Lowchen (Little Lion Dog)

Last updated March 2021

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Coat clipped in traditional lion clip, tail also clipped, topped with plume, giving appearance of a little lion. Strongly built, active, well balanced and alert.


Gay, happy, lively little dog.


Intelligent, affectionate showing no sign of aggression.

Head and skull

Broad, skull relatively flat between the ears. A ratio of one third muzzle/two thirds skull. Strong muzzle with good width allowing for correct dentition. Head carried proud and high, well defined stop. Nose dark: black or brown according to coat colour.


Round, dark, relatively large and intelligent with good width between eyes. Unbroken pigmentation of eye rims, pigment in accordance with coat colour.


Set on level with eye. Pendant, of moderate length and well fringed.


Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Dark pigmentation of lips.


Good length, proudly arched.


Shoulders well laid. Forelegs straight with round bone, not too fine. Good width of fore chest. Elbows held close to chest.


Short, strong and well proportioned. Level topline. Ribs well sprung and carried well back. Chest well let down to elbows. Strong short loin with moderate tuck up.


Hindlegs well muscled. Good turn of stifle without exaggeration; straight when viewed from the rear.


Small, round.


Medium length, set slightly below the level of the topline*, clipped with tuft of hair to resemble a plume. Elegantly arched over the back, only the plume should touch the back when standing or moving.


Free, parallel movement fore and aft, no hackneyed action.


Fairly long, wavy, never curly. Single coat of silky texture. Coat to be shown in its natural state without scissoring or sculpting apart from the traditional Lion Clip, i.e. clipped to the last rib.


Any colour or combination of colours permissible. Merle is not acceptable.


Height at withers 25-33 cms (10-13 ins).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.