The Leonberger is a superb specimen, with a pleasant character and remarkable aptitudes. He is greatly appreciated as a companion dog for his loyalty, joie de vivre, constancy, great affection, gentleness and patience. He is popular as a guard dog because of his impressive size. He is sought after for his great qualities as a water rescue dog. Sea and mountain rescues are among his specialties. He is an admirable dog that can make everyone happy, and can succeed in fulfilling several functions in the same life. He is a superb specimen of the canine population.
Quick Overview of the Leonberger
- Gentle and loving
- Balanced and sociable
- Obedient and receptive
- Well-proportionate build
- Very muscular body
- Huge imposing silhouette
- Hair adheres well to the body
- Sometimes affected by hip dysplasia
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Growth to watch
Temperament of the Leonberger
The Leonberger has many qualities. He is gentle, trusting, balanced, obedient, affectionate, sociable, receptive, and possesses an unfailing composure, as well as an unconditional love for his family.
He is very loyal and patient with family and children. Usually very quiet and debonair, he can sometimes become dangerous if he feels that his family or their property is in danger.
The Leonberger is a guard dog because of his size, not because of his character, and he is a pleasant and very gentle companion. He loves his family and is very affectionate with them. He has an angel-like patience with children, whom he loves and protects.
This very large dog is well proportioned and has a very muscular, yet elegant body.
His immense, imposing, strong silhouette easily reveals his great power. He is distinguished from other dogs by his strength, power and control of his lively and strong temperament.
Between 71 and 80 cm (27.95 to 31.50 inches) for the male
Between 65 and 75 cm (25.59 to 29.53 inches) for the female
Between 60 and 80 kg (132.28 to 176.37 pounds) for the male
Between 60 and 80 kg (132.28 to 176.37 pounds) for the female
His coat is similar in color to the lion, in all shades of fawn but with a black mask. It can be sand-colored with dark hair tips, sometimes even black.
His long hair adheres well to the body. It is sometimes not quite stuck to the body.
Fairly soft, it is generally smooth, although it can be very slightly wavy. He has a lovely mane.
Moderately arched, the head has a skull that is less broad and high than the Saint Bernard's, and has a moderate stop.
His eyes are a beautiful color, ranging from hazelnut to dark brown. His ears are set high and fall flat to the side of the head.
His nose is black. His tail is never curled, but carried half hanging.
According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 2, section 2 and is #145
Characteristics of the Leonberger
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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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Tips About this breed
He's very impressive thanks to his big size, but that doesn't make him a good guardian.
He's still vigilant, but because he's very sociable, he's not really responsive.
However, if his own are threatened, he may want to defend them and become more aggressive, but only in case of immediate danger. He is a mother hen that looks like a lion.
The Leonberger must be able to benefit from a good education, in order to master his dominant character. His education is relatively easy, but often quite long.
Because of his large size, he loves the garden where he can run, but he must be in regular contact with his family.
The importance of his family in his life is high, and owners must be prepared to devote many hours to their dog.
Health of the Leonberger
He is very robust, and his health is often excellent. However, the breed is sometimes affected by hip dysplasia and dilated cardiomyopathy.
His growth should be monitored at a young age and he should be given appropriate food. A puppy's growth is complete at about three years of age. However, for such a large dog, life expectancy is still quite appreciable.
Reproduction is also very difficult in the breed. It is difficult for pregnant females to give birth.
His pretty coat requires regular brushing. It is preferable to brush it at least once a week.
It is also recommended that you check his paws and body daily to prevent foreign bodies settling in, which can create infections. His thick coat allows all kind of particles to get caught it it.
History of this breed
During the 19th century in Leonberg near Stuttgart, a town councillor named Heinrich Essig crossed a male St. Bernard, Barry of the name, with a female Landseer. The latter was afterwards crossed again with a Pyrenean Mountain.
The result was a very large, mostly white long haired dog. The lion being the heraldic emblem of the city, Mr. Essig tried to create a dog with a leonine appearance through these multiple crossbreeds.
The other hypothesis is that the Leonberger descended from the Tibetan Mastiff, and that he evolved naturally. Although it is possible that Heinrich Essig was not the true creator, he was nevertheless a real merchant, and made the Leonberger known all over the world.
He even went so far as to offer a specimen to several greats of this world, such as Napoleon III.
It was around 1846 that the first specimens truly worthy of bearing the name "Leonberger" appeared and in 1863, a special class was created for the breed. During this period, several dogs even won prizes at the Hamburg dog show.
These early exhibits combined many qualities of the breeds used in crossbreeding. Given their symbolic character, many dogs were later exported all over the world.
In 1895, a first standard was established by Albert Kull. The two great wars were terrible for the breed, and the number of subjects rapidly decreased. From 1922 onwards, two craftsmen, Josenhans and Stadelmann, encouraged the breed to make a strong comeback.
It was then that the first Book of Origins was created by Stadelmann. The Leonberger was recognized by the FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale) in 1949 but it is only in 1958 that numbers became as high as they were before the two wars.
Fortunately today, the Leonberger has regained momentum and become a wonderful family companion with recognized qualities.