The Lhasa Apso’s Origins and History Source: Wikipedia. Country/Region of Origin: Tibet Original purpose: watchdog for monasteries Name: also called Lhassa Terrier. Historical notes: Lhassa Apsos have guarded Tibeten monasteries for 2,000 years. According to legend, the dogs are reincarnations of lions, and Golden Lhasas are reincarnations of the Dalai Lamas. The Lhassa Apso breed was introduced to the United States by the Dalai Lama, as a gift to C. Suydam Cutting, in the 1930s.