The Kyi-Leo (pronounced "ki" as in "kite") is a small yet sturdy rare dog breed.


It was first introduced in the 1950s in the San Francisco Bay area by the accidental crossing of a Maltese and a Lhasa Apso. This produced a type of dog that caught the attention of several individuals. The most notable was Mrs. Harriet Linn, who acquired several of these dogs in 1965 and later acquired several more from the San Jose, California kennel in 1969; from then on she began to seriously Dog breeding them. In 1972 there was enough interest among owners and breeders to come together and formally recognize this breed. It was at this meeting that they formally decided on calling it a Kyi-Leo. The name comes from the Standard Tibetan and Latin languages. “Kyi” is the Tibetan word for dog; this acknowledges the Lhasa Apso breed which first came from Tibet. “Leo” is the Latin word for Lion; this acknowledges the Maltese which is also known as the “Maltese Lion dog”. Since then the Kyi-Leo breed has slowly spread throughout the United States, and has recently become accepted by the American Rare Breed Association as a legitimate breed.

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