Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Lowchen
Average Cost to keep/care for a Lowchen
The Lowchen is a charming little dog and one that boasts having a silky coat that's often trimmed to look very much like that of a lion, hence they are often referred to as Little Lion Dogs. They are one of the largest toy breeds being robust and sturdy, but they also boast having adorable natures to match their charming looks. As such, the Lowchen makes for a wonderful companion and family pet which is why these little dogs have found their way into the hearts and homes of people throughout the world although their numbers still remain quite low.
The actual origins of the Lowchen are a bit of a mystery, although it is thought these charming little dogs probably have European roots with some people thinking they could be connected to the Bichon. They are listed as being native to France, but very similar looking dogs have also been found both in Germany and Spain with records of them going back as far as the 1500's.
Up until the 1960's, the Lowchen was relatively unheard of here in the UK, but over the ensuing years these charming little dogs became more popular and in 1971, they were recognised as a unique breed by The Kennel Club gaining championship status a few years later. However, even today, the Lowchen is considered to be among the rarer dogs in the world and anyone wishing to share their home with one of these charming little dogs would need to register their interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list.
Height at the withers: Males 30 - 35.6 cm, Females 28 - 33 cm
Average weight: Males 5.4 - 8.1 kg, Females 4.5 - 6.8 kg
The Lowchen is an attractive little dog that boasts being one of the largest of the toy breeds. Their coats are often trimmed in a Lion Cut which is why they are called Little Lion Dogs. However, unclipped they have long and quite scruffy looking coats that adds a lot of character and appeal to their overall natural appearance. They are well balanced, strongly built dogs that always have an alert, friendly look about them which makes them so endearing.
They have short and quite broad heads with the area between their ears being flat. They have clearly defined stops and short, yet strong muzzles. They carry their heads high and proudly. Their eyes are dark in colour and round with dogs having an intelligent, alert look in them. Ears hang down and are moderately long with lots of nice fringing on them. The Lowchen has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are proudly arched and moderately long.
Their forequarters are compact and sturdy with dogs having well laid back shoulders and nice straight front legs that show a good amount of round bone. their bodies are strong, short, yet well-proportioned with dogs having a nice, level topline and well sprung ribs. Loins are strong and bellies nicely tucked up adding to their athletic appearance. Their back legs are well muscled and strong with dogs having small, compact, round feet. Tails are moderately long and are often clipped leaving just a tuft of hair at the tip which resembles a plume. Dogs carry their tails gaily when they are alert or moving.
When it comes to their coat, the Lowchen has quite a long, wavy single coat that's soft and silky to the touch. Accepted breed colours are as follows:
The Lowchen is not only an attractive little dog, but they also boast having kind and affectionate natures. Paired to this, they are intelligent dogs that love to please which makes them great candidates for all sorts of canine sports which includes activities like agility and obedience. They are playful dogs by nature and love nothing more than the one-to-one attention they get during their training sessions and when they are competing.
They are a great choice for first time owners thanks to the fact they are so easy to train. They love to please and being so intelligent, they are quick to pick new things up. However, the downside is they are just as quick to pick up a few bad behaviours and habits too. In short, their training has to be consistent and always fair so that dogs understand what is expected of them.
Lowchens remain very puppy-like throughout their lives which is why they are such a pleasure to have around. They are confident, outgoing dogs by nature and love nothing more than to play the clown. They make great watchdogs, but would rarely show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards people that come to a home, preferring to just bark so they can let an owner know there are strangers around. With this said, it's important to gently curb any excessive barking when dogs are still young or it could turn into a real problem later on.
Lowchens are "big" dogs in a small dog's body which is why it's so important for them to be well socialised from a young age. The reason being they will stand their ground which can often see them getting into a bit of trouble if they take on any larger dogs. Their socialisation has to include introducing puppies to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated.
Their training also has to begin as early as possible with puppies being taught the "basics" right from the moment they arrive in their new home. Once they have had all their jabs, their education can start in earnest and a good way of starting this is to enrol a dog into puppy classes when they are anything from 10 to 12 weeks old. It’s a great way to socialise puppies and to train them in a safe and controlled environment.
Lowchens are clever little dogs and they love to please which means they are highly trainable with many of them excelling at all sorts of canine sports which includes activities like obedience and agility. However, they can be a little stubborn at times which is why they need to be handled with firm, yet gentle hand always showing a dog a lot of patience and understanding. They are quite sensitive by nature and as such Lowchens do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavier handed training methods. They do answer well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these clever little dogs.
It's best to keep training sessions short and to make them as interesting and as diverse as possible which helps keep these clever little dogs more focussed on what is being asked of them. If their training is too repetitive, a Lowchen would quickly get bored and lose interest.
The Lowchen thrives in a home environment and they form very strong bonds with their families and the children in a household. They are real fun-loving clowns and enjoy a bit of rough and tumble with the kids. However, any interaction between younger children and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too boisterous which could end up with a toddler being knocked over, albeit by accident.
Because they boast such kind natures, the Lowchen generally gets on well with other dogs they meet, more especially when they have been well socialised from a young enough age. If they grow up with other animals and pets in a home, they usually get on with them and this includes the family cat. However, a Lowchen might chase off any other cats they meet.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Lowchen is between 12 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Lowchen is known to be a healthy, robust little dog and one that does not suffer from a few hereditary health issues that affect other breeds. However, one condition that seem to affect the breed the most includes the following:
As with any other breed, Lowchens need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
The Lowchen is high maintenance on the grooming front especially when clipped out in a Lion Cut which is best left up to a professional groomer. With this said, having their coats clipped once a month makes it a lot easier to keep things tidy and looking good. However, if a dog's coat is left long, it needs to be brushed on a daily basis to prevent any knots or tangles from forming. Another alternative is to have a simple “puppy cut” which again makes keeping a Lowchen's coat in good condition that much simpler in between visits to a grooming parlour.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
The Lowchen is a not a high energy dog, but they do love to be out and about as much as possible for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need to be given anything from 40 to 60 minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Lowchen would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they may be feeling.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these lively dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble.
With this said, puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Lowchen puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be fed a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Lowchen, you would need to register your interest with breeders and agree to being put on a waiting list because very few puppies are bred and registered with The Kennel Club every year. You would need to pay anything upwards of £500 for a well-bred pedigree puppy.
The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Lowchen in northern England would be £22.47 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £50.37 a month (quote as of July 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Lowchen and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £900 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Lowchen would be between £50 to £90 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree or other puppy.
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