History of the Breed:

His origins are obscure, probably European, and it is suggested that he has affinities with the small group of breeds of Mediterranean beginnings which include the Bichon Frise, Maltese, Havanese, and Bolognese. It is irrelevant as to which, if any, was the "original", suffice to say that the dogs have common roots and have been developed as separate breeds where coat types seem to be a major differentiating factor.

The country of origin is listed as France, but we know the breed has strong roots in Germany and Belgium. The breed is featured in tapestries from Lyon, woodcuts from Germany, and paintings from Belgium which help place the Lowchen throughout Europe from the 14th century. While the breed has evidently existed in central Europe for many years, it became very rare for reasons which are difficult to ascertain. In fact, in the late 1960's the breed was described as the rarest breed of dog in the world in the Guinness Book of Records.

Present day history of the breed starts with Madame Bennert of Brussels who, about the time of World War II, searched for good examples of the breed in the hopes of saving it. She devoted herself to the task of rebuilding the breed for 20 years until the day she died. Her friend, Dr. Hans Richart of Germany, carried on where she left off and the breed eventually found its way into many countries of the continent and to England.

In 1968 two English toy breeders, Mrs. Stenning and Mrs. Banks, imported stock from Germany to Britain. Since so few of the breed were to be found, all the early imports were very closely related. With time, further imports followed, still with family connections. In view of the dramatic inbreeding which took place to found the breed, it is quite remarkable that it has remained free from any major hereditary defects. Canada and the United States imported these British bred Lowchen as their foundation stock.

The breed had an unexpected boost in popularity when Freeway, an unclipped specimen, was featured in the television series, "Hart to Hart". Some people believe the Lowchen coat grows naturally in the traditional lion pattern, so it comes as a surprise to learn the pups are born fully coated and need to be clipped.

In 1994 the Lowchen was officialy recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club and entered the show ring on January 1, 1995. At this time the Lowchen Club of Canada was also officially recognized and although there are approximately only 40 members in Canada, the club is diligently working to protect and promote the breed.


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