Reprinted from ”The Lhasa Apso Reporter” January 1985

by Patricia Chenoweth                                  CHEN LHASA APSOS

When Barbara asked if I would write articles about some of the old dogs, I thought that ought to be easy. However, I found I could not properly discuss the old dogs without discussing their masters as their lives and stories were so closely interwined. Many of the old dogs were not famous strictly because of show wins. There were not as many dog shows as now, not as many Lhasas, and not as many exhibitors. The dogs for the most part lived in homes, were not kenneled, and did not spend extensive periods away from home with handlers. They gained fame and/or importance to the breed because of what they were, little external trappings, no advertising to speak of, and mainly because a small group of dedicated fanciers and breeders were vitally interested in the Lhasa Apso.
I will attempt in this issue and in coming ones, to introduce you to some of the old dogs, the ones before your time, the foundations of our breed, and to their masters. Of course, I didn’t know EVERYBODY in Lhasas, but you must remember in 1959 when we got our first Lhasa, the number of this breed in the world was considerably smaller than it is now. The number of people involved was considerably less, to the point where you could almost include them all on your Christmas Card list, and if not meet them in person, at least correspond with them.
After we had been in Lhasas for approximately 4 to 5 years, and finished several champions, an automobile trip to Southern California seemed to be in order, and a personal visit to two of Lhasadoms early enthusiasts on the west coast.
My mother, Marion Lyons, and I drove from the Bay area to the Santa Ana dog Show with new champion, Shenjis Miss Kachika of Chen, Kyi-Chu Kimmi and Kyi-Chu Kara Nor in tow.
Chika, a soft silver-grizzle, who had just finished her championship, was only along for the ride, but Kimmi was entered in open and Kara Nor, a chubby puppy, was entered in senior puppy class.
The judge did right by us at the show, Kimmi took his second major, and the chubby one, Kara Nor, was reserve winners bitch from puppy class. The highlight of the show, however, was seeing for the first time, Champion Licos Chulung La ROM. We were thrilled to see him take the breed and place in group. ChuIunq was in his prime at this show in the early fall of 1962. He was a gorgeous animal, in full coat, a sable red with good black tips. He was approximately 11” at the withers, medium to light bone, level topline, ever so slight undershot bite, complete dentition, beautiful head and expression. Good length of leg, excellent reach and drive. Chulung had a soft approach to showing - he did not come on strong, he was simply an aristocratic, beautiful, typey Lhasa Apso. He was handled for Grace Licos by Bob Mankey. We always said his grandson Teeters (Ch. Chen Nyun-Ti ROM) was a smaller, redder Chulung, in appearance. Chulung had medium length to his muzzle, and in my opinion, a perfect head and expresion, with a lovely dark brown oval eye. I have, happily, seen his head again
and again in my puppies, and also in dogs down from him, owned by others. I also had the good fortune to have his length of leg on a number of my dogs. It is difficult to describe a dog to someone and have them see the dog exactly as you do. I can see Chulung so clearly in my mind, but perhaps my perfect head, may not be someone else’s perfect head, or when I say good length of leg, I mean - the dog did not have short legs, but he was not leggy either. Chulung (sired by Marilyn Sorcis Ch. Hamilton Achok out of Ch. Licos Nyapso La) had everything - as he should, a dog in moderation, nothing exaggerated. A wonderful, sound dog for anyone to line breed upon.
The last time I saw Chulung was in June of 1972 at the American Lhasa Apso Club Western Specialty at Beverly Hills. He was appropriately entered in Veterans Class and handled by Larry Adams to the number one spot. He was in lovely coat, as always, with heavy head and ear furnishings, giving him the characteristic oriental gentleman appearance. Interestingly,
the Veteran Bitch Class was won by the aforementioned Ch. Kyi-Chu Kara Nor ROM, still on the chubby side and still out there showing her little heart out for Judge 0. Carley Harriman.
Perhaps before we describe our visit to Americal and Licos, a description of Kara Nor is in order. She is indeed one of the illustrious ancestors of many of today’s fine Lhasas. In case you missed any of the past press on Kara Nor. She had several distinguished features, one being two bright purple front feet. Try as we could, we could not break her of the habit of chewing and licking her front feet. Kara Nor’s coat color was several shades of gold, ranging from creamy ivory on her tummy to a creamy honey gold with shades of apricot on her back. She had black tips, overlay, and a black face. She banded in agouti fashion rather regularly. Her coat color therefore was never dull, never boring and had a marvellous texture. It was drip-dry, slow to mat, and very easy to groom and fast growing. Kara Nor was 8½” at the withers, heavy bone, excellent spring of rib, excellent layback of shoulder. Bone angulation was very good in this bitch. She had a bit more muzzle than I like in females, however her head was in balance. She had a lovely oval dark brown eye, and excellent black pigment. It looked as if someone had drawn around her eyes with eye liner the pigment was so black, and of course long black lashes completed the picture. Real beauty escaped Kara Nor, somehow. Perhaps it was the muzzle length, although this was tempered by the tilt of her nose, which was upward, and the fact that she always carried her head very high, with the nose in the air and had good length of neck. Kara Nor had a superb show attitude. She thought very highly of herself. Perhaps it was her puppy upbringing in the home of her breeder, Ruth Smith. Or something within her that brought forth her remarkable attitude. She was a bit short of leg, or perhaps it was the fat body that made it look so. She was not a soft, mushy fat however, but even at her heaviest weight of 18 lbs. her skin and tissues were firm and solid. Her excessive weight did not allow for a pretty gait, but certainly an adequate one. She had excellent reach and drive with those sturdy short legs. I have photos to prove it. She could not, however, sustain her gait for any great length of time because of the weight. This was a management problem, not a fault in conformation.
Back to 1962 and our visit to Marie Stillman and Grace Licos. I had met Grace on several previous occasions and we had become friends, but this was my first visit to her home. She invited my mother and I to lunch. Her husband, John was still living at the time and we so much enjoyed the afternoon with Grace and John. But perhaps the most striking and apparent thing to my eyes was the housefull of breathtakingly beautiful Lhasa Apsos, all perfectly groomed, hair up in pony tails, and all such gentlemen and ladies, not yapping or running around acting like dogs at all, but obviously living, oriental objects of art. There was old Henry and Rika (Ch. Americal’s Leng-Kong and Ch. Americal’s Rika) senior members of the household.
Henry was an apricot red-gold, very masculine, very friendly, nice head and bite, he did have self coloration. Rika was one of the most striking bitches I had ever seen. She was aloof, regal, sable red in color with ear furnishings almost to the ground. She was tall and willowy, and moved like a dream. I would guess her size to have been approximately 10½” as she and Henry appeared to be about the same height, although built differently. He had a shorter leg and heavier body. Both were in excellent coat and had marvellous coat textures.
All the time we were at Grace’s a little blond female named Kathi never left my side. She very coyly offered me her paw everytime she had a chance and snuggled up to me everytime I sat down. According to John, she never did this to anyone but them. I was very flattered by this attention, and when we left, Katha (Ch.Hamilton Katha) came with us. Kathi was a true, bright and clear gold, with faint black tips to her ears. She was 9” taIl and weighed 15 to 16 pounds. She had moderate bone, moderate length of leg, level top line, cobby body, lovely head and expression. Tight reverse scissors (slightly undershot bite). Kathi had an impressive ring record for her time. She was a Group One Winner and had several Best of Breed wins at the Garden, Westminster Kennel Club Show. Her last ring appearance was at Golden Gate in Veterans Class in February of 1967 at the age of 121/2. At about this same time a gentleman by the name of Mr. John Montigue saw our Kathi. He was on leave from his position as Head of the Lowell Thomas Tibetan Relief Organization based in New Delhi, India. He took a quick look at our girl and proclaimed her the epitome of Lhasa loveliness and type. A statement with which we heartily agreed.
Also in evidence at the Lico`s home was Ch. Licos Nyapso-La, called Nya and probably one of Grace’s favorite dogs. She was a magnificent bitch, sable red in color, favoring her exquisite dam, Rika. Her head and expression were beautiful. Mere words cannot adequately describe the beauty of this dog. Her movement was excellent, free flowing, her attitude and personality wonderful. She had what I soon recognized, the Licos attitude & temperament - sheer elegance and an extreme self-confidence without brassiness or cockiness. She was great because she was born to be great.
There was also sweet little Pluti. An extremely pretty little bitch, 9” tall, with pale gold hair. She reflected the effects of living her puppyhood in a kennel at Hamilton Farm and was a bit shy. She was younger than the other girls, and perhaps they intimidated her a bit. She did warm up to us before we left. We were happy to learn that she was expecting a litter bred to Henry. From that breeding, among others, came the lovely male Ch. Licos Zaskar La, sire of Bea Loob’s beloved bitch, Ch. Zijuh Teri.
We must of course, tell you about Murphy, the dog we had really come to see at close range and at home. We definitely approved of Murphy (Ch. Licos Omorfo La ROM) as did Kara Nor. He liked her also, so a future date was arranged for them, (from this breeding, among others, came Ch. Chen Makalu Nor and Chen Himalayan Hanah Nor ROM). Murphy was another exquisite animal. The son of BlS Ch. Licos KuIu La out of Ch. Hamilton Pluti. He had a beautiful profuse coat of gold with black tips, and a lovely head and expression softened by Pluti`s sweetness. We felt he and Kara Nor were a perfect pair. Murphy was on the small side, barely 10” tall, weight about 16 to 17 pounds. His movement and showmanship was average, his temperament sweet and loving. We choose him over Chulung because he was a Kulu son and because of his sweet nature.
Katha was not the only Lhasa who went home with us that day. My mother and I purchased Licos Gia La which we were to co-own. Gi-Gi was the daughter of Chulung and Pluti and was six months old. She was, as a matter of fact, the only Pluti daughter who ever produced and she only had one litter. But one was good enough, when it contained Teeters and his sister Tsi-Tsi (Int. Ch. Chen Tsi-Tsi). Gia-La was a bright red-orange with self coloration, 9” tall, 12 to 13 pounds. She had her father’s build, good length of leg, excellent spring of rib, good length of neck, very elegant attitude, excellent movement, slight of bone, short of back. We felt she complemented our chubby Kara Nor and something good might come from the offspring of each. She had Pluti`s sweet expression, but her nature was one of an extreme snob.
Gia-La was convinced she was the most exquisite thing on 4 feet. This attitude plus her excellent movement and my high regard for her dam and sire was the deciding feature in purchasing her. She obviously did not disappoint me.
Following lunch and a long visit with John, Grace and the dogs, we headed across Beverly Blvd. to visit with the legendary Marie Stillman and the Americak Lhasas. We knew her son Albert quite well, but this was a first meeting with this lady. Again we were greeted with a housefull of regal, beautifully groomed Lhasas, who were true orientals in every way. Dignity and reserve was the order of the day. They were friendly and playful, but obviously, were royalty.
It was a delight to see old Ch. Hamilton Tsang, on old man of at least ten, which came out to greet us. He was a bright red,
sturdy little guy of about 10½”. He checked us out and then went off to take a nap. Ch. Hamilton Chang-Tang was friendlier and we were so excited to see Kara Nor’s grandfather in the flesh. He was a beautiful, reserved dog ivory in color. There was Ch. Americal’s Torma Lu, the last puppy of the great winner BlS Ch. Hamilton Torma. We had seen Torma Lu in the ring handledby Frank Sabella, but never close up. He was a creamy gold with black tips, refined and very pretty. Torma Lu lived out his days of retirement in the east with Dorothy and Rudy Benetiz. Also running around was a young bitch named after Frank, Americal’s Sabelle, and the lovely Americal’s Annapurna of Pamu, litter sister of Americal’s Sandar of Pamu. Our talk with Mrs. Stillman was very informative and exciting. I had corresponded with her prior to this visit, and she was very
helpful in answering questions about the early dogs, and about her own line which was so important to me. She also was very generous with photographs and we went away with many precious ones in our possession.
It was during this visit that these two great ladies who had contributed so much to the Lhasa breed, convinced me I should author the little handbook on the Lhasa Apso that TFH wished to publish. Both promised help and gave me much material and encouragement. Since, at that time there was nothing in print about the Lhasa, except for short articles, it was with some apprehension that I decided to attempt this project.
To summarize the Licos and Americal dogs, the most striking feature perhaps was their beauty, refinement and elegance. This attitude made them stand out as a distinctly different breed, you had only to meet one to know it was a Lhasa Apso, there was nothing common about them. No one had attempted to cross them with another breed to change the true Lhasa temperament into something it shouldn’t be. It was indeed an enlightening and informative day that I shall never forget -beautiful, type, elegant show dogs, living happily as beloved companions and house pets, not kenneled, not restricted, but displayed as the treasures they surely were.
I miss seeing this kind of Lhasa today in the showring, and as pets. There are some around, but all too few. The true Lhasa temperament and character, has been, and is being sacrificed, for a few show wins - wins whose importance survives only as long as next week’s show and next week’s winner.