Löwchen (Lowchen)

Löwchen, often spelled Lowchen in English, is a member of the Bichin family. The name is German and means Little Lion, an allusion to how the traditional clip for this dog makes it look like a small male lion; with its shaved hindquarters, plumed tail, and a big name of hair over its neck and shoulders. Haunches, back legs and front legs are all shaved, except for the so called bracelets left around the ankles. The 1/3 – ½ of the tail closest to the body is shaved, while the rest is left natural to form a plume. The Löwchen has an impressive coat that is both long, silky and wavy (not curly).

According to legend, Löwchens were kept as bed-warmers by ladies and the shaved hindquarters served to more easily transfer heat from the dog to the human.

By 1973, the breed was almost extinct, with only 65 registered individuals still alive. Today, the breed has recuperated somewhat, but is still considered a rare breed with only a few hundred new dogs being registered annually by kennel clubs world wide.

Löwchen is a friendly and lively dog; both playful and intelligent. It doesn’t bark much.

Alternative names

  • Lion dog
  • Little lion dog

Short facts about the Löwchen

Breed group (UK Kennel Club) Toy
Size Small
Coat length Medium
Shedding Yes
Grooming requirements More than once a week
Exercise requirements In the lower range
Expected life span 12+ years

History

Just like many other toy dogs, the Löwchen is strongly associated with wealthy families, and the Löwchen is depicted on numerous old paintings, engravings, drawings and tapestries, and also described in literature. It is an old breed, traceable as far back as 1442. It should be noted however that it can be difficult to know for sure if a work of art depicts a true Löwchen or just another small dog trimmed in a lion cut. Throughout the centuries, many dogs in the Bichon family have sported this cut.

In 1944, Madame Bennerts launched an important breeding program for Löwchens that helped the breed survive into our days.

The breed was recognised by the UK Kennel Club in 1971.

Excerpts from the UK Kennel Club’s breed standard for Löwchen

General appearance Strongly built

Well balanced

Coat clipped in traditional lion clip, including a clipped tail topped with plume

Characteristics & Temperament Active

Alert

Gay

Happy

Lively
Intelligent
Affectionate
No signs of aggression

Size 25-33 cm at withers
Body, etc Short

Strong

Well proportioned

Level topline

Ribs well sprung

Strong loin

Shoulders well laid

Straight forelegs with round bone

Hindlegs well muscled

Coat Single-coat (no undercoat)

Silky texture

Fairly long

Wavy

Never curly

Colour Any colour or combination of colours permissible except merle.
Head and skull Head carried proud and high

Short head

Fairly broad head

Skull flat between the ears

Short, strong muzzle

Ears Pendant

Moderately long

Long fringing

Mouth Strong jaws

Prefect, regular scissor bite

Eyes Round

Dark

Relatively large

Intelligent

Unbroken pigmentation of eye rims; pigment to be in accordance with coat colour

Feet Small

Round

Tail Medium long

Carried gaily on move

Dipped with tuft of hair to resemble a plume