The Löwchen Dog Breed: Everything You Need to Know

Affectionate, positive, and outgoing, the Löwchen is a cute-looking and non-shedding breed whose name in German literally means “little lion.”

In this article, we’ll dive deep into everything you need to know about the Löwchen breed, from its history to its health and everything in between.

History of the Löwchen Dog Breed

The Löwchen has a mysterious history, but what we know is that the breed hasn’t changed much in the last 500 years and that it shares a similar ancestry with the Maltese and Bichon Frise. 

Origins and Ancestry

The exact origins of the Löwchen are unknown, but it’s believed that they were bred to be companion dogs for aristocratic families. They were often found in the laps of noblewomen and are depicted in many Renaissance art pieces. 

The Löwchen’s name, meaning “little lion” in German, is inspired by the dog’s appearance. However, the breed was also popular in France, Spain, Holland, Italy, and even Russia, which makes it hard to determine the exact birthplace. 

The Löwchen’s Role in History

During the French Revolution, the Löwchen’s popularity began to decline, and the breed became increasingly rare. By the end of World War II, only a handful of Löwchen dogs remained.

They were primarily found in France, where a small group of dedicated breeders worked tirelessly to save the breed from extinction. Despite their rarity, Löwchens have played an important role in history.

The French artist Jean-Baptiste Oudry painted a portrait of a Löwchen named Filou, which is now a masterpiece. Löwchen dogs have also been featured in works of literature, including Virginia Woolf’s novel “Orlando.”

The Breed’s Revival in the 20th Century

Fortunately, a group of dedicated breeders worked to revive the Löwchen breed, and today they are still relatively rare but gaining popularity. In 1996, the Löwchen was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.  

Physical Characteristics and Appearance

The Löwchen is a small but sturdy dog with a compact body and long, lustrous coat. The hallmark of the breed is the famous lion clip which makes the dog look like a small lion. 

Size and Weight

The Löwchen is small in size, typically weighing around 15 pounds and standing between 12 to 14 inches tall at the shoulder. It has a compact, muscular build that gives it a sturdy and agile appearance. Despite its small size, the breed is known for its athleticism and love of physical activity.

Coat and Colors

The Löwchen’s coat is often described as lion-like, as it is long and full around the head, neck, and chest, with shorter hair on the rest of the body. The coat can come in a wide variety of colors, including multicolored patterns.

The coat is soft and silky to the touch and requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best. The Löwchen is a hypoallergenic breed and does not shed much, which makes them a great choice for people with allergies. 

Distinctive Features

One of the most unique characteristics of the Löwchen breed is their famous “little lion” clip, which involves trimming the fur short on the hindquarters and leaving longer hair around their face and front legs to create a lion-like appearance.

Löwchen Temperament and Personality

Aside from their impressive appearance, the Löwchen breed also has a delightful temperament that makes them a beloved companion for many pet owners.

General Disposition

Löwchen dogs are friendly, affectionate, and playful. They thrive on human companionship and are happiest when spending time with their owners. They are also known for their bravery and will not hesitate to protect their families.

Despite their small size, Löwchen dogs have a big personality. They are energetic and love to play, but they also enjoy snuggling up with their owners for a good cuddle session.

Intelligence and Trainability

The Löwchen is intelligent and eager to please, making it relatively easy to train. However, it can be stubborn at times, so patience and consistency are necessary for successful training.

Positive reinforcement methods, such as treats and praise, work well with the Löwchen. In addition to basic obedience training, breed members are also well-suited for agility and other dog sports. 

Socialization and Interaction with Other Pets

Löwchen are social and outgoing creatures and generally get along well with other pets and children. However, proper socialization from an early age is important to ensure that they develop positive relationships with other animals.

Early socialization helps prevent potential aggression or fearfulness towards other pets. Start exposing your dog to new pets, people, and situations from a young age so it can develop into a well-behaved and adjusted canine. 

Health and Lifespan of the Löwchen

Common Health Issues

Like all dog breeds, Löwchen can be susceptible to certain health issues, such as: 

  • Orthopedic Issues: Hip dysplasia and luxating patella (slipped stifle) are widespread in the breed 
  • Eye Conditions: Breed members often suffer from progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts 
  • Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland resulting in weight gain, lethargy, and skin issue

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

To ensure that your Löwchen stays healthy, it’s important to provide them with preventative care, including regular checkups with a veterinarian, proper nutrition, and adequate exercise.

Expected Lifespan

The average lifespan of a Löwchen dog is between 13 and 15 years, making them a relatively long-lived breed. With proper care, many members of the breed live well into their senior years. 


From its rich history to its lovable temperament to its distinctive appearance, there’s no denying that the Löwchen is a special breed and a popular choice among owners. 

If you’re considering adding a Löwchen to your family, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder to ensure that you bring home a healthy and happy pup.

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