History and Origins
Country of Origin - Germany
The Leonberger was established by Heinrich Essen, the mayor of Leonberg who wanted to create a massive guard dog who would resemble the heraldic lions on the town’s coat of arms. By mixing a variety of breeds, including the Pyranean Mountain Dog and the water loving Newfoundland, he succeeded and by the end of the 19th century the breed was established as a powerful and impressive property guard.
They became popular with royalty and nobility - who were probably the only people able to afford to feed such a canine giant - but two World Wars very nearly saw the end of this breed, with only five surviving the first, and eight the second. Great care was taken to re-establish the breed however and while today the Leonberger is still relatively rare they are gaining in number and popularity.