The Lowchen is a beautiful small dog breed that was developed to be a companion. His name translates to lion dog but there is nothing fierce about him. Playful and affectionate, the Lowchen’s adaptability and trainability make him an excellent fit for first-time dog parents. 


Several origin stories are circulating about this lion dog with one being that it was developed in Germany, Belgium and France, and is one of the predecessors of the Toy Poodle.

A different theory is that the Lowchen originated from the Mediterranean and is related to the Bichon breeds. Some theories state the breed originated from Tibet and Russia.

No matter which theory is correct, the commonality is that the breed was developed as a companion animal with secondary uses like ratting and as an alarm dog. 

This dog could be found in all circles of social life, from the farms to the royal courts, and is relatively unchanged from how it looked hundreds of years ago. 

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, dog breeders Madelaine Bennert and Dr Hans Rickert saved the Lowchen from extinction. This rare breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1999. 

Physical Characteristics

The Lowchen is lionlike in his looks with a long flowing mane. He has a long dense coat that is moderately wavy. The soft coat can be found in all colors and combinations including:

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Chocolate
  • Crem
  • Fawn
  • Gold
  • Red
  • Silver
  • White

Common markings include tan points, silver markings, Irish pied and part-color. 

This small dog has a robust balanced body with a short top skull. He has a lively gait and a bright, alert expression.


A fully grown Lowchen measures 12 to 14 inches (30 to 36cm) at the withers and weighs 9 to 18 pounds (4 to 8kg). 

Character & abilities

The Lowchen has an outgoing and curious personality. He is even-tempered with a cheerful disposition making him an excellent companion.

He is gentle and affectionate, even with children with who he enjoys playing. This dog likes roughhousing and though he may be shy around strangers, he is pleasant to everyone. 

Because the Lowchen is sociable, he gets along well with other pets and dogs. He may need protection sometimes because he is brave enough to challenge larger dogs. 

This fearless small dog breed is alert and will often bark when he sees something or someone suspicious. 

Trainability & Intelligence

The Lowchen is smart and trainable. He is a quick learner and excels in dog competitions like agility and obedience. He can be trained to be a wonderful watchdog. 

Housetraining may be difficult but can be overcome with patience and consistency. Digging is another habit that will be hard to break. 

This small dog may require special training to stop nuisance barking and digging. A professional dog trainer can be hired for inexperienced dog parents. Early socialization will help discourage the pup from being shy and timid around new people.

Exercise Needs & Nutrition

The Lowchen may not be highly active but he will enjoy a twenty-minute walk every day. He is an excellent walking companion because all that is important to him is being by his human’s side.

If living in a home with a yard, this small dog will enjoy playing and romping with his owners or other dogs. 

The Lowchen needs to get regular physical exercise and eat wholesome nutritious meals to avoid obesity. The recommended daily intake depends on the dog’s age, size, body type, metabolism and level of activity.


The Lowchen’s long coat needs to be clipped regularly to maintain the signature lion trim – identified by close-cut hindquarters and a full natural mane. This is achieved by shortening the fur from the last rib to the rump, on the legs and the tail, leaving a plume at its tip.  

This dog sheds very little. Regular brushing of the coat prevents tangling and removes dead hair and dirt. Using the correct brush will stimulate the production of natural skin oils that keep the coat healthy.

Grooming practices can be a pleasant bonding experience especially when they start at puppyhood. The dog gets accustomed to being handled, brushed and examined. The routine includes:

  • Brushing the teeth regularly to remove the buildup of tartar and bacteria, prevent gum disease and bad breath 
  • Trimming the nails at least once a month to prevent tears and injuries
  • Cleaning the outer ears every week while checking the ears for signs of infections
  • Weekly examination of the body, fur and skin for parasites, rashes, sores and inflammation

Living Conditions & Adaptability

The Lowchen thrives when living among his people and fits comfortably in an apartment or home with a yard. He shouldn’t be left in a kennel outside because he may develop temperamental problems or health problems.

Because this breed is a social animal, being away from his human companions causes separation anxiety. If people are regularly away from the home, then the Lowchen is not the dog for them. 

The Lowchen can fit comfortably into a multi-pet household, whether he finds them there or they are adopted after him. 


Like all other breeds, the Lowchen is generally healthy but it is important to be aware of the health conditions that this breed is predisposed to:

  • Patellar luxation – caused when the dog’s thigh bone, knee cap and calf don’t properly line up resulting in an abnormal gait or lameness
  • Cataracts – the eye lens develops an opacity that interferes with the dog’s ability to see 
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – degenerative eye disorder that leads to blindness

The Lowchen has a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years.


The Lowchen is an excellent companion with a sweet temperament that makes both children and adults feel like his beloved possessions. This gentle dog is sociable, lively and energetic. Although he is prone to excessive barking, he is intelligent and adaptable. 

At All The Small Dog Breeds, we are passionate about our little furry friends. We provide small dog breed descriptions with the traits and facts that will help new and experienced dog parents adopt a dog that best suits their home and lifestyle.  

It is best to adopt a dog from a reputable local breeder or animal rescue. 


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