The history of the Lowchen
The Lowchen is a very old breed. It is already seen on woodcarvings and drawings from the 13th century. The construction of the Cathedral of Amiens (F) goes back to the 13th century. According to the breed standard there are two stone carved Lowchen to be seen at the entrance.
Lowchen are also regularly seen in the works of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528).
Below is a detail of the “Triumphal Arch”, a woodcarving of his hand (1515-1517) found in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg. The whole image can be seen here.
Clearly visible is the Lowchen, clipped in the same style we do nowadays.
In later centuries this breed has graced many paintings, as shown in this detail of a painting by Francisco de Goya (1746-1828), the Duchess of Alba (1795).
The story goes that they originally were held by ladies at court, where they served as companions and “foot warmers” or “hot water bottles”. (The clipped part of the body feels much warmer.)
Fact is that Lowchen were held by all kinds of people. They were good in chasing and catching vermin, kept the floor clean of debris and were just wonderful pets.
After the Second World War, Lowchen almost extinct. People let their dogs run free during the war, could no longer afford to take care of them, or they were killed. After World War II mrs. Bennert from Belgium started looking for dogs to build up the breed again. Until that time, she had owned Lowchen and had a lot of knowledge about the breed, but never had the ambition to breed them.
She realized that during and after the war, no more new dogs
were registered by breeders and then took matters into her own hands.
She is considered the “mother” of the Lowchen, for without her effort the breed most certainly would be extinct. After a long search she found three Lowchen and in 1947 her first litter was born. She dedicated the rest of her life breeding back Lowchen.
The first Lowchen in the Netherlands was imported in 1967. It was a female named Lieschen, bred by mrs. Bennert. In the Guinness Book of World Records 1969 Lowchen are mentioned as rarest breed. There were only 40 dogs by then.
Until 1990, there were 20 more dogs imported from
England, Belgium and Germany. Then people became more interested in the breed and the number of registrations increased. Now slowly more people find their way to this wonderful breed. Some call it the best kept secret of the dog world.