Information about the Löwchen

The Löwchen (German: “little lion”) is a breed of dog that once had the dubious distinction, like the Portuguese Water Dog and the Havanese, of being the rarest dog in the world. Even today, the breed generally has fewer than a few hundred new registrations each year worldwide.

The Löwchen is a breed with a long and wavy coat that is presented in a lion cut. This means that the haunches, back legs, front legs (except bracelets around the ankles), and the 1/3-1/2 of the tail closest to the body are shaved, and the rest of the coat is left natural to give the appearance of a lion-like form. A small dog, they are considered by some registries as a toy dog and by the AKC as a non-sporting dog. The breed is traceable to as far back as 1442. They are found in many old paintings, drawings and literature. It is possible to trace the Lowchen history to the three countries of what are now known as Belgium, Germany and Holland. It is thought the breeds ancestor was a dog that was brought in by travelers from the far eastern lands of Tibet, that mingled with local dogs such as Spitz and terrier type dogs. Occasionally an genetic throw-back is found.

The head of the Löwchen is one of the most important features, with its relatively short, wide muzzle, broad skull, lively round eyes, and pendulant ears. The head, when in proportion to the body, is neither too big nor too small, but helps to emphasize the friendly, regal, and leonine personality of the Löwchen.

The coat should not be thin and fluffy like a Bichon Frise, but wavy with a mix of thicker hairs amongst the fine ones. This allows for a flowing coat that is not frizzy or fly-away, and a Löwchen coat should neither be soft like a nor harsh like many terriers. They can come in all colours, including brown, that allow for dark eyes and nose.

The Löwchen is a friendly, happy dog. Dogs of this breed are both active and playful, and very intelligent. The Löwchen makes a good pet for families with children and an excellent house pet.