Lowchens - A strongly built dog - yet still considered a Toy dog.
Judging of The Lowchen:
GENERAL APPEARANCE: Coat clipped in traditional lion clip, tail also clipped, topped with plume, giving appearance of a little lion. Strong built, active, well balanced and alert. Comment: The overall appearance should be that of a strongly built, yet Toy dog. Lowchens should never appear coarse. The description in the Standard "STRONGLY BUILT" describes muscle, not bone. The Lowchen is an 'au naturale' breed, scissoring or trimming, particularly of the face and stylizing of the coat other than the traditional lion clip, is highly undesirable. The Lowchen should appear almost square in outline, with its head held proudly on well-arched neck. A broad head, with round dark eyes and a lovely 'soft' expression are hallmarks of the breed, as is a gaily-carried tail. Another hallmark of the breed is its lively outgoing manner. No feature of the breed should be coarse, overdone or exaggerated.
CHARACTERISTICS: Gay, lively little dog Comment: Lowchens should have a happy disposition and have an appearance being full of fun.
TEMPERAMENT: Intelligent, affectionate, showing no sign of aggression. Comment: The Lowchen as a breed is relatively easy to train and has a history as a circus performer, and are outgoing by nature. Aggression or nervousness are highly undesirable traits and should never be tolerated as this is a companion dog.
HEAD AND SKULL: Short, fairly broad. Skull flat between the ears, head carried proud and high. Well-defined stop. Short, strong muzzle. Comment: The Lowchen head is the defining feature of the breed. Overall, it should be fairly broad with a strong, short foreface, which should never be snipey or chinless. There should be a well-defined stop. The head should be fairly broad, but not overly so as coarse 'common' heads should be avoided. The length of the foreface from the stop to the tip of the nose should be shorter than the length from the stop to the occiput. Expression is of great importance, which should be gentle and appealing. The nose is to be fully pigmented black or brown according to coat colour. Liver and brown dogs to have as dark as possible liver nose.
EYES: Round, dark, large and intelligent. Unbroken pigmentation of eye rims. Pigment to be in accordance with coat colour. Comment: This puppy has both good eye and nose. The expression is one of intelligence and kindness. Hard, staring expressions are very untypical. EARS: Pendant, of moderate length with long fringing. Comment: Ears are set at a level just off the edge of skull, but never as low as the eye, which would give a 'Spaniel' or Poodle appearance. They lie close to the side of the head with moderate sized leathers and good furnishings, giving an appearance of a longer ear.
MOUTH: Jaws strong, with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite (i.e.) The upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. Comment: The teeth are set as a conventional dog bite. Mouths have not historically been a brilliant feature of the breed and some allowances may need to be made in an otherwise excellent specimen. Good width is required and the shortness of muzzle gives the appearance of jaw strength. Never having a "down face", good specimens have comparatively large nostrils as well as width in the bottom jaw for 6 incisors, which gives this desired strength to the jaw.
NECK: Good length, proudly arched. Comment: This must be in balance with the all over dog! The neck must be carried proudly and flow into well-laid shoulders. At this time, however, this is an area where the breed often still needs some improvement. The neck should be of good length, however, the desire for a shortness of loin often makes this aspect a little difficult to achieve. The neck should have an arch, which is a sign of strength in a specimen.
FOREQUARTERS: Forelegs straight and fine. Shoulders well laid. Comment: Forelegs should be straight and fine, with no turning in or out of the feet. Shoulders well laid, almost equal length of shoulder to upper arm. Moderate breadth of chest with well fitting elbows.
BODY: Short, strong and well proportioned. Level topline. Ribs well sprung. Strong loin with moderate tuck up. Comment: An overall balanced appearance is essential. A just 'off-square', well muscled, compact dog with a level top line is required. Good length of rib, a short strong loin with only a moderate tuck up. The rib cage should be well sprung and never barrel shaped. Length of rib should be longer than length of loin. When going over a Lowchen you want to find a well developed rib cage, and a strong well muscled body, even though he is a toy breed. The brisket should be only deep enough so as not to force out the elbows, which should lie close to the body. A level topline supports the frame and there should be no falling away over the croup. Short legs, long bodies, roached back and low set or 'flag' tails are all untypical of the breed and so are undesirable.
HINDQUARTERS: Hindlegs well muscled, with good turn of stifle. Straight when viewed from rear. Comment: A well muscled and angulated hindquarter is requires. The turn of stifle, though described in the Standard as "good", is not as exaggerated as in breeds such as Whippets, Poodles, Bichons etc. Balance being of prime importance. A unique feature of the breed is the hind action. There should be no hint of a racey appearance. From the rear there should be no inclination to a 'wishbone' or cow hocked appearance. Unfortunately, in the past the Lowchen rear view was referred to as having a "wishbone" appearance. This was an attempt to explain the well muscled hindquarters, even in a baby puppy. This has caused a lot of confusion. The Lowchen, when viewed from the rear, should NEVER be so wide as to distort the dog, when moving this gives the appearance of them having 'dirtied their pants'!
At the same time the Lowchen does not have the hind drive of a Maltese! A well-rounded and well-muscled hindquarter is most typical of the breed. Good length of second thigh, and hocks short and well let down and parallel when viewed from the rear - you need to look as good grooming will cover up cow hocks! Stifles should not be over angulated.