Male Height (typical): 73.5-80 cm. (29-31.5 inches)
Female Height (typical): 64.5-75 cm. (25.9-29.5 inches)
Male Weight (typical): 60 kg. (132 pounds)
Female Weight (typical): 47.5 kg. (105 pounds)
Country of Origin: Germany
Exercise Required: Daily long walks.
Expected Life Span: 8-9 Years
Best suited as: Working Dog, Family Pet
Other names: Leo
Description – The Leonberger is a larger dog that originated in Germany and was bred to be a great family companion. One interesting thing about this breed is the variety in appearance between the male and female. Unlike other breeds that simply vary in size and weight but share many of their other physical traits, the Leonberger males look different from the females. For example, the male has a broader and larger head with a more muscular body. The female in contrast has a smaller head and somewhat slender body. Both of them share the distinctive black “mask” regardless of their sex or coloring. While not specifically bred for a particular task, the Leonberger is adaptable enough to handle quite a few. They make great working dogs for herding and can also track very well as a hunting companion. The role the breed prefers is family pet and will bond very quickly with those around them.
Origin & History – This breed originated in Germany in 1846 in Leonberg with a breeder named Heinrich Essing. He crossbred the St. Bernard, Newfoundland and the Great Pyrenees to create an entirely new breed that was named after the town of its origin. His intention was to start a breed that resembled a lion with a powerful frame and large mane of hair. This regal dog soon became very popular with the royalty of Europe and was found in many of their homes. As with most European breeds, the Leonberger was almost extinct after World War II and was only rescued from this fate by the efforts of the Germans to start breeding the line again. They soon regained their numbers and quickly became popular all over the world. The first Leonberger dogs were brought to the United States in 1971 and has enjoyed a steady growing popularity ever since.
Temperament – The Leonberger is known for its even temper and love for human companionship. Even though the dog presents a formidable frame, it hides a very gentle disposition. This dog is very tolerant of children and if antagonized will retreat rather than react aggressively. They are also a very intelligent breed and eager to please their masters. They can be taught to respond to many simple commands and are quick learners. They are very affectionate dogs and crave the approval of their families in whatever they are doing.
Exercise & Grooming – This is a larger breed that requires a regular schedule of exercise. Even though they may be able to get this exercise in a larger backyard, they quickly become bored because of their higher intelligence. They need to have a lot of human interaction and both long walks and playtime will allow them the exercise they crave. Because of their long and thick coats the Leonberger will need to be brushed a few times a week to remove any loose hair. These brushing times are something the dog will look forward to since it gives them another point of interaction with their master.
Health Concerns – Larger dogs typically live shorter lives than other breeds and the Leonberger is no exception. They mature very quickly from pup to adult and one of their main health concerns is not getting enough exercise to help them grow. If they consume their food and are docile they may put on weight, which can lead to other health issues. These larger breeds can also suffer from hip dysplasia as they age and this can be checked by your veterinarian on their regular visits.
Leonberger Organisations in Australia
Leonberger Association of Victoria Inc
Leonberger Organisations in the UK
Leonberger Club of Great Britain
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