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Your Pet, Our Passion.

Leonberger

The Leonberger is a large, strong and muscular dog. They have an unusual feature, webbed feet, which makes them good swimmers. They can be lion gold, red, reddish-brown, sandy (fawn or cream) and all combinations in between, with a black mask.

The need-to-know
  • Dogs suitable for experienced owners
  • Extra training required
  • Need to be aware of potential health issues
  • Enjoys active walks
  • Enjoys more than two hours of walking a day
  • Giant dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming daily
  • Quiet dog
  • Barks, alerts and may be physically protective/suspicious of visitors
  • Could have issues with unknown dogs but gets along with known dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Best suited to countryside
  • Can be left occasionally with training
This breed may encounter health problems

Leonberger dogs can suffer from:
- Hip dysplasia 
- Elbow dysplasia
- Gastric dilatation volvulus 
- Glaucoma which is a painful condition where the pressure in the eye builds up. 
- Hereditary cataracts which is a condition where the lens in the eye becomes cloudy and this can result in blindness. 
- Leonberger polyneuropathy which is a neuromuscular disease the causes nerve loss.
- Leukoencephalomyelopathy which is a nervous disease affecting the spinal cord.

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme 
- Elbow dysplasia screening scheme
- Eye screening scheme 
- Eye testing for pectinate ligament abnormality testing to look for signs that a dog is affected by glaucoma.

Key Facts

Lifespan: 7-8 years (but can be longer)
Weight:  30 - 50kg 
Height:  65 - 80cm 
Colours:  Lion gold, red, reddish brown, sandy (fawn or cream), with a black mask. 
Size:  Giant
UK Kennel Club Groups: Working

Ratings

Family-friendly: 3/5
Exercise needs: 3/5
Easy to train: 3/5
Tolerates being alone: 3/5
Likes other pets: 3/5
Energy level: 2/5
Grooming needs: 5/5
Shedding: 5/5
Leonberger is lying near a snowy forest

Personality

Leonbergers should easy-going, placid, loyal and even-tempered but they are also self-confident and strong sometimes displaying their guard dog ancestry. They get on well with other pets and children and are often endlessly patient and surprisingly playful for such a large dog. 

Leonberger is standing on a path near the forest

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. 

Did you know?

Did you know?

To start with the Leonberger wasn’t an intentional breed. They were created when the monks of St Bernard were trying to improve the St Bernard breed. They were the first to cross their own dogs with Newfoundlands but didn’t like the result but thankfully the Mayor of Leonberg did!