The Lowchen is a rare and curious breed. He has been claimed by both France and Germany, but so solid evidence has emerged proving his lineage irrefutably to either country. The origin of the Lowchen’s unusual cut is also not definitively known, although there is no doubt that it is distinctive. The Lowchen is a devoted and typically calm dog, but his numbers are few. For dog fanciers looking to add a unique and affectionate dog to their home, the Lowchen will make a perfect fit.
Early paintings of a Lowchen-like dog date back as far as the 1500’s, but expert believe these images may be of a Bichon Frise groomed in the lion cut. The exact history of the Lowchen is unclear, but there are commonalities between this breed and the Bichon Frise and the Havanese. There is even much dispute as to the Lowchen’s country of origin. Germany and France agree to disagree and have both officially laid claim to this breed.
During the 1960, the Lowchen was one of the rarest bred in the world and their numbers were perilously low. A few specimens were brought from Germany to England and efforts to reinvigorate the breed began. For the next thirty years or so, the Lowchen gained slow but steady footing and in 1996 was recognized by the AMC and placed in the Miscellaneous Class. Three years later, the Lowchen was admitted as a member in the Non-Sporting Group. Today, the Lowchen is still a rare breed with fewer than one hundred new registrations yearly.
Let’s face it: when groomed for competition, the Lowchen has a whimsical appearance. His front half (except his legs) has a natural, lion-like growth, with longish hair that floats above a thicker, shorter undercoat. The effect is not a wild and frizzy mop, but rather an elegant intermingling of thin and thick hair. Then, there’s the back half which is shaved to within an inch of its life!
For reasons known only to groomers and the company they keep, the competitive Lowchen is shaved nearly bald from the last rib, over the hind quarters and down the legs (front legs also) until an oasis of fluff is permitted around the ankle. The tail is similarly shaved to one third.
The Lowchen is a lively and affectionate dog with plenty of spirit and good cheer. A devoted dog, the Lowchen will love to curl up next to his owner or lounge on laps. The Lowchen has a busy-body quality about him and will follow you wherever you go, always ready for action. Sometimes the Lowchen leans toward timidity so be sure to socialize him early to avoid his separation anxiety whenever you go to the bathroom. A well socialized Lowchen will be confident enough to spend his time independent of his owner and will enjoy the company of other canine pals.
The Lowchen can bark excessively, but often these vocalizations are joyful greetings. Once calm, the Lowchen makes a polite host and will even welcome and entertain visiting dogs. The owner can and should train the Lowchen to greet visitors with less zeal as not all visitors will welcome his rambunctiousness.
Lowchen Exercise Info
There is a paradoxical relationship between the energy level of the Lowchen and his exercise requirements. The Lowchen is a ball of playful energy, but his exercise requirements can easily be met. The Lowchen enjoys a casual evening stroll or morning walk. Two or three kilometres should do the trick, especially when coupled with vigorous yard play during the day. On the whole, the Lowchen has a sensible attitude toward exercise, just the thing for the first time owner.
Lowchen Grooming Info
The clipping of the competitive Lowchen may be best reserved for professional groomers. You and your groomer can decide on a cut that is comfortable for your Lowchen and easy for you to maintain. Often the puppy cut is preferred. Between appointments, you should bathe your Lowchen about every week. Be certain to brush your Lowchen prior to shampooing because the water will quickly mat the fur and combing it later will be near impossible.
Rinsing the shampoo thoroughly is paramount because shampoo residue can irritate your Lowchin’s skin. Most groomers agree that a handheld shower device works better than standing water for rinsing away the last bits of doggie shampoo. Also, the Lowchen can use a touch of conditioner to ease the combing.
Lowchen Training Info
The Lowchen may resist some forms of house training, but crate training does seem to have good results. To crate train your Lowchen, consistently bring him immediately outside after meals and naps and with luck, your Lowchen will soon establish an acceptable bathroom routine.
The Lowchen must have early socialization lest he be standoffish and mistrustful of strangers. Be sure to introduce your puppy Lowchen to other dogs and allow him to investigate boundaries.
The Lowchen does have a penchant for barking and is suspicious of strangers so it may be wise to work toward limiting his barking tendency. Some owners use bark collars, but many dogs are fearful of them. If barking does become a problem for your Lowchen, consult a professional trainer for effective yet humane anti-barking techniques.
Lowchen Health Info
The Lowchen is a notably healthy breed. There are minor health concerns which include patellar luxation, knee and heart problems. Occasionally seen are cataracts and PRA.
Lowchen Right Breed Info
The Lowchen is a terrific pet for many, but not all families. Urbanites and condo dwellers many find the Lowchen’s penchant for barking disturbing to their neighbours. However, the Lowchen’s sensible position on exercise does make comfortable urban living possible. Families with small children may be charmed by the Lowchin’s playful antics and affection, but as a puppy, the Lowchen’s skeletal system is too delicate for rough play. Dropping him or falling on him could be catastrophic for your Lowchen.
The ideal Lowchen owner lives in a detached house and is committed to his socialization. If there are children, they are beyond the toddler years and have been taught to treat the Lowchen with respect and kindness.
When purchasing your Lowchen, resist the urge to purchase a dog inexpensively from a pet store or from an advertisement in a newspaper. You may unwittingly buy a mal-adjusted, sick, puppy mill dog. This is to be avoided at all costs.
More Information about the Lowchen Dog Breed
Lowchen on Wikipedia