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Lowchen Dog Breed Profile

Jun 27, 2008
The Lowchen Dog is actually pronounced "lerv-chun" and means "little lion". This German name comes from the traditional haircut, in which a ruff is hair is left as a mane on the front part of the dog's body. A large plume of hair is also left on the end of the tail and all four feet from the pasterns to the base of the foot.

Close relatives of the Lowchen are the Maltese, the Bichon, the Bolognese, and the Havanese. The haircut of this breed is said to have developed because this little dog loves to crawl beneath the covers and it is an automatic bed warmer. The clipping of the coat on the back half of the dog's body provided a place where one could warm their feet more easily! And even today, the Lowchen does indeed crawl beneath the covers with readiness, loving nothing more than to curl up at the feet of its master or mistress.

The breed almost reached the point of extinction in the late 1960s. The pedigrees of today are founded upon a very limited genetic pool from only two families. Much inbreeding was done as a matter of necessity. The bloodline has not suffered from this, in fact this is a breed that is relatively free of genetic disease. This may be due to the large amount of inbreeding. Theory has it that very tight inbreeding if combined with judicious culling will produce healthy progeny.

The reason for this is that fatal conditions will of course not be bred, and usually only the fittest offspring will be used for further breeding. These offspring have a higher than normal percentage of "good" genes. In this respect, the father to daughter breedings, and mother to son breedings, which extended the bloodlines of the Lowchen did produce an exceptionally healthy animal. The little dog is also relatively long lived, a lifetime of 17 years or more is not unusual.

The Lowchen is a Toy dog, naturally quite happy and lively. It is even tempered and accepting of strangers. This is a dog which must be with a family, not doing at all well in a kennel situation. The owners of Lowchens have found that it is a constant delight to own one, they are natural clowns and love to perform tricks and delight in playing games. Normally after they are adults they are not destructive, but like all puppies, when young they need to be in a puppy safe environment because they love to investigate.

The Lowchen should be under 13 inches tall. The coat is long and silky, in any combination of colors. If not kept in the lion trim, the coat will grow long and straggly everywhere and is more difficult to keep groomed. Regular brushing is a must because the coat is single in nature and will easily mat, especially when wet. The eyes can be a problem since the hair will grow long and profuse over the eyes. Keeping the hair back with a barrette is desirable for a pet, but not in the show ring. The dog "Freeway" which starred in the American television series "Hart to Hart" is an example of an untrimmed Lowchen.
About the Author
Get more info and advice on the lowchen or a full list of dog breeds at this Dog Behaviour website.
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