Gentle and affectionate German giant
The town of Leonberg in Southwest Germany has on its crest the dog that was created there in 1840 by the mayor, Heinrich Essig. He was helped by the monks of St Bernard who had crossed their St Bernards with Newfoundlands and this cross was the basis of the new breed. It is thought that there was also an infusion of Pyrenean Mountain Dog blood. Essig wanted to create a dog of leonine appearance to match the lions on the town’s heraldic crest. Selectively bred for the red and fawn coats, the breed does have a leonine quality about it. The Leonberger was originally used as a guard dog but has now gathered legions of devotees because of its gentle and affectionate temperament.
A Leonberger is friendly but nobody’s fool. As watchdogs and all-around workers, they exhibit intelligence and sound judgement. Leos require lots of brushing, ample room for romping, and unlimited love. Puppies and adolescents are active and exuberant, adult dogs can benefit from jogging or hiking with their owner or keeping pace alongside a bicycle. Adult Leonbergers are generally calm and subdued, but they still need to have some vigorous exercise twice a day. A large yard with a tall, strong fence is the ideal place for a Leonberger to run around. Although they are not as interested in a game of fetch as some breeds, they excel at many other activities, including swimming and water rescue, tracking, herding, carting, and in some cases, even agility training, not to mention a good old-fashioned walk. Don’t let their size and lion-like looks fool you; the Leonberger is a big bundle of love! Bred as farm dogs and family companions, Leonbergers are eager to please and, with their love of children, are wonderful family dogs. Because they respond so well to training, they also make excellent therapy dogs.
Read more about the history of this breed – HERE
STATS AND FACTS
Most of these stats are from the The Kennel Club UK. You can view stats from kennel clubs around the world at the links below, which may have different standards and classifications.
|Group – UK||Working|
|Bred For||Watchdog, Companion|
|Country of Origin||Germany|
|Temperament||Confident, Playful, Loving|
|Exercise Needed||More than 2 hours a day|
|Size of Home Needed||Large|
|Height at Withers – Females||65 – 75 cm / 25½ – 29½ in|
|Height at Withers – Males||72 – 80 cm / 28¼ – 31½ in|
|Coat||Medium length, dense|
|Colour||Various – see photos|
|Life Span||8 – 10 years|
- Leonbergers have webbed feet that allow them to excel in water sports and rescue.
- The Leonberger was almost extinct at the end of World War I, but was rescued by several German breeders who were dedicated to preserving this dog.
- Apart from being amazing watchdogs and protector of their homes, Leonbergers are also known to make highly effective search-and-rescue dogs.
- These dogs were the favourites of many an emperor, such as the emperor of Japan.
- By the time they are about four years old, male Leos have longer hair on the neck and chest, which is known as a mane.
LINKS TO KENNEL CLUB BREED STANDARDS AROUND THE WORLD
Breed standard varies throughout the world, these links will inform you of those standards and give further information about Leonbergers.
Click on any picture below to view it larger and in a slideshow, it’s worth it! 😃
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WEBSITES ABOUT LEONBERGERS
Here’s some websites specifically dedicated to the Leonberger breed. I am not affiliated with any of these sites, they’re just here for further information. Please note I will not advertise breeders on this site and as many websites dedicated to a specific breed are run by breeders, sometimes there’s fewer sites listed here.
Thanks for reading!