Other names/Nicknames:
  • Little Lion Dog
Country/Date of origin:
  • France
  • 1500′s
  • 10 to 13 inches
  • 8 to 18 pounds
  • An affectionate, lively, little, lap dog.
  • Bred to please, the Lowchen seems to have built in good manners.
  • Very intelligent and wants to please.
  • Easily trained.

The Löwchen is a member of the Bichon group of dogs that contains the Maltese, Bichon Frise, and Havanese.  The Löwchen has been the cherished and pampered pet of nobility for almost five centuries.  The custom of clipping the dog to look like a little lion is an old one and is found in paintings from the 1500′s.  If a knight did not have the good fortune to die in battle, he was depicted in paintings with one of the little lion dogs at his feet to symbolize his courage and bravery.  The tiny dogs, the darlings of the French court, dropped in popularity at the same time as the nobility.  They are enjoying a renaissance at the present time.  Imported into the United States about 25 years ago, it has gained enough supporters to be accepted into the American Kennel Club (AKC) Miscellaneous class in June of 1995.

Body Type:
  • A tiny dog in the Bichon group that is trimmed to resemble a lion.
  • Tail is carried high, curling forward over the back. It is shaved, except for the hair on the end, which is left long to resemble the tassel on a lion’s tail.
  • Ears are hanging and lay flat against the head.
  • A long, silky coat that is shaved and trimmed in a pattern to make the dog look like a lion.  This is required for the show ring.
  • Professional grooming required to keep the distinctive clip.
  • Any color or combination of colors is allowed.
  • Nonshedding.
Health and Wellness:
  • Generally healthy, although greatly inbred.
  • Eye irritations caused by hair.
  • Subluxated patellas.
  • Skin irritations on shaved areas.
What you should know:
  • Löwchens were used like little, hairy, hot-water bottles.  They would crawl under the bedcovers and stay very still, with their shaved skin next to cold feet or hands.
  • Freeway, an unclipped Löwchen that appeared on the television show Hart to Hart, gave the breed a popularity boost.
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