Leonberger dogs are large sized lively dogs. These dogs with thick manes and tawny colors were specifically bred as ‘symbolic dogs’ to resemble lions in appearance. In earlier times, these regal dogs were proudly owned by royal families.
The breed was originally developed in the Leonberger city of Germany by crossing Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees and St. Bernard dog breeds.
Apart from serving as affectionate family pets, these dogs are also good at performing duties like tracking, search and rescue, water rescue, guarding livestock etc. They also make for excellent therapy dogs.
This giant dog breed is powerful, muscular and elegant in appearance. The head is rectangular in shape and is generally larger in case of males as compared to females.
There is a striking black mask that usually does not extend above the eyebrows. The nose is large in size and black in color. The medium sized droopy ears are triangular in shape. The almond shaped, medium sized eyes are generally dark brown in color.
Color: Leonberger hair coat is mostly lion yellow or golden to red in color. It can also be reddish brown, cream, sand or pale yellow in color.
Height: These dogs are usually 29 to 31 inches in height. Female Leonbergers are a bit shorter, that is, 27 to 29 inches in height.
Weight: The average weight of these dogs ranges between 130 to 170 pounds. The bitches, on the other hand, are generally about 100 to 130 pounds in weight.
Being massive in size, Leonberger breed dogs are usually prone to Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia and other bone diseases. Moreover, among other dog diseases, they are vulnerable to eye problems like Ectropion, Entropion, Osteosarcoma etc. Some bloodlines are also susceptible to Addison’s disease. Sensitivity to drugs like tranquilizers and anesthetics is also common in these dogs.
Life Expectancy: Leonberger dog breed is a relatively short lived breed with average life span of 8 to 9 years.
Litter Size: Leonberger litter size generally ranges between 6-14 puppies. The average litter size is considered to be 8 puppies.
The medium to long Leonberger double coat consisting of a straight, long, profuse outer coat and thick, dense under coat requires at least weekly grooming. However, daily brushing and combing the water resistant hair coat can help remove loose hair and minimize shedding during the shedding seasons when these dogs shed heavily.
As matting is quite common behind the ears, and around the legs and tail, de matting helps to reduce this problem and avoid hot spots. Besides, these dogs need to be bathed only when necessary. Other Leonberger grooming activitiessuch as nail clipping, trimming the hair around paw pads, cleaning the ears, brushing the teeth etc are also need to be carried out periodically.
Leonberger temperament is characterized by intelligence, bravery, steadiness, faithfulness and a calm yet friendly attitude. Due to their high level of patience, these dogs are considered good with children.
Plus, they are usually friendly with other pets in the house too. Though large in size still, these even tempered dogs are not characterized by any traits of aggressiveness in the personality.
Leonberger dogs need to be trained and socialized right from the beginning in order to keep these lively dogs disciplined. However, these dogs are quite sensitive and do not respond well to harsh training methods.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to use gentle yet firm training methods while training Leonberger dogs. When trained properly, these gentle giants tend to perform watchdog duties quite well.
These outgoing dogs are highly active but generally do not require extensive physical exercise. However, they do require to be taken for daily walks and need to spend some time playing in a large sized yard. Moreover, they find tend to enjoy activities like swimming, hiking and pulling carts and sleds. Although, Leonberger puppies should not be engaged in strenuous activities like pulling carts so as to avoid any bone injuries.
They are relatively inactive indoors and are hence are generally not recommended for apartment situation unless there is sufficient place and facility to fulfill their activity needs. Besides, they are more comfortable in cooler climates. The highly energetic Leonberger dogs are particularly known for their extensive loyalty towards their owners.