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.
The Löwchen is alert, intelligent, and affectionate with the overall qualities of a loving companion dog. It has a lively, outgoing, and inquisitive personality.
The Lowchen does require routine bathing and grooming in order to keep them in top condition to look and feel their best. This outgoing little dog possesses a single coat that is long and flowing if properly maintained. If you look closely at the coat, there are a few heavier guard hairs intermingled with a finer undercoat mixed throughout the coat. Because of this type of coat, regular brushing is mandatory in order to keep a stylized Lowchen. Depending on their activity level, bathing a Lowchen can be done as often as weekly or as little as once a month. The coat should be brushed and combed out completely before the bath. This practice allows any mats or tangles to be broken apart before the bath making it less stressful for you and the Lowchen.
A preliminary bath to lift off and remove dirt, debris, and any environmental factors to bring the coat back to a neutral state in always beneficial for this active dog. Always choose the mildest shampoo to get the job done. The secondary bath is used to enhance the coat, whether you are wanting to hydrate the skin and coat, enhance the color, or even change the texture. When you do the final rinse, it is a good idea to cool the water temperature, so you do not dehydrate the skin. And make sure to rinse, rinse, rinse, and then rinse again. The challenge with the Lowchen coat is similar to a Lhasa Apso and a Shih Tzu. The drop coat can mat easily especially since are such an active breed. Because of this, a good, heavy conditioner is needed with every bath to help maintain the integrity of the coat.
Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming
The coat should be light and airy, moving freely with the dog as it moves. It should also be mat and tangle free. It is imperative that a comb glides freely through the coat all the way down to the skin. Lowchens' hair continues to grow continuously. Because of this, you need to decide on a trim to keep him neat, tidy, and easy to maintain to keep him looking and feeling his best. A stylish puppy trim is popular and a comfortable option for the Lowchen. The traditional Lion trim, which sets the breed apart from other breeds, is easy to maintain and an attention getter. This trim varies around the world, but in the United States the coat is not scissored at all. The pattern is relatively easy to set. The hindquarters are set from the hocks to just behind the last rib. Half of the tail closest to the body is set to match the length of the hindquarters, leaving a long plume at the untrimmed end. The front legs are trimmed starting at the line to match the back cuffs up to the elbow. The untrimmed jacket gracefully falls over the trimmed area. The feet are trimmed in the same manner as a poodle on both the front and back feet.
General Health Care
Proper care of your Lowchen requires more than just bathing and trimming. Prep work is the foundation of all grooming. Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, anal glands, and proper dental hygiene. Master these skills sets the professional pet stylist apart from the rest. Prep work should be done before every bathing and grooming appointment. All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis. Some need to have the hair plucked from the ear canal. This allows the ear to have proper air circulation. It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris. It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor. Proper nail care is also very important. Long, unsightly nails are uncomfortable for the dog, as well as anyone they might jump on. Long nails also compromise the shape of the foot. Trimming the pads of the foot helps give the dog good traction on different surfaces and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house. It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions. Anal glands should also be checked and expressed if they are full. Some caring pet owners prefer to have the anal glands done by their veterinarian. Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy pet as well.
In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through a well-balanced diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.
Do they require a lot of grooming?
Lowchens do require regular bathing and grooming. They can be bathed weekly up to every 4 weeks depending on their lifestyle. However, they do need regular weekly brushing. Mats and tangles in the coat are inevitable. If dealt with promptly, they are easy to care for. However, if they are left in the coat for a period of time, the mats and tangles will become a major headache for the owner and a lot of discomfort for your Lowchen. It is a good idea to set aside some time weekly to brush out your Lowchen. Full grooming with a stylized trim should be done every 4 – 6 weeks.
What is a common problem in Lowchens?
Like all breeds, Lowchens have their share of genetic issues. Juvenile cataracts and slipped stifles (knee issues) are the most common problems in the breed. The Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) promotes the health and welfare of companion animals by decreasing the incidence of genetic diseases through testing. OFA tests for these genetic issues that are prevalent in the Lowchen.
Does the Lowchen shed or cause allergies?
Lowchens do shed. People tend to have allergic reactions to the dander on a dog. If you bathe your Lowchen more frequently, there will be less dander. However, before bringing a Lowchen into your home if you have allergies, you should spend some time around the breed to make sure you do not have a reaction.
Are Lowchens good with children?
Lowchens generally do well in a household with children. However, like any breed of dog, it is important that the children are taught how to handle, speak, and interact with a Lowchen.
What if I have a show dog?
Whether you have a show dog or a companion quality dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene. A major difference is the frequency of grooming that is required and the conditioning for the show ring. It is quite helpful if your breeder can help mentor you and lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of show dogs. A great place to start is with the national breed club like The Lowchen Club of America, www.thelowchenclubofamerica.org