AKC Group: Non-sporting
The first depiction of a Lowchen dates back to medieval times. Debate still centers on whether they originated from Germany or Italy, though they were a common dog in all of Europe by the 15th century. World War II saw an almost extinction. In fact, the Guinness Book of Records listed the Lowchen as the World’s Rarest Breed of Dog in the 1960s. Concerted breeding efforts have taken them off that list.
Size: 10 to 14 inches high; 10 to 18 pounds
Color: All colors and combinations occur
Life span: 13 to 15 years
Health problems: With such a small population to work from in the 20th century, Lowchen are actually an extremely inbred breed. Thankfully, they don’t tend to experience many health problems. The main problem noted is patellar luxation: a condition in which the kneecap pops out of place. It often occurs in puppyhood and appears as a lameness or pain in a rear leg and is corrected with surgery.
A Lowchen is an active, affectionate, gentle dog that is unafraid to challenge authority nor to fight another dog of the same sex to establish dominance. Meanwhile, the Lowchen is an intelligent, lively, fun dog that is overly exuberant. Outgoing and alert, the Lowchen is an adaptable dog. On the negative side, they can be arrogant or strong willed at times. If you love a lap cat, er, dog, a Lowchen may be for you. They love a welcoming lap. Treat a Lowchen like a baby, be constantly watchful. When an undesirable behavior is exhibited, nip it in the bud immediately. When this is established, eventually all it will take is a stern look or a word you choose to announce your unhappiness. A Lowchen is highly intelligent and eager to please, so training shouldn’t be overly difficult. They love agility and obedience tasks. Early socialization is important to avoid becoming distrustful and snappy. As with most breeds, gentle, fair, firm and consistent training is all it takes. Discourage barking and digging.
This toy breed is related to the Bichon. The Lowchen has a long, silky coat presented in a lion-like cut. The haunches, back legs, front legs (except ankle bracelets) and the 1/3 of the tail closest to the body should be shaved. The rest of the coat is left natural so the dog looks lion like. The head features a short, wide muzzle. The coat should be fluffy and have a mix of thick and fine hairs. This makes their coat neither frizzy nor fly-away. The coat should be neither soft nor harsh. To prevent tangles, comb and brush regularly. Lowchens tend to shed very little, if at all. Dead hair is usually brushed out.