Leonberger Breed information
The Gentle Giant
The Leonberger is a steady, affectionate, giant breed dog. Read on to learn more about this special breed of dog....
Temperament and socialization: Our Leos are steadfast, faithful, and affectionate. They are very much a family dog, and thrive in an active, engaging environment where they can tightly integrate into the family. They are used in therapy and rescue, and have extraordinary intelligence. Given the size and shear strength of a Leonberger, it is an absolute must that they receive continuous training and socialization through their early years. Leonbergers, while steady, are also very sensitive to family dynamics, and as such thrive best in a grounded and healthy family situation. Leos attach to the family, and quickly integrate. With solid training and socialization, they can serve a number of duties outside of the family pet including therapy, water and mountain rescue, as well as standard conformation, agility, and obedience oriented activities. Leos are incredibly faithful and loyal and consider themselves one of the family. In general they are very mild mannered and are incredibly friendly to others, children, and other pets. Most have an inordinant amount of patience for children, and are considered to be child safe.
A great write up on Leonberger temperament can be found on the LCA Characteristics and Temperament page.
Activity: Leonbergers more often than not are much higher energy than other giant breed dogs. This means they need room to move, and are best suited to large yards. Leos need to be walked, talked, and engaged. There is nothing more worrisome than a 160lb adolescent male dog who is bored out of his mind and stuck inside a house all day. Save yourself, save the dog, if you cannot commit to giving a Leo the exercise and play it will need, then look to another breed of dog. Leos typically love water, in fact they have webbed feet and typically excel at swimming. Overall energy levels vary, some are more active than others rangefrom average energy to turbo mode. And finally, a Leos #1 exercise usually involves a sport called "counter surfing", i wont wreck the surprise for you, i'll keep you guessing.
To learn more about working Leonbergers, please visit the LCA Working Leos page.
Health: Leonbergers being the large dogs they are do suffer from typical giant breed dogs issues including skeletal related issues. The smartest thing you could ever do to ensure that any Leonberger you are lucky enough to be owned by is to make sure that you get your Leo from a reputable LCA Leonberger breeder. Well bred Leonbergers usuallly have an 8-9 year life span and lead healthy lives. Being giant dogs, if Leonbergers are spayed/neutered before the growth plates close at approximately 2 years of age, the dogs will gain extra height, weakening and thinning the bones which can present skeletal issues later in life. Leonbergers are big make no mistake and much stronger than most people including big burly men.
Grooming: Imagine a large buffalo molting in your living room twice a year. All joking aside, this dog sheds year round and by the pound. In the Spring there will be a large molt, litterally pounds of hair. It will get everywhere, there is no avoiding it, give up now. If you like to wear black clothing, good luck! In early Winter they will shed their Summer coat and put on a terrific looking Winter coat. Again, hair everywhere. Being dogs, they require all the usual dog fanfare, clipping nails (1inch+), cleaning teeth (1inch+), and a bath once in a while. Leonbergers have double coats, one is rougher than the other and water proof. Having long coats, they will quickly mat if you do not give them a thorough brushing once or twice a week.
Abode: Leos, being the active giant breed dogs that they are will take their toll on your house. They are about as kind to a house as a buffalo would be indoors. They will track in and out everything you can possibly imagine. A 150lb dog with 1 inch claws is not so good for carpet... just my opinion, but take it for what it is worth! When they are young and teething, be sure to keep their mouths occupied, though this is true for all pups regardless of breed. They have incredibly strong jaws and strong wills when motivated which can lead to remodeling if they are not in a stable environment.
Finding a reputable breeder: Leonbergers are an uncommonly rare breed of dog, luckily for you, the LCA has had a breeding program for kennels for over a decade. To find great breeder and kennel, and consequently a great dog, please visit our Leonberger Breeder and Kennel page.
If you want a 150lb giant dog who thinks its a 5lb lap dog, who will follow you everywhere including the bathroom and shower, who is strong enough to pull a full grown man to shore, who will shed enough hair to kickstart your knitting career, and who will return every ounce of love and affection given it 10 fold, then maybe, just maybe this breed is for you. If you have more questions about our beloved breed, we encourage you to join our website and poke through the forums looking for other information, or answers to questions. Who knows, you migh even wind up an LCA and RMLC member!
Please visit THE source for Leo information on the web, our parent club website: Leonberger Club of America website.