What Happened To His Coat?
by Kathy Mitchell
You bought a Lhasa Apso puppy, he is everything you knew he would be - cute, intelligent, and affectionate, with all the charming traits that make the Lhasa Apso so special. You didn't get him to show, just to love, but something isn't right.
By seven weeks he had a full set of teeth, his coat looked OK to start with, but by three months, he has lost his beard and most of his leg hair. You begin to worry. What is going on, is he ill, is there a genetic problem, will he be OK? Your vet says he is perfectly healthy, you are relieved, but you still worry because he is not developing the trademark Lhasa Apso coat. You don't really care what he looks like, you don't love him for his coat anyway, you love him because he is your exceptionally hairy little person and you want him to be there for you to love for a long time, you just don't want to lose him. You call the breeder you bought him from, you explain what is happening and ask if there could be a genetic problem, but the breeder brushes you off without an answer. Now you are really concerned, why won't the breeder talk to you about this?
Well relax, your baby is fine, he is most likely a Prapso. What is a Prapso? A Prapso is simply a Lhasa Apso that, for some reason as yet undetermined, has some of the coat characteristics of his cousin the Tibetan Terrier. Prapsos are not uncommon. Sadly, many breeders are ashamed of them and try to ignore them or deny their existence. This is silly. Nearly all breeders have had a litter or more with a Prapso. Most reputable breeders accept this as a fact of life. Since the Prapso is fairly easily recognizable by any good breeder, the breeder will simply sell the Prapso as a pet and advise potential buyers of coat differences. However, some not so reputable breeders will ignore the obvious, even though they are aware of it and choose not to tell prospective buyers that the particular puppy they are interested in is a Prapso or explain to the buyer what a Prapso is. This is extremely unfair for several reasons. First, if the buyer is looking for a show-quality Lhasa Apso, he will be disappointed and the Lhasa could suffer as a result. Secondly, if the buyer does only want a pet, the difference in the coat development can cause a great deal of unnecessary worry to the person who loves the Lhasa and is concerned for his well being. Third, it is gives the impression that the Prapso is something to be ashamed of and is therefore undesirable.
Prapsos are neither shameful or undesirable. They have the same basic characteristics as all other Lhasa Apsos, although they do have a tendency to be somewhat more active and excitable. They are just as intelligent, just as affectionate and just as special as any other Lhasa Apso. The only shame is that of breeders who demean the Prapso because of his lack of a heavy coat. I have know several Prapsos and their humans and they are every inch a Lhasa Apso and just as adored as their long coated siblings.
Don't be disappointed if your Lhasa happens to turn out to be a Prapso, he will not be disappointed in you if you go bald. He can't help his sparse coat. He did not ask for it anymore than a lot of humans who are cursed with bad hair or no hair. Treat him just as you do any other Lhasa Apso for that is what he is. He will certainly do the same for you.
As a matter of fact, I myself have been know to inquire of one or the other of my two heavy-coated Lhasa Apsos, as I spend another three hours brushing and grooming and carefully removing massive mats in a way that does not hurt them, why they could not have been Prapsos and saved both of us this tedious task. But then, both of my girls seem to make a dedicated effort to create as many mats possible for Mom to have to remove.
If you would like more information on Prapsos, take a look at the Dutch Lhasa Apso Page which is included in my links. Monique has an entire section devoted to Prapsos and it includes a lot of very detailed and reliable information on the Prapso. This section also has a number of links to articles by experts on the subject that are well worth reading whether you have a Prapso or not.
Permission to publish this article was granted by Kathi Mitchell