”: Is there any Tibetan who does not worship him (the Dalai Lama)? Is there any Tibetan unwilling to hang up his photo in his own shrine? (These photos are smuggled back in from abroad, secretly copied and enlarged, not like those Mao portraits printed by the government that we Han Chinese once had to hang up.) Is there any Tibetan who wants to verbally disrepect the Dalai Lama? Is there a Tibetan who does not want to see him? Is there any Tibetan who does not want to present Hada [white welcoming scarf] to him?

Other than those voices that the rulers want to hear, have we ever heard the Tibetans’ full, real voices? Those Han Chinese who have been in Tibet, now matter if one is a high official, government cadre, tourist or businessman, have we all heard their real voices, which are silenced, but are still echoing everywhere?

Is this the real reason that all monasteries in Tibet are forbidden from hanging up the Dalai Lama’s picture? Is this the reason that all work units have officials to check in every household and to punish those who hang up his picture? Is this the reason that the government has people to stop those believers on the pilgrimage path on every religious celebration day? Is this the reason for the policy barring government employees from having their children study in Dharamsala; otherwise, they will be fired and their house will be taken away? Is this the reason that at all sensitive times, government officials will hold meetings in monasteries, to force monks to promise to “support the Party’s leadership” and “Have no relations with the Dalai splitist cliques”? Is this the reason we refuse to negotiate, and constantly use dehumanizing language to humiliate him? After all, isn’t this the very reason to reinforce the “common Tibetan scene,” making this symbol of nationality more holy?

Why can’t we sit down with the Dalai Lama who has abandoned calls for “independence” and now advocates a “middle way,” and negotiate with him with sincerity, to achieve “stability” and “unity” through him?

Because the power difference of the two sides is too big. We are too many people, too powerful: Other than guns and money, and cultural destruction and spiritual rape, we do not know other ways to achieve “harmony.”

This group of people who believe in Buddhism because they believe in cause and effect and transmigration of souls, oppose anger and hatred, developed a philosophy that Han nationalists will never be able to understand. Several Tibetan monk friends, just the “troublemaker monk” type that are in the monasteries explained to me their view on “independence”: “actually, we may well have been ethnic Han in a previous incarnation, and in our next incarnation we might well become ethnic Han. And some ethnic Han in a previous life may well have been Tibetan or may become Tibetan in their next life. Foreigners or Chinese, men or women, lovers aand enemies, the souls of the world transmigrate without end. As the wheel turns, states arise and die, so what need is there for independence?” This kind of religion, this kind of believer, can one ever think that they would be easy to control? Yet there is a paradox here: if one wants them to give up the desire for independence, then one must respect and protect their religion.

Not long ago, I read some posts by some radical Tibetans on an online forum about Tibet. These posts were roughly saying: “We do not believe in Buddhism, we do not believe in karma. But we have not forgotten that we are Tibetan. We have not forgotten our homeland. Now we believe the philosophy of you Han Chinese: Power comes out of the barrel of a gun! Why did you Han Chinese come to Tibet? Tibet belongs to Tibetans. Get out of Tibet!”

Of course behind those posts, there are an overwhelming number of posts from Han ” patriots.” Almost without exception, those replies are full of words such as “Kill them!” “Wipe them out!” “Wash them with blood!” “Dalai is a liar!” – those “passions” of the worshippers of violence that we are all so familiar with.

When I read these posts, I feel so sad. So this is karma …

In the last week, after I put down the phone which cannot reach anyone on the the other end, when I face the information black hole caused by Internet blockage, even I believe what Xinhua has said – strangely I do believe this part: There were Tibetans who set fire to shops and killed those poor innocent Han Chinese who were just there to make a living. And I still feel extremely sad. Since when were such seeds planted? During the gunshots of 1959? During the massive destruction during the Cultural Revolution? During the crackdown in 1989? During the time we put their Panchen Lama under house arrest and replaced him with our own puppet? During those countless political meetings and confessions in the monasteries? Or during the time when a seventeen-year-old nun was shot on the magnificent snowy mountain, just because she wanted to see the Dalai Lama?

Or during numerous moments which seem trivial but which make me ashamed: I was ashamed when I saw Tibetans buy live fish from Han fish sellers on the street and put them back in the Lhasa river; I was ashamed when I saw more and more Han beggars on the streets of Lhasa-even beggars know it is easier to beg in Tibet than in Han areas; I felt ashamed when I saw those ugly scars from mines on the sacred mountains in the morning sunlight; I felt ashamed when I heard the Han Chinese elite complain that the Chinese government has invested so many millions of yuan, that economic policy favors Tibetans, and that the GDP has grown so fast, so, “What else do these Tibetans want?”

Why can’t you understand that people have different values? While you believe in brainwashing, the power of a gun and of money, there is a spiritual belief that has been in their minds for thousands of years and cannot be washed away. When you claim yourselves as “saviors of Tibetans from slavery society,” I am ashamed for your arrogance and your delusions. When military police with their guns pass by me in the streets of Lhasa, and each time I am there I can see row upon row of military bases. yes, I, a Han Chinese, feel ashamed.

What makes me feel most ashamed is the “patriotic majority”: You people are the decedents of Qinshi Huangdi who knows only conquering by killing; you are the chauvinists who rule the weak by force; you are those cowards who hide behind guns and call for shooting the victims; you suffer from Stockholm Syndrome; you are the blood-thirsty crazies of an “advanced” culture of Slow slicing and Castration. You are the sick minds waving the “patriotic” flag. I look down on you. If you are Han Chinese, I am ashamed to be one of you.

Lhasa is on fire, and there are gunshots in Tibetan areas in Sichuan and Qinghai. Even I believe this – actually, I do believe this part of the facts. In those “patriotic” posts which shout “Kill them!” “Wipe them out!” “Wash them with blood!” “Dalai is a liar!” I saw the mirror image of those Tibetan radicals. Let me say that you people (“patriotic youth”) are Han chauvinists who destroy thousands of years of friendship between Han and Tibetan people; you are the main contributors to the hatred between ethnic groups. You people do not really “highly support” the authority; rather, you people are in effect “highly supporting” “Tibetan independence.”

Tibet is disappearing. The spirit which makes her beautiful and peaceful is disappearing. She is becoming us, becoming what she does not want to become. What other choice does she have when facing the anxiety of being alienated? To hold onto her tradition and culture, and revive her ancient civilization? Or to commit suicidal acts which will only add to Han nationalists’ bloody, shameful glory?

Yes, I love Tibet. I am a Han Chinese who loves Tibet, regardless of whether she is a nation or a province, as long as she is so voluntarily. Personally, I would like to have them (Tibetans) belong to the same big family with me. I embrace relationships which come self-selected and on equal footing, not controlled or forced, both between peoples and nations. I have no interest in feeling “powerful,” to make others fear you and be forced to obey you, both between people and between nations, because what’s behind such a “feeling” is truly disgusting. I have left her (Tibet) several years ago, and missing her has become part of my daily life. I long to go back to Tibet, as a welcomed Han Chinese, to enjoy a real friendship as equal neighbor or a family member.