The Lowchen, also known as the Little Lion Dog, the Leoninus (meaning “lion-like”) and the Petit Chien Lion, has been bred for centuries for the sole purpose of giving love and getting love in return. The correct pronunciation of the word Lowchen is “lerv-chun.” The breed is perhaps the ideal pet: hypoallergenic, virtually non-shedding, easily trained and full of fun. According to the American Kennel Club: “Show them a squirrel and they’ll bark, but then won’t know what to do with it. Show them a stranger, they’ll bark, and then be the person’s friend. Show them a child, not too young, and they will allow themselves to be picked up and carried gently. If they find an adult who will walk and feed them, and brush them a few times a week, they’ll become that person’s best friend, never leaving their side.” The Lowchen plays well with all others if properly socialized and thrives in large homes or tiny apartments, in both urban and rural settings. This is not a breed to be left in a kennel or in the yard; he needs a bed in the house, close to his family. Lowchens are big dogs in little packages. The American Kennel Club first recognized the Lowchen in 1996; it became eligible for full registration in the Non-Sporting Group in 1999.
The ideal Lowchen stands 12 to 14 inches at the withers. Dogs or bitches above or below this range are faulted to the extent of the variance under the American breed standard. Lowchens typically weigh between 8 and 18 pounds. Their natural coat is long, somewhat dense and moderately soft, with a slightly wavy appearance. No scissoring or shaping is permitted for the untrimmed show coat. However, when shown in the lion trim, the coat is clipped to about 1/8” on the hindquarters, tail base and top of all legs, leaving a full natural face and mane on the neck and front, cuffs on all lower legs and a plume on the tail’s end. None of the unclipped areas are to be smoothed, shaped or shortened with anything other than a brush or comb. When in the lion show cut, the Lowchen closely resembles a miniature Portuguese Water Dog. All colors and color combinations are acceptable in this breed, with none being preferred over another. Unclipped coat areas should be brushed regularly to keep tangles from forming. Pet owners often keep their Lowchen in an overall short “puppy cut” to reduce grooming needs.