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Leonberger Dogs

Updated on December 12, 2013

Leonbergers - A Perfect Family Pet

Leonbergers are a perfect family pet. They are best known for their size and their easy going manner.

They are easy to train and are great even around small children. If you are looking to get a dog maybe you should consider this rare but gentle giant.

Leos In General

Breed Description

Leonberger are among the largest breeds of dogs in the world. They are known for their friendly temperament. They are calm dogs who will alert their families of danger but use their size to intimidate rather than their teeth. A Leo should neither aggressive nor timid, and is noted for its steady manner. They are great family dogs, they get along well with children and other dogs. They do not require a lot of room but if living in the city it is recommended that they be taken on daily long walks.

Leonbergers are big dogs. They do require early socialisation and training. They are easy to train and are diligent workers. They respond well to gentle training rather than the more disciplined approach.


Males; 29 to 32 inches Females; 25 to 30


Males 120 to 170 pounds Females; 110 to 140 pounds


The coat is water resistant, and males often have almost a mane that extends over their neck and chest. If showing a leonberger the coat must be a golden color to a darker reddish-brown, and should have a black mask. Leonbergers may have some black in their coloration but it can not be the dominating color.

Leonbeger History

The History of the Breed

The Leonberger traces its roots back to the 1800's and a man named Heinrich Essig. Heinrich was a breeder who lived in the town of Leonberg, Germany. It was he who began breeding cross breeding Newfoundlands, St. Bernards and Pyrenean Mountain Dogs. The first actual leonberger was born in about 1846.

The breed was almost wiped out during the First World War, only five were known to have survived. This happened again after the Second World War when owners were either killed or forced to leave their dogs to take care of themselves. By the end of the war there were very few dogs left. The actual number of dogs left varies between less than 10 to a few hundred. It was only through careful breeding that the breed was able to survive.

Today the breed is primarily a family pet. Although, they have been used in the past to guard sheep or to work as draft animals, the primary focus of its breeding has been to produce a well balanced dog that is friendly, outgoing and has a steady temperament. These qualities make the leonberger ideal for working as guide dogs. They have also become well known in water rescue because of their love of water.

Grooming Your Leo


Leonbergers have a very thick water resistance double coat. They need frequent brushing and it is important to make sure that you have a comb that will get in and keep the undercoat free of tangles. Leos do shed a lot.


Leonbergers do not need regular bath as this will dry out their coats. They should only be bathed when necessary. A dry bath is often recommended to Leo owners. Dry bath products are easily purchased at most pet stores.

Leos do not need to be clipped except around the paws and ears.


As with all breeds it is good idea to check your pet's ears at least once a week. If your Leo is in the water is it a good idea to do this more often.


As with all dog it is recommended that you brush their teeth every couple of day to ensure good oral hygiene. No special care is really needed.

A Leonberger Shares My Life

A Leonberger shares my life,

A dog that's strong and true.

Affectionate and gentle,

Yet bold and fearless too.

A wonderful companion,

The very best you'll find,

With a heart of purest gold,

This mountain dog of mine.

A friend that I can count on,

In which I can confide-

I can't imagine life without

My "Leo" by my side.

- Anonymous

General Health

The leonberger is one of the healthiest of the giant dogs due to careful and select breeding. They do however suffer from some of the giant dog health problems. These diseases and conditions are primarily the following

- Hip Dysplasia-hip bone do not sit correctly in the socket

- Bloat-is a condition where the stomach gets twisted

- Hypothyroidism-low levels of thyroid hormones

- Addison's Disease-affects the adrenal glands

- Osteochondrosis Dissecans-bone degenration

- Panosteitis-is also reffred to as long bone disease or growing pains

- Osteosarcoma-a type of cancer

Quick Leo Facts and Trivia

When showing the Leonberger’s coat must not be altered in any way

The American Kennel Club had the Leonberger in the miscellaneous class

The average life span of a Leo is seven years

Leonbergers are a German breed.

The dogs used in the making of the movie The Call of The Wild: Dog of the Yukon, were all launderers.

Leonbergers were almost extinct after WWII

Leonberger are water dogs

Leos are one of the healthiest of the giant breeds.

The first true Leonberger puppy was born in 1846.

The UK Kennel club first recognised the breed in 1991.

What's Your Favourite Breed?

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Leonberger Chat - Share your thoughts and ideas as one dog lover to another.

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    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 

      6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      These are beautiful dogs. Where my mum lives we almost literally bumped into 5 of them lying on the sidewalk. I guess they're local celebrities, not surprising really, as they're pretty hard to miss!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      7 years ago

      I am a fellow dog lover, although the Leonberger would probably eat our Yorkies for breakfast :) At least in terms of size- the Leonberger really is a BIG dog. Great lens about them, I am lensrolling to Red Puppy Dog Gifts.

    • VladimirCat profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      I'm sure to have nightmares after reading about the enormous size of these Leonberger dogs! Dogs are all very well in their place (as long as that place is nowhere near mine) but I believe the smaller dog is a better chap to have around. Take the chihuahua for example, much easier for me to intimidate.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The Leonbergers are beautiful dogs. They are so big, I would want a place in the country if I had one of theses. Nice lens, I like it!


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