In truth, the adult Lhasa Apso is one of the hardiest, toughest, and strongest willed of all the small breeds. It is said that “when a Lhasa Apso looks in the mirror, he sees a lion.”
Though he can certainly be playful, the adult Lhasa carries himself with regal dignity. Rather calm and deliberate in nature, he makes a mannerly house dog IF you can establish a relationship of mutual respect — i.e., admiring his independent character while consistently enforcing your rules so that he respects you as well.
The AKC Standard, showing great restraint, calls the Lhasa Apso “chary with strangers.” Indeed he is. With his acute senses, keen observation skills, and distrust of anything new or different, Lhasas take their watchdog responsibilities seriously — some individuals are not just “all bark” and may be very willing to bite if pushed. Lhasa Apsos need early socialization with people to ensure that they don’t become too sharp.
With other animals, the Lhasa can be bossy and jealous.
Very smart, but also dominant and manipulative, the Lhasa Apso is a challenge to train. They cannot be forced to do anything, nor will they meekly accept harshness or teasing. Training methods that emphasize food and praise will be met with much more cooperation. Housebreaking may take a while.