Are you considering adding a Leonberger breed dog to your family? If so, you are in for a treat! Leonbergers are a gentle giant breed that are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and affectionate nature. They are a great choice for families who want a large, friendly dog that is great with kids and other animals. In this article, we will explore the history and characteristics of the Leonberger breed, as well as some tips for caring for your new furry friend. So, if you’re ready to learn more about this amazing breed, let’s get started!

Breed Category: Working
Country of Origin: Germany
Average Size:65-80 cm (at the shoulder)
Average Weight:40-75 kg
Average Life Span: 8-9 years
Grooming Requirements: High (requires regular brushing and grooming)
Exercise Requirements:High (requires daily exercise and mental stimulation)

History and Origin

The Leonberger is a large breed of dog that originated in Germany in the mid-19th century. The breed was created by a man named Heinrich Essig, who was a politician and dog breeder. Essig wanted to create a dog that would resemble the lion on the coat of arms of his hometown of Leonberg, hence the name “Leonberger.”

To create the Leonberger, Essig crossed several breeds, including the Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, and Great Pyrenees. The result was a large, powerful dog with a thick, golden coat and a gentle temperament. The breed quickly became popular in Germany and was soon exported to other countries, including the United Kingdom.

In the UK, the Leonberger was first introduced in the late 19th century. The breed was initially used as a draft dog, pulling carts and other heavy loads. However, the Leonberger’s gentle nature and loyalty soon made it a popular family pet. The breed was recognized by the Kennel Club in 1905.

During World War I, the Leonberger nearly went extinct. Many breeders were forced to abandon their dogs, and the breed’s population dwindled. However, a few dedicated breeders managed to keep the breed alive, and it slowly began to recover after the war.

In the years following World War II, the Leonberger’s popularity began to grow again. The breed was used as a search and rescue dog, and its gentle nature made it a popular therapy dog. Today, the Leonberger is still a relatively rare breed, but it has a dedicated following of owners who appreciate its beauty and loyalty.

In terms of appearance, the Leonberger is a large dog, with males typically weighing between 120 and 170 pounds and females weighing between 100 and 135 pounds. The breed has a thick, golden coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition. Leonbergers are known for their gentle, affectionate nature and are often described as “gentle giants.”

Overall, the Leonberger is a fascinating breed with a rich history and a loyal following. From its origins in Germany to its popularity as a family pet and therapy dog, the Leonberger has had a long and interesting journey. Today, the breed continues to be a beloved companion for many dog lovers around the world.

Leonberger Dog

Size and Breed Category

The Leonberger is a large breed of dog that falls under the category of working dogs. They are known for their impressive size and strength, with males typically weighing between 50-77 kg and standing at 72-80 cm tall at the shoulder. Females are slightly smaller, weighing between 40-59 kg and standing at 65-75 cm tall. Their coat is thick and water-resistant, with a mane-like ruff around their neck and feathering on their legs and tail. The Leonberger’s coat can come in a variety of colours, including red, brown, and black.

As a working breed, the Leonberger was originally bred for tasks such as pulling carts and guarding livestock. They are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and courage, making them excellent companions and protectors. Despite their large size, they are gentle and patient with children and other animals. However, due to their size and strength, they require a lot of exercise and training to ensure they are well-behaved and obedient. The Leonberger is a majestic and impressive breed that is sure to turn heads wherever they go.

Fur Length and Colour

The fur of a Leonberger is one of its most striking features. The breed has a double coat, with a soft and dense undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat. The fur is typically medium to long in length, with males having a slightly longer coat than females. The fur on the neck and chest is particularly thick and luxurious, giving the dog a regal appearance. The fur can come in a range of colours, including golden, red, reddish-brown, and sand. Some Leonbergers may have black masks on their faces, which adds to their distinctive look. The fur is water-resistant, which makes it ideal for the breed’s original purpose as a water rescue dog.

Leonbergers are known for their beautiful fur, which requires regular grooming to keep it in top condition. The breed’s fur can be straight or slightly wavy, and it has a natural shine that adds to its appeal. The fur is thick and plush, providing excellent insulation against the cold. Leonbergers shed moderately throughout the year, with heavier shedding occurring twice a year during seasonal changes. The breed’s fur is an important part of its overall appearance, and it is one of the reasons why Leonbergers are so popular as show dogs. With proper care and attention, a Leonberger’s fur can be a source of pride for its owner.

Termperament and Trainability

Leonbergers are known for their calm and gentle temperament. They are affectionate and loyal to their families, making them great companions. They are also patient with children and other pets, making them a great addition to any household. However, they can be reserved with strangers and may require proper socialization to prevent any shyness or aggression. Leonbergers are intelligent and eager to please, making them highly trainable. They respond well to positive reinforcement and enjoy learning new tricks and tasks. They are also known for their strong work ethic and have been used as therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs, and even as water rescue dogs. Overall, Leonbergers are a great choice for families looking for a loyal and trainable companion.

Leonbergers are a large breed and require proper exercise and training to prevent any destructive behavior. They enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming, but also require mental stimulation through training and playtime. Leonbergers are known for their strong will and may require a firm and consistent hand in training. They are also known for their protective nature and may require proper socialization to prevent any overprotective behavior. Leonbergers are a great choice for experienced dog owners who are willing to put in the time and effort to properly train and socialize them. With proper care and training, Leonbergers can make great family pets and working dogs.

Leonberger Dog ready for training

Known Health Conditions


Openness to Strangers

Leonbergers are known for their friendly and welcoming nature towards strangers. They are a breed that is always eager to meet new people and make new friends. With their gentle and affectionate temperament, Leonbergers are often described as being very sociable and outgoing. They are not shy or reserved around strangers, and will often approach them with a wagging tail and a friendly smile. Leonbergers are also very patient and tolerant, which makes them great with children and other pets. They are a breed that is always willing to share their love and affection with anyone who is willing to receive it.

In addition to their friendly nature, Leonbergers are also very intelligent and adaptable. They are quick learners and are always eager to please their owners. This makes them easy to train and well-behaved around strangers. Leonbergers are also very adaptable to different environments and lifestyles. They can thrive in both urban and rural settings, and are equally comfortable living in apartments or large homes. They are a breed that is always up for an adventure, and are happy to accompany their owners on long walks or hikes. Overall, Leonbergers are a breed that is well-suited to a variety of different lifestyles and are always eager to make new friends along the way.

Playfulness Level

The Leonberger is a highly playful dog breed that loves to engage in various activities with their owners. They are known for their energetic and lively nature, which makes them an excellent companion for families with children. These dogs are always up for a game of fetch or a run in the park, and they thrive on physical activity. Their playful nature also makes them great at learning new tricks and commands, as they are always eager to please their owners. Overall, the Leonberger’s playful personality is one of their most endearing traits, and it is sure to bring joy and laughter to any household.

Despite their large size, the Leonberger is a surprisingly agile and nimble dog breed, which makes them excellent at playing games that require speed and agility. They are also highly social animals, and they love nothing more than spending time with their owners and other dogs. This makes them an ideal breed for dog parks and other social settings, as they are always eager to make new friends and play with other dogs. Additionally, their playful nature makes them an excellent choice for families with active lifestyles, as they are always up for a new adventure. Whether it’s a hike in the mountains or a day at the beach, the Leonberger is sure to bring a sense of fun and excitement to any outing.

Suitability as a Pet for Children

Leonbergers are known for their gentle and affectionate nature, making them a great choice as a family pet. They are highly intelligent and easy to train, which is ideal for families with children who want to be involved in their pet’s care. Leonbergers are also known for their loyalty and protective instincts, which can provide a sense of security for children. Additionally, their thick coat and large size make them great cuddle buddies for children who love to snuggle with their pets.

Leonberger Dog happy with kid

Exercise Needs

Leonbergers require a significant amount of exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. As a large breed, they need plenty of space to run and play, making them better suited to homes with large gardens or access to open spaces. A daily walk of at least an hour is recommended, but they will also benefit from additional activities such as swimming, hiking, or playing fetch. It is important to note that Leonbergers should not be over-exercised as puppies, as this can cause damage to their developing bones and joints. Instead, short, gentle walks and play sessions are recommended until they reach full maturity.

In addition to physical exercise, Leonbergers also require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behavior. Training sessions, puzzle toys, and interactive games can all help to keep their minds engaged. As a highly social breed, they also benefit from spending time with their owners and other dogs. Regular socialization from a young age can help to prevent shyness or aggression towards other dogs. Overall, providing a balanced exercise and mental stimulation routine is essential for the health and happiness of Leonbergers.

Leonberger Dog happy walk exercise

Suitability for a Multi-Pet Family

Leonbergers have a reputation for being friendly and sociable with other pets. They are known to be particularly good with children and are often used as therapy dogs. Leonbergers are also known to be good with other dogs, although they may be more dominant with dogs of the same sex. They are generally not aggressive towards other animals and can coexist peacefully with cats and other small pets. However, as with any breed, early socialization and training are important to ensure that Leonbergers develop good social skills and are well-behaved around other pets.

Leonberger Dog fresh air good for health

Housing Requirements

Leonbergers require a spacious and comfortable living environment that can accommodate their large size and active nature. They need a minimum of 30 square meters of indoor space, with additional outdoor space for exercise and play. The ideal housing for Leonbergers should have a secure and fenced yard, with a sturdy and well-constructed kennel or shelter for protection from harsh weather conditions. The kennel should be large enough to allow the dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. It should also have proper ventilation and insulation to maintain a comfortable temperature. Leonbergers thrive in a home environment where they can interact with their owners and receive plenty of attention and affection.

In addition to a spacious living environment, Leonbergers require a balanced and nutritious diet to maintain their health and well-being. They need a diet that is high in protein and low in fat, with a mix of fresh fruits and vegetables. Leonbergers are prone to obesity, so it is important to monitor their food intake and provide regular exercise to keep them in good shape. They also require regular grooming to keep their thick and dense coat in good condition. This includes brushing and combing their coat at least once a week, and regular bathing to keep their skin and coat clean and healthy. Leonbergers are a loyal and affectionate breed that make great family pets, but they require a dedicated owner who can provide them with the care and attention they need to thrive.


Leonbergers make great pets for families who have plenty of space and time to devote to them. They are known for their loyalty and affectionate nature, and are often described as gentle giants. However, due to their large size, they require plenty of exercise and a diet that is appropriate for their size. They also require regular grooming to keep their thick coats in good condition. Overall, Leonbergers can make wonderful pets for the right family, but it is important to carefully consider their needs before bringing one into your home.


Leonberger Dog FAQS

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Yes, Leonbergers are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively easy to train. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key.

Yes, Leonbergers are known for being great with children and are often referred to as “gentle giants”.

Yes, Leonbergers are prone to hip dysplasia, bloat, and heart issues. Regular vet check-ups are important for their health.

No, Leonbergers are large dogs and require a lot of space to move around. They are better suited for homes with a yard.

Yes, Leonbergers have a thick double coat and shed heavily twice a year. Regular grooming is necessary to manage shedding.

Leonbergers have a lifespan of 8-9 years on average. Proper care and regular vet check-ups can help extend their lifespan.

Leonbergers require moderate exercise, such as daily walks and playtime, to maintain their health and happiness.

The amount of food a Leonberger needs depends on their age, weight, and activity level. Generally, they require 3-4 cups of high-quality dog food per day.

A Leonberger can grow up to 80-90 cm in height.

The average weight of a Leonberger is between 45-77 kg.