Photo by Sandra Carmen Maschke

Löwchen - Breed Profile:

Origin: Germany
Colors: Any
Size: Small
Type of Owner: Novice
Exercise: Little
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Moderately easy to train
Combativeness: Not generally dog-aggressive
Dominance: Moderate
Noise: Average barker

Physical characteristics

The Löwchen is a compact dog with a properly balanced, sturdy build and good boning. The topline should be level from withers to tail. The loin is short and strong. The chest is moderately deep with well-sprung ribs. The head is broad and relatively flat from ear to ear. The moderate stop is well-defined. The nose and the eye rims are completely pigmented with a colour matching the coat colour. The large round eyes are set well-apart. Their colour is dark brown, although lighter coloured dogs may have lighter brown eyes. In show dogs, darker eyes are always preferred. The lips are tight. The teeth should meet in a scissor bite. The ears are pendant and well-fringed; they are set slightly higher than the eye level. The tail is set high and carried in a well-arched fashion.
The Löwchen weighs 12 to 18 pounds. The height is 12 to 14 inches.


A cheerful, curious, and affectionate little dog that loves to cuddle. Needs a lot of human companionship. Good with children. Usually gets along well with other animals and doesn't need a lot of exercise. Nonetheless, the Löwchen must have daily walks to stay happy. This breed loves to be outside and can become a good jogging companion. Easy to travel with. Smart. Even though the dog is so adorable, the owners should set clear rules and discipline, otherwise the Löwchen can become spoiled and stubborn. The dominance level depends on the owner's behaviour very much, so it can vary from highly dominant to quite submissive dogs. If the owner is a good pack leader, the dog will be well-balanced, obedient, and free of behaviour problems (including the "small dog syndrome").

Coat and grooming

The long coat of the Löwchen is slightly wavy; it is never wiry, woolly, curly, or flat. The unique texture consists of hair of varying diameters with thicker hair around the neck and withers, which gives the dog a leonine look. Show dogs should have the traditional "Lion Clip" when the hindquarters, upper legs, and part of the tail are closely clipped and "bracelets" are left on the legs. Regular brushing is necessary. This breed comes in any colour and colour combination.


Remarkably free of genetic flaws. Patellar luxation (dislocated knees) is an occasional problem. The eyes should be checked for Progressive Retinal Atrophy every year. The lifespan is 12 to 15 years.

Other interesting facts

The Löwchen has existed for about 400 years. It originated as a companion breed in Pre-Renaissance Europe (most probably in Germany or the Mediterranean). The ladies of the court groomed the dog to make it look like a little lion. The name "löwchen" literally means a "little lion dog".
The Löwchen belongs to the Bichon family, which also includes the Maltese and the Havanese.