Lowchen – Bichon Puppy with a Fancy Hairstyle

The French lion was named for its fancy hairstyle, which resembles a male lion’s mane. However, the head of hair does not grow naturally in the lion form, but the hind legs are shaved (unlike the Chinese Crested with a natural tuft) and the hair is cut into shape. Without the fashionable haircut, Lowchens are easily confused with Havanese, so let’s take a closer look at the breed

Characteristics of the Lion

Like all Bichons, Lowchens are square and small in build. According to the breed standard, the body length corresponds approximately to the height at the withers. Sizes between 25 and 36 cm are allowed, and 26 to 32 cm are considered ideal. The ideal weight for males and females should be around 6 kilograms.

  • The head is quite small, flat, and broad and the stop is only slightly pronounced. The eyebrows and muzzle are covered with long hair that wraps around the eyes.
  • The length of the wide muzzle should be about 2/3 of the length of the skull. Black or brown lips are acceptable; the nose should also be black or brown and match the color of the coat.
  • The large eyes are very dark and are framed by black lids. They are set wide apart and should not be covered by hair.
  • Low-set lop ears reach about halfway down the muzzle when stretched. They are lush and long feathered.
  • The slightly curved neck should not be too short and goes into a straight backline. The short loins are well-muscled and broad, as is the chest. Behind the last rib, the abdominal line pulls up well.
  • According to the breed standard, the fore and hind legs are “well balanced” and sufficiently muscled. Tight, small paws ensure an energetic and lively gait.
  • A silky flag grows on the gracefully carried rod. The tail is carried erect and arched over the back without the tip touching the back.

The unmistakable silk fur

The silky fur is smooth and grows long all over the body. Ideally, the coat color on the ankles should contrast slightly with the body color (white, cream, or yellow), leaving little white socks when the lion is cut. No undercoat grows under the silk fur, which is why it is particularly soft, and extreme temperatures make the Lowchen more difficult than breeds with stick hair.

Luxury dogs ​​in all colors

All colors are permitted, but some colors are more common and preferred for inbreeding:

  • Black is almost never a single color, but the coat color is very popular.
  • Reddish hair can vary from golden to brownish to fox red.
  • Black and tan come in different shades. The black can appear greyish to bluish, the markings may be golden, yellowish, reddish, or brindle.
  • A tortoiseshell coat (also called agouti or tortoiseshell) is a two-tone coat with red and black parts. Puppies with this coloring are usually born with blue fur that later changes color.
  • White lions are very rare but can occur.


  • Single color (very small badges are allowed)
  • Irish Spotted (white markings on chest, face, legs, neck, nape, and tail)
  • Part-Colour or Piebald are colored, freely distributed piebalds on a white background

The lion cut: what does it look like?

In dog shows, this breed is only presented with a lion cut. The rear half of the body is shaved short, leaving small flags on the ankles long. The base of the tail is also shaved, but the tip of the tail remains hairy.

Differences between similar breeds

  • The striking mane and fur-free body parts of the Chinese Crested grow naturally. The Chinese Crested Dog is not clipped.
  • Havanese with matching hair colors can look confusingly similar to long-haired Löwchen.
  • Compared to the Lowchen, the Pekingese has a rounder head and a shorter snout.
  • If not groomed or groomed, Lowchens can sometimes look like Lhasa Apso dogs, with their silky coats often reaching to the ground.

The Story of the Medieval Luxury Dog: Always an Eye-Catcher

Lowchens are one of the Bichon dogs that were kept at the courts of the rich and powerful in the Middle Ages and traded and given away across Europe. The oldest depictions of bichons with a lion cut date back to the 13th century. Since they could be confused with some other long-haired companion dog breeds unshorn, the cut served primarily to distinguish them from Asian monastery dogs and long-haired bichons.

Family member and status symbol in one

Lowchen have always accompanied women in the upper class and are still traded very expensively today. In the Middle Ages, owners liked to have their portraits taken with their little lions. They are one of the rarest breeds in the world: in the 1960s there were only around 40 specimens worldwide, but the population has since recovered slightly. Nevertheless, hardly more than 100 puppies are born a year, which are in great demand internationally and cost around 5,000 to 10,000 euros if they are well-bred.

Already knew?

The name “Löwchen” is also used internationally, as the dogs were also very popular in Germany and were only traded here for a long time. Many German Lowchen was exported abroad, where they are usually called “Lowchen” for convenience.

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