Little Lion Dog

Despite his beautiful qualities and great aptitudes to face all situations, the Little Lion Dog is not well known. In 1960, numbers were so little that he was proclaimed the "rarest dog in the world". Fortunately, numbers have increased since then, but the breed is still largely unknown. To discover him today, you will have to go to France.

Height 30 to 36 cm
Weight 4 to 8 kg
Life expectancy 12 to 14 years
Hair Loss Medium
Excercise Need High
Home country France

Quick Overview of the Little Lion Dog


  • Energetic and joyful
  • Agile and very playful
  • Intelligent and affectionate
  • Tendency to be dominant


  • Good bone structure
  • Long, slightly wavy coat
  • Large round dark eyes
  • Pretty tail carried in panache


  • No particular pathology
  • Excellent general health
  • Rarely ill

Temperament of the Little Lion Dog

Intelligent, affectionate, lively, energetic, cheerful, agile and very playful, the Little Lion Dog is a gentle companion, always ready to play and get attention.

He never refuses caresses, and he is very attached to his family. In spite of his tendency to be a little dominant, he is still easy to educate.

This sturdy and very solid little dog is a great family friend. A companion dog at heart, he is always ready to share the games of the children in the house. He is cheerful and spirited, bringing joy and cheerfulness into the house.

This very proud little dog loves attention, and when he doesn't get it, he doesn't get offended. Very affectionate, he has a great need for contact with his family. He is attentive and receptive, calm and discreet when his owner requests it.

Very devoted to his family, he is however rather distrustful of strangers. He is an excellent warning dog, but his task as a guard dog stops there, as his size doesn't really allow him to go any further than a simple warning.

His intelligence makes him quickly understand what is expected of him. His education is therefore relatively easy, despite his dominant character. His education must nevertheless be firm and adequate, so that the expectations are clear and precise, and that he understands well what the master expects from him.

Breed Appearance

small lion dog

Robust with a very good bone structure, this little French dog has a short but well proportioned body.

His gait is proud, and he is lively and spirited. Despite his size, his greyhound silhouette and his high head give him an elegant and very noble appearance.


Between 33 and 36 cm (12.99 to 14.17 inches) for the male
Between 30 and 33 cm (11.81 to 12.99 inches) for the female


Between 5 and 8 kg (11.02 to 17.64 pounds) for the male
Between 4 and 6 kg (8.82 to 13.23 pounds) for the female


All dress colors are allowed in his case.


His long, slightly wavy coat is dense and very silky. It is never curly.


His flat skull has a moderately pronounced stop. His large round eyes are very dark.

His ears are hanging and medium length. His nose can vary between dark brown and black. His pretty tail is carried in panache on the back.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 9, section 1 and is #233

Characteristics of the Little Lion Dog

Does this dog suit your lifestyle?

Every dog breed has its own characteristics. However, the actual character of a dog can vary from one to another within the same breed.

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Life in an apartment
Good first dog
Tolerates solitude
Tolerates cold weather
Tolerates hot weather
Friendly with children
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other animals
Hair loss
Drooling level
Easy to care for
Robust health
Easy to train
Tendency to bark
Tendency to nibble
Instinct to hunt
Adventurous spirit
Energy level
Level of intensity
Need for exercise

Price and monthly budget

Price you can expect to pay for a Little Lion Dog puppy: between 1000 € / $ 1 / £1 and 1400 € / $ 1 / £1
These prices are indicative and may vary from breeder to breeder

Tips About this breed

His socialization must be undertaken very early in his education, because it is very difficult for him to cohabit with his peers.

His small size and temperament allow him to live anywhere, and with all types of owners.

He can live in the city as well as in the country, in all possible family situations. Children love him, as do the elderly.

He generally makes the latter happy, with his overflowing joie de vivre, because he puts sunshine into their daily lives, which are sometimes difficult and less active than before.

Even if he adapts very well anywhere, he must still be able to move on a daily basis to spend his energy. Although he is small, he needs a minimum of exercise every day.

His small size, however, makes walks easier for his master.

Health of the Little Lion Dog

Unrelated to any particular pathology or disease, specimens are generally in excellent health and rarely ill. The life expectancy of this small dog is also appreciable.


His pretty coat requires daily brushing to maintain his silky beauty and great cleanliness.

No other special maintenance is required, except for an exhibition specimen. Subjects for exhibition competition must receive special attention.

The lion cut being mandatory in his case, special grooming becomes then necessary to meet the standards required in dog competition.

History of this breed

Despite his unknown origins, some say that the Little Lion Dog might come from Malta. It is a very old breed, already represented in the 13th century by images carved in the stone of Amiens Cathedral, dating from that time.

This tiny French dog is also depicted on 15th century tapestries, where he was cherished by the Ladies of the Burgundy court.

Often featured in the works of 17th century painters, he was described by Buffon in the 18th century in his "Natural History" as being of great rarity. He would even be found in one of Goya's works. He was, at the same time, also mentioned by Linné, the Swedish naturalist.

The Little Lion Dog was first named "Maltese Little Lion Dog" and then given his current name. The official French Club was founded in 1947.

This small dog, mainly used for pleasure and companionship, makes an adorable, lively and full of life companion. He brings a beautiful joie de vivre to his master's home, and despite his small size, his ardor and character make him an excellent alarm dog, although totally devoid of any form of aggression.

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