By Dr. Watuwa JamesDr. James Watuwa Last updated: 27th November 2023


The Lowchen, meaning “little lion,” is a breed of small dogs that were raised as four-legged companions for people. Although it does not have the fierce disposition of a lion, it was named the Little Lion Dog for its coat that is often trimmed and shaped to resemble the appearance of a lion. It has a compact body with a broad skull, wide muzzle, round eyes, droopy ears, short, strong loin, smooth, muscular shoulders, and a high-set, medium length tail.

Lowchen Pictures

Quick Information

Alternative namesPetit Chien Lion
CoatLong, dense, soft, slightly wavy
ColorBlack, brown, white, silver, blue, gray, red, black and tan
Breed TypePurebred
Group of BreedToy, Companion, Non-Sporting
Lifespan12-14 years
Weight9-18 lb
Size/HeightSmall; 13-14 in
Size of Litter3-6 puppies
TemperamentAffectionate, playful, lively, alert, responsive
Good with ChildrenYes
Country Originated inMedieval Germany and France
Competitive Registration/ Qualification InformationACA, ANKC, APRI, ACR, AKC, FCI, DRA, CKC, KCGB, NKC, NAPR, NZKC

Video: Lowchen Agility Training


The origin of Lowchen dogs remains unclear though they appear in old literature and works of art dating back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. However, its modern history traces back to the nineteenth century, during which travelers from Tibet and other far eastern regions brought dogs to Germany, Belgium, and France, and mixed them with local breeds including Terriers and Spitz.

During and after the World Wars, the Lowchen population declined. Madame Bennerts started breeding these dogs in 1944, and with the assistance of a veterinarian Dr. Hans Rickert, she was able to save the breed from extinction. The breed was acknowledged in 1996 by the AKC.

Temperament and Behavior

The Lowchen’s demeanor can be described as cheerful, intelligent, sociable, gentle, and sensitive. Being a loving, friendly, and people-oriented pet, it enjoys plenty of human attention. Leaving it alone for a long time causes not only temperamental issues for the dog but also ill health.

It makes a wonderful playmate for kids and fits into the household with other dogs and non-canine pets. However, the owner should be assertive enough otherwise the Lowchen could become arrogant and display dominant behavior. Known for its fearlessness, it will alert its owner to anything unusual, thus emerging as an efficient guard dog.



Lowchens, being a moderately active breed, need a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise per day. They make splendid walking companions and enjoy going for walks with their people. Although they are not outdoor dogs, they will love one or two sessions of romp and play in a fenced yard. These smart and energetic pets also excel in carting, herding, water trials, agility, lure coursing, and rally.


Lowchens’ long coat can be given a “Lion Cut” by trimming the hairs from their chest to the rump, and on their legs and tail, with a cluster of hair remaining on the feet as well as at the tip of their tail. Aside from regular weekly brushing of their coat, an occasional bath keeps them clean. Periodic nail clipping and daily brushing of their teeth are also needed.

Health Problems

Lowchens are generally healthy though some individuals may be affected by some health disorders including patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, cataracts, and PRA.


Lowchen’s inherent smartness and even temperament make it an easily trainable breed.

  • Socialization: Lowchen puppies could be shy of unknown people, growing up to be a timid or fearful dog if not well socialized. An easy way to socialize your dog is by inviting friends to your home. Make sure the people you pick know how to interact with dogs in a positive way.
  • Control obsessive behavior: Some Lowchens may show obsessive behavior like excessive barking or digging up the backyard. To discourage the same, you should make their exercises more physically challenging so that they are not impelled to chew, bark, dig, or jump. You can put a backpack on your dog, as carrying it is both mentally and physically challenging. It will help in keeping it calm both on the walk and at home.


Depending on its size, age, and activity level, the amount of food and frequency of meals should be determined. An adult Lowchen should be fed half to one cup of dry food per day.

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