GREAT FALLS — Max is a five year old Lhasa Apso from Great Falls who couldn’t be any cuter. He’s fluffy, he’s smiley and the tip of his tongue has a tendency to stick out of his mouth at all times.
- Tax-filing changes | Recent Obituaries
- Muntzer guilty for Jan. 6 actions
- Hit-and-run crash victim identified
You could be forgiven for thinking Max is just a regular lapdog at first glance. But then it might surprise you to learn that Max is a fierce competitor.
“He loves to run,” said his owner, Debbie English. “He would always tear around the back yard in no time.
Max is the fastest Lhasa Apso in the United States, and that’s not hyperbole. At the 2023 American Kennel Club Invitational in Orlando, he finished first in his breed for Fast Coursing Ability Testing (Fast CAT).
“That's where he runs a 100-yard dash chasing a lure and they get timed in seconds,” English said. “It gets converted over into miles per hour, and then they get points.”
Max reached speeds up to 19 mph, which is light-years faster than the average top speed of 11 mph for his breed. But it gets better. By one metric, Max is the fastest dog in the country.
“I didn’t know this was a thing, but they take all the dogs and calculate the percentage above what their normal breed would run on average," English said. "Max ran 53% above what a normal Lhasa would run. So Max got first out of 430 dogs that were invited to the invitational.”
For his efforts Max won the Speed of the Breeds division took home a giant ribbon, to add to his growing collection.
“I’m going to need a bigger basement,” joked Debbie.
You see, speed is just one of Max’s incredible talents. He’s an expert in scent work and is considered an elite trick performer by AKC standrds. He’s working his way up the ladder in the obedience and rally disciplines as well. And he has the certificates, ribbons, trophies and plaques to show for it.
But the thing that Debbie’s most proud of is his temperament. Max is a wonderful companion and serves as a certified therapy dog when he’s not training or competing.
“Lhasa Apsos are not considered the friendliest breed,” Debbie said. “But Max is the exception. He loves people. There’s a group of about five of us and we go to retirement homes and rehab centers. And the dogs get the biggest smiles out of everybody when they arrive.”
But even with all Max does, he still finds time to be a normal dog.
“He is goofy. He's lovable. He's also a stinker,” Debbie said. “He loves to shred things. I mean, he'll go into the bathroom and shred toilet paper in no time. But he's the best.”
And they bring the best out of each other.
“It keeps me busy and it keeps me active and keeps me going,” Debbie said. “I’ve always wanted a dog who I could train and do things with. And he loves it so we’ll keep doing it until he can’t any more.”
For more information on local events and competitions or to get your dog involved, contact the Electric City Kennel Club.