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:
Size - Ideally, mature dogs and bitches are between 11 to 13 inches at the withers. Height may vary 1 inch above or below this ideal. Only where the comparative superiority of a specimen outside this range clearly justifies it should greater latitude be taken. Absolute height at the withers should not take precedence over correct proportion and substance. Proportion - 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 distance from the ground to the elbow is slightly greater than the distance from the elbow to the withers. The Löwchen should never be low stationed. Substance - The mature Löwchen is sturdily built with strong bone and muscular hindquarters, 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, round in shape, large, set well apart, and forward looking. Eyes are dark brown in color; lighter colored dogs may have lighter brown eyes but darker eyes are preferred. The ears are pendant, moderate in length, well fringed, and set on slightly above the level of the eye. The backskull is broad and relatively flat from ear to ear on an adult. The stop is moderately well defined. The length from nose to base of stop is two-thirds of the length from base of stop to occiput. The muzzle is well filled and relatively broad with moderate depth of underjaw resulting in a slightly rounded finish to the muzzle. The jaw is wide enough to accommodate all incisors in a straight row. Coloration of pigment is in accordance with coat color. Nose and eye rims are completely pigmented. The lips are tight with color the same as the nose. The bite is scissors and the teeth are large and well-spaced, with ideally 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 well-arched cup-handle fashion with the plume touching 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 elbows to the feet. The bone is more round than 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 forefeet point straight ahead and are tight and well arched with deep pads, and the two center toes are slightly in advance of the two outer toes. Dewclaws may be removed. The nails are relatively short.
The pelvic bone projects beyond the set of the tail and is at an approximate 30 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 hindfeet point straight ahead, are slightly smaller than the forefeet, and are well arched with deep pads.
The Löwchen must be shown in the traditional Lion Clip. The unclipped areas of the coat are long, rather dense and moderately soft in texture. The unique Löwchen coat consists of hairs of varying diameters with a more noticeable collection of denser hair around the neck and withers. The coat may fall to either side but must never be artificially parted. It has a slightly to moderately wavy appearance. Wiry, woolly, curly, and flat coat textures are not correct and are to be penalized to the degree of severity. Puppies typically have a softer coat. Lion Clip - the coat is clipped to approximately ⅛ inch on the following parts of the body: from the last rib back to and including the hindquarters; the hindquarters to the hock joints; the front legs from the elbows to a point on the legs which is equal to the same distance from the ground to the hock joints leaving cuffs of hair on all four legs; the tail from the base to approximately one-half way to the tip leaving a plume at the end of the tail; and the feet are entirely clipped. The unclipped areas must be natural and untrimmed. Appearance should not be sculpted or scissored. No other trimming or sculpting of the coat is warranted and is to be severely penalized as to preclude placement.
All colors and color combinations are acceptable with no preference given to any.