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I miss my good-natured giant dog, a Leonberger

Updated on December 15, 2011

I have had a few dogs in my family during the years, and the last one was a Leonberger who’s name was Duvasgardens Prince Rosco. It is always sad when a dog dies, and since this dog was very special to me, I will always remember him and he will always be missed.

Unfortunately, he suffered from a neurological disease, "Inherited polyneuropathy, that is special for this breed. He died one year ago at the age of 7 ½ year. And yet this puppy was selected by us after careful investigation long before he was born. We selected both breeder and parent stock generations back very carefully. But you cant get any assurances when it comes to breeding and diseases. But anyway, we had the good fortune to know him and to have him in our lives for 7 lovely years and I am so happy for that.

There is something very special with a big dog like the Leonberger and I will try to describe them for you.

Duvasgardens Prince Rosco, you will always be in my mind!
Duvasgardens Prince Rosco, you will always be in my mind! | Source
In memoriam Rosco!
In memoriam Rosco! | Source
As puppy!
As puppy!
My dear Roscoe, a good friend and a gentle giant!
My dear Roscoe, a good friend and a gentle giant! | Source

A Leonbergers character

A Leonberger is a companion dog, with the following character:

  • Assertiveness and superior composure
  • Moderately temperament, which include playfulness
  • Readiness to submit to the owner
  • Good learning ability and attention

Apart from this, the breed loves children, (if they treat them kindly and with respect, as with all dogs) and some Leonbergers have some guard instinct. The breed should be neither shy nor aggressive.

Some of the properties may seem difficult to reconcile in the same individual but of course the personality will varies between individuals. Some Leonberger guard more than others, but you should be aware that the characteristic might be there. My dog guarded the property and stood mainly in the way and barked when someone unknown entered. Others have told me about when their Leonberger has become like a roaring lion and I have read about the opposite as well, Leonbergers that haven’t guarded at all.

The assertiveness and superior composure means that the breed sometimes can get the idea to decide things for itself, such as which way to go or whom to greet. At the same time these dogs are easy to teach and they like to cooperate. The complexity is accomplished with their sensitivity to signals from the owner. As you can see, this breed is impossible to describe!

The best description I can come up with is that they are good-natured giants with humour!

And they "talk" to their owners or other loved people when you come home or others visit, or when they just feels like it. They are talking with a sound that is between a whimper and a howl, in a most unusual way. My dog talked while he gently chew or nibbled with his front teeth on any of my clothing. These moments are the one I miss the most! Most dogs do not like hugs, but this one did! He would always wait until I have taken of my coat when I got home and then I had to be prepared for 70 kg dog that came into full swing, be sure to have good balance and kind of "capture" him for a moment of "talking".

This is what you can expect from a Leonberger, but what are the requirements of you?

What should you provide to a dog like the Leonberger?

A good upbringing

You must be prepared for that this is a giant dog that needs some proper upbringing. Because of there size you can not steer them through the leash unless you are really strong, it is better to ensure that they learn the right behaviour from the beginning. And they are easy to learn if you just take it gentle. There is the contradiction again, they are large but jet delicate, you do not need to be hard against them. It will only result in them losing confidence in you, and their confidence is very precious and something to value very highly.

Necessary space

A Leonberger is a very big dog! The height for male dogs is 72-80 cm, with ideal height 76 cm, for bitches the height is 65-75 cm, ideal height is 70 cm. The weight of these dogs is about 45-55 kilos for bitches and 70-80 kilos for males. My Leonberger weighed 72 kg and was not among the biggest. But it was quite enough. So you must have the necessary space, both indoors and outdoors. Even if they are calm indoors, they want to be near you most of the time, which means that you must be able to get past this giants when they lie down on the floor and supervises the family.

Time and patient to take care of their fur!

Leonberger is a breed with a lot of fur that requires relatively much care. You have to brush the Leonberger coat at least once a week and then it should be done properly. Apart from this, pins and other object easily stick to the coat during walks and this objects should be removed immediately after, otherwise it would be harder to remove because the fur felts around such objects. Areas to be extra observant of is behind the ears that readily felts themselves and their "pants".

When they shed the coat I recommend that you brush the dog daily outdoors. There are a lot of fur because when they shed they lose all the under wool. You can pick big large wads with your fingers. But the best way is to bath them and after drying them, brush trough the coat. But then you need a special bathroom or place to bath the dog because it will be very much coat and water all over the room! Some Leonberger owners use the fur to make yarn and knit sweaters, cardigans etc. In order to managed this kind of fur you need some different types of brushes, combs and scissors. Apart from this you need to cut the coat that grows between the dogs toes. If you do not cut of this coat the fur felts together and trap dirt and moister. Then the dog can have problems with fungal and bacterial infections of the paw.

Some Leonberger have also very fluffy fur on their ears that may need to be torn away, which is done by fingers.

According to breed standard the colour of a Leonberger is lion yellow, red, reddish brown, also sandy-colored (pale yellow, creamy white) and all combinations, but they shall always have a black mask.

A good vacuum cleaner!

No matter how well you manage the dogs fur, it will still be a lot of fur and a lot of gravel on the floors so you should have a good vacuum cleaner! Sand and gravel sticks to the fur on the paws and belly and fells off when the dog has dried.

Enough time for a dog

This is the same for all dogs. You must provide the dog with enough mental activity and physical exercise in order to keep the dog fit and balanced. They need at least 2 hours of walking per day plus mental activity and problem solving. Leonberger loves snow and doesn't mind low temperature. But this isn't a dog that should be kept outdoor, because it needs your companion. That is vital for a Leonberger and they are very social. If you want a big dog only for guard you should choose another breed!

A rather large wallet!

These dogs eat relatively big amount of food. In addition is the cost for insurance for a Leonberger rather high, because of their health issues.

Health issues!

Unfortunately, there are some health problems with Leonberger. One of them is health problems related to hip dysplasia. It is hip dysplasia which is the most common cause of arthritis in the hips of the dogs. Eyelid problems are not uncommon in the breed. It also has a number of other health problems such as various types of heart disease and various types of tumors which are sometimes referred to be more common as causes of death in the breed than they are average for all breeds.

More recently, it has also been noted that Leon Berger can get a neurological disease, "Inherited polyneuropathy, that is special for this breed, which has been reported in several countries.

The breed’s history

Brief history

The breed history started in the city Leonberg, in southern Germany, in the end of 1830 by the german Heinrich Essig. This man devoted 50 years of his life to the breeding of dogs. The dogs that were breed by Essig includes Newfoundland, Landseer, Great Dane, Tibetan Mastiff, Bulldog and the hunting dogs of different breeds.

The facts that can be read about this race at the time of the mid-1800s is that it created and inherited the properties that Heinrich Essig desired, namely the size, power and an excellent track properties from the St. Bernard, and good nature, full allegiance to their family / owners, mobility, exelent swimmers with remarkable endurance in water from Newfoundland and the vigilance and good vision from the Pyrenees. In 1846 a litter was born that received the breed name, Leonberger, which came to resemble the lion in the city arms of Leonberg. Whether coincidence or not, is not yet clear.


So, if a Leonberger is the right breed for you, I congratulate you, because they are marvellous, loving and will bring much joy to you.

A "talking" Leonberger, Video by Tilt on


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    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 months ago from Sweden

      Thanks KathyH for your comment. Leonbergers is a wonderful breed with much personality.


    • KathyH profile image


      3 years ago from Waukesha, Wisconsin

      I totally enjoyed reading this! I'm writing about Leonberger's now, and it's so interesting to read your perspective since you owned one of these beautiful dogs! Very interesting and well -written! :)

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      6 years ago from Sweden

      Hi pearl, You are absolutely right! What a great description of a Leonberger, they really are like a big Teddy bear and I still miss him very much. The one thing I don't miss is the big amount of hair, but you don't care about it when you have them. A good friend is well worth the extra work! Thanks for this comment and please give you Leonberger a hug from me!


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Best Dog we have ever, ever had. Like living with a Teddy bear, worth the crazy..crazy amount of hair we find everywhere:)

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      7 years ago from Sweden

      Hi kerlynb, I feel the same when I read about others that have lost their dogs too! It goes right to the heart since we know how lovely dogs are and how great companions they are to us. Yes, Prince Roscoe will always live in my memory and I am glad for the years he gave us. Thanks for your compassionate comment!


    • kerlynb profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      Awwww, I love dogs. So hubs about how owners feel sad over their dog's death just tug at my heartstrings. Still, I'm glad that your Duvasgardens Prince Rosco was well loved :)

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      7 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Marilyn! Oh, two leos! That must be the two best dogs to have apart from the fact that they shed so much fur! But it is trifles, their wonderful way outweighs just about everything, as it should be with one´s best friends! Thanks for you comment and your visit!


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have two beautiful entire male leos and yes they shed their coats like mad all the time but two major molts a year but i wouldn't be without them one of 8 and one of 7 and tumble weed all round the house

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      7 years ago from Sweden

      hazelbrown, a collie/german Shepard mix is a big dog too and both Collie and german Shepard is lovely breeds so I can imagine that a mix would be a great dog! It is something very special with big dogs and I get a silly smile on my face every time I see a big dog:) My dear Rosco was a very special dog and a friend that I will miss for a long time yet. Thanks for coming by and for your kind words!


    • hazelbrown profile image


      7 years ago from Central PA

      Oh my, what a beautiful dog! I just love big dogs like that. My family once had a dog named Pepper, she was a collie/german shepard mix. She would come running home even from far away when I whistled. Thanks for sharing about your dog!

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      7 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Susan, Yes Rosco was very special to me. It is sad that a dog life is so short! I so enjoyed your hub about Leonberger, and since there is so much to tell about this wonderful breed I think that there can never be to many hubs about Leonberger:)

      Thanks for coming, your visits are always appreciated by me! Tina

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Tina, I just happened to come to your profile page and found this hub. When I wrote my hub on The Leonburger and you commented on my hub I did not realize you had this one posted. He was absolutely gorgeous and I am so sorry that he passed away.

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      7 years ago from Sweden

      Katie, you are so right; all pets must be in heaven and I will always miss him. I do like those big dogs, there is something special about them and your chow is a big dog too. To have a dog that is so social and like to be around you is so lovely and fills your heart for a long time. I am glad to pass on some information about Leonberger to you. Thanks for your compassion!

    • katiem2 profile image


      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Oh how dear, I can imagine your empty spot! I feel we will always long for and miss our beloved pets. Until the day is that we see them in heaven, all dogs and other pets do go to heaven.

      I love animals and your Dog reminds me a bit of my own, he's a dear chow and like a big sweet teddy bear. He'd rather visit with me than eat when he's hungry.

      I did not know about the Leonberger and now have fallen in love with them. The good natured giant dog a Leonberger is a treasure and one I'm glad to have learned about.

      Thanks, Katie :)

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      8 years ago from Sweden

      Carrie, It is always great to see you in my corner! I have so many wonderful memories from our time with Roscoe! He was truly special. That is the sad thing with dogs they live during such a short time of our life. Thanks for you sensitive comment! Take care.

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      8 years ago from Sweden

      Minnetonka Twin, I am happy to meet you here, and so glad you enjoyed reading! All dogs are special for their owners, but as for me, those big giants are something special, and especially the Leonberger! Big dogs can be dogs that inspires respect but I feel more insecure around small dogs than large breeds:) And the hugging, I guess that is more a human thing, but all dogs are individuals, some like it and some don’t! Thank you so much for your kind and compassionate comment!

    • carrie450 profile image


      8 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      He was such a beautiful dog thougtforce and I'm sorry for your loss. As I was reading I can see why you loved him so much.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      8 years ago from Minnesota

      I am so sorry for your loss of your sweet leonberger. As I scrolled through the pictures, I got very choked up. I can't believe this huge dog loves to hug and talk to you. I also really enjoyed the videos. They are gorgeous animals. I hope some day you will be ready for a new dog in your life. God Bless:)

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      8 years ago from Sweden

      Wife Who Saves, Yes I do, every dog is special and gives you different things. This dog gave me many great memories with his gentle and friendly manner! And the talking, I dont know if there is other breeds that do this kind of talking, but most Leonbergers do! Thanks for your kind comment!

    • profile image

      Wife Who Saves 

      8 years ago

      You're dog was lovely, especially "talking" to his stuffed toy. I'm sure that you have many wonderful memories of him. Voted your hub up and beautiful.

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      8 years ago from Sweden

      Mark Stimpson, Thanks, and glad you liked it! I was happy to find the video with that special Leonberger talk. It brought back lovely memories!

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      8 years ago from Sweden

      Thanks bayoulady,for your compassion! It is really a loss of a family member!

    • profile image

      Mark Stimpson 

      8 years ago

      Great hub, love the videos, he was a lovely dog :)

    • bayoulady profile image


      8 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Sorry for your loss. I know that our pets feel like family. this was a great hub about the breed,also.

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      8 years ago from Sweden

      Hi, kashmir56, yes he really was. I am glad that you liked the hub and I appreciate your nice comment!

    • thougtforce profile imageAUTHOR

      Christina Lornemark 

      8 years ago from Sweden

      Hi Whitney05, it is a bit of work with this coat, but the puppies are incredebly cute and the adults are wonderful dogs, so you do not think much about it when you have them. It´s only afterwards you realize what job it really was! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      He was a beautiful dog,very nice hub about him!

    • Whitney05 profile image


      8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm not a fan of long haired dogs, but this pup is so cute.


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