Kyi Leo Information

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The Kyi‑Leo® dog is a small, solid breed, combining the look of the Lhasa-Apso and the Maltese, from which it was bred. Most Kyi-Leo® are black and white - very rarely they will have a silverish-grey and white coat. The coat is long and thick, either straight or slightly wavy, with a natural part along the spine. The head is covered with long hair, along with a beard and whiskers. The small eyes are dark, the small nose black, the small teeth meet in a scissors bite. This breed is popular because it is not as fragile as the Maltese, and does not have the underbite of the Lhasa.

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There is a small percentage of gold and white parti-colored Kyi-Leo dogs, but 97% are black and white parti-colored.

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This new breed is lively, alert and playful. It is a gentle breed, affectionate and eager to please, and will bond closely with its family. The breed has a stubborn streak, and needs gentle but firm obedience training. The breed is generally good with children, as well as other dogs and smaller pets.  They are wary of new people, and will make a good watch dog. The  Kyi‑Leo® need to be socialized to both people and noises at an early age.

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8-12 inches
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9-14 pounds 
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General Health

This breed has no known hereditary diseases, but like all small breeds may be prone to Luxating Patella - a joint disorder that may require surgery. Properly cared for, they live about 12 years.

Most Kyi-Leo dogs live well into their teens.

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The Kyi‑Leo® is a new, copyrighted breed. In the 1950s, in San Francisco, a Lhasa Apso and a Maltese mated and produced puppies. People liked the look of them, so line breeding continued with them for the next 20 years. American Harriet Linn purchased her first Kyi-Leo in 1965, and loved the look of them. It was she who chose the name - "Kyi" Tibetan for dog, and "Leo"Latin for lion. The "breed" was established in 1972 and is recognized by the American Rare Breed Association.

In the 1950's in the San Francisco Bay Area, a pair of crossbred Lhasa Apso-Maltese were line bred and their offspring became the progenitors of the Kyi-Leo dog breed. The time of the first Lhaso Apso-Maltese cross remains a mystery.

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As with any dog with a long coat, frequent combing is necessary otherwise the coat will become matted. Trimming may be required occasionally.

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Ideal Environment

The Kyi‑Leo® makes an excellent apartment dog. It is very active and will exercise on its own, but it certainly won't say no to be taking for long walks by its master. A house with a small yard would be ideal.

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Dog Training!

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Kyi Leo Q&A

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how often should this breed be groomed?

every other day

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