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Lowchen Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove


Height: 11-13 inches
Weight: 10-15 pounds
Lifespan: 15-17 years
Colors: White, silver, fawn, brindle, red, sable, brown, black
Suitable for: Active families, those looking for an affectionate, low-shedding dog
Temperament: Playful, intelligent, energetic, outgoing

When you see the Lowchen, you may think he looks a lot like a Lhasa Apso. After all, they are similar in size and appearance. However, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Lhasa in 1935 and the Lowchen in 1996, along with another familiar breed, the Havanese. While the Lhasa comes from Asia, the origins of the Lowchen are a bit murkier but most likely European.

The AKC classifies the Lowchen in the Non-Sporting Group despite the fact that he was a companion animal. This pup is courageous for a dog of his size. He likely served as a ratter in his early days. He has the personality and alertness for the job. It probably explains why people would trim this pooch like a lion complete with a mane!

You may not recognize the Lowchen straight away, but this pup has a lot going for him in addition to his small size. He is a joy to be around, as playful and loving as he is. Care is routine without any significant concerns on most fronts. The things that may put him in the dealbreaker category are availability and price. He’s not going to make your job as pet owner difficult.

Divider 1Lowchen Puppies

Lowchen or Petit Chien Lion puppies
Credit: Eric Isselee, Shutterstock

Few pups earn as many five out of five stars as the Lowchen. That’s enough to put this pup on your radar if you’re looking for a small dog. While hunting wasn’t one of his primary jobs, he still has a keen prey drive. He will chase any animal that runs from him. It has also fueled his high wanderlust potential. You need to keep an eye on this pooch if you let him off-leash.

The Lowchen is high-energy. He will likely want to play all the time, even if you just want to veg out on the couch. This pup loves people and will adore you and your family. However, he doesn’t like to be alone. He’s not a pet to put in a crate all day while you go to work. He has a propensity to bark, which cooping him up will only encourage.

The Lowchen is relatively tolerant of both cold and hot weather. He’s moderately intense about playtime. He is a pup that will adapt well to apartment living, although he’ll handle life in the country just as easily. This pooch often is nippy as a puppy. It’s a bad habit that you’ll need to correct early. He is a gregarious dog that will make socialization with other pets and people a piece of cake.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Lowchen

1. The Lowchen is appropriately named.

The Lowchen’s name means lion dog, but it also describes one of the early grooming styles that defined the breed. The pup looks handsome with this cut. We think it also fuels his confidence and fearlessness.

2. The breed’s history is unknown.

As is often the case with ancient breeds, the origins of the Lowchen are unknown. His name suggests a German beginning, while his looks resemble other similar dogs like the Lhasa Apso. He likely got his start in Europe in one of several possible countries, including France.

3. The Lowchen is off the radar.

The Lowchen is a relatively new breed for the AKC, gaining recognition in 1996. He isn’t the most popular either, at 158th in the rankings. We think it’s only a matter of time before people stand up and notice this adorable pup.

Credit: WatersPix, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Lowchen 🧠

The Lowchen’s intelligence and eagerness to please will make training easy for you. This breed has a few bad habits that you’ll need to control early. He is a vocal dog that has lots to say about everything. However, don’t scold him too much for barking. He is a sensitive pup that doesn’t respond well to stern reprimands.

This pooch is also nippy. It comes from his energy and intensity. He gets excited and sometimes shows it in undesirable ways. You’ll find that offering him something appropriate to chew when he bites is an excellent way to keep it in check. Although the Lowchen is affectionate, we still suggest early socialization to introduce him to other people and dogs.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

The Lowchen is a great choice for a family pet. He is kid-friendly and active enough to keep up with them. We suggest supervising young children with him, if just because of his smaller size. You’ll find that this pup is affectionate with everyone he meets. He may bark at strangers, but he won’t hesitate to greet them. That makes him so-so as a watchdog.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The Lowchen will welcome other dogs, especially if you socialize him early. We suggest enrolling him in a puppy playtime to build his social skills and canine manners. He does have a keen prey drive, which the family cat won’t like. The same caution applies to other small animals, especially rodents. After all, that was his job at one time.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Lowchen:

Owning any pet is a serious responsibility. The first year is the most critical, particularly with a smaller breed like the Lowchen. Feeding him a high-quality diet and ensuring that he gets regular preventive vet care will go a long way toward keeping him healthy and happy. Mental stimulation is just as essential as physical activity when dealing with an intelligent pup like this one.

The problem is that smart dogs will find something to do if you don’t. Digging and chewing are often the result of a neglected pet. The Lowchen loves people. He’ll likely experience separation anxiety if he doesn’t get enough attention. He isn’t demanding, but he’ll make a better addition to your household if he can always enjoy some company.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

We suggest feeding a commercial diet appropriate for dogs the size of the Lowchen. Smaller dogs like him mature rapidly. A dog food formulated for breeds like him provides adequate nutritional value with enough calories to support his growth. Pups like him are adults by 12 months. Offer him three or four meals, evenly spaced apart during the day.

Once he’s an adult, you can reduce it to two meals. It’s essential that he eats, especially with a small breed like the Lowchen. Monitor his intake and keep an eye on his body condition. He has only a moderate tendency toward weight gain, which his energy level will probably keep under control. Nevertheless, we suggest limiting treats to 10% of his total caloric intake.

Little Lion Dog Lowchen
Credit: Svetlana Valoueva, Shutterstock

Exercise 🐕

Daily walks are an excellent way to ensure your Lowchen gets enough exercise every day. This pup will love the extra bonding time with you. We don’t recommend letting him off-leash because of his wanderlust potential. You can take him to the doggie park as long the space is fenced-in, so he doesn’t wander away in his excitement.

While he doesn’t mind the cold too much, he’ll probably enjoy his time outdoors more with a coat on chilly winter days.

Training 🦮

It’s vital to set clear expectations with your Lowchen. He wants to make training easy for you. Let him do so with consistent lessons. He responds best to positive reinforcement. Treats as training aids are an excellent motivator. Begin right away to get a handle on any bad habits. You can use training as a way to bond with your pet to make it fun for both of you.

Grooming ✂️

One of the best things about owning a Lowchen is that he doesn’t shed. That’s deceptive, given his long coat. Plan on combing it a couple of times a week to keep the mats under control. You should also trim his beard if it gets spoiled from eating. Likewise, clean the area around his eyes if he gets tear stains. You’ll find it easier to prevent than treat.

We also suggest checking his ears regularly. Hair can build up and increase his risk of infections. Trimming or plucking the excess will ensure adequate air circulation to prevent them. Keep his toenails trimmed regularly, too.

Health and Conditions ❤️

The Lowchen is relatively healthy, with few glaring medical concerns. That’s the benefit of being a less popular or common breed. However, this pup is still vulnerable to conditions that all small dogs face. We recommend only buying from sellers who go the extra mile and do the necessary pre-breeding health screenings. It’s good business and in the best interests of the dogs.

Minor Conditions
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Diabetes

Divider 5Male vs Female

We think you’ll adore your Lowchen, no matter if you get a male or female. Both are delightful pets that will bring a ray of sunshine into your life. You should discuss spaying or neutering your pup with your veterinarian if you don’t plan on breeding your dog. It’s a serious undertaking either way. Bear in mind that altering your pet’s sex will lower your pet’s metabolism and increase the risk of obesity.

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You may not have heard of the Lowchen before, but a treat awaits you when you meet this outgoing pup the first time. He has many of the qualities that make him an excellent choice for a family pet, from his endless flow of love and affection to his non-shedding coat. The negative points are similar to what you’d find in any dog. The Lowchen will make training easy for you with his enthusiasm and energy.

Featured Image Credit: chili71, Pixabay

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