Measuring the Lhasa Apso
Nancy Plunkett

Most people are accustomed to thinking of dogs only in terms of height.  Our standard gives us specific numbers to use as a guide in regard to height, which makes it easy to understand.  Length of body or “proportion” is somewhat more difficult to identify.  Our standard says, “The length from point of shoulder to point of buttocks longer than height at withers”.  The question is, how much longer?  And if we prefer to see a certain length of body on a Lhasa Apso, how do we then describe that proportion to others without a visual representation?

The solution to this problem is to describe dogs using their longer than tall percentage.  It is relatively easy to determine the percentage, all you will need are accurate height and length measurements of the dog.  Height is always measured from the highest point over the shoulder blades (AKC regulations) and the measurement of length is to be taken from the point of shoulder to the point of buttocks (as per the reference in our standard).  Since the longer than tall percentage will only be as accurate as the measurements taken it is very important to measure your dog as carefully as possible.

As you begin to apply a longer than tall percentage to each dog measured, you will no doubt begin to develop your own range of preference regarding proportion. And just as important, you will now be able to express that preference to others in a way that they can understand immediately, without visual representation.  Conversely, if someone describes to you their preference by using a longer than tall percentage, you also will have an excellent idea of what proportion they like to see in a dog.

Educating ones self about Lhasa Apso proportion often opens the door to a whole new world of information.  Structural differences that can affect the longer than tall percentage of each dog will become more apparent to the observant measurement student,  leading to an ever greater understanding of Lhasa Apso physiology. Each answer will lead to new questions in this fascinating world of proportion, and the more you learn the more you will realize that there is more to a Lhasa Apso’s length of body than meets the eye.

Length vs. Height Charts

Ed.note.  AKC notwithstanding, the AKC's insistence on measuring height at the highest point over the shoulder blade ignores the scientific principle of using anatomic landmarks for reproducability.  Depending on the shape and angle of the blade, its highest point may not be the same on all specimens.  The scapular spine, which runs down the center of the scapula is a much more reliable anatomic marker. If the wicket is placed at the point on the top of the dog at which the scapular spines meet, all measurements would be made at exactly the same anatomic landmark.

To access a graph showing the height as a function of age, click on the following link.   This graph was based on the growth data from 200 pups from all different lines.  You can print copies of this graph and use it as part of your litter records.  

Height vs. Age Chart

A formula for calculating adult height which is fairly accurate from 10 to 34 weeks of age is:
Ha = Adult Height
Hp = Puppy Height (now)
A = Age at full height (in weeks)  = 35 weeks
P = Age of Puppy (now in weeks)

Ha = Hp x log A    or
              log P

Ha = Hp x 1.54
              log P