The Kyi-Leo� is a small and sturdy rare dog that was developed from accidental crossing between the Maltese and Lhasa Apso dogs in 1950s in San Francisco Bay area, USA. The resulting puppies of this crossing caught attention of several dog lovers and one Mrs. Harriet Linn acquired some dogs in 1965 and several again in 1969. She then started seriously breeding them. In 1972, the breed was formally recognized as separate breed and was given the name "Kyi-Leo" to honour the parent breeds. "Kyi" is the Tibetan word for Dog while "Leo" is Latin word for loin and acknowledges the Maltese which is also known as Maltese Lion Dog. The registered trade mark sign affixed to its name indicates that this is a copy righted breed.

This small but strongly boned dog stands between 8-12 inches and weighs about 9-14 lbs. It has moderate head with medium length muzzle. The head is covered with hair which falls to hide large but not protruding dark to brown eyes which hold expression of intelligence and alertness. Nose is black. Drop ears are covered with hair. The body is slightly longer than tall. The dog comes with cat like agility and good front feet grip which allows it to easily grasp objects with its front paws. It has long and silky or slightly wavy coat that almost reach the ground. Black and white colouring is most preferred however the dog also comes in striking gold and white combination.

This breed is NOT recognized by AKC or any other major kennel club however it is recognized by American Rare Breed Association.

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