Leonberger

Breed History

Leonberger Puppy

Leonberger is a large and muscular with a medium to long water-resistant double coat. Powerful built working dog that can work multiple jobs with a sense of humility.

Loving and social dog that gets along with humans, dogs, and other animals. Bringing a dog like this into the home will add calm relaxation to the entire household.

Leonberg, Germany is the place they come from and have taken the name of the city. A lot of different dogs take their name from where they’re from like the Chihuahua, Rottweiler, or Newfoundland.

Newfoundland and Saint Bernard’s are the two dogs that are known to have cross bred together to get this breed where it is today. Pyrenees Mountain Dog is also a dog that has some ancestry with this breed as well.

One of several dogs to suffer from post-World War I and II and were facing extinction there were few options to keep the breed alive. Five dogs were left after World War I and only eight after World War II making it hard to avoid extinction without breeding several other dogs.

Watch dogs, farm dogs, cart pulling, rescues, and many other activities shows this dog as being intelligent and rare talent to not only learn but perform as well.

Napoleon family would have several Leonberger dogs during their reign. Edward VIII and Tsar Alexander are known European royalty that would own a Leonberger during their time ruling the country.

19th century dog that didn’t get registration for a long time in America until recent.

Registration

In 2010, the Leonberger become a dog that receives recognition from the American Kennel Club. Long overdue, but there were a few things that were in the way while the Kennel Club worked to get them recognition.

Top 100 in popularity and gaining more registration each year. You will find them in certain areas of the country that aren’t in the major cities that are full of apartments and smaller dogs that tend to be more popular.

Working or Utility group in every major kennel club is the group of dogs you will see them with. They have a long history of working in different capacities and serving the needs of humans.

Here are the Kennel Clubs and their breed standards for this breed.

Leonberger Size

Male Height: 28-32 inches

Female Height: 25-30 inches

Male Weight: 110-170 pounds

Female Weight: 100-140 pounds

Men dogs in this breed are much bigger than the females. It is noticeable and most of the giant dog breeds are the same way. Girl dogs are over 100 pounds, but the boy dogs can reach close to 180.

Litter Size

7 puppies are the average litter size for this breed. Mother dogs have no issues pushing out these large dogs and can have 10 plus dogs on the regular when having some of their litters younger in life.

Colors

  • Red
  • Reddish Brown
  • Sandy
  • Yellow
  • Markings – Black Mask

Note: White can be on the chest in small amounts and on the feet not exceeding the foot. Solid colors and the ones on the list are the only ones that are a part of this dog. Those are the only color requirements.

Leonberger Price

$1,000-$2,000 is the cost of this dog with papers from a reputable Kennel Club. Having papers will increase the quality of the puppy and you will be able to track the bloodline of the dog.

Without papers you can expect to pay a few hundred bucks for a Leonberger. Make sure you are aware of the breed standards when buying a puppy without papers and they should match the size, colors, and coat requirements. Any deviation should give you reason to rethink your purchase.

Grooming

This dog has a double coat and sheds a lot two times during the year.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bathing
  4. Ears
  5. Nails
  6. Professional Help

Brushing the dog should happen on a regular basis, but at least once per week. Helping the dog shed hair with a brush that specializes in the removal of loose hair should be something to consider.

Combing the hair can help the dog in the same way that brushing can help especially during shedding season. When brushing and combing in addition to bathing will help the dog out a lot during this time of the year.

Bathe the dog as you see fit. Some people choose to do it on a schedule and others will do it on gut feeling. The only time you should be bathing often is during shedding season.

Ears should be clean at least once a week to avoid the infections that come with dirty ears. There will be vet visits on a regular basis if you choose to not clean the ears especially in a desert climate.

Trimming the nails can be done naturally when the owner chooses to exercise daily, which we recommend. If you don’t exercise daily, which we don’t recommend, you can trim them with dog nail clippers or pay a groomer.

Professional help is a recommendation for anyone with inexperience with grooming and doesn’t want to take the time to groom the dog.                                     

Leonberger Life Span

7 years is the lifespan of this breed which is relatively short for a dog. Below the average of most dogs so it is important that the owner of this dog understands how close the dog is to passing away.

For example, you adopt a dog that is five years old and you’re going to have it for two years. There are different reports that some live 13 years but that is a very select few that live that long.

Health Issues

Hip Dysplasia – bigger dogs should always have an examination done to the dog’s hip. If there is no favoring of the leg or the dog showing a disinterest in exercising you can do this exam in 24 months. X-rays will show the vet what the condition of the hips are.

Elbow Dysplasia – growth on the elbow will cause discomfort with the dog and it will cause stiffness and other health problems. Again, you will need to have this looked at by a professional to determine if they have it and to what degree.

Thyroid – a few symptoms like weight gain, hair loss, and skin issues are always a byproduct of a malfunctioning Thyroid. Causes of this issue is genetic and the owners should test their dog annually with guidance from their vet. Older dogs will show signs more likely than younger dogs.

Breed Group

Proud member of the Working Group and this dog fits perfectly in this group. Working dogs have done jobs for humans and have done things that humans either can’t do or will be difficult to do on scale.

Guardians, sledding, rescues, herding, and many other activities make up the many talents that you will notice these calls can do. Most of the dogs in this group have had multiple jobs and excelled at them all.

Here are some of the dogs in the Working Group

Exercise Needs

Active dog that needs a lot of exercise. That is a great general statement but let me teach you what they really mean. People who own these dogs don’t give them enough exercise and call them very active instead of calling themselves very lazy.

First and last place you need to look at when trying to figure out how much to exercise the dog is to look at the dog’s behavior. Whether the dog is behaving good or bad will tell you all you need to know when it comes to meeting their minimum requirement.

For example, when the dog is digging, excessive barking, whining, scratching, chewing up items, and other similar behavior that is a dog that is in need of much more exercise.

When the dog is calm, listens to all commands, easy to train with low energy levels that dog is receiving a good amount of exercise. Most people will only experience this in the dog’s old age because they never exercise them. Although it doesn’t sound like much a lot of dogs are in the dog pound because of it.

Here is a basic recommendation we would give to start with and adjust as the behavior adjusts.

Morning: Hour (run, walk, or treadmill)

Evening: 30 minutes (run, walk, or treadmill)

If you are an owner that never did this type of exercise program brace yourself for big changes. Dogs that people think are energetic are far from it. Differences with a daily output and a lazy output will show you if the dog is energetic or deprived.

Lastly, dog need more runs in their youth, almost 50/50 split as a mature adult, and majority walks as a senior dog. Keep these guidelines in mind but remember everything is driven by behavior and adjust always.

Training

  1. Exercise program
  2. Commands
  3. Socialization
  4. Corrections

Exercise program is one of the most demanding parts of having a dog. When in place regardless of how you choose to exercise the dog will benefit mentally and physically. Partnerships are based on commitments to each other and this is the most important commitment you will make with your dog. Benefits include calm behavior, listening always, no biting, walking without leash, and other benefits when done properly. All your time will be right here, and your dog will listen the best because of it.

Commands are so popular and do little to affect behavior. Dogs will listen to every command and still not behave because you haven’t done anything with exercising them. Repetition will teach the dog. I don’t spend much time on this because a teenage, like I did, can train this without any experience.

Socializing the dog is better when the exercise program is in place. For example, you bring the dog to the park after six months of no exercise and it goes crazy. Fights, aggression, and at a minimum growling will occur because something is wrong with your dog. They haven’t been given the proper outlet and are now using the wrong vehicle for that outlet. Give them the exercise and then take them to socialize.

Correct the dog as you see fit. Verbal, hand, or leash should all be done with one goal. Getting the dog’s attention that you don’t have. Timing is more like prevention that correcting the behavior. After you prevent the dog from ever getting close to breaking the rule make them sit or lay after.

Additional Resources