Kyi-Leo Dog

The Kyi-Leo is a small yet sturdy rare dog breed. It was first introduced in the 1950s in the San Francisco Bay area by the accidental crossing of a Maltese and a Lhasa Apso. This produced an attractive yet distinct type of dog that quickly caught the attention of a few individuals. The most notable of these individuals was Mrs. Harriet Linn who acquired several of these dogs in 1965 and later acquired several more from the San Jose kennel in 1969; from then on she began to seriously breed them. In 1972 there was enough interest among owners and breeders to come together and formally recognize this breed. It was at this meeting that they formally decided on calling it a Kyi-Leo. The name comes from the Tibetan and Latin languages. “Kyi” is the Tibetan word for dog; this acknowledges the Lhasa Apso breed which first came from Tibet. “Leo” is the Latin word for Lion; this acknowledges the Maltese which is also known as the “Maltese Lion dog”. Since then the Kyi-Leo breed has slowly spread throughout the United States, especially on the western seaboard, and has recently become accepted by the American Rare Breed Association as a legitimate dog breeds.

As a newborn, the Kyi-Leo Dog fits within the palm of a human hand. Fully grown, it reaches 8-12 inches in height and 9-14 lb in weight. The Kyi-Leo has a long silky coat, most commonly black and white but sometimes gold and white, which tends to grow to long yet attractive lengths (never quite reaching past the floor) if tended properly. Its hair also grows on its short-snout face and short tail, which will curl up over its back when excited. It has small yet delicate legs that are prone to damage if dropped; but the Kyi-Leo Dog can be very agile and quick, able to stand on its hind feet and make fast and passionate sprints. It is also naturally capable of swimming short distances, though it is not particularly fond of water. The Kyi-Leo Dog does not have much jumping spring in its legs, and tends to only clear two to three feet high jumps. Like most dogs, it has a strong sense of smell and an acute sense of hearing. The Kyi-Leo Dog also has notable similarities, in body size, shape, and hair, to the Shih Tzu dog breed.

The Kyi-Leo Dog is notable for being temperate in personality – calm, obedient, usually quiet, not easily provoked, and quickly forgiving. It is usually very playful and active around trusted humans or animals, but tends to stay cautious and alert around strangers. Its acute hearing makes it a decent watchdog, but it will most likely revert to hiding when push comes to shove. It is not ferocious in the least and can become easily scared of assertive animals, even confident cats or unruly squirrels. However, the Kyi-Leo Dog is rather intuitive in that if it senses its owner trusts someone, it will quickly warm up to that stranger. Logical intelligence is not particularly high in the Kyi-Leo breed, but unique and sometimes quirky/stubborn personalities can cover this fact. It ideally lives in indoor settings and can be very patient when left alone for long hours at a time. However, it quickly becomes excited when someone arrives home and will likely demand attention as payment for its patience. The Kyi-Leo Dog very much enjoys being touched and petted but can become rather resistant to tickling or aggressive handling. When provoked it can put on a facade of ferociousness but is not easily capable of hurting a human.

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