A legend has it told:
Buddha was enthroned high above the clouds, on the left and on the right there sat two small, long haired dogs, that have been his guards.
Once Buddha has been in danger, the dogs transformed themselves into gigantic lion-dogs and fought against the danger. When the enemy has been defeated, the lion-dogs transformed back into the adorable, small, long haired dogs and sat back again to the left and right of Buddha to keep guarding over him.
That's how the myth of the snow-lion ('Buddha's lion') developed, which became a symbol of Tibet and reason enough for us, to choose the snow-lion for the mascot of our site. Its been never solved if there really have been lions in Tibet.
'Lion-Dog' - The Lion and the Lhasa Apso.
The lion plays an important role in the Tibetan history and culture. You can find the beautiful lion figure (which reminds me of the Orient) in Paintings, Drawings and sculptures; even took well-known positions such as being displayed as two lions left and right of Dalai Lama's chair of ceremony.
The popularity in the far away land was just an myth, as Tibet has never been the home of lions. The existence of the lion in the Tibetan culture has its source from a common religion with neighboring countries: the religion of the East. The Lion takes an important role in that religion.
Most probably the non-existence of the lion in Tibet was the reason that people admired the lion so much. Its been easy to link strength and dignity to the lion, since the animal itself never really existed in the all day life of the Tibetan population.
Almost like the Tibetan lion, Tibetan history and culture tells about the little lion dog. Due to the strong admiration for the big lion, the little lion dog has earned lots of respect and appreciation as well. the lion dog became an important symbol and has been placed at temples to function as guard, just like the fierce and grim Mastiff (Do Khyi).
It also may be that the Tibetan assigned the courage and intrepidity from the big cat to the small dog, or the golden long hair of the small dog has been simply an inspiration to to the Tibetan population to compare the dogs that guard their temples with the king of the animals, the lion.
The Lhasa Apso does not only look similar to the lion because of its golden color (one of many possibilities) but also due to his crest of hair, which reaches from his head far below to his shoulders.
From ancient effigies other links between the Lhasa Apso and Lion can be found: A small dog - that looks similar like the Lhasa Apso - seated next to the mystical deity of erudition.
Stories of Tibetan history tell, that by order this little dog can change into a giant lion to guide his god.
<click on the image on the right to learn about another legend>