Meet the Löwchen –- the Little Lion Dog

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The Löwchen is a relatively rare breed of dog with a long and interesting history. Nobody is quite sure of their place of origin, although it was likely the area of northern Europe now known as Germany, France, and Belgium. The distinctive lion trim has remained unchanged, and we can trace their history through artwork such as tapestries, paintings, and woodcuts, some dating as far back as the 1400s. Some of Albrecht Durer’s woodcuts and some of the paintings of Francisco de Goya and Jan van Eyck feature little dogs with shaved hindquarters that very closely resemble the Löwchen.

This dog breed’s distinctive, traditional hairstyle, known as the lion clip, helps them resemble a small lion and has led to their name. "Löwchen" actually means "little lion" in German. To show a Löwchen in Conformation dog shows, he must be trimmed in the lion clip. No other style is acceptable.

The lion clip has the dog shaved from his last rib all the way back through his hindquarters. His front legs are trimmed starting from a line that matches up with the back bracelets up to the elbow, letting the longer hair from his body to fall over the trimmed area. His feet are trimmed up to the dewclaw on both the front and back feet.

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Pet dogs can be trimmed in any style the owner prefers, although a lion clip would certainly attract attention at the dog park. The puppy trim is popular and easy to maintain. The Löwchen’s continuously growing coat means trips to a professional groomer about once every two months, more frequently for the shaved lion clip. And whatever the hairstyle, this breed of dog needs thorough brushing and coming at least once a week to keep its coat in good condition. Making short brushing sessions a regular part of your daily routine can help ensure your Löwchen’s wavy, almost non-shedding coat stays free of tangles.

According to the breed standard, the Löwchen has a proud, lively gait, and a tail curled over his back, all of which demonstrate his love of life and outgoing attitude. These smart, comical dogs are fantastic companions. They are affectionate with almost everyone they meet, including children and other animals, and want to spend time with their people. They also have a lion’s heart, being fearless in spite of their size, and won’t hesitate to stand up to even the largest of breeds.

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Löwchen have served as human companions for centuries and were bred for this purpose. In fact, this breed’s unusual hairstyle may have been developed by ladies of the court hundreds of years ago to help keep the ladies warm. The little dogs would sleep under the covers, and their shaved rear ends would help keep the bedclothes warm on cold nights.

Löwchen are members of the Non-Sporting Group, but don’t think they aren’t suited for dog sports. These lively and intelligent little dogs make great partners for obedience trials, rally, and agility. They are athletic and love exercise, whether it’s a brisk walk around the park or a run through an obstacle course. They love to learn, but don’t do well with negative training methods, so keep it positive and playful and you’ll both have a great time.

Selecting a Puppy

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