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The Lowchen was bred as a footwarmer and blanket for their aristocratic companions. Their characteristic lion clip prevented matting and infestation, but it also allowed their exposed skin to become a little radiator for their master's feet. As their name indicates, they have the heart and courage of a lion without any of the ferociousness.
Despite their name, Lowchens are even-tempered, cheerful companion dogs who become closely bonded to their owners. Lowchens will love living in energetic families with the time and stamina to groom them and give them the activity and attention they need.
Lowchens have positive attitudes that rarely falter. They are inquisitive, alert dogs who were bred to be loving companions. They bond closely to their families and are very affectionate and trusting of their owners. Lowchens can be shy around strangers, so early socialization will help them become more comfortable meeting new people and leaving their owners' sides. They will be frustrated if they are often left alone. In fact, they so enjoy spending time in the company of their owners that they prefer to sleep in bed with them.
Lowchens thrive on activity. They love to run and explore outdoors, but they also enjoy roughhousing and playing actively indoors with their owners. These dogs are very playful and extremely quick learners, so teaching them tricks and games is generally rewarding. As a result of their pampered origins, when they spent their days as fashionable companions for the highest of society, Lowchens can become a little spoiled. They like to be in charge, and they might start acting like petulant little princesses if they are too pampered. Make sure they understand that despite their vivacious personalities, they are not the alpha dog.
Lowchens have medium-long, slightly wavy coats that do not shed often. The coat should be somewhat soft to the touch. It is harsh in texture, but it should not feel wiry or wooly. Their coats are available in most colors, including parti-colors. The coat's hair varies in diameter from the back to the head. It is more noticeably dense around the neck. The coat naturally grows in a less extreme lion-like shape, but it must be maintained and clipped to give them the extreme silhouette that is required in the show ring.
Their longer, natural hair needs to be brushed and combed with a small slicker brush and a metal comb to remove tangles and hold its shape.
With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.
The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but drop coated dogs usually should be bathed more frequently, most commonly every three to eight weeks. The coat should end up fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.
The Lowchen's traditional lion clip is so characteristic of the breed that it lent them their name — "lion dog." The clip involves clipping the coat very short from the Lowchen's last rib over the hindquarters and including the back legs. The feet and both legs are clipped, leaving bracelets around the ankles. The tail is clipped about halfway and plumed at the tip. The rest of the Lowchen's hair is left natural to create the distinctive lion-like silhouette. Maintaining this clip will take significant grooming and trimming. To keep looking like little lions, Lowchens will need to be trimmed at least every month.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.
It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Drop coated dogs have sensitive ears and long hair that tends to grow into the ear. Their ears need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Small dogs like Shih Tzus and Havanese are prone to developing tear stains around their eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.