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Is the Leonberger right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Leo

The basics:
According to the Leonberger Club of America (LCA), a German couple in the 1840s developed the Leonberger to resemble the lion on the coat-of-arms of Leonberg. This large, impressive dog eventually found its way into the hands of several royal courts, although it almost disappeared in the aftermath of World War I. Resurrected again from as few as 30 remaining dogs in the 1920s, the breed has enjoyed a growth in popularity that allowed it to be recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2010.

With lots of Saint Bernard in its heritage, the Leonberger is a natural for activities like pulling carts or backpacking. They do best with a confident owner who knows to socialize, train, and exercise powerful dogs with a desire to do something worthwhile.

Appearance / health:
The Leonberger is a large, strong, and muscular dog with an elongated head. The skull and muzzle are of the same proportions. The nose is black. The brown oval eyes are medium in size. The ears are set on high and hang close to the head. The back is firm, straight, and broad. The chest is broad and deep. The tail is well furnished.

Leos sheds heavily twice a year. Daily brushing is necessary to keep their coats in good condition.

Owners need to devote two hours a day in training and exercising these dogs. Long walks and short sprints are excellent way of keeping the dog healthy and happy. , If possible, owners may take their dogs for swimming sessions near a lake, beach, or river. In addition, they may provide their dogs with a small children's pool.

Dysplasia, abnormal formation of the joints, affects the elbows and hips of several Leonbergers. Eosinophilic Panosteitis, a painful inflammation of bones, may occur in few dogs. Another disease that afflicts Leos is Addison's disease, a rare hormonal condition that affects the adrenal glands, and is characterized by diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting. Entropion or inverted eyelids may occur in some dogs. Few Leos die of bone cancer every year.

Behavior / temperament:
Leos are sensitive to their masters' moods. They require constant human company or they may develop boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior. Leos do not drool. They love mud and water and can spend hours playing in puddles. Digging is normal among Leos.

They enjoy accompanying their owners on drives, walks, etc. Leos are not for fastidious owners who like to keep their houses free of dirt and hair.

Early socialization and training is essential. Harsh training methods do not work with the Leonberger. The owner requires patience, kindness, and firmness when training them. Obedience training early in the dogs' life makes it easier for the owner to control them. They have an average learning rate. Leonbergers can be trained to pull carts, act as therapy dogs, and participate in water rescue.

They are not that noisy though they may bark at anything unusual.


gentle giant, wonderful nature, great family member, excellent guard dog, easygoing dog


long coat


giant breeds, long coated breed, webbed feet, double coat

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