Leonberger Dog Breed Information


The Leonberger is a new member of the AKC Working Dog Group. This breed was originally developed around 1846 in Leonberg, Germany.

It is said that a German dog breeder named Heinrich Essing wanted to create a dog breed that would closely resemble the lion that appeared in the town crest and this is how the breed came about.

Keep in mind that this is a large dog breed - this dog breed was created through the crossbreeding of the Newfoundland, St. Bernard, and the Great Pyrenees.

Today the Leonberger is definitely gaining ground in popularity however this dog breed was almost destroyed during the two world wars.

Since this is such a large breed, and since food was so scarce at that time, it was very difficult to feed this huge dog breed. Near the end of each war, only a few of these dogs remained. By the end of WWII in 1945, the few remaining Leonbergers were gathered together to reestablish the breed.

This is a very large, majestic looking dog with a characteristic black mask, and a rough, tawny colored waterproof coat with a thick mane that creates a lion-like expression. In males, the mane might take up to 4 years to develop - the females do not have such a large mane as the males.

Watch a few of these dogs in action

Additionally, these dogs have webbing between its toes to aid in swimming and it has a lot of experience as a great water-rescue dog. These dogs have also been used for guarding livestock, search and rescue and obedience and tracking.

Concerning grooming, weekly brushing is highly suggested to keep the coat in great shape and to avoid hotspots from occurring. Bathe only when needed and keep the ears and teeth cleaned as well. Be careful to always check behind the ears, the feathering on the legs and tail for mats. One last thing, this dog breed is a seasonally heavy shedder so be forewarned.

This dog breed does not necessarily need a lot of exercise, however, they do need daily walks at a minimum. They love to be an active part of the family and to be included in all family outings. These dogs sincerely LOVE to swim, to pull carts and sleds (they'll need to be trained, wait until they're at least 18 months old) and to hike with you wherever you go.

They are very intelligent dogs, too. And despite their large size, Leonbergers are very loving and great with children - they just love everyone. Overall, they are very friendly, have a lively nature and are a very steady and affectionate dog breed. They are extremely loyal to their families.

Country of origin: Germany
Lifespan: 7-9 years
Colors: can range from lion yellow, red, reddish brown, and sandy
Known health problems: cancer, hip dysplasia, eyelid defects

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I've decided life is too fragile to finish a book I dislike just because it cost $16.95 and everyone else loved it. Or eat a fried egg with a broken yolk (which I hate) when the dog would leap over the St. Louis Arch for it." - Erma Bombeck