AKC Dog Breeds: Lowchen

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Non Sporting Group
Height 10-14 inches  Weight 10-18 pounds Color white, black, spotted, cream, ivory, yellow

Lowchen are a small, bright, and lively dog that originated as a companion breed in Pre-Renaissance Europe where ladies of the court groomed it in the likeness of a little lion. Lowchens were first depicted in art dating back to the early medieval period, when they likely emerged as a separate breed. There is some debate as to whether they originated in Germany or Italy, but it seems they were common in European courts by the 15th century. It is believed they gained their traditional styling in the Florentine court where a fascination with "The Orient" caused them to have them shorn up to look like little Chinese lions. Their docile manner and loyalty to human owners is legendary. There is an apocryphal story that has a Lowchen known to history as Bijou jumping out the top tower of a German castle when his mater went out on hunt without him. True or not, Lowchen developed a reputation as a good dog for the wealthy to keep as a constant companion. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1995.

General Appearance
The Lowchen, also called the Little Lion, has a short head with a broad skull, a black nose, and round, dark, intelligent eyes. It has pendent, feathered ears. Its body is short and well proportioned, with a medium-length tail. The hair is long and wavy, but not curly. The most sought-after colors are white, black and lemon, but speckled dogs are also acceptable. The body of the Lowchen should be clipped in the hindquarters, the section of the tail closest to the body, and part of the front legs should be close-clipped to give it the look of a lion.


Lowchen dogs make good family pets and companions, and are well suited to the inexperienced dog owner as well as the more experienced. This intelligent breed is quick to learn and eager to please, which makes training relatively easy. The Lowchen is a dog that is entertaining and fun to be around, but is also dignified, sensible, and peaceful. He thrives on the attention of his family, and has plenty of love and affection to shower upon his owners. Although the Lowchen loves to play and join in with all the family fun, he will also be content to simply snuggle up and relax with you. These mild mannered dogs can sometimes lean towards timidity, and this means that early socialization is important in order to promote confidence and improve social skills. A well socialized Lowchen will get along well with children, providing that they are gentle and considerate, and will also get along well with other pets. With strangers many will be friendly and polite, although some may be timid or shy. Although the Lowchen is suitable for apartment living, he may be a keen barker and this could pose a problem in terms of noise. His tendency to announce visitors and raise the alarm makes him an effective watchdog. This is not a dog for those that have little time to devote to a pet, as he does need attention, love, and mental stimulation.

The classic leonine look of the Lowchen requires a professional grooming every four to six weeks. The unclipped hair must be combed daily to prevent tangles and mats. Bathing should be done on a weekly basis. It is important that sunscreen be applied to the shorn area to prevent sunburn. The hair around the bottom should be kept trimmed for hygiene reasons, and you should check that the ears are dry and clean to reduce the chances of infection.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of the Lowchen is around 13-16 years. Lowchens are generally healthy, although they are prone to subluxated patellas, eye irritations caused by hair, and skin irritations on the shaved areas.

Activity Level
Lowchen love long walks, daily jogs, and hiking. They especially enjoy "off leash" time where they have the opportunity to run freely. They are suitable for apartment dwelling provided they are given sufficient exercise and ample play sessions. A securely fenced yard is nice but is not essential to the Lowchen.


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Lowchen dog featured in dog encyclopedia
Lowchen profile on dog encyclopedia