Lowchen

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8-18 lbs
12-14"
France, Germany
Little Lion Dog

The Löwchen was the dog of 15th century nobility in prominent European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Spain, and France. Bred for its small size, dense fur, and affectionate nature, it was kept as a companion and often carried to court by the ladies of the day. Traditionally, the hair was clipped close to the skin on the legs, hindquarters, and part of the tail to give the dog a lion look, hence the name “little lion”, or löwchen in German. Today, the breed is still celebrated for its loving nature, and forms close bonds with its human family.

Purpose
companion
Date of Origin
1500s
Ancestry
bichon frise, bolognese, maltese, havanese

Lowchen Health

Average Size
Height: 12-14 inches Weight: 8-18 lbs
Height: 12-14 inches Weight: 8-18 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Diabetes
Minor Concerns
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Cataracts
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Heart
  • Hips
  • Blood And Urine Protein Screens
  • X-Rays
  • Eye Examination

Lowchen Breed History

It has been debated where the Löwchen comes from,  with answers ranging from such European countries as Germany, Spain, or Russia. Many agree that France is the country of the breed’s origin, although the word Löwchen is German for “little lion.” The breed is believed to originate in the 15th century where it was favored as a companion by the nobility. Ladies of the court often groomed the Löwchen so that it resembled a little lion, giving the breed its name. The breed is often referenced in words and pictures of the time, and even in Goya paintings of the 16th century. The French nobles particularly loved this dog, and often carried them to court. During times of war, people often set the dogs loose to fend for themselves, which caused the Löwchen to become rare dogs. A Belgium lady so admired the breed, that she collected as many as she could find and revived their numbers. The Löwchen is most likely related to the bichon breeds, but they may also have been bred from Maltese, Havanese, or Bolognese dogs. Löwchen numbers saw a decline again in the 1960s, when the Guinness Book of World Records gave them the title of “Rarest Breed.” Two breeders set about to revive the breed in Britain and imported several related dogs in this effort. Slowly, the numbers rose again, and by 1995, the Löwchen breed was registered with the AKC under the miscellaneous class. By 1999, the breed was transferred to the non-sporting class.

Lowchen Breed Appearance

This small and compact breed is square in shape with a balanced and strong body. It has an effortless gait that often accentuates its signature coat style. The Löwchen boasts a short, broad skull and muzzle. A bright and alert face features intelligent, forward looking brown eyes and pendant shaped ears that have feathering. The teeth land in a good scissors bite. The most distinguishing feature of the breed is the preferred style of coat. Hair is long and thick, with a soft texture that has a wave. Traditionally, the hair is clipped close on the hindquarters and on the lower half of the tail. The legs are also close clipped, leaving a small amount of hair near the paws. This gives the Löwchen a lion appearance, with a thick mane around its face, neck and upper body, with tufts near the paws and at the end of the tail. The coat can be in a variety of colors, but white, lemon, and black dogs are the most popular ones.

Lowchen Breed Maintenance

The dense coat of the Löwchen requires frequent brushing, about every day or so. Without this routine grooming, the hair will become tangled and matted, making the dog very uncomfortable. Clipping in the traditional lion style requires a close trim on the legs, hindquarters and tail, and will need to be done once every one to two months to maintain. This is a breed that sheds little, making it an ideal choice for those with pet allergies. An occasional bath is recommended to keep the Löwchen clean. They have fast growing nails that need regular trimming to prevent splits and cracks. Ears should be routinely cleaned of wax and debris, and teeth should be brushed. The Löwchen is an active dog that needs frequent exercise. Due to its small size, it can easily be active indoors. This breed is adaptable to many living conditions, including apartment life, so long as there are daily walks and activities.

Lowchen Temperament

The Löwchen was bred to be a companion, and this shows in his loving and affectionate nature. He is a people pleaser, and needs to be with his human family every day. This breed craves giving and getting attention, and enjoys the activeness of playing and the relaxation of cuddling with their favorite someone. If the Löwchen does not get the time with his family that he needs, he can be prone to separation anxiety. Though Löwchens can be rambunctious in puppyhood, they often grow into a calm, though alert dog. With a fearless nature, they can be prone to excessive barking as they take their role of watchdog seriously. Though they can be snappy, they do enjoy playing with children. While they can be friendly to animals, they have been known to challenge other family dogs, even if they are much bigger. An intelligent breed, the Löwchen needs early training to prevent bad habits from forming, such as barking or digging. They are eager and can quickly learn obedience. The energetic and playful Löwchen loves activities such as carting, herding, and water trials. Their positive demeanor also makes them excellent therapy dogs.

Top Lowchen Breeders

Check out who made our list for the most reputable Lowchen breeders of 2017.
Marday Lowchen
Caledonia, New York
Potrero Lowchen
Sonoma, California
Lordocs Lowchens
Punta Gorda, Florida
Roseland Farm Lowchens
Webster, New York

Lowchen Owner Experiences