The Lowchen dog coat types and colours
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The Lowchen dog coat types and colours

Dogs
Breed Facts

The Löwchen dog is also known as the little lion dog, and at one point, was classed as the rarest breed of dog in the world. They originate from Germany and France, and have a traceable history going back to the 15th century. They are renowned for being playful, active and friendly, as well as generally happy and not overly prone to inherited health problems, and have a long history as companion dogs, lap dogs and pets. One of their most distinctive features is their long, flowing coat that is often trimmed and clipped into the breed’s signature lion cut, although it is also commonly kept natural at its full length.

The coat, like that of many lap dogs and companion dogs, requires a reasonable amount of care and maintenance to keep it in good condition, and if not managed properly can soon get into a mess! In this article, we will look in more detail at the coat colour and type variations of the Löwchen dog, and the classical styles of the Löwchen fur. Read on to learn more!

The Löwchen dog’s basic coat colours

The Löwchen dog’s coat has four genes responsible for pigmentation, which are black, red, black and tan bicolour, and tortoiseshell.

  • Black is the most dominant genetic coat colour within the breed, but is also relatively rare.
  • Red can come in various different shades including champagne, fawn and gold.
  • Black and tan coats generally consists of a black base with colour points of various red shades including tan, cream and rust red, as well as brindle.
  • The tortoiseshell coat is also sometimes referred to as agouti, and is a two-tone colour that can vary considerably from dog to dog. The most common presentation of tortoiseshell is beige or tan fur with black tips that run from the skull all down the back to the tail. Puppies that will eventually become tortoiseshell are usually blue in colouration for the first few months of their lives, until their full and final colour comes in.

The Löwchen dog’s coat patterns

As well as the genes that define the colour or colour combination of the Löwchen’s coat, there are also an additional four alleles of the four colour genes, which define the patterning of the coat and distribution of the colour. The potential patterns for the Löwchen coat are numerous and varied, and when you combine the possibility for different pattern types on top of the different colour types and variants, you can see why the Löwchen is one of the most diverse dogs around in terms of their coat pattern and colour mixtures!

  • First of all, there is the so-called “self” coloured coat, which in its basic form means a coat that is composed of all of the same colour of hairs in an almost uniform pattern, with little to no white on the dog. However, white toes or feet and possibly, a small white spot on the chest is also common with a self-coloured coat.
  • An Irish spotted coat pattern is the style that is basically mainly self-coloured, but with white trimming, usually consisting of a white chest, blaze and collar, and white feet with a white tip to the tail.
  • A parti-colour dog, also known as spotted or piebald, is a pattern of patches of any other colour mixed with white, with white being the base colour.
  • One of the rarest pattern combinations on the Löwchen is that of extreme white spotting, as this is a double recessive trait. This pattern leads to a dog that is either all white in colour, or that has defined white patches on another colour in certain areas such as the tail and/or ears.

The natural coat

Left unclipped, the coat of the Löwchen will grow very long, and will be relatively thick and wavy with a combination of both fine hairs and thicker hairs. This leads to the coat flowing rather than becoming frizzy, and the hair should be reasonably soft and not harsh. While the coat is long and requires a significant amount of grooming to keep it in good condition, the breed is very low-shedding.

The lion cut

The lion cut is the most common coat styling for the Löwchen, and is generally the style that is preferred for showing. As the name implies, the lion cut is designed to give the Löwchen a lion-like appearance, and this is usually achieved by clipping off selected sections of the coat.

Generally, the back and front legs, haunches and the base of the tail are clipped off, while the rest of the coat is left long and natural, creating an appearance similar to that of the male lion with flowing hair around the head.

While this is the most common style for the Löwchen and is more common than a coat that is left naturally long all over, it does mean that the dog may need a little extra protection in the form of coats and jumpers during the winter to keep them warm!

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