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Little Lion Dog Breed Description

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Breed Organization

The Lowchen Club of America

Native Country

Other Names
Lowchen, Little Chien Dog, Petit Chien Lion, Little Lion

Life Expectancy
Approximately 13-15 Years

Litter Size
Average 3-5 Puppies

Breed Group
AKC Non-Sporting

General Description

The Lowchen is a compact companion breed with slightly off square proportions and balanced moderate angles in the front and rear. The silhouette of the breed calls for a long mane in the front with a flat topline. The Lowchen tail should be set coming off the topline and be over the back in the shape of a tea cup handle in movement.

The Lowchen's coat is long and flowing and comes in many colors. The coat should not be thin and fluffy like a Bichon Frise, but fairly straight with waves. It is a multi-texture coat with a 50/50 mix of silkier thicker hairs and softer hair. This allows for an easy to maintain coat that is silky to the touch. Lowchen coat should not be harsh, wooly or cottony. The Lowchen does not shed, and this breed has very low allergic effects, and are considered hypoallergenic. It is important to note, however, that there is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic dog. The saliva and skin or dander, of a dog can still trigger an allergic event in sensitive people.

Breed Standard

Head: Short. Fairly broad skull. Black nose.
Ears: Long, pendulous, with feathering.
Eyes: Round, dark.
Body: Short, well-proportioned.
Tail: Medium in length, clipped. Tuft at the tip forming a plume.
Hair: Fairly long, wavy but not curly.
Coat: All colors, solid or spotted, are allowed except shades of brown (chocolate, liver).
Size: 25 to 32 cm.
Weight: 4 to 8 kg.


The breed is found in many countries as far back as the sixteenth century. The little "lion dog" is seen in many art pieces featuring dogs as far back as the sixteenth century, but it is unclear whether these were all dogs like the Lowchen, or simply small dogs of the Bichon type that were trimmed in a lion cut. Although this dog may be related to the Bichon Frise, the Lowchen's history remains obscure.

The Lowchen has a history as a companion dog to the wealthy and elite. It is possible to trace the modern history of the breed to late-19th-century enthusiasts in what are now Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. It is thought the breed's ancestors were dogs that were brought in by travelers from the far eastern lands of Tibet and mingled with local dogs such as Spitz and terrier-type dogs. Occasionally a genetic throw-back is found. Madame Bennerts started a breeding program in 1944, later with the help of veterinarian Dr. Rickert.

Lowchen were imported into Britain in 1968 and the breed was accorded Kennel Club (UK) recognition in 1971. The Lowchen would finally make an appearance in America in 1971, by way of England. At this time, the Lowchen was still known as the “Little Lion Dog”. Also in 1971, The Lowchen Club of America (LCA) was formed and the breed's name was officially changed to “Lowchen ”. The Lowchen was accepted into the American Kennel Club Miscellaneous class in 1996, and then fully recognized into the non-sporting group in 1999.

The number of Lowchen worldwide continues to fall with the breed being listed as at risk for extinction. An effort to keep the breed from becoming extinct was started along with efforts across other rare breeds.


The Lowchen is a friendly, healthy, and happy dog. Dogs of this breed are both active and playful, and very intelligent. The Lowchen is an excellent house pet. The Lowchen makes also a good pet for families with children. This breed has a history as a companion dog and the dogs need the attention of humans and they are not happy left alone for longer periods of time. The Lowchen can be vocal in excitement or demands, though some can be quiet.

He adapts well to apartment life, as long as he is walked daily. He also needs daily brushing. For shows, he should be groomed every two months with a Continental (or Lion) clip like that of the Poodle. Sporting this clip, he truly lives up to the name Lowchen, meaning "little lion".




The Lowchen is a robust breed with few health issues that impact the dog. Yearly eye exams, patella evaluation, and hip conformation evaluations are recommending for breeding stock. The breed can be impacted by Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and luxating patellas, however the frequency is low. Other issues tend to be issues related to old age.

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