The Löwchen's long, flowing "mane" and tasseled tail lend this compact dog a leonine look, especially when in a "lion trim" (with the hindquarters, upper legs, and part of the tail closely clipped and with "bracelets" of hair left on the legs). The Löwchen's bright and lively expression, however, belies its name. The backskull and muzzle should be fairly broad, and the large eyes are round, dark, and set apart and well into the skull. The ears are pendant and well-fringed, set slightly higher than eye-level. A scissors bite is required. The head is carried high, and the gait is lively and well-extended, lending the dog an elegant, but animated, style. Dewclaws should be removed, if present. The topline should be level from withers to tail. The loin is short and strong. The tail is set high and carried in cup-handle position over back when the dog is moving. All coat colors and combinations are allowed. History:
Like other members of the Bichon family, which includes the Maltese and the Havanese, the Löwchen dates back to pre-Renaissance days, when it was a popular and much pampered pet of the European aristocracy. Depending on the account you read, the ladies of the court either deliberately groomed this little dog to look like a "löwchen" (or "little lion dog"), or they discovered the lion-like resemblance after shaving the dog down to use as a bed warmer at night.
Many artworks from earlier centuries feature the Löwchen; in fact, Albrecht Durer included the animal in many of his paintings and woodcuts. Yet by World War II the breed had become quite rare, and by 1969 the Guinness Book of World Records had identified the Löwchen as the rarest of all dog breeds. A Belgian woman, Madame Bennert, saved the Löwchen by collecting and breeding several of the dogs; all Löwchens living today can be traced back to Madame Bennert's dogs. The dog is gaining popularity in North America and Europe. The AKC admitted the breed to the Non-Sporting Group in 1999.