The Leonberger dog is a German dog breed named after the city of Leonberg in Baden-Württemberg. Heinrich Essig, a dog breeder, and seller from Leonberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, claimed to have developed the Leonberger dog by breeding a female Landseer Newfoundland with a “barry” male from the Great St Bernard Hospice and Monastery in the 1830s.

Originally, the Leonberger dog was Herr Heinrich Essig’s attempt to make a dog that looked like a lion, as part of the Leonberg crest. He came up with a big dog with a golden yellow coat and black nose and ears. Leonbergers were popular as farm dogs due to their talents as watchdogs and draft dogs.

The current Leonberger dog, with darker coats and black masks, was created by reintroducing other breeds, such as Newfoundland, in the latter half of the twentieth century. This was important since the two world wars had a significant impact on Leonberger’s breeding stocks. Only five Leonbergers apparently survived World War I and were bred until World War II, when nearly all Leonbergers were lost once more.

Leonberger siting on owners laps
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Leonberger dog were used to pull munitions carts during both world wars, service to the breed’s homeland that nearly caused their extinction. Karl Stadelmann and Otto Josenhans are credited with bringing the breed back from the brink of extinction. The eight dogs that survived World War II are the ancestors of today’s Leonberger dog.

Leonbergers were imported by the Canadian government for use as water rescue/lifesaving dogs at the turn of the century. The breed, along with the Newfoundland, Labrador Retriever, and Golden Retriever, is still used as a lifeguard at the Italian School of Canine Lifeguard. On January 1, 2010, the Leonberger joined the Icelandic Sheepdog and the Cane Corso as members of the Working Group of the American Kennel Club. It was the AKC’s 167th breed to be recognized.

Leonberger Dog Body Characteristics

Leonberger dog have a huge, strong, and elegant physical type, a medium temperament, and a commanding personality.

  • A stunning black mask is worn on the head.
  • The head is well balanced in relation to the dog’s size, and it is deeper than broad, with the muzzle and skull lengths nearly equal.
  • The eyes are medium-sized, almond-shaped, and dark brown in color, and are set into the skull at a slight angle with close-fitting eyelids.
  • The ears are fleshy, medium in size, and pendant-shaped, with enough substance to hang close to the skull and drop the tip of the ears to the inside corners of the mouth.
Leonberger siting on the ground
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Males are 71–80 cm (28–31 in) tall, while females are 65–75 cm (26–30 in) tall. Males weigh 120–170 lb (54–77 kg), while females are 100–135 lb (45–61 kg). The Leonberger dog has a water-resistant double coat over the body, which is accented by the muzzle and limbs’ shorter, fine hair. The long, voluminous outer coat is tough, straight, flat, and close-fitting. The mane of a mature Leonberger dog is quite noticeable. His tail, too, is extremely well-furnished from tip to base. With a black mask, the color ranges from lion-yellow to golden to reddish-brown.

Leonberger Dog Behavior

One of the most essential and defining traits of the Leonberger dog is its temperament. They are confident, noise-insensitive, obedient to family members, kind with children, composed with passersby, and self-disciplined when protecting their family or property. They may be transported everywhere and acclimatize well to a variety of situations, including the introduction of other dogs because they are robust, loyal, intelligent, lively, and gentle.

Caring of Leonberger Dog

Leonbergers dog are smart and trainable dogs, but they may be stubborn. They are not known to be violent with people, but as they grow older, they become more reserved towards strangers. Because this is a large breed, proper control, early socialization, and training are important. Early and comprehensive socialization and training, along with a lot of positive reinforcement and clear expectations, will convert him into a wonderful family buddy, but without it, he’ll be naughty and destructive.

They require a lot of exercise, attention, and room, but with the appropriate pet parent, they may be the best buddy anyone has ever had. Outside, they are lively dogs who demand more than just a walk. Agility, carting, sledding, camping, and swimming are among the activities that Leonbergers enjoy. They adore the water.

Leonberger siting on the ground
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Brushing and combing these dogs twice a week is required. They don’t need to be trimmed. They don’t drool at all. They shed moderately, with more shedding occurring twice a year.

Leonberger Dog – Health

Leonbergers are powerful, healthy dogs, although they are susceptible to some ailments. Leonbergers can inherit and/or develop heart problems, inherited Leonberger paralysis/polyneuropathy, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, osteochondrosis dissecans, allergies, digestive disorders, cataracts, entropion/ectropion eyelids, progressive retinal atrophy, perianal fistulas, and thyroid disorders, among other things. Leonbergers have an average lifespan of eight to ten years.

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