Lhasa Apsos were valued as bringers of good fortune (it’s considered very lucky to have an Apso in the house) and “back in the day,” the Dalai Lama sent dogs each year to the Emperor of China. The 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, also gifted the first two Lhasas in America in 1931 to C. Suydam Cutting, a wealthy American naturalist and the first white Christian ever to enter the forbidden city of Lhasa (after five years of negotiations seeking permission).
Cutting was a naturalist, explorer, big game hunter, and he had a unique friendship with the Dalai Lama. Cutting had sent him two Dalmatians, and a pair of Harlequin Great Danes soon followed. When Cutting and his wife returned to Tibet two years later, that was when the Dalai Lama reciprocated by sending them a pair of Lhasas: “Taikoo,” a male,”Dinkai,” a bitch. It helped the Cuttings present the Lhasa Apso as a modern purebred dog in America. In 1935,the AKC recognized the breed as the Lhasa Terrier and put it in the Terrier group. It was later renamed the Lhasa Apso in 1944, and reassigned to the Non-Sporting group in 1959.
This photo was taken in Kham, East Tibet in September 2005 by Primož Peer, and we share it with his kind permission.