Canis lupus

Last updated: October 1, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© volofin/Shutterstock.com

This breed is also known as the "Little Lion Dog" for their bravery and manes.


Lowchen Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Lowchen Locations

Lowchen Locations

Lowchen Facts

Fun Fact
This breed is also known as the "Little Lion Dog" for their bravery and manes.
Energetic, bold

Lowchen Physical Characteristics

  • Blue
  • Black
  • Tan
  • Cream
  • Silver
  • Chocolate
Skin Type
12 to 14 years
18 Lbs

Lowchen as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$4,000 - $8,000
Dog group
Male weight
9-18 lbs
Female weight
9-18 lbs

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species.

View all of the Lowchen images!

Share on:

Despite being treasured throughout Continental Europe for generations, the Lowchen earned the designation of the rarest breed in existence for a period in the 1960s. At their low point there were only 65 living members of the species.

The Lowchen was once one of the favored pets of European nobility, and they look and act the part. Their long and lustrous manes have earned them a comparison to lions, and their bold and fearless personalities suggest that they’ve taken that comparison to heart. This breed is friendly and highly sociable among humans, although they can sometimes be bossy and bullying when in the presence of other dogs. Bred to be lapdogs, this isn’t a canine designed to live outdoors. They can live perfectly happily even in a small apartment, as human attention and companionship is a far more important commodity for them than space.

See all of our expert product reviews.

While they can be rare to find, these dogs have big and bright personalities and some notable characteristics that set them apart from other toy breeds. Once you can get past its swaggering and brash demeanor, you’ll find a sweet and devoted dog.

3 pros and cons of owning a Lowchen

Every dog comes with its own unique temperament and characteristics, and that comes with pros and cons depending on the situation you’re in. Here’s what you need to know about this breed.

Their small size and manageable activity levels make them an ideal choice for living in apartments.This breed is especially prone to social anxiety and can react by chewing up your property or incessantly barking.
They’re highly intelligent and excel at training. That even extends to specialized training like agility or competitive obedience.Their beautiful coats require significant amounts of grooming even if you aren’t emphasizing their “little lion” look.
They have an above-average lifespan and don’t have a history of many serious health issues.This is still a rare breed. In recent history, the population of Lowchens fell down to less than a hundred. And while there are significantly more now, puppies are accompanied by a high price and usually a breeder waiting list.
A black,gray and white petit Lowchen (little lion dog) walking on the grass.
A black, gray, and white petit Lowchen (little lion dog) walking on the grass



Lowchen Size and Weight

As a toy-sized dog, the Lowchen is petite and longer than it is tall. Their brave personalities and sharp barks are accompanied by a body that has a height of only about a foot and weighs less than 20 pounds. Males and females of the breed tend to be roughly the same height and weight.

Health and Entertainment for your Lowchen

See all of our expert product reviews.

Height (male)14″
Height (female) 14″
Weight (male)18lbs
Weight (female) 18lbs

Lowchen Common Health Issues

Lowchen is fortunate to be a purebred without a history of severe health issues. They’re prone to a handful of conditions that are common among dogs of most breeds as well as some specific conditions tied to their eyes. The condition known as Progressive Retinal Apathy is genetic and can lead to the loss of eyesight and eventual blindness over time. They’re also prone to developing cataracts. Like many other breeds, Lowchens are susceptible to patellar luxation and hip dysplasia.

You won’t find this dog at a rescue, so make sure that your breeder can provide you with the appropriate paperwork and medical information. Eyes exams and inspection of the hip and knee will ensure the characteristics that will help your dog live a long and healthy life. Make sure to prioritize:

  • Progressive Retinal Apathy
  • Cataracts
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patellar Luxation

Lowchen Temperament

The Lowchen puts on a big front when faced with strangers and other dogs, but that imposing demeanor hides a sensitive side. When they’re with people they trust, these dogs are an endless reservoir of brightness and curiosity, and they’re capable and dedicated cuddling companions that also have the minds and energy for complex play and exploring. These dogs couldn’t be gentler in the company of their trusted caregivers, but their anxious personalities demand quite a bit of attention. These dogs were bred to be companions to European nobility, and they can become distressed and even destructive when they’re left without a companion.

How To Take Care of a Lowchen

In terms of basic care, the Lowchen isn’t very different from any toy breed that you’d find at a breeder or rescue. Here’s the care advice to help raise Lowchens from curious puppies into happy adults.

The Best Dog Food for Lowchens

Lowchen doesn’t have any particular nutritional requirements, and their diet is similar to that of most toy dogs. These dogs should eat food appropriate to their age and should keep the consumption of treats to 10% of their diet or less. As is the case with other small breeds, the dental structure of this dog can occasionally make some foods difficult to eat, so experimenting with other formulas can be an effective choice if your Lowchen is a picky eater.

Adult dogs should eat between a half cup and a full cup of food split over one or two meals a day. Fresh water should always be readily available as well. Keep in mind that Lowchen have an appetite to match their anxiety. Overeating is common in this breed, so keeping a strict eating schedule and monitoring weight fluctuations is critical to keep your dog healthy.

At A-Z Animals, we prefer Eukanuba Adult Small Bites Dry Dog Food as the best dog food for Lowchens.

That’s due to the chicken-based diet’s natural glucosamine, which helps fortify the joints and guard against conditions like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. There’s also DHA, important for brain function and beta-carotene for eye health. This kibble has a special design to help keep the gums and teeth clean.

Here’s where you can find Eukanuba Small Bites dog food on Chewy and Amazon.

Best Small Bites Formula
Eukanuba Adult Small Bites Dry Dog Food
  • Small bite blend suited for dogs with smaller jaws
  • DHA and antioxidants for brain health
  • High protein to provide energy
  • Supports lean muscles and healthy joints
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Lowchen Maintenance And Grooming

The trademark mane of this little lion — along with the rest of its coat — needs a good deal of upkeep no matter how they’re styled. Lowchen who keep their long and wavy hair should be brushed on a daily basis to prevent matting and rescue them from a style emergency. Fortunately, they don’t shed — so there isn’t as much cleanup as there is with dogs like the German Shepherd. Many owners opt to instead keep their Lowchen’s fur trimmed for easier maintenance and a distinct look.

Bathing is unnecessary and can actually be harmful if done too much since this breed is prone to skin allergies. Be sure to regularly trim the nails, and be diligent about oral care. Smaller dogs like this are particularly prone to dental issues, so regular brushing is mandatory.

Lowchen Training

Lowchen are sweet dogs that can develop many issues without the right training. Fortunately, these dogs have sharp minds and an enthusiastic willingness to learn. Naturally nervous, the Lowchen will bark at just about anything — but they can serve as reliable watchdogs if you can properly channel that talent early on. Proper socialization is crucial for this naturally non-trusting breed as well. Helping them get used to other people and animals will make them both less aggressive and less nervous.

Basic obedience can help you develop a close relationship with your Lowchen, and they’re nimble and smart enough to even pursue agility training. Be sure to start with training and socialization early. Be particular about getting them used to being held and manipulated so that they can get used to the regular grooming and maintenance that they’ll need throughout their life. Despite their intelligence, members of this small breed can sometimes have trouble with house-training, a characteristic they share with many other small breeds.

Lowchen Exercise

This breed demands a lot of social attention, but they’re significantly less demanding where exercise is concerned. They should get 20 to 30 minutes of walking time a day, although they’ll benefit from more. This is an active breed, and exerting both its mind and its body is the best way to grapple with its more nervous tendencies. Puzzle toys can help keep them engaged in addition to more traditional dog toys. Their small size means that they can get a lot of enjoyment playing with cat toys as well.

They also have a feline nimbleness that makes them a great choice for agility dogs. And unlike many breeds that are chosen for this purpose — like the Jack Russell Terrier and Poodle — they don’t require highly active caretakers. Lowchens can perform capably in the ring and then go home and quietly snuggle with their family.

Lowchen Puppies

Puppies of this breed are unfortunately rare, and finding one also often requires you to put yourself on a waiting list. It’s a situation created by the fact that there are only about 200 of these dogs in existence. That means that it’s especially important to do your due diligence, and that includes making sure that the paperwork and health records are all in order.

These small dogs are obviously much smaller when they’re puppies, and that means that they require a special amount of care. Putting in the effort to socialize and train them is crucial at this point — as Lowchen are naturally anxious and tend to relieve that anxiety by chewing and barking. They can be taught to better manage their anxiety, but still expect to keep them in your constant sight while they’re puppies and likely well into adulthood.

Two cute Lowchen or Petit Chien Lion puppies, 3 weeks old.
Two cute Lowchen or Petit Chien Lion puppies, 3 weeks old.

©Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.com

Lowchen And Children

As long as you make sure to take the proper steps to integrate them, Lowchen makes great companions for children. Loyal and easy-going while also being bright-eyed and curious, these dogs can adapt to the whims of young family members and are quite gentle with people that they know. Just make sure that your child knows how to interact respectfully with animals and they should get along well. Once properly socialized, members of this breed should have little difficulty interacting with a variety of children.

Dogs similar to Lowchen

This little lion dog has some unique fur, but it shares a lot of characteristics with other small breeds. And while the exact genetic lineage of this dog is lost, there are three breeds in particular that are likely closely related: the Maltese, Bichon Frise, and Havanese.

  • Bichon Frise – The giant puffed haircut of the Bichon Frise is every bit as distinctive as the mane of the Lowchen. They also tend to be friendlier, although they require a greater amount of regular activity.
  • Maltese – The Maltese was also raised as a spoiled pet of nobles, although their lineage descends back hundreds of years longer. They can be stubborn, but they’re bright and lively dogs with big personalities.
  • Havanese – In addition to similar looks, the Havanese and the Lowchen both share a serious devotion to their families. But Cuba’s native breed are more sociable and less territorial towards strangers.

It can be hard to pick a name for a pet. Here are some of the most popular Lowchen names:

  • Buddy
  • Baby
  • Simba
  • Fifi
  • Daisy
  • Foxy

View all 98 animals that start with L

Share on:
What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Lowchen FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a Lowchen?

This toy dog breed is exceedingly rare, but they were once the lapdogs of choice for royalty. They’re well-suited to city living.

Where does the Lowchen dog come from?

The exact background of this species isn’t quite known, but they were a favored choice for European aristocrats before the Renaissance.

Where can I buy a Lowchen?

You’ll need to seek out a breeder. Options are limited since there are only roughly 200 of the breed registered.

Is a Löwchen a good dog?

This breed is sweet and bubbly but also requires little in the way of exercise. They’re a breed well-suited for a companion dog, particularly in urban settings.

Do Löwchen bark a lot?

This breed tends to be very vocal, and they can make great guard dogs if that energy is properly channeled from a young age.

How much does a Lowchen cost to own?

While they aren’t as rare as they once were, Lowchen are still only available in very small numbers. The cost for puppies can range from $4,000 to $8,000 thanks to that rarity.

Are Lowchen good with kids?

As a very sweet and playful breed, Lowchen get along great with kids. They just need to be properly socialized.

How long does a Lowchen live?

The typical lifespan of this breed is 12 to 14 years.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


  1. Wagwalking / Accessed October 9, 2021
  2. Your Pure Bred Puppy / Accessed October 9, 2021
  3. American Kennel Club / Accessed October 9, 2021
  4. Embark / Accessed October 9, 2021

Newly Added Animals

A Great White Shark
Great White Shark

Can grow to more than 8 meters long!

A Cobalt Blue Tarantula
Cobalt Blue Tarantula

Cobalt blue tarantulas spend most of their time in self-dug burrows and only emerge when it's time to eat

Most Recently Updated Animals

A Great White Shark
Great White Shark

Can grow to more than 8 meters long!

A Cobalt Blue Tarantula
Cobalt Blue Tarantula

Cobalt blue tarantulas spend most of their time in self-dug burrows and only emerge when it's time to eat