The Lowchen is a dog that, since the mid-fifteenth century, was known as the “Little Lion Dog” thanks to its distinctive lion clips. Breeders created this dog for the sole purpose of companionship. It originated in the Mediterranean and was the favorite breed of the Florentine aristocracy.
Madame Bennert and Dr. Hans Rickert of Belgium can take credit for rescuing the breed from devastation after World War II. The first Lowchens in America arrived from Britain in 1971. The name Lowchen (German for “Little Lion Dog”) came about soon after that. In Europe, the breed is called Petit Chien Lion.
This is a small dog with round bone and moderate bone density. They have slightly rectangular proportions, high head carriage, and an arched neck. The back is level, and the tail is set high, carried like a cup handle over the back.
It has a short, broad skull and muzzle, a dark nose, and a bright, lively expression. Its eyes are large, dark, round, and wide-set. The ears are set at eye level, or moderate length, and covered with fringe.
Lowchen Breed Facts
Activity level: The Lowchen can receive ample exercise with a short walk or live game every day. It enjoys a mental challenge.
Year of AKC Recognition: 1996
- POPULARITY: Very rare
- FAMILY: Water Dog, Barbichon
- AREA OF ORIGIN: France, Germany
- DATE OF ORIGIN: 1500s
- ORIGINAL FUNCTION: Companion
- TODAY’S FUNCTION: Companion
- OTHER NAME: Little Lion Dog
They bred this dog for centuries to be the ideal companion. They’re alert, lively, affectionate, and outgoing. This dog is an adaptable breed and the right candidate for obedience and agility competitions. Puppies should be discouraged from excessive barking to prevent them from forming bad habits.
The coat requires brushing or combing every other day. Clipping to sustain the old-style lion trim needs doing on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. However, most Lowchen owners choose to keep their dogs in a puppy clip.
Coat: This breed possesses a dense, long, soft, and slightly wavy coat. However, owners like to keep them in a traditional “lion trim” in which the forequarters are left fully coated, and the hindquarters are clipped close to the skin to the hock point. The tail is cut, leaving a plume at the top.
Color: All colors and color combinations
Breed Health Issues
- Major concerns: none
- Minor concerns: patellar luxation
- Occasionally seen: cataract, PRA
- Suggested tests: knee, eye, hip
- Life span: 13-15 years
- Weight: 8-18 pounds
- Height: 12-14 inches
Lowchen Buyer’s Guide and Breeder Advice
Purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder. The LCA’s website lists breeders by region under “breeder referral.”
Parent club: Lowchen Club of America; founded in 1971
Rescue: You can find the Lowchen Club of America rescue contact information on the club’s website under “Breed Rescue.”