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Leonberger Breed Summary

Intelligent, Energetic, Loyal and Obedient

These dogs are well-known for their dashing looks and noble lion-like manes! For this reason, they look very powerful in appearance! However, they are really just gentle giants and have even been nicknamed with this phrase as well.

Leonbergers are not the best breed for first-time owners and need to be trained and handled by experienced individuals. They need to be placed in a house that is big enough for them to run around in and also need a large and secure garden to stretch their legs out!

Fun Fact: They absolutely adore being in the water, no matter what the weather!

Kennel Club Group Working
Lifespan 8 - 9 Years
Height (at the withers) Males 72cm - 80cm, Females 65cm - 75cm
Weight Males 54kg - 77kg, Females 40kg - 60kg
Coat A Double Coat with a Harsher Top Coat and a Softer, Thick Undercoat with a Slight Wave
Colour Gold, Gold with Black Mask, Golden Red & Black Mask, Lion & Black Mask, Lion Red with Black Mask, Red, Red & Black, Red Black Mask, Red Brown & Black Mask, Red Gold & Black Mask, Red with Black Muzzle, Sandy
Eye colour Brown or Dark Brown
Common health issues Hip dysplasia, Elbow dysplasia, Eye issues, Glaucoma, Addison's disease, Anal furunculosis, Cancer, Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), Bloat/gastric torsion, Hypothyroidism, Intussusception, Leukoencephalomyelopathy (LEMP), Inherited Leonberger Polyneuropathy & Laryngeal Paralysis (LP AND PN), Panosteitis, Pyometra
Other Names Leo, Gentle Lion, Gentle Giant

These big dogs have very high energy levels and are also extremely intelligent. Because of this, they are both easy to train and perform very well in sports and competitions, such as Agility and Obedience. They get along well with other animals, such as cats and horses – and especially humans! Because of this, they shouldn’t be kept outside as they want to be surrounded by family as much as possible. They make fantastic therapy dogs and their fluffy affectionate ways will leave the whole family besotted!

Like many breeds, the Leonbergers’ history remains a mystery. It’s thought that they first appeared in 1846 and were potentially created by Heinrich Essig, the mayor of the town Leonberg! It’s thought that the Hospice St Bernard kindly sent down some St Bernard dogs to breed with another mystery dog. The new breed became extremely popular and Essig was able to sell up to 300 puppies a year until his death. In 1895, a breed standard was created but the effects of WW1 almost wiped the breed out, with only five being left at one point! They are now a fairly rare breed and nearly all these dogs in the UK can be traced back to the 1970s, when a man named Dave Gower bought a male and female from abroad!