The moment you see a Löwchen you will fall in love with this cute and adorable toy dog breed that was basically developed as a companion dog and is still in favor by dog lovers today. These dogs are very active and smart. They are great contenders in dog competitions such as obedience and agility. Families that own one of these dogs are often amazed by them because they surpass all expectations that many people have for a family companion dog.
Highlights of the Löwchen
Before getting a Löwchen there are some things that you need to consider first:
- The Löwchen was not developed to be an outdoor or kennel dog. They are companion dogs and are happiest when they are in the company of the people they love.
- Barking is a much-enjoyed pastime for the Löwchen. They make excellent watchdogs with their alarm barking but they may become a nuisance to neighbors.
- Löwchens make wonderful apartment residents as long as their exercise requirements are met. Expect to spend at least 20 minutes per day exercising him. He makes an excellent walking companion and will go for long walks with his people.
- Although the Löwchen doesn't shed much, he still requires regular brushing and grooming to prevent tangles and mats and keep him in good health.
- Although not all Löwchens show this trait, many enjoy digging and the habit may be difficult to discourage.
- Löwchens can be shy of new people, and it is important to socialize them at a young age to discourage any fearfulness or timid behaviors.
- Löwchens are companion dogs and may suffer from separation anxiety when their companions leave for the day. They are not the best breed for people who work long hours.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass on to the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
- How well do they adapt?
- The Löwchen is a very versatile dog that adapts well to various environments. For this reason they are great dogs for apartment life. In this breed of dog you will find that they are a low-energy type that is fairly calm indoors and usually polite with other people. However, as with all dogs not all Löwchens behave this way. Therefore, it is a good idea to get to know your dog before buying it if you live in an apartment.
- Being a calm and quiet dog, Löwchens make the ideal pet for a novice pet owner. These dogs a resilient and will bounce back quickly from the mistakes and inconsistencies that new dog owners often make. In other words, they are quite forgiving.
- The sensitivity level of these dogs is moderate. They will not tolerate a hectic lifestyle and may become destructive or panic-stricken in such environments. This also means that when disciplined they may either take-it-on-the-chin or become very annoyed at you which will result in them becoming stubborn. It is a good idea to watch how they behave in such situations and then treat them so based on their reaction to discipline and your daily activities.
- If you are the type of person who likes to go out or work late these dogs will not tolerate being left alone. The Löwchen is a very sensitive dog when it comes to being left alone for long stretches at a time. For this reason these dogs do well in households where one person is always at home to keep it company.
- Löwchens do not tolerate cold weather very well. These dogs do not have enough fur or body fat to help keep them warm in cold weather. If you do live in a cold environment it is best to keep them indoors. When taking them out for their walk they will absolutely need a sweater or coat and perhaps booties as well.
- As with cold weather the Löwchen does not tolerate hot weather very well also. These dogs do have a double coat of fur which makes them overheat quickly. If you live in such an environment it is best to keep the dog indoors in a cool area of the house. If possible it might do you well to consider getting an air conditioner as the inside of a house or apartment can become quite hot.
- Are Löwchens easy to train?
- Just like any other dog, training the Löwchen depends entirely on the dog's personality. Some Löwchens are very easy to train while others may prefer to not be trained. Different methods of training may need to be explored on the hard-to-train dogs such as using a clicker, giving a treat, or providing immediate praise when they obey a command. The east to train dogs will be more than happy to do what you want as they only want to please you knowing that they will get plenty of attention when they obey.
- Are Löwchens intelligent?
- In this regard they are considered to have medium intelligence. These dogs use their brains in a different way compared to working dogs such as the herders. Because these dogs need a good amount of exercise they use their brains to think up needed activities that must expend energy. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. For this reason it is a good idea to enroll your dog in obedience training. Also offer plenty of interactive toys. Playing fetch is a great exercise for these dogs.
- Are the Löwchens mouthy?
- In this respect we are talking about dogs that nip, chew, and play-bite. Any dog that doesn't have the proper training in this regard will use their mouths on their human masters. For this reason it is a good idea to give your dog a good chew toy stuffed with kibble and treats and to play a good game of fetch.
- Do Löwchens have a high prey drive?
- Being in line with the terrier group of dogs these dogs are very prone to chasing and hunting other small animals. Being of such a mindset it is a good idea to keep them on a leash when going for a walk as they might decide to chase a car or somebody's pet. Also make sure that your yard has a good fence that is high enough to prevent them from jumping over it and deep enough to prevent them from digging under it.
- Do Löwchens have a tendency to bark or howl?
- The answer to this question is yes. However, with proper training you can train your dog not to bark. These dogs usually vocalize when they are left alone or when they are in a noisy environment.
- Are Löwchens wanderers?
- Any dog that gets the chance to wonder will. Löwchens are no exception. Being naturally curious if they get a scent that they must investigate they will leave you far behind to check it out. Keeping them on a leash will help to keep them in line in this regard.
- Do Löwchens shed a lot?
- Being medium-length in their coats they do not shed as much as some of the other breeds of dog. If you give them a daily brushing for about twenty minutes you will find that the shedding is moderate to minimal.
- Do Löwchens drool a lot?
- These dogs are not big droolers as you would see in a hound dog. But this also depends on the dog's personal nature. Also, some dogs increase in their drooling as they get older. In that respect this breed of dog is considered a low drooler by nature.
- Are Löwchens easy to groom?
- Löwchens need a daily regimen of brushing and other grooming. Because they have a medium length of hair they tend to develop knots quickly and get their face very messy when eating.
- Do Löwchens have good health?
- Generally speaking these dogs have good health. However, like any other breed they do have some conditions which may flare up. For more information see the health section below. Knowing the background of the parents will be a great help in evaluating potential health problems in your Löwchen.
- Do Löwchens maintain a stable weight?
- These dogs have a moderate weight spectrum. Just like any other dog, they will gain weight in climates that have a winter as the owners usually do not take the dog out often enough because of the weather. Maintaining a strict diet and giving them plenty of exercise indoors is a major key in keeping these dogs from becoming obese when you can't take them outside often enough.
- Are Löwchens big dogs in their category?
- Löwchens are considered to be small dogs. However, dogs are individuals like us and genetics plays a big part in how big we, and they, get. Researching the background of the dog you are considering will give you a fairly good indication of the size to expect. But, just like humans, there are exceptions and you may end up with a dog that is bigger than normal. Or the reverse may be true. The general rule is, however, is that these dogs are medium-small and make great lap dogs.
- Are Löwchens family friendly?
- Each dog is different. Sometimes you get a dog that is very independent even if they've been around the same person since being a puppy. Other times you will get a dig that becomes very close to one person in the family. Then there are those that love everybody in the family. If the dog has been around lots of people since being a puppy, they will usually bond quite easily with everyone in the family.
- Are Löwchens friendly with other dogs?
- This is usually defined by the personality of the dog. Dogs that have grown up around other dogs tend to be more friendly with them. However, if the dog is an extreme individual and like to be by itself it will have a hard time around other dogs. Many dogs tend to enjoy playing with other dogs. Sometimes dogs will play but when they get tired they want to be alone and that is usually when they become aggressive towards other dogs.
- Will my Löwchen attack strangers?
- Dogs that are not socialized properly will always be wary of strangers. The Löwchen is no exception to this. Shy dogs will avoid strangers altogether. The best remedy here is to introduce your dog to many different types of people from a very young age. Although this is not a guarantee as to how they will react with strangers, it is a good start.
- Are Löwchens kid friendly?
- Many dog breeds absolutely love children. The Löwchen on the other hand, tend to despise children. The reason for this is that small breeds of dogs do not tolerate children poking and pulling at them. If your dog has been raised in a household that has children they will be more tolerant towards children. If you got your dog before having children you may fi8nd that the dog will become jealous towards the child because of the attention that the child gets.
- What is the energy level of a Löwchens?
- Löwchens are considered to be moderate in this respect. To keep them from becoming destructive or disobedient these dogs require a good vigorous walk at least twice per day. Also providing daily training sessions will help these dogs to become well-rounded and good-natured.
- Do these dogs require a lot of exercise?
- Having a moderate energy level, Löwchens do not require a high level of exercise. However, like all dogs exercise will help to expend the extra energy that accumulates throughout the day. Moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk or playing fetch, will help to get rid of this excess energy.
- What is the intensity level of exercise required for these dogs?
- Löwchens do not require high intensity workouts. They are basically considered to be low-level dogs when it comes to providing exercise. For this reason they do great in families that have children or with owner's that are elderly or frail.
- How playful are Löwchens?
- Some dogs are very playful for the majority of their lives. Others are puppy-like for the first few years and then they settle down making them great house pets for more mature families. The Löwchen is considered to be moderate in this area. They are usually very playful for the first five or six years of their lives and then they settle down.
Löwchen Vital Statistics
The Löwchen is a definite companion dog that generally stands about fourteen inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 9 to 18 pounds. They have a lifespan of between 13 to 15 years and make great pets for all sorts of family environments.
The word "Löwchen" means "lion dog" because of his appearance being similar to that of a lion. This does not reflect his nature at all as he is a playful and gentle animal making him a great companion for families with children.
They are very robust and love to play rough with people but they can be shy around strangers. This is a trait that can be easily overcome with proper socialization.
These dogs do fit well into any household and get along quite well with other dogs and pets.
Being very affectionate and loving these dogs thrive very well when they are with people and can fit into any living environment whether it is in an apartment or in a house with plenty of space to run around. However, these dogs should never be left to live outside or in a kennel because doing so will lead to behavioral problems and ill health.
Löwchens are not very active dogs. They do make great watch dogs as they will bark to alert you of anything that they think you should know about. Some Löwchens really love to dig which is a habit that is very difficult to break in these dogs.
These dogs are sweet and affectionate and will absolutely challenge any dog or house rule if they decide to. This type of behavior makes them a bit bullheaded at times which can make it a bit challenging if you don't have the necessary patience to withstand this as it is a basic pack behavior to see who is the strongest in these situations.
History of the Löwchen
Several theories exist as to the origins of the Löwchen which often brings about some heated debates between the different proponents of the various theories.
One of the theories originates the breed in Northern Europe. Usually within Germany, Belgium, and France. Those who believe this theory suggest that the Löwchen may be one of the founding breeds in the development of the Toy Poodle or may be linked to its founding breed.
Others believe that the Löwchen is directly related to the Bichon breeds and probably originated in the Mediterranean. Other theories suggest that the Löwchen originated in either Russia or Tibet.
Regardless of which theory you believe the one constant that they all have in common is that the Löwchen breed was developed primarily as a companion dog. However, it is also possible that this breed was also used as a rodent hunter and possibly as an alarm dog. It is known that these dogs were found in all walks of life from farms to prominent castle owners and the elite.
These dogs have changed little in appearance throughout the centuries. This is known because they have been depicted in many portraits throughout the years.
On several occasions the Löwchen almost became extinct. By the end of the 19th century there were only a few left. However, in 1897, the efforts of Madelaine Bennert saved the breed from extinction but their numbers dropped again during the two world wars.
Not to be thwarted Madelaine Bennert again started her efforts to save the breed. In order to accomplish her efforts she requested the help of Dr. Hans Rickert, whose dogs were originally purchased from Madame Bennert. These original dogs of the post-world wars were the main contributors of what we have today. The efforts of Bennert, Rickert, and a few other owners and breeders, allowed the Löwchen to recover as a breed.
The Löwchen is still considered to be a rare breed today. The first Löwchen arrived in the United States in 1971 and the American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized it as a breed in 1999.
The Löwchen is not a large dog. They are just a little longer than they are tall with a height of 12 to 14 inches and a weight of between 9 and 18 pounds
Personality of the Löwchen
Löwchens are very even-tempered animals. They are lively and active as well as affectionate and gentle. They are also a very intelligent breed of dog that learns quickly and easily. They also make fearless watchdogs and will alert their owners if the see something or someone suspicious. They also don't realize that they are small dogs as they will challenge much larger dogs if they feel the need to.
They are very controlling dogs that will take over control of their home and the people in it. The Löwchen is an absolutely wonderful breed that has a cheerful disposition and because of this many people open both their hearts and home to two or more at a time.
Being a joyous animal they are a wonderful breed to train. They are intelligent and are often anxious to be trained. Because they are a toy breed of dog they can have issues with housetraining but with a little patience and consistency this can be overcome. Socialization is something that must be worked on for this breed. Because they can be shy and nervous around strangers it is important to start socializing this breed as early as possible. And even though they generally get along with other breeds it is still important that they be socialized with other dogs, which is an important aspect for all dogs.
Löwchens are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Löwchens will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.
When buying any dog you should always get it when it is still a puppy as they adjust much better than older dogs. Also get your dog from a good breeder as they will have all the necessary documentation to show you all the health clearances of both parents of the pup as well a vaccination and health clearances of the pup itself.
In Löwchens, you should expect to see health clearances for hip dysplasia from an Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) with a score of fair or better, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease. They eyes should also be certified that they are clear of any abnormalities from a Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF). If your pup is registered with the OFA you can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
Other ailments that you need to be aware of are:
- Cataracts: A cataract is an opacity on the lens of the eye, which causes difficulty in seeing. The eye(s) of the dog will have a cloudy appearance. Cataracts usually occur with old age and can be treated by surgically removing the cataract.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A degenerative eye disorder. Blindness caused by PRA is a slow process resulting from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye. PRA is detectable years before the dog shows any signs of blindness. Reputable breeders have their dogs' eyes certified on a yearly basis.
- Patellar Luxation: Also known as "slipped stifles," this is a common problem in small dogs. It is caused when the patella, which has three parts — the femur (thigh bone), patella (knee cap), and tibia (calf) — is not properly lined up. This causes a lameness in the leg or an abnormal gait in the dog. It is a disease that is present at birth although the actual misalignment or luxation does not always occur until much later. The rubbing caused by patellar luxation can lead to arthritis, which is a degenerative joint disease. There are four grades of Patellar Luxation ranging from grade I, which is an occasional luxation causing temporary lameness in the joint, to grade IV, in which the turning of the tibia is severe and the patella cannot be realigned manually. This gives the dog a bowlegged appearance. Severe grades of patellar luxation may require surgical repair.
Care of the Löwchen
The Löwchen is a very adaptable breed of dog for apartment living, but they can be prone to excessive barking. Because of this it is important to consider this trait before bringing your new Löwchen home as many apartment buildings and neighborhoods have noise restrictions and you might have to give your dog away.
Löwchens are not outdoor dogs nor a kennel dog. Although they absolutely enjoy a good romp outdoor with other dogs (if possible) they prefer to remain close by their human counterparts.
Their absolute care needs are considered to be moderate compared to other dogs of this size. A good brisk walk twice per day along with regular feeding times and weekly brushing and grooming is all that they require.
Feeding Your Löwchen
Löwchens are not heavy eaters because they are not high activity dogs. The recommended daily amount for these dogs is between 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality dog food. This amount should be divided into two meals during the day.
It is important when feeding your dog that you take into consideration the animal's size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs that are active will require more food than one that is laid back. Also, feeding your dog the best food available will result in less food being used as the nutritional value of the food will go further in providing the necessary energy for the dog.
Coat, Color and Grooming
The Löwchen has a dense coat that is long and moderately wavy with a soft texture. Löwchens can be found in all colors and combinations, and there is no preference for any one color or combination. When clipped, they are given a "Lion Trim." The hair is shortened to 1/8th of an inch in length from the last rib to the rump, as well as on the legs, with cuffs of hair just above the feet. The tail is also trimmed, with a plume left at the tip of the tail. It is important, however, to brush your dog at least once a week as this will keep the coat from tangling. Löwchens are also minimal shedders.
The dog's teeth also need regular care. To help keep tartar down to a minimum and to help keep its breath fresh it is recommended to brush your Löwchen's teeth at least twice a week. Three to four times per week is preferable.
Also make sure that the dog's nails are kept well-trimmed. If your dog doesn't wear down their nails naturally you should trim them yourself. A good indication of long nails is when you can hear the nails click on the floor when they walk. Keeping the nails properly trimmed will prevent painful tears and other problems. Do not trim the nails too short as you may accidentally cut the quick which will cause the nail to bleed and that will relate to a bad experience for the dog who may not cooperate the next time. If you are apprehensive about clipping your dog's nails you should get your veterinarian or a professional groomer to do it.
The Löwchen's ears also need to be checked on a weekly basis. During this check you should be on the lookout for any redness or bad odor. Both of which could be an indication of an infection within the ear canal. When cleaning the animal's ears you should wipe them out with a cotton ball that is dampened with a pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent ear infections. Do not at any time insert anything into the ear canal. Only the outer ear needs to be cleaned.
The grooming process for any dog should be started at a very young age. Since dogs do not like their paws to be handled you should frequently touch his paws while you are grooming him. Also look inside of the animal's mouth for any signs of tooth decay, abscesses, or other infection. Make the grooming process a positive experience. Constantly praise the dog and give a treat after you have completed the grooming process.
While you are grooming you pet you check for any signs of sores, redness of the skin, rashes, or infection. Also check the nose, eyes, ears, and mouth to make sure that there are no problems in those areas as well. If you discover something wrong you should seek immediate medical attention by visiting your veterinarian within the shortest possible delay.
Children and Other Pets
Löwchens are excellent dogs for families that have either children, other dogs, or both. They do extremely well with children and really enjoy playing with them. You will find the Löwchen to be a really robust animal that is also exceedingly gentle.
Löwchens are very sociable in nature and will do very well in homes with other pets and dogs. Because they do not consider themselves to be small they will often challenge larger dogs that they meet in public, so it's important that you protect them from their own behavior.
Löwchens are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Löwchens in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward a Löwchen rescue organization that is near you.
The following is the national rescue group for the United States:
The following organization can put you in touch with local registered breeders or with a breeders organization in your area.
Löwchen Puppy Pics
Löwchen Puppy Pics