Life span: 12-14 Years
Height: 12 – 14 inches (male), 11 – 13 inches (female)
Weight: 11 – 18 lbs. (male), 8 – 13 lbs. (female)
Also called the “Little Lion”, the Lowchen is a small-sized dog that is classified as both a toy breed and a non-sporting breed. Living up to its nickname, the “Little Lion” has a mane of long, fluffy hair that becomes shorter towards the rear of the dog. Its coat comes in a range of colors, such as black, chocolate, and cream. The Lowchen has a well-balanced build and a spirited gait, making for a dignified appearance.
This breed is as loving as it is needy. They need to be around their family constantly, and are very protective of them. They will bark if anyone is within their territory, making them great watchdogs, but also very loud.
Their ears are long and flop down, with a small tail that has a slight curve and remains up. The eyes are brown with a black or brown nose. Its coat is usually kept long on the front and very closely cut on the back, with trimmed hair on its paws. Coat colors include black, light grey, brown, light brown, red, and white.
Its exact origin is unknown, with some experts believing it came from France, and others believing it came from Germany due to its name, which means little lion in German. Their ancestry is also unknown, but it is thought that it includes the Bichon, Maltese, Bolognese and Havanese. During the 15th century it became popular as a companion for nobles, who cut their coat to appear lion like, giving it its current name and carried them everywhere, including court. Many records of this breed have been found from the 16th century, often depicted in paintings or writings. However, when war came along, the dogs were often released and left to fend for themselves, which caused them to almost become extinct. It was thanks to a belgium woman that they survived, who gathered all the dogs from this breed she could find and bred them. Sadly, in 1960 they faced extinction once again, to the point that they gained a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the rarest breed. Two british breeders saved them and by 1995 they had been accepted into the American Kennel Club’s miscellaneous class, although they were changed into the non sporting class in 1999.
This loving breed is extremely affectionate with its family, but also needs to be with them all the time. They need as much attention as they give, and might otherwise suffer from separation anxiety. They are not particularly tolerant, but do enjoy spending time with children and although they might attempt to challenge dogs bigger than them, they usually get along well with other household pets. When young, they can be hyperactive and extremely playful, but when grown they tend to become really calm dogs. They are loud dogs that will not hesitate to alert you of anyone within their territory, which can sometimes turn them into excessive barkers if not properly trained. That being said, training is quite easy as long as you give them positive reinforcement.
- This breed is generally healthy, but may suffer from:
- Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
- Luxating Patella, in which the kneecaps may dislocate or move from its proper place.
This breed needs to be brushed every few days, with bathing done every few weeks. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their teeth brushed and ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections. They are moderate in energy, meaning they are playful and love going on walks, but will not handle a long distance run. Training should be easy given that they love pleasing their owners. Positive reinforcement is ideal for this breed.