Breeds that the Löwchen competes against in the Non-Sporting Group in America:
American Eskimo Dog, Bichon Frisé, Boston Terrier, Bulldog, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chow Chow, Dalmatian, Finnish Spitz, French Bulldog, Keeshond, Lhasa Apso, Löwchen, Poodle, Schipperke, Shiba Inu, Tibetan Spaniel, Tibetan Terrier.

  • The Löwchen Club of America was formed in 1972. 
  • The Löwchen is AKC's 143rd breed.
  • The AKC Board of Directors approved the Löwchen for AKC registration and competition in the Miscellaneous Class at the June 12, 1995 Board Meeting. The Löwchen entered the AKC registry on August 31, 1995, and entered the Miscellaneous Class on April 1, 1996. 
  • At the February 1998 Meeting, the Board of Directors approved the Löwchen as eligible to compete in the Non-Sporting Group at all events held on or after January 1, 1999. 
  • Löwchen means "little lion." 



Löwchen are referred to in words and photos as far back as the mid-15th century. The breed is quite possibly from Germany, although for many years it was believed to have its origin in the Mediterranean. Regardless of origin, we know that the Löwchen has been a distinct breed for more than 400 years. The breed nearly disappeared in the 19th century, but tireless efforts by Madam Bennert, a Belgian breeder, ensured the Löwchen's continued existence. Dr. Hans Rickert succeeded Madam Bennert, and in fact, his Von Den Drei Löwchen supplied the foundation stock for both Great Britain and the United States.

A small, bright and lively dog, the Löwchen is a companion breed of great style. The breed's name translates from the German as "little lion." The name comes from the traditional Löwchen clip, with close-cut hindquarters and a full, natural mane.

Breed Standard

General Appearance
A small, bright, and lively dog that originated as a companion breed in Pre-Renaissance Europe where ladies of the court groomed it in the likeness of a little lion. Breed characteristics are a compact, balanced body; a relatively short, broad topskull and muzzle; and a proud, lively gait that accentuates the lion cut with a long flowing mane. These quintessential features, combined with an outgoing and positive attitude, result in a dog of great style. 

Size, Proportion, Substance
Ideally 12" to 14" at the withers. Dogs or bitches above or below these measurements should be faulted to the degree of the variance. The body is just off-square when properly balanced. The distance from the prosternum to the point of buttocks is slightly greater than the distance from the withers to the ground in an 11 to 10 ratio. The Löwchen is strong and sturdy in bone, but never coarse. 

The head is a hallmark breed characteristic. The expression is bright, alert, and lively. The eyes are set well into the skull, large, dark and round in shape, set well apart and forward looking. Brown and Champagne coated dogs may have slightly lighter eyes. Full pigmentation is required on the eye rims. The ears are pendant, moderate in length, well fringed, and set on slightly above the level of the eye. Skull - The backskull is broad with a moderate stop. The muzzle is equal in length or slightly shorter than the backskull and is relatively broad with moderate depth of underjaw resulting in a slightly rounded finish to the muzzle. The nose is dark in color. Complete pigmentation is required. Coloration of pigment is black or brown, dependent on the coat color. The lips are tight, with color the same as the nose. The bite is scissors and the teeth are rather large and well spaced with complete dentition. 

Neck, Topline, Body
The neck is of good length, with a slight arch, fitting smoothly into the shoulders and topline. The head is carried high when the dog is moving. The topline is level from withers to tailset. The body is slightly off-square when properly balanced. The loin is short and strong. The ribs are well sprung. The brisket is moderate in width and extends approximately to the elbows. The underline has a slight tuck-up at the loin. The tail is set high and carried in a cup-handle fashion over the back when the dog is moving. A dropped tail while standing is not to be penalized. 

The shoulders are strong and well laid back with smooth musculature. The upper arm is of equal length to the shoulder blade and the two meet in a near 90 degree angle. The elbows are held close to the body. Forearms are of good length and the distance from the withers to the elbow is slightly less than the distance from the elbow to the ground. From the front the legs are perfectly parallel from the elbow to the feet. The bone is more round than the oval and of medium size with only a slight decrease in size at the pasterns. The pasterns are short, parallel from the front and very slightly bent when viewed from the side. The dewclaws on the forelegs should be removed. The forefeet point straight ahead, and are well arched with deep pads and the two center toes are slightly in advance of the two outer toes. The nails are relatively short. A tight foot is preferred, and a splayed foot is to be penalized. 

The pelvic bone projects beyond the set of the tail and is at an approximate 45 degree angle from a perfectly horizontal line. The upper and lower thighs are well muscled and of approximately equal length with medium bone. The stifles are well bent. The hocks are well let down and perpendicular to the ground from any angle. The rear dewclaws should be removed. The hindfeet are slightly smaller than the forefeet, and are well arched with deep pads. 

The untrimmed coat is long, rather dense and moderately soft in texture. It has a slight to moderate wavy appearance. Wiry, woolly, curly, and flat coat textures are not correct, and are to be penalized to the degree of severity. No scissoring or shaping of the untrimmed coat is permitted. Puppies typically have a softer coat. Trim - Trimmed in the Lion Trim, the coat is clipped to about 1/8" on the following parts of the body: From the last rib back to and including the hindquarters, leaving a ruff or mane which just covers the last rib. The hindquarters are clipped to the hock joint. The front legs are clipped from the elbow to a point above the knee, which is equal to the same distance as from the ground to the hock joint leaving cuffs of hair on all four legs. The tail is clipped from the base to approximately one-half way to the tip leaving a plume at the end of the tail. The feet are clipped to the point where the dewclaws were removed. The unclipped areas must be completely natural and untrimmed. On no account should the unclipped areas be smoothed, shortened, shaped or otherwise tidied with anything other than a comb or brush. Any trim other than specified or any shaping or scissoring of the long coat are disqualifications. 

All colors and color combinations are acceptable, with no preference given to any. 

Movement at a trot is effortless with good reach in front and full extension in the rear. From the front, the forelegs move in almost parallel lines, converging slightly as the speed increases. From the rear, the legs move in almost parallel lines and in the same line of motion as the forelegs, converging slightly as the speed increases. From the side, movement is efficient and ground covering. The forelegs reach well out in front in a long, relatively low stride, and the rear legs come well under the body and extend behind to maximize propulsion. The body should remain nearly square in outline, and the topline is held firm and level, with the tail being carried curved over the back and the head is held above the level of the back. 

The Löwchen is alert, intelligent, and affectionate with the overall qualities of a loving companion dog. It has a lively, outgoing, and inquisitive personality. 

Any trim other than specified.
Shaping or scissoring of the long coat. 

Approved: June 1995      Effective: April 1, 1996

A.K.C. Web Site
The Löwchen Club of America
Grooming the American Löwchen

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