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  • Temperament: Affectionate, Outgoing, Positive
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 171 of 192
  • Height: 12-14 inches
  • Weight: 15 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 13-15 years
  • Group: Non-Sporting Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Lowchen head facing forward
Lowchen standing sideways facing left
Lowchen Puppy

Find a Puppy: Löwchen

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

A small, bright, and lively dog that originated as a companion breed in pre-Renaissance Europe where ladies of the court groomed it in the likeness of a little lion. Breed characteristics are a compact, balanced body; a relatively short, broad topskull and muzzle; and a proud, lively gait that accentuates the lion cut with a long flowing mane. These quintessential features, combined with an outgoing and positive attitude, result in a dog of great style.

HEAD

The head is a hallmark breed characteristic. The backskull is broad and relatively flat from ear to ear. The stop ismoderately well defined.The length from nose to base of stop is two-thirds of the length from base of stop to occiput. The muzzle is well filled and relatively broad with moderate depth of underjaw resulting in a slightly rounded finish to the muzzle.

BODY

The body is slightly off-square when properly balanced. The loin is short and strong. The ribs are well sprung. The brisket is moderate in width and extends approximately to the elbows. The underline has a slight tuck-up at the loin.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders are strong and well laid back with smooth musculature. The upper arm is of equal length to the shoulder blade and the two meet in a near 90 degree angle. The elbows are held close to the body. Forearms are of good length and the distance from the withers to the elbow is slightly less than the distance from the elbow to the ground. From the front the legs are perfectly parallel from the elbows to the feet. The bone is more round than oval and of medium size with only a slight decrease in size at the pasterns. The pasterns are short, parallel from the front, and very slightly bent when viewed from the side. The forefeet point straight ahead and are tight and well arched with deep pads, and the two center toes are slightly in advance of the two outer toes. Dewclaws may be removed. The nails are relatively short.

COAT

The Löwchen must be shown in the traditional Lion Clip. The unclipped areas of the coat are long, rather dense and moderately soft in texture. The unique Löwchen coat consists of hairs of varying diameters with a more noticeable collection of denser hair around the neck and withers. The coat may fall to either side but must never be artificially parted.
It has a slightly to moderately wavy appearance.

HINDQUARTERS

The pelvic bone projects beyond the set of the tail and is at an approximate 30 degree angle from a perfectly horizontal line. The upper and lower thighs are well muscled and of approximately equal length with medium bone. The stifles are well bent. The hocks are well let down and perpendicular to the ground from any angle.The hindfeet point straight ahead, are slightly smaller than the forefeet, and are well arched with deep pads.

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About the Löwchen

Small dogs with enormous heart, Löwchen (the same singular or plural) stand a bit over a foot tall at the shoulder. The coat is traditionally kept in a “lion clip,” in which most of the hindquarters and tail are clipped down close to the skin. The overall effect is that of a mini lion, with a full mane and plumed tail. The coat comes in several colors and color combinations. Beneath the coat is a dog that’s strong and sturdy, but elegant and artfully balanced.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Lowchen Puppy

Find a Puppy: Löwchen

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Löwchen Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Löwchen should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The Löwchen’s grooming requirements are surprisingly few—a good brushing every few days, followed by a nice bath every couple of weeks will keep him looking and feeling his best. Nails should be trimmed and ears cleaned regularly as well. The Löwchen can visit a professional groomer (or his breeder) every couple of months to keep the hair trimmed either into a “puppy cut” or the traditional “lion” trim.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Weekly Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Occasional

EXERCISE

The Löwchen is a charming, lively companion. He loves to play in his fenced yard or accompany his owner on long walks. He is very intelligent and loves having new challenges, and he’s a great candidate for obedience or agility. He won’t be suited to go on long-distance runs, but he is a sturdy little dog who can be happy doing just about any activity with his people.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

With the Löwchen’s history as a companion to royalty who were under constant threat, he is a very alert fellow and reacts quickly to suspicious noise or activity. He should be taught as a young puppy that barking excessively at every sound or motion is not necessary nor appreciated. He lives to please his owner, which makes training fairly easy, so long as you use positive methods. He does not respond well to harsh correction.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Outgoing

HEALTH

The majority of Löwchen are healthy little dogs. Responsible breeders screen their stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (slipped stifle), cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy. Your dog’s breeder should provide copies of the parent’s health-testing certifications so you can make informed decisions regarding your dog’s health.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Patella Evaluation
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History

Löwchen origins have long been subject to debate, and historians can’t agree on the breed’s birthplace. The name is German, but since the Middle Ages Löwchen were popular among noblewomen of France, Italy, Holland, Spain, and Russia, as well as Germany. Löwchen descend from the same ancient line that produced such companion breeds as the Bichon Frise and Maltese, and, thanks to sightings in the Renaissance art of several countries, we know that the Löwchen look hasn’t changed for at least 500 years.

Did You Know?

The Löwchen Club of America was formed in 1972.
The AKC Board of Directors approved the Löwchen for AKC registration and competition in the Miscellaneous Class at the June 12, 1995 Board Meeting. The Löwchen entered the AKC registry on August 31, 1995, and entered the Miscellaneous Class on April 1, 1996. It was approve for the Non-Sporting Group in 1999.
The Löwchen is quite possibly from Germany, although for many years it was believed to have its origin in the Mediterranean.
The Löwchen is the AKC's 143rd breed.
The Löwchen has been referred to in words and pictures as far back as the mid-15th century.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

A small, bright, and lively dog that originated as a companion breed in pre-Renaissance Europe where ladies of the court groomed it in the likeness of a little lion. Breed characteristics are a compact, balanced body; a relatively short, broad topskull and muzzle; and a proud, lively gait that accentuates the lion cut with a long flowing mane. These quintessential features, combined with an outgoing and positive attitude, result in a dog of great style.

HEAD

The head is a hallmark breed characteristic. The backskull is broad and relatively flat from ear to ear. The stop ismoderately well defined.The length from nose to base of stop is two-thirds of the length from base of stop to occiput. The muzzle is well filled and relatively broad with moderate depth of underjaw resulting in a slightly rounded finish to the muzzle.

BODY

The body is slightly off-square when properly balanced. The loin is short and strong. The ribs are well sprung. The brisket is moderate in width and extends approximately to the elbows. The underline has a slight tuck-up at the loin.

FOREQUARTERS

The shoulders are strong and well laid back with smooth musculature. The upper arm is of equal length to the shoulder blade and the two meet in a near 90 degree angle. The elbows are held close to the body. Forearms are of good length and the distance from the withers to the elbow is slightly less than the distance from the elbow to the ground. From the front the legs are perfectly parallel from the elbows to the feet. The bone is more round than oval and of medium size with only a slight decrease in size at the pasterns. The pasterns are short, parallel from the front, and very slightly bent when viewed from the side. The forefeet point straight ahead and are tight and well arched with deep pads, and the two center toes are slightly in advance of the two outer toes. Dewclaws may be removed. The nails are relatively short.

COAT

The Löwchen must be shown in the traditional Lion Clip. The unclipped areas of the coat are long, rather dense and moderately soft in texture. The unique Löwchen coat consists of hairs of varying diameters with a more noticeable collection of denser hair around the neck and withers. The coat may fall to either side but must never be artificially parted.
It has a slightly to moderately wavy appearance.

HINDQUARTERS

The pelvic bone projects beyond the set of the tail and is at an approximate 30 degree angle from a perfectly horizontal line. The upper and lower thighs are well muscled and of approximately equal length with medium bone. The stifles are well bent. The hocks are well let down and perpendicular to the ground from any angle.The hindfeet point straight ahead, are slightly smaller than the forefeet, and are well arched with deep pads.

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Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Black Check Mark For Standard Color 007
Black & Silver Check Mark For Standard Color 016
Black & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 018
Black Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 279
Blue Check Mark For Standard Color 037
Blue Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 056
Chocolate Check Mark For Standard Color 071
Cream Check Mark For Standard Color 076
Fawn Check Mark For Standard Color 082
Gold Check Mark For Standard Color 091
Gold Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 485
Gold Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 486
Red Check Mark For Standard Color 140
Red Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 148
Red Sable Check Mark For Standard Color 155
Silver Check Mark For Standard Color 176
Silver Brindle Check Mark For Standard Color 303
White Check Mark For Standard Color 199
Black & Tan Brindle 487
Chocolate Brindle 342
Chocolate Sable 350
Fawn Brindle 088
Fawn Sable 338
Silver Sable 286

Markings

Description Standard Markings Registration Code
Cream Markings 044
Irish Pied 075
Parti Belton 136
Parti-Color 038
Silver Markings 034
Silver Points 135
Tan Points 029
White Markings 014

Other Breeds to Explore

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