Lowchen Guide

Non-Sporting Dog Breeds

The lowchen is a compact small dog, very slightly longer than it is tall, with strong, sturdy — but never coarse — bone. Its gait is effortless with good reach and drive, and it proudly carries its head and tail. Its coat is dense and long, moderately soft with a slight to moderate wave. It is traditionally clipped in a lion trim. The lowchen has a relatively short, broad top skull and muzzle, and its expression is alert, bright and lively.

This is a lively, inquisitive, affectionate dog. It is a mixture of playful spirit and calm soul mate, a good companion for a quiet family. It is willing to please and responsive to commands, and it is devoted to its family. Some may bark or dig a lot.

AKC RANKING 134

FAMILY companion, water dog

AREA OF ORIGIN France, Germany

DATE OF ORIGIN 1500s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION companion

TODAY'S FUNCTION companion

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 12-14 Weight: 8-18

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 12-14 Weight: 8-18

OTHER NAME little lion dog

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Low

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Friendly

Ease of training Moderately easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The lowchen can receive ample exercise with a short walk or active game every day. It enjoys a mental challenge. It is not a breed that should live outside, although it appreciates access to a yard during the day. Its coat needs brushing or combing about every other day. Clipping to maintain the traditional lion trim must be done every month or two. Many pet owners prefer to keep their dogs in a puppy clip.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: patellar luxation
• Occasionally seen: none
• Suggested tests: none
• Life span: 13 – 15 years
Lowchen (pronounced lerv-chun) means "little lion dog," and in France the breed is know as le petit chien lion. The lowchen shares common roots with other members of the bichon family, which includes the bichon frise and Havanese, among others. Germany, Russia and France have all laid claim to the breed. The exact time and place of its origin is obscure, but dogs resembling the lowchen, sporting the distinctive lion trim, can be found in 16th-century German art. In the traditional lion trim, the coat is clipped short from the last rib to, and including, the hindquarters down to the hock joint. The front legs are clipped from elbow to just above the pastern. The feet are clipped, and about half the tail is clipped, leaving a plume at the tip. Any long hair is to be left unshaped. In the 1960s, the breed's numbers had dwindled to perilous numbers; through the efforts of two breeders, several related dogs from Germany were brought to Britain. Because of their small numbers, these dogs were interbred extensively and formed the basis of the breed in Britain as well as America. The lowchen entered the AKC miscellaneous class in 1996 and was admitted as a member of the nonsporting group as of the first day of 1999.