The true beginnings of the Lowchen or 'Little Lion Dog' are subject to conjecture, with some suggesting it developed in France in the 1500s, later emerging in Germany and Spain. Falling within the 'toy' breed group, the Lowchen is theorised to be related to the Bichon, bearing a striking resemblance to the popular breed. It is possible that the Lowchen resulted from crossing of Tibetan dogs, brought to Europe by travellers, and native Terrier and Spitz. Popular amongst the wealthy and elite as companion and lap dogs, the Lowchen has enjoyed a colourful history, being widely utilised as flea catchers and foot warmers throughout the centuries. Made popular during the Renaissance, a period when the Lowchen was believed to represent courage, the breed found its way onto many paintings, tapestries and engravings. Following WWI, numbers of Lowchen diminished, and it was purely due to the efforts of Belgium-born Madame Bennert that the breed did not become extinct.
Highly distinctive, the Lowchen is not easily mistaken for any other breed. The Lowchen derives its name, 'Little Lion Dog' from its mane-like coat, covering the forequarters of the dog, and its bare hindquarters that are traditionally clipped, resembling the appearance of a lion. With short legs, a broad skull, pendant ears, a high-set tail and coat feathering on the chest, ears, feet and tail, the Lowchen is a unique and charming-looking breed, guaranteed to get noticed! Common in colours of white, lemon and black, usually with coat speckling.
Typically cheerful, lively and sociable, the Lowchen makes a great addition to domestic life, either for a family or a dedicated sole owner. Boasting intelligence, natural vigilance and the ability to adapt to new situations and people, the Lowchen is well suited to active home living, providing its needs for exercise, mental enrichment and human companionship are met. The Lowchen may look fragile but it is in fact a robust, confident and fearless dog, capable of protecting itself and its family if potential threat is perceived. On average, a healthy adult Lowchen will weigh 4-8 kg, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years when shown the appropriate love and care.
Generally a healthy and long-lived breed, the Lowchen is not susceptible to any breed-specific ailments. Whilst there are a number of documented cases of hip dysplasia and patellar luxation, these are common complaints across all breeds. Various optical disorders are also identified in the Lowchen.