The Lowchen ("little lion") is breed of dog that once had the dubious distinction, like the Portuguese Water Dog and the Havanese, of being the rarest dog in the world. Even today, the breed generally has fewer than a few hundred new registrations each year worldwide.

Although this dog may be related to the Bichon Frise, the Lowchen's history remains obscure. The little 'lion dog' is seen in many art pieces featuring dogs as far back as the 1500s, but it is unclear whether these were all dogs like the Lowchen, or simply small dogs of the Bichon type that were trimmed in a lion cut.

It is an old dog breed type, found in many countries as far back as the 1500s. The modern sources of the dog breed were from Belgium, France and Germany enthusiasts in the late 19th century.

Lowchen Appearance

The Lowchen is, depending on the source, bichon type dog, with a long, silky coat that is presented in a lion cut for conformation show purposes. This means that the haunches, back legs, front legs (except bracelets around the ankles), and the 1/3 of the tail closest to the body are shaved, and the rest of the coat is left natural to give the appearance of a lion-like form. A small dog, they are considered by some registries as toy dog, and have been long-time companions of royal courts.

The head of the Lowchen is one of the most important features, with its short, wide muzzle, broad skull, lively round eyes, and pendulant ears. The head, when in proportion to the body, is neither too big nor too small, but helps to emphasize the friendly, regal, and leonine personality of the Lowchen.

The coat should not be thin and fluffy like a Bichon Frise, but wavy with a mix of thicker hairs amongst the fine ones. This allows for a flowing coat that is not frizzy or fly-away, and a Lowchen coat should neither be soft like a nor harsh like many terriers. They can come in all colours, including brown, that allow for dark eyes and nose.


The Lowchen is a friendly, happy dog. Dogs of this breed are both active and playful, and very intelligent. The Lowchen makes a good pet for families with children and an excellent house pet.

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