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kyi leo mixed dog breed pictures 1 scaled - Kyi-Leo


The Kyi-Leo is a mixed breed dog — a cross between the Maltese and Lhasa Apso dog breeds. Playful, lively, and sweet, these pups inherited some of the best qualities from both of their parents.

Kyi-Leos are also known as Maltese Lion Dogs. You may find these mixed breed dogs in shelters and rescues, so remember to always adopt! Don’t shop if you’re looking to add a one of these pups to your home!

Kyi-Leos are usually friendly, chatty, and always willing to join in with an upbeat play session, especially if young children are involved. Due to the breed’s long coat, they do require a little extra time and effort in the grooming department. However, they’re also hypoallergenic, so if allergies are an issue, the Kyi-Leo might be the dog for you!

Breed Characteristics:


Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog.

Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.

Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.

If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!

Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.

Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.

Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.

Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.

All Around Friendliness

Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.

See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family

Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.

**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.

Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.

Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash in public!

Health And Grooming Needs

If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool

Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.

Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.

Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.

If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.

Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.

Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.

Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!


Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.

Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.

Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.

Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.

Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.

Physical Needs

High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.

Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.

A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.

Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.

Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.

Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group:Mixed Breed DogsHeight:8 to 12 inchesWeight:8 to 14 poundsLife Span:13 to 15 years

More About This Breed


  • The Kyi-Leo is a mixed breed dog. They are not purebreds like their Lhasa Apso or Maltese parents.
  • Kyi-Leos can be prone to back problems, so it is important to avoid unnecessary weight gain and obesity.
  • These dogs get along with just about anyone, from young kids to other pets.
  • The name Kyi-Leo comes from the Tibetan word for dog (“Kyi”) and the Latin for lion (“Leo”).
  • The breed’s easy going nature and small size makes the Kyi-Leo a great dog to consider for apartment dwellers. They are less likely than many dogs to develop separation anxiety.
  • Kyi-Leos are most often white dogs with black markings, but silver and tan or even tan on white colorways are also popular.
  • Kyi-Leo coats are wavy and considered hypoallergenic. They are well suited for cold climates thanks to their Tibetan Lhasa Apso ancestry.


The Kyi-Leo is one of the newest breeds around. It’s rumored that the breed was created by accident in San Francisco back in the 1950s. After the breed was further developed during the 1960s, it was given the formal name of Kyi-Leo in 1972. The name breaks down as the Tibetan word for dog (“Kyi”) and the Latin for lion (“Leo”). This is also where the dog’s nickname of the Maltese Lion Dog originates from.

The Kyi-Leo has become known as a designer dog breed, but many of them unfortunately end up in shelters. So consider contacting your local rescue groups and shelters if you’re thinking about adding the Kyi-Leo to your home.


The Kyi-Leo is usually described as a small-sized dog. Although, as is always the case with newer dog breeds, exact size standards might vary.

Most weigh in at 8 to 14 pounds and range in height from 8 to 12 inches.


Many Kyi-Leo owners describe their dogs as super lively and extra friendly pups. They’re devoted to the humans in their life and are very tolerant dogs who can enjoy being around playful young children. Although, joint play sessions should always be supervised, as the Kyi-Leo is not the sturdiest of canines. They also make excellent companions for older children.

If there’s an opportunity to pose for the camera, your Kyi-Leo will almost certainly take it up in an adorable fashion. You’ll love sharing photos of this breed with your friends! Despite their inherently social nature, the Kyi-Leo rarely suffers from any sort of separation anxiety issues and is considered a very patient dog.

Maybe due to the breed’s social nature, the Kyi-Leo can often be a talkative and vocal pup. However, correct training from an early age can curb this issue if it’s a problem. The breed’s easy going nature and small size makes the Kyi-Leo a great dog to consider for apartment dwellers.


Kyi-Leos are generally considered to be healthy dogs–although the breed’s small size can result in back and joint problems. It might be advisable to speak to your vet about joint supplements. As ever, it’s important to schedule regular wellness visits with your dog’s vet.

Some of the more common health problems Kyi-Leos suffer from include:

  • Back issues
  • Patellar luxation
  • Pancreatitis


As with all dogs, it’s important to keep up your Kyi-Leo’s regular veterinary checkups to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.

Kyi-Leos can become obese due to overeating, so it is important to monitor food servings and be extra vigilant about not allowing the breed to over-snack. Also, try to avoid filler ingredients like corn in their food.

When it comes to exercise, the Kyi-Leo is definitely playful, but you won’t need to commit to extra long walks. Once a day will usually suffice for walking duties. This dog is a snuggler, not a hiker!

Indoor play is usually welcomed by the breed, and introducing interactive toys to the environment will surely delight the dog.

Dental care is important for all small dogs, so brush your Kyi-Leos teeth a few times a week.


An ideal Kyi-Leo diet should be formulated for a small-sized breed with high energy.

Kyi-Leos need to stick to a healthy diet, as overeating can cause weight gain and has been known to result in back problems. Snack very conservatively.

As with all dogs, the Kyi-Leo’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Kyi-Leo’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs–including weight, energy, and health–to make a specific recommendation.

Coat Color And Grooming

Kyi-Leos are most often white dogs with black markings, but silver and tan or even tan on white colorways are also popular.

Kyi-Leos are blessed with a long, luxurious coat that’s often described as being wavy. The breed is considered to be hypoallergenic, even though a small amount of shedding does occur. The breed’s coat requires a commitment to grooming to avoid the risk of mats developing. Grooming sessions will be longer than with many other dogs, and brushing needs to be carried out daily. After consulting with your vet, you might want to consider learning how to trim your Kyi-Leo’s hair every couple of months.

The breed adapts well to colder climates, due to its long hair and Tibetan ancestry. During warmer months, always make sure adequate water is on offer and look out for signs of heat exhaustion during any outdoor walks.

Children And Other Pets

Kyi-Leos are playful and friendly and almost always get on great with children. They’ll soon come to view your kids as playmates. However, play sessions with younger children should always be supervised, especially during the early days. If you show your kids how to interact with the Kyi-Leo in a safe and respectful manner, they’ll very quickly become best buddies!

There are very few people who Kyi-Leos do not get along with, and they’re mostly good with other pets and animals. That said, always exercise caution before introducing new pets to each other.

As with all dogs, early socialization pays off, so make sure to reward your Kyi-Leo for good behavior and adhere to a proper training regime when you bring them home.

Rescue Groups

It may be hard to find a breed-specific rescue for Kyi-Leos because they are a mixed breed. However, you may want to try Lhasa Apso or Maltese breed-specific rescues, as they often care for mixes, as well. Here are some rescues you can try:

  • American Maltese Association Rescue

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