The Leonberger is a large and powerful dog, and is also known for his grace and aristocratic elegance. Distinctive features of the breed include a medium length rain coat, lush triangular ears, a bushy tail and a black mask that frames cheerful brown eyes. A kindness which is reflected in a peaceful and conciliatory temperament.
This gigantic German dog is not suitable for small houses, it is perfect for an active family wishing to have a large dog that barks at home. As a watchdog and versatile worker, he demonstrates intelligence and good judgment. In addition, the Leonberger has a heart almost as big as its size. He is intelligent, loyal, loving, serene and protective. In addition, this breed has also been used as a rescuer and even as a rescue dog in mountainous areas.
Leonberger stands out among the rest of the breeds for its enormous dimensions and extraordinary power, which can be seen in all parts of the body. Uninformed people do not see the difference between the Caucasian Shepherd dog and Leonberger. Indeed, these dogs are very similar to each other with regards to the exterior, but they have completely different characters.
Leonberger is compared to a lion. He is just as powerful, beautiful, proud. Interestingly, this dog perfectly combines strength, poise, restraint. Leonbergs are not aggressive, they love children, show friendliness to people. Representatives of the breed distinguished themselves as companions, guides, guards.
We encourage you to learn more about this giant dog in this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ breed sheet.
We are dealing with a relatively modern breed, which appeared in Leonberg, Germany, in 1846. Originally, the Leonberger dog was an attempt by Mr. Heinrich Essig to create a dog that resembled a lion. But what he created was a gigantic dog with reddish yellow fur and black spots on the muzzle and ears. But without any other similarity with the lions.
The dogs have been successfully marketed by their German creator. Become popular with celebrities and wealthy people of the time. Although Essig was not focused on the details of keeping breeding records, he claimed that he used the long-haired Saint Bernard, the black and white Newfoundland and a dog of the Pyrenees to establish the breed. Local farm dogs may also have contributed to the mix.
Interestingly, and despite the fact that they were looking for a royal dog, the Leonberger has been used as a versatile working dog on farms, pastures and waterfronts. He is surprisingly agile and an excellent swimmer. Pulling the cart is a specialty of the breed, an activity that offers a pleasant outlet for its prodigious strength.
Characteristics of the Leonberger
The Leonberger is a very large and strong dog, visibly muscular. This giant of good humor is distinguished by a black mask which covers almost all his face and a corpulence which shows without any doubt all his power. Its appearance may resemble that of a lion, although it is not from this animal that it takes its name.
A proportionally large head with long ears hanging down on both sides is striking, and a pronounced mane which swells especially on the chest. Its eyes are large, dark and deep, and its powerful and broad muzzle. The Leonberger is a large swimmer and, like all similar breeds, can show webbed feet that allow it to move easily in water.
It is an incredibly light dog in motion despite its size, which is also trained to perform various tasks, such as search and rescue of people, and is also ideal as a companion dog. The Leonberger combines strength and agility, in addition to coordination, and shows significant differences between women and men, both in size and weight and in shape.
The Leonberger is a very large dog, one of the giants that exists among the dog breeds. The male can easily measure 80 centimeters, its average being 75, and specimens measuring less than 70 centimeters are not easy to find. Females, on the other hand, measure on average 70 centimeters, and specimens between 65 and 75 centimeters can be found.
Regarding the weight, a male should weigh between 55 and 77 kilos, slightly less for females, generally between 45 and 61 kilos. With these proportions, it is not surprising that it is not a dog suitable for all types of owners, especially those who have no previous experience in handling large dogs or who have no not enough space for the animal.
The Leonberger’s coat is double-layered, with a very dense and smooth inner layer, and a rougher, very thick and long outer layer, which is only shortened at the base of the head and on the legs. The tail, too, is long and full of long fur, and is generally pendulous, even in motion. The color of this breed is eminently fawn, in addition to the black mask that covers its face.
Leonberger behavior and character
The Leonberger dog is very calm and confident. He is very easy to manage because of his docility and his loyalty to his family. He is also very intelligent, so it is easy to train him as long as he is done correctly and as a puppy. He is as tall as he is gentle, patient and tender. He gets along particularly well with children, which he tolerates all kinds of games and which also protects. Although not a dangerous or aggressive breed, its size makes strangers discouraged from entering the property.
The shaggy giant treats other pets well. He does not fight with other four-legged animals, and he will not chase cats or ferrets. On the other hand, the patience of the most seasoned Leonberger will burst if you persistently pester him.
The Leonberger is a calm dog, something that is indicated in his gaze, as we told you before. He is intelligent and self-assured, as well as very loyal and docile qualities, which makes his training very easy. However, because of its tenderness, this formation must be firm but pleasant at the same time. It does not support rumbling or shouting; it will close and it will learn nothing.
It is ideal as a watchdog, as it is not afraid of strangers and does not generally like them. He is familiar, so he will be ready to give his life for his own if necessary.
Note! Qualities of Leonberger’s character are self-confidence, self-esteem, desire to obey, immunity to external stimuli, good memory and ability to train. These dogs have a playful and lively temperament.
The Leonberger on average can live 10-12 years. By nature, he was given good health. In order to maintain it in excellent condition and to extend the years of life as long as possible, the owner must create the necessary conditions of detention and proper care.
It is important to undergo routine examinations with a Leonberger every year in a veterinary clinic with tests and an X-ray examination. It is also necessary to do the scheduled vaccination, treatment for skin parasites (especially in the spring-summer period) and deworming on time.
With a small puppy who has not yet been vaccinated, it is impossible to undergo socialization, taking him outside the house. A fragile, unvaccinated organism can easily catch an infection on the street.
The owner of a Leonberger must know what health problems the breed is predisposed to:
- Joint dysplasia – most often Leonberger develops dysplasia due to excessive stress or for age reasons.
- Oncological diseases – often observed in Leonbergers older than 6-7 years.
- Ectropia, entropy – in severe form, can lead to complete loss of vision. It cannot be treated, can be eliminated only with the help of an operation.
- Arthritis – inflammation of the joints, accompanied by severe pain.
- Inversion of the intestine – most often due to improper feeding.
- Eosinophilic osteomyelitis is a pathology that is characterized by acute or chronic infectious bone inflammation.
- Skin diseases – dermatitis, allergic reactions.
- Addison’s disease – the cause is the malfunctioning of the adrenal glands or hormonal disorders.
A huge Leonberger, of course, will be closely and not comfortable living in a small apartment. Therefore, it is recommended to keep such a dog in a private large house or in a spacious aviary.
Each content method has its own nuances:
- If the Leonberger lives in the house, he needs compulsory walks 2 times a day, lasting about 2 hours each. It’s good if you walk with your pet to the training ground, where you can repeat commands with him. This will give him not only physical, but also mental stress.
- When keeping Leonberger in the courtyard, it is strictly forbidden to keep on a chain or not let out of the enclosure for walks. The enclosure should be spacious with a dog house or a large booth. You need to communicate with the dog as often as possible and let it out of the aviary, providing the opportunity to walk without restrictions on freedom.
Heat and cold are not terrible for representatives of this breed. Thick coat protects the dog from frost and overheating. Although it is not recommended to heavily load the Leonberger in hot weather, it is better to take walks in the summer in the morning and in the evening.
Note! You cannot constantly keep the dog on a leash or close it in a cage – he must calmly walk around the territory and be not just a watchdog, but a family member who is given attention every day.
It is worth noting that the large dimensions do not prevent the Leonberger from being an excellent swimmer. He is not afraid of water and enjoys splashing around in natural reservoirs. So, the owner needs to find opportunities to walk with the pet to the river or the lake in the warm season.
Long hair requires effort and attention from the owner. It needs to be combed out three times a week, so that no tangles are formed, and the dog would look well-groomed. For these procedures, you will need a slicker, brushes and a furminator.
Leonberger has a positive attitude towards water procedures, but major bathing with detergents is required only 2-3 times a year. Exceptions are cases of severe pollution or swimming in the summer in water bodies. Frequent use of shampoo can lead to drying out of the skin and allergic reactions. After bathing, the hair needs to be dried and combed.
The list of necessary procedures for the care of Leonberger includes ear cleaning. This should be done 2 times a week with a damp cotton swab dipped in a special solution.
It is important to brush your dog’s teeth regularly using a brush and toothpaste. An easier way is to feed the dog solid fruits and bones from the veins.
Claws usually grind while walking on the road surface. If shearing is required, we do it with a nail clipper designed for large breeds.
A large dog naturally needs quite a bit of food. But this does not mean at all that portions of Leonberger should be dimensionless. It is forbidden to overfeed, otherwise obesity and subsequent health problems are threatened.
Adult dogs are fed 2 times a day. Norms are best determined with the help of a veterinarian. Water, fresh and cool, should always be available.
The feeding method is allowed both natural and artificial. When natural, you need to add the necessary amount of vitamins, minerals, and also provide about 60-70% of protein foods in the general diet.
When artificial, it is important to buy ready-made feed of a premium class from trusted sellers. It is important that the feed is intended for large dogs and is appropriate for the age of the pet.
If you live in a city apartment or house in a small suburban town, this may not be the breed for you. The adult Leonberger is generally calm and moderate, but must do vigorous exercise once a day. Puppies and adolescents are active and exuberant.
Adult dogs can enjoy jogging or hiking with their owner or follow a bike. A large patio with a tall, solid fence is the perfect place to run a Lion. Remember, these are working dogs, that is, pulling a cart and agility training are two good ways for a Leonberger to do the activity he needs.
A balanced diet is the key to the health of any dog. Leonberger is very large and heavy, he eats a lot and the quality of the feed should be good. Most owners opt for natural food. The basis of the diet is cereals and meat with the addition of vegetables and herbs. The menu is supplemented by fermented milk products, eggs, and in rare cases sea fish. During the period of active growth, vitamin and mineral supplements are required, prescribed by a veterinarian. If desired, the dog can be transferred to ready-made industrial food. Naturally, its quality should not be lower than premium. It is also worth paying attention that the food is suitable for large and giant dogs.
The representative of the breed has a slow metabolism, so it is not prone to gluttony. It is impossible to force-feed, especially puppies, which have a fragile musculoskeletal system. The dog’s natural diet consists of:
- Lean meat Lean cuts and cuts
- Fish Only boneless marine fillets
- Vegetables and fruits Carrots, cabbage, apples
- Unrefined vegetable oil Added to vegetable salads for 1 tsp. in a day
- Rice porridge, buckwheat
- Fermented milk products Kefir, buttermilk
It is necessary to feed the pet only with the help of a special stand so that he does not bend over for food – this causes the stomach to stretch. At 2 months, the puppy should eat 5-6 times a day, at 4 months – 4 times, 7 – 3-4 times, an adult dog should eat twice a day. It is helpful to give your dog cartilage and ribs.
It is forbidden to give to Leonberger:
- Bread and pasta.
- Fat meat.
Training and education
In the first days of a puppy’s stay in your house, you should find contact with him and strengthen a trusting relationship. When the little Leonberger adapts to new conditions, to a new home, you can begin to educate. The puppy must know the rules of behavior in the house and learn the simplest commands: “not allowed”, “place”, “near”, etc.
After the first vaccination, it is necessary to socialize the pet. During walks outside the house, accustom him to loud noises, vehicles, passers-by, animals. Thanks to innate adequacy and poise, Leonberger quickly socializes, in public places he will never create problems and will not provoke conflict situations.
When the puppy turns six months old, you can proceed to the general course of training. Such training is quite possible to conduct independently at home, referring to the advice, tips of dog handlers.
After OKD, you should go through a protective course of dog training with Leonberger. Such training takes place under the guidance of an experienced specialist in training sites.
Leonberger Dog Fun Facts
- The Leonberger breed is a living embodiment of the coat of arms of the city of Leonberg.
- Leonberger in translation sounds like “lion of the mountain” or “lion mountain”.
- Leonbergers are used to save sinking.
- In 2005, a monument to Leonberger breed was erected in Leonberg.
- In Germany, pedigree Leonberger puppies were presented by noble people to the rulers of other cities and countries as an expensive present.
- The difference between the breed is calm and equanimity, its representatives even without special training do not respond to shots, thunder and other sharp, loud sounds.
- The first Leonbergers arrived in the United States in the 1970s. Thereafter, they became very popular across the country for their looks and friendliness. In addition, years later, some copies starred in the movie “The Call of the Wild: Dog of the Yukon”, so they had a new peak of fame, around 1997.
- Although they are quite lazy dogs and love to sleep and rest, they do not bear solitude well, so they are not recommended for families who spend too much time away from home. Loneliness could cause him to have undesirable behaviors, which in a dog of these dimensions are really destructive.
Pros and cons of the breed
Like every other dog breed, Leonberger has its pros and cons. Having familiarized themselves with them, it will be easier to determine whether your pet is or whether such a dog is completely not suitable for you.
- Does not strive for dominance.
- Obedience, easy to train.
- Stable psyche.
- Indifference to loud sounds.
- Friendliness, love for children.
- The absence of unjustified aggression.
- Excellent watchdog qualities.
- Requires daily, active walking.
- Not recommended for apartment maintenance.
- A relatively short life span.
Today, it is relatively easy to find Leonberger breeders almost anywhere in the world. Therefore, if you want to share your life with a specimen of this breed, go to a specialized and experienced breeder of the breed, because only then will you have all the first-hand information and all the health guarantees of the giant puppy.