The Prapso. What Is It?

Breeders with a lot of experience have been known to say that if a breeder has never encountered a surprise in a litter, they just haven’t been breeding long enough, but even a first time Lhasa Apso (or Shih Tzu) breeder can find that they’ve bred a “prapso.”

A what?

A prapso.

It is a short coated puppy in a Lhasa Apso or Shih Tzu litter (both long coated breeds).  Sometimes, such a pup is called a “smooth haired” Lhasa or Shih Tuz, and it isn’t generally noticed until a puppy is around six weeks old – maybe even a little later.  These puppies are healthy, though it’s been noticed that they can mature faster than their littermates: They open their eyes earlier, they get their teeth earlier, and, some breeders say that not only do they seem to be smarter and cheekier than their siblings, but that invariably, they are the alpha dogs in the litter.

What they don’t get is as much hair as their siblings. A prapso puppy will have shorter and smoother hair, especially on his or her muzzle and legs, and in the Lhasa Apso, a prapso pup will look more like a Tibetan Spaniel. There is also a “partial” prapso which will have longer hair, but not as long as his or her littermates, and certainly not a coat that will reach the ground.

The word “Prapso” was first heard in Australia, probably from the phrase “perhaps an Apso.” As far as we know, it was also the Australians who tried to find the cause. Test matings ruled out straight dominant or recessive genes and data was shared with a non-profit organization in the UK which researched animal abnormalities.  They reported that this type of inheritance resulted from the interaction of a large number of genes affecting each other in varying degrees.

Some would say that a prapso is a genetically defective Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apso, but we defer to breed experts on this point until we find more research data.  We have read that a prapso shouldn’t be bred, but they make marvelous pets, particularly with owners who rather prefer not being a slave to grooming.

We don’t have permission to share photos of a prapso (if you have one you’d be willing to let us post, we’ll happily give you full credit), but a Google image search on “prapso” will bring up pages of results.

Image: Lhasa Apso/Deposit

2 thoughts on “The Prapso. What Is It?”

  1. I am admittedly no expert but as a breeder of Tibetan Spaniels for 10 years I heard a bit about Prapsos. I was told by old-time breeders that the belief was that Tibbies were the older breed behind the Lhasas and later the Shih Tzus. A litter of Prapsos was a throwback to the original breed in the line.

    I don’t know if this makes sense genetically but I believed it at the time. I actually ran into a Lhasa breeder who sold entire Prapso litters as Tibetan Spaniels. She had them regularly from her breeding pair and bragged that she put her daughters through college selling the “Tibbies” with papers!!

    • A fascinating comment, Sally, and you’re right, we came across a similar suggestion in our “homework” on the Prapso. We’re hoping someone will donate a photo!

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