Left ventricular (LV) dilatation is a key step in transition to heart failure (HF) in response to pressure overload. Cardiac extracellular matrix (ECM) contains fibrillar collagens and proteoglycans, important for maintaining tissue integrity. Alterations in collagen production and cross-linking are associated with cardiac LV dilatation and HF. Lumican (LUM) is a collagen binding proteoglycan with increased expression in hearts of patients and mice with HF, however, its role in cardiac function remains poorly understood. To examine the role of LUM in pressure overload induced cardiac remodeling, we subjected LUM knock-out (LUMKO) mice to aortic banding (AB) and treated cultured cardiac fibroblasts (CFB) with LUM. LUMKO mice exhibited increased mortality 1-14 days post-AB. Echocardiography revealed increased LV dilatation, altered hypertrophic remodeling and exacerbated contractile dysfunction in surviving LUMKO 1-10w post-AB. LUMKO hearts showed reduced collagen expression and cross-linking post-AB. Transcriptional profiling of LUMKO hearts by RNA sequencing revealed 714 differentially expressed transcripts, with enrichment of cardiotoxicity, ECM and inflammatory pathways. CFB treated with LUM showed increased mRNAs for markers of myofibroblast differentiation, proliferation and expression of ECM molecules important for fibrosis, including collagens and collagen cross-linking enzyme lysyl oxidase. In conclusion, we report the novel finding that lack of LUM attenuates collagen cross-linking in the pressure-overloaded heart, leading to increased mortality, dilatation and contractile dysfunction in mice.