The Kyi-Leo is a gentle, active, playful, happy, loving companion dog. He is extremely affectionate and bonds very closely to his family. He is sweet and loving with those he knows, but cautious and wary of those he doesn't. He will warm up to strangers once he sees you are comfortable and relaxed with them. He is a patient and forgiving dog who isn't easily antagonized, and who can be left alone if necessary; yet he is a housedog and not one to be left alone in a yard. He can be calm, obedient, and quiet in the house. He will jump with joy when you return home and demands plenty of attention from you whenever you are with him. He loves to be touched and petted and snuggled, but he isn't fond of rough handling. He loves to play. Catlike in many ways, he is quick and agile and can grasp things with his front paws. He loves his toys and games of fetch, running in circles around the house, and performing tricks like rolling over or walking on his hind legs. He is a medium-energy dog who is active indoors but also needs daily, leashed walks and chances to romp and run outside in a safely enclosed area. He likes cold weather and romps in the snow. He is sturdy and alert, and he makes a good watchdog. His keen hearing and strong voice will alert you to strangers; once he's done barking, however, he's more likely to hide from burglars than confront them! He may react frantically to high-pitched noises if he isn't exposed to a variety of sounds while still a puppy. He can be challenging to train, because although he is eager to please you he is a sensitive dog who can also be a bit stubborn. You will need to be gentle, firm, and consistent to train him. He can get along with other pets and dogs, and is playful and even submissive toward animals who are more confident than he is. He is good with considerate children, and since he doesn't like rough-housing is generally best with older one. He almost doesn't shed, and so would be a good pet of you are a clean-freak.
The Kyi-Leo is 8 to 12 inches tall (to shoulders) and weighs 9 to 14 pounds. He has a long coat that is either straight or slightly wavy. His coat color is black and white or silver-gray and white.
The Kyi-Leo is a very new breed of dog. He began in the 1950's in San Francisco, California as an accidental cross between a Lhasa Apso and a Maltese. A breeder named Harriet Linn developed the new dog, and by 1972 a club had formed and the standards for the Kyi-Leo--whose name comes from the Tibetan word for "dog" and the Latin word for "lion"--were fully established. He remains a very rare breed, although his reputation as a loving companion dog is beginning to grow. He has been recognized by the American Rare Breed Association.