Leonberger | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures


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.

Dog sheet Leonberger

Leonberger photos

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Physical characteristics

The Leonberger is a large, broad-chested, shaggy dog with a contrasting mask on the muzzle and a calm, sometimes somewhat distant gaze. Representatives of this breed are characterized by sexual dimorphism, so even a novice dog owner can distinguish a female from a male.

  • Males weigh about 65-80 kg, with a height at the withers of 72-80 cm.
  • Females weigh around 55-70 kg, with a growth at the withers of 65-75 cm.

Distinctive features

  • Head: The head is large, deep, moderately heavy. The skull is slightly domed with a distinct but smooth stop. The length of the skull and the muzzle are the same. The muzzle is elongated, but not pointed, with a noticeable bump, called “Roman profile”.
  • Jaws: The jaws are pronounced strong. Powerful teeth in complete set. The bite is straight or scissor.
  • Ears: The ears are thick, hanging type, set high, close fitting to the sides of the head.
  • Eyes: The eyes are oval, not too far apart, but not close together. The color of the iris varies from light hazel to dark hazel.
  • Frame: The body is muscular, elegant. The neck is long, strong and athletic, without dewlap. The back is straight, of good width. Withers with pronounced relief. The chest is oval, deep and wide. The croup is massive, rounded. The belly is slightly upturned.
  • Limbs: The legs are parallel, straight, very powerful. The paws are oval with thick pads, united into a fist.
  • Wool: The hairline is double. Psovina slightly soft or rough texture. The undercoat is fluffy and dense. On the neck, chest and thighs, the hairline is much longer than on the rest of the body. The color is sand, yellow, red, fawn or red-brown. The muzzle is always with a black mask.

Character and behavior

The Leonberger is an unsurpassed trickster who knows how to take his place in the heart of the master, but for his part feels affection and love for the owner.

The dog periodically falls into a pensive state, passively observing what is happening around.

In fact, such behavior is deceptive, the Leonberger is an extremely sociable creature, for which contact and communication with household members is important, while there is no craving for leadership. He is well aware of his strength, but he will never use it against the owner and other people.

He is friendly with guests, happily meets on the threshold, but this does not mean that he will let anyone into the territory of the owner. The Leonberger lacks pronounced suspicion and aggression, therefore suspected thieves are frightened off by a dull bass bark and impressive appearance.

With the children

The Leonberger is so patient that he calmly tolerates excessively noisy children’s games. The child is treated with kindness and sincere adoration.

With other animals

Jealousy, competitive wrestling is not in Leonberger’s character. He is indifferent to any living creature, be it a cat or a bird. He maintains friendly relations with dogs, does not seek to dominate.


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.

Life expectancy

The Leonberger on average can live 10-12 years.


The Leonberger breed should be brushed 2-3 times a week, plus accept that there will always be plenty of hair. Many people knit socks, mittens and scarves from this yarn.

Eyes should be cleaned daily, ears – 2-3 times a week, claws trimmed about 3 times a month.

It is advisable to bathe the dog as needed, otherwise 3-4 times a year


Remember that the Leonberger does not tolerate high heat very well, due to the abundance of wool, but it tolerates cold very well.


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.

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.

History of the breed

In the southwest of Germany (Baden Württemberg) lies the city of Leonberg. In the 19th century, Heinrich Essig reigned there. The symbol of the city was a mighty lion, which is depicted on the coat of arms.

Essig was known as a dog lover. In the 1940s, he decided to create a dog that resembled the exterior, habits and strength of a lion.

In the selection process the following breeds were used: Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Great Pyrenees dog, Landseer.

The result pleased the creator of the new breed in 1846. Crossing the above dog types eventually produced offspring that met Essig’s expectations. The new species was named after the city of Leonberg – Leonberger.

The Leonberger has taken from each breed that has participated in its development, all the best: long and lush coat, power, fearlessness, calm disposition, adequate demeanor. This animal became the living embodiment of the lion.

At the end of the 19th century, Leonbergers were mostly held on peasant farms. Farmers, shepherds, farmers valued powerful dogs, using them as guards and carriers.

But over time, lion dogs have gained popularity in high society circles, not only in Germany, but around the world. In 1905, the IFF officially recognized the Leonberger breed.

World War II led to the fact that the purebred representatives of the breed practically disappeared. It was only possible to restore the population of the species in the seventies of the twentieth century.

Currently, Leonberger dogs are not in danger of extinction. They are ideal family dogs, guide dogs and guards.


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