Life span: 8-10 Years
Height: 28 – 31 inches (male), 26 – 29 inches (female)
Weight: 100 – 160 lbs. (male), 90 – 130 lbs. (female)
Originating in Germany, the Leonberger is a very large dog breed with a massively built body. The breed was named after the city of Leonberger in Germany. Known as a working breed, the Leonberger has a well-balanced disposition and a powerful, yet graceful gait. It has a thick coat of long hair which comes in four primary colors – mahogany, sandy, red, and yellow. Although it is large in size, the Leonberger is very good with children.
This loving breed is tolerant and playful with children. They are calm within the household, even lazy at times, although they do need plenty of daily exercise. It is extremely important to train and socialize them properly from a young age.
Their ears are medium sized and flop down, their tail is long and remains down when resting. The eyes are brown with a black nose. Their double coat is made up of a soft and dense undercoat, and a long overcoat that is rough to the touch. Coat colors include black, grey, red, brown and cream colored.
Originating in the 19th century, this breed was created by a German politician and businessman called Heinrich Essig, who lived in Leonberg. According to his records, the breed’s ancestors include Pyrenean Mountain Dog, Newfoundland, and Long haired St. Bernard. Essig’s idea was to create an all white dog, but when he died (in 1889) and his nephew took charge of the breed, their coat was changed to their current colors. Their lion appearance gained them popularity, and in 1891 the first clubs for this breed were created. However, when World War I came around, they nearly went extinct. Thankfully, Karl Stadelmann and Otto Josenhans saved the breed. In 1922 they selectively bred dogs from this breed. In 1970, various Leonberger dogs were exported into the United States, and in 1985 the Leonberger Club of America was formed. It was not until 2010 that the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club.
This loving breed is calm within the household. They are tolerant and playful with children, but due to their large size might accidentally harm younger kids and should therefore be watched around them. It is extremely important for them to be properly socialized throughout their entire life, beginning from a very young age, or they might become aggressive when fully grown. They need to feel they are part of the family, so including them in family activities is important.
This breed can suffer from many diseases, including:
- Allergies that produce the same symptoms you see in humans, and depending on the cause, different treatments can be used.
- Cataracts, in which the lens of the eye clouds, causing partial or complete loss of vision.
- Ectropion, a rolling out of the eyelid that exposes the eye to infections and can be corrected through surgery.
- Entropion, which affects both lower eyelids, is an inward rolling of the eyelid and is treated through various surgeries to prevent ectropion (a rolling out of the eyelid).
- Hip dysplasia, a hereditary disease in which there is an abnormal formation in the hip socket, that may eventually cause painful arthritis. It may also be affected by the environment they reside in.
- Hypothyroidism, a disease that affects the thyroid gland, its symptoms are ear infections, skin infections, hair loss, lethargy, and depression.
- Osteosarcoma, which is a bone cancer typical in large dogs. It is aggressive and often the limb needs to be cut off along with giving the dog chemotherapy.
- Osteochondritis Dissecans, in which the cartilage does not grow properly in the joints, causing pain and stiffness. It is usually seen on the elbows and shoulders.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), in which the dogs may become night blind at first and progressively lose their day eyesight as well.
Brushing should be done daily, with thorough brushing once a week. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, as well as their ears checked for any dirt to prevent infections and teeth brushed.They are not overly energetic, but do need plenty of daily exercise. This could be done by a jog and assuring they have a fenced area to run freely in throughout the day. Training them should be easy, but it is a must to begin training early in age, given their strong personalities. Early socialization is also a must for this breed.