Lowchen the little lion dog

  • By: Mick Whitefield
  • Time to read: 5 min.

The Lowchen, is also known as the Little Lion Dog due to its wavy coat that looks like a lion’s mane, it is a small breed of dog originally bred in Europe as a companion breed.

Lowchen Lion Dog
The Little Lion Dog Haircut

Lowchen Dogs

Records from the Middle Ages show this breed was kept as a pet by monks and royals alike. In the USA the modern breed of this dog has descended from French dogs brought over to the US in the 1970s.

This dog enjoys being pampered and adored by their owners, who often brush their coats several times daily due to the long locks of hair on their body which can be an indicator for allergies if not brushed regularly.

Many owners have said that they feel it’s important to splash love on their Lowchen as much as possible because they are so small, affectionate, and easy to love.

People who have known the breed for many years have said that these dogs are also very smart, making training them much easier than some other lap dog breeds. Experts believe this habit of learning comes from the fact that the breed were trained as working dogs to hunt mice and rats inside monasteries and family homes centuries ago.

A Lowchen takes well to fetching games such as balls, toys, and Frisbees and has been known to take toy’s away from much bigger dogs if it’s something they want. Albeit a smaller dog they are often not afraid of showing what they want even if the other dog is larger.

The Velcro Dog

Some of the most common nicknames for this breed have been “the dog that thinks it’s a person,” “the Velcro dog,” and “man’s best friend.” Although these canines enjoy playing with bigger or multiple dogs of any size and energy level, they require lots of attention and playtime with their human owners just like a child.

This is simply because they love being near people and crave attention from them.

Because of this trait, a Lowchen should not be left alone for long periods or in a yard all by itself without interaction from family members.

Temperament of Lowchen Dogs

These dogs are very affectionate, loyal, and loving to their owners. They have been known to get grumpy when petted by someone other than their parents or guardians, which usually results in the dog being attached to its human parent so they don’t feel left out of any attention.

These dogs enjoy being around children but should be supervised with smaller ones in case they get accidentally knocked over due to lack of coordination from the child, these dogs can easily be injured by heavy handedness.

Weight of a Lowchen Dog

The weight of a Lowchen ranges anywhere between 10 to 20 pounds. Females are usually on the lighter scale, while males tend to carry more muscle, hence more weight than their female counterparts.

The lifespan of Lowchen Dog

The average lifespan for this breed is between 12 and 14 years old if taken care of properly, but it can be as low as eight years old if the dog has severe bone problems in its rear legs or hips.

They will also die much sooner than expected if fed an unhealthy diet due to obesity-related health issues, so diet is important.

Size of a Lowchen Dog

A male Lowchen is typically 11 inches tall with a shoulder height around 9-10 inches, while females are typically 6 inches in both categories. However, the size of these dogs can vary depending on the country of origin, parentage, and even the breeder that produced them.


Country of Origin – The Lowchen Dog, is originally from Europe, where it was once used as a ratting dog to keep homes free of vermin. It’s unknown when exactly this breed was developed.

Records show that these dogs existed during the Middle Ages when they were kept by monks who enjoyed their companionship just like royals did at that period.

This breed has been around for the past few hundred years and is believed to have been developed from other breeds. Their name comes from a French word meaning “gust of air,” which they were named after when running around in open fields during hunts.

It’s possible that this breed descends from the Maltese dog and was mixed with another breed, possibly the Shih Tzu, centuries ago because of their long hair.

Health Problems for the Lowchen

The average life expectancy of a Lowchen is between 12-15 years old. Breeders have said that any genetic health problems are extremely rare amongst purebreds because this breed has been bred carefully since the Middle Ages. Some known health issues mostly in older dogs include seizures, heart disease, Legg-Perthes disease, intervertebral disk disease, and canine hip dysplasia. See our page on Health Concerns.

Grooming for Lowchen Dogs

While the Lowchen sheds minimally, brushing its fur daily is one of the best ways to keep it clean and healthy. This breed has a thick double coat that needs to be fully brushed twice a week when it’s shedding heavily to get rid of all the dead hair and distribute natural oils throughout.

Bathing this dog once every month or two with shampoo specifically made for dogs is also recommended to remove dirt and debris from their coat before it becomes matted. Grooming this breed is fairly simple if brushed regularly since it doesn’t require clipping or trimming like some other long haired breeds.

The ear canals of these dogs need to be cleaned once per week because their folds might cause excess dirt and debris to gather inside. Without proper cleaning, a build-up of waxy material called “cerumen” along with bacteria can cause infections in the ear canal which will need to be treated by a veterinarian.


The Lowchen is a wonderful breed that’s loyal to its owners and especially gentle around children. The only downfall for this breed is that it tends to bark quite frequently, which can become an annoyance if they’re left alone for too long. They also do not hunt vermin anymore, so they need plenty of training and mental stimulation, or else boredom sets in quickly. Unfortunately, these dogs are not recognized by the American Kennel Club because they aren’t trendy outside of Europe, where they originated from.

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