the correct choice is the round lighter eye. Th is is contrary to what most judges and breeders are trained to chose in other breeds, but emphasizes that in the Löw- chen, the round eye is considered one of the most important breed characteristics. It’s far harder to preserve the correct round eye than to keep eye color. Lighter col- ored Löwchen have lighter eyes and pig- ment, commensurate with their coloring. Pigmentation on the nose and around the eye should be dark and complete. Löw- chen normally don’t have halos like Bichon Frise, but if one does, that’s acceptable. Level top-lines are a must and should end at the point where the tail rises o ff the back. Th is high tail set supports the teacup handle tail, which is another mandatory trait. It should curve over the back with coat hanging on one side or the other when gaiting but can be dropped in a relaxed manner when standing still. Tails held tight to the back or curling tightly, while not desirable, are a better choice than flag tails. Loose or flagging tails are extremely incorrect. If one had to chose between a flag tail or tight tail, tight is preferred. Th is is because the pariah dog tendency of tails is to loosen through generations rather than tighten. Th e teacup handle tail can eventually be lost if multiple generations have ever increasingly loose tails. Addi- tionally ruining this look, is a tail set too low, a ff ecting rear movement by creating a wide gait that doesn’t converge easily as the dog increases speed. Teacup handle tails are a classic breed trait. Th e Löwchen has substance no matter which sex, so when picking one up, one might gasp with surprise at the weight of the dog. Th ey usually look lighter than they actually are. Th is is a compact, nicely muscled breed with the well sprung ribs of an athlete, moderate brisket, slight tuck-up and short strong loin. Compact is the key word here. Löwchen can move easily with little e ff ort. Years ago it was noted for exceptional movement by many top judges of the day. Th eir front move- ment should not prance, hackney, swing or cross. Sadly the breed has developed movement issues. Correct movement can be brought back, if judges and breed- ers would put more emphasis on it than they currently do. Flashy dogs often win over correctly moving dogs who might be less exciting to look at. Th is is an area the breed needs help with. Löwchen are better groomed than ever before and present a lovely elegant appearance in the show ring. Th e lion
cut is mandatory and described in the breed standard quite nicely. Th e only disqualification is for shaping or scissor- ing the coat. Th is was put into the stan- dard before AKC recognition in hopes of preventing excessive grooming and shaping. It’s proving now that a better choice would have been to have made this a fault instead. Many judges will not disqualify since they feel that they can- not prove a coat is shaped or trimmed. Th ey are unwilling to acknowledge their concerns to the exhibitor since questions could arise why the dog was not disquali- fied and why the judge didn’t follow the standard. So the end result is that trim- ming and shaping is increasingly ignored, but of course disparaged ringside by exhibitors who claim not to trim. Many today would not recognize that Löwchen should have ears that blend seamlessly into the mane, instead of having nicely shaped and rounded fringe. Löwchen should not have an even coat that appears shaped, unless they are a puppy with first growth coat. Adult coats don’t grow that way naturally. Instead there should be vastly di ff ering lengths of hair in a sam- ple grasped in hand. Th e ends are uneven, somewhat wispy in the last inch of coat, even in the best maintained Löwchen. Texture is equally important. A correct coat has shine and some wave to it. It’s nev- er limp, straight, harsh, broken or frizzy. A beautiful coat flows when moving. Th is coat is interesting in that it is equally com- posed of very fine hairs and thick hairs. Too many fine hairs and the coat becomes di ffi cult to maintain—even cottony to the touch, whereas too many thick hairs—the coat becomes hard and might droop limp- ly. Th e thick hairs provide strength to the coat, the thin ones, lift and volume. When examining a Löwchen coat, lift a strand o ff the withers, spread it across a finger or two to see if it has the ideal ratio of 50/50. One of the most important traits is the amazing temperament of the breed. Th ey are extremely intelligent, happy yet bold dogs. Th ink of them as “bomb-proof”! Anything less is undesirable since this breed was created to be a companion dog. Th is is its purpose, it’s that simple. Mastering this breed confidently means knowing its hallmark traits. One trait is not more important than another. Th e head with its prescribed proportions, pig- mentations and must-have round eye is first. Tea cup handle tails correctly set are second. Elegant, compact bodies with sub- stance, capable of good movement make a
highly desired third trait. Th e fourth trait is a moderately wavy coat with the unique ratio of “50/50” fine to thick hairs creat- ing the proper texture. Th is coat must be clipped to resemble a lion and not shaped or trimmed in any way. Th e fifth desirable trait is that Löwchen should be “bomb- proof”! Above all else, moderation is key. Exaggeration of any kind should be fault- ed. Understanding these traits preserves the Löwchen as it was hundreds of years ago—the eternal Renaissance dog. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Gini Denninger
has been active in Löwchen since 1981. Th e challenge of bringing the breed into the AKC was too tempting to run from. She is an AKC Breeder of Merit and has bred many top- winning champions.
Her Ashford pre fi x is found behind the foun- dation dogs of most every active Löwchen kennel in the US. She has written a highly acclaimed book on the breed, Th e Löwchen, Th e Breed Forgotten By History , and is at work on an update to be out in time for the 4th Löwchen World Congress being held in the UK in 2018, which she is instrumental in planning. Gini is a member of the Genesee Valley Kennel Club and serves as its AKC delegate. Besides Löwchen, she has through her lifetime, owned dogs from every group. Her beloved breed is the Afghan Hound, which she has had since the age of 16. She has also had Pekingese o ff and on since 18 years, including owner/handling one to BOS at a Pekingese National Specialty under Edd Biv- ens. Gini keeps saying she will get her judges license eventually but “does not know what is holding her up”! In addition to her interest in dogs, she loved and owned an American Saddle Bred, “Captain” who lived to 32 years. Gini is active in and writes about local politics and real estate. As the Broker/Owner of a real estate brokerage, she has the opportunity to indulge in another interest, architecture. At the tail-end of rehabbing a large Queen Anne Victorian, she is currently working on her next book, Plantation Parade Revisited , which chronicles historic Louisiana planta- tions and their owners. Lastly, her other major passion is travel. Gini say’s “Have Ticket, Will Travel!” Planned international trips this year are Germany, India, Puerto Rico & Costa Rica!
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2015 • 243
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