Kyi Leo Dog

Your Kyi Leo Dog – A Sweet and Happy Companion

Kyi Leo Dog- Quick Information
Origin: California, America
Description: Small dog, with silky hair, beards, and whiskers. Black and white coloring
Temperament: Very sweet and affectionate
Weight: 4-6 kg
Life expectancy: 12 – 15 years
Litter size: 2-8 puppies
Exercise: Not much needed
Training: Easy to train
Health:  Overall, healthy

The Kyi Leo Dog  Overview

A Kyi-Leo is a small dog and a relative newcomer to dog breeds. Its name comes from the Tibetan word for “dog” and the Latin word for “lion.”  The breed was first introduced in the 1950s.

A watchful, good-humored, and gentle little dog it is. The Kyi-Leo is people-oriented and it bonds closely with its direct family. The dog is a nominal shedder which makes the Kyi-Leo a perfect hypoallergenic dog.

Who loves his Kyi Leo?

A happy accident

In the 1950s the Kyi-Leo was created in San Francisco, California. It was an accident!

A Lhasa Apso and a Maltese were crossed, but since then, the type of dog became popular and recognized as a breed on its own.

A dedicated breeder

Mrs. Harriet Linn, fascinated by the new breed, took the initiative in developing the breed and began producing them widely by 1969. She was careful in her line selection, striving to create a sweet-tempered dog  By 1972, the regulations for the Kyi-Leo were set as a legitimate breed. The American Rare Breed Association soon also recognized it. Today, the Kyi-Leo breeders can only use two Kyi-Leo parents to create a new line.

Why was the Breed Created?

Kyi Leo A great family pet

The breed was created by accident, but afterward, the breeder realized the dog has a wonderful temperament and decided to continue breeding them. The Kyi-Leo dog makes a great family pet. They are happy to be left alone, which makes them ideal for nine-to-fivers and the elderly.

Kyi-Leo pictures



The Kyi-Leo is not a large dog. The breed is stout and solid, with longish, silky hair. The fur can be straight or wavy. The dog has slow hair growth:  its coat may take up to 4 years to reach adult length. They do not shed their hair.

The dogs are well-boned and have good muscle tone. Even the head is covered with long hair and the dog has a beard and whiskers. Typically, their coloring is black and white.

The breed is not as fragile as the Maltese and does not have the underbite of the Lhasa.


The Kyi-Leo is mostly black and white, but there are some with tan markings.

The Head

Its head is rather broad. The width across Kyi-Leo’s skull (measured in front of the ears) is equal or just greater than the length. The head is in proportion to the rest of the dog’s body.

In profile, the skull has an egg shape: slightly domed, but towards the front. Kyi-Leos don’t have excess skin or wrinkles, but smooth skin on their faces.

Eyes and ears

The dog has small eyes, is round in shape, and is very dark. The breed standard is that the eyes should be almost black. It has medium ears which are set high on the skull and hang down. The ears are V-shaped.


Kyi-Leos have full, broad muzzles. The depth of the muzzle is about 20% of the length. The dog’s jaws should have a good bone structure. It should appear well-developed and strong.


Black noses are preferred by breeders. The nostrils should be open and clear.


The Lyi-Leo has a high-set tail. It is thick at the base and tapers towards the tip. Usually, the tail is carried high and gracefully over the dog’s back. The tail is of modest length.

Kyi-Leo puppies

Did you know?    

Words that describe Kyi-Leo are gentle, sweet, easy-going, affectionate, and easy to please. They are calm and mingle well with other family pets, as well as with older people and children.

They don’t mind being left alone, so they are great companions for working people. They will bond well with almost anyone.

Good watchdogs

The dog has an alert nature and a keen sense of hearing. They will bark and warn their family if something worries them. They make excellent watchdogs.

However, the Lyi-Leo rarely will show signs of aggression, so it is most likely that the intruder will be licked to death, rather than be bitten.


These little guys weigh between 4-6 kg.  Males are slightly larger than females.


They usually are 20-30 cm tall to the shoulders.

KYI LEO DOG Life is Better Ceramic Coffee Tea Mug Cup 11 Oz

The literature tells us that this type of dog is generally healthy. Because they are a cross, they are not as prone to medical issues as the purebred Maltese or Lhasa Apso.

However, as they are a small breed, there are some issues that owners should be aware of:

  • Kyi-Leos are prone to have kneecaps that dislocate.
  • They cannot be handled too roughly, as they can develop back pain and lameness. They should be watched and handled with care.
  • They have sensitive digestive tracts. Table food, and especially meat, should not be given to them.
  • They can get obese quickly due to their small body frame. Do not overfeed them.

The indoor life

The Kyi-Leo is a patient, calm and quiet little animal. It is ideally suited for indoor life.

“I don’t mind being left alone.”

They can be left alone for long periods of time and will just wait patiently for their owner to get home. However, the Kyi-Leo is more of a house dog and not one to be left alone outside. The dog makes an excellent apartment dog.

These dogs can live up to 15 years if they are well looked after.

Kyi-Leo mums usually have a litter size of 2-8 puppies; however, the average number from a pregnancy seems to be 6. Kyi-Leo puppies are little fluff balls and utterly delightful.

Brush, brush

Due to the breed’s long, silky coat, it needs daily brushing. Their hair can become matted and difficult to deal with if left for too long. As they don’t shed hair, Kyi-Leos are the perfect hypoallergenic dog for people with allergies. A bath once a month is enough for this breed.

A professional groomer can trim the hair around the eyes and ears from time to time, as it can become long and hamper the dog’s sight and hearing.

Dry kibble is best

The Kyi-Leo should be fed premium dry kibble, which is high in protein. They have sensitive stomachs and should not be given spicy or canned foods. Meat is also not a good choice for them.

They gain weight quickly because of their small size. Owners should keep an eye on this as it will put undue pressure on their joints and spine.

Just one walk, please 

Vigorous exercise is not a requirement for this breed, as they are not super-active. They are happy to be indoors and get most of their exercise through play. If they are walked once a day, they will be more than happy.

But, due to its proneness to orthopedic issues, regular exercise is a definite must. Do not skimp on this.

Kyi -Leo breeders

Easy to train

The Kyi-Leo is bright and intelligent and easy to train. Your dog will learn fast as the breed is easy to please. Use praise and appreciation as a reward for jobs well done. (It is better not to give this breed treats due to its sensitive digestive tract.)

Socializing is very important. Your puppy should experience varied circumstances and get used to new faces and sounds. If they are socialized, they would be civilized in their handling of strangers.

Kyi-Leo Training Guide. Kyi-Leo Training Book Includes: Kyi-Leo Socializing, Housetraining, Obedience Training, Behavioral Training, Cues & Commands and More

Healthy, overall

Overall, Kyi-Leos are healthy dogs with no known hereditary diseases. If they are properly looked after, they can live up to 14 years.

Might be prone to joint disorders

Because of their compact size, the Kyi-Leo put a great deal of pressure on their back and legs. It might be wise to give them a joint supplement from a young age. They should not be handled too rough or walk stairs too regularly.

Not too warm

Because of its Tibetan origin and its thick coat, the Kyi-Leo is better suited to colder climates.

No human food

Kyi-Leos can easily become overweight. Also, their stomachs cannot handle meat well, and they are prone to pancreatitis, its symptoms being extreme vomiting and a tender belly.

Generic dog food is the best choice for Kyi-Leo.


Kyi-Leos is great for a first-time pet owner. The breed will flourish in an apartment and will be equally sweet to seniors or small children. Being hypoallergenic, they are also a good choice for people with allergies. Get yours from a reputable breeder and you would not be sorry! You will be getting yourself a lifetime friend.

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