The Leonberger is a jumbo-sized working dog that is believed to have originated from Germany. It is also among the oldest breeds coming from the region. The dog is covered by long fur all over the body. This gives it a menacing lion-like appearance. This led to the dog being nick-named the “Gentle Giant, Leo or Gentle Giant.”
In the 1830s a dog breeder, Heinrich Essig, claimed to have created the Leonberger by crossing a female Landseer Newfoundland with a male Saint Bernard. Later on, also a Pyrenean Mountain Dog were added. The first dogs registered as Leonbergers were born in 1846.
Coat, Color and Grooming
The dog’s fur coat is long and think. It comes in golden, lion-yellow, reddish-brown and more. The hair also covers the dog’s distinctive black mask. The coat is soft, smooth and resistant to water. However, leaves, fibers, and other detritus will tend to stick to it especially after a walk.
Despite its intimidating appearance, the Leonberger is very calm and gentle. The dog is also submissive, insensitive to noise and also self-assured. Other traits of the gentle lion include playfulness, mischief, robust, good-hearted and loyal. If properly trained, he makes a good and friendly family dog. However, due to its large size and great strength, the dog should not be left alone around small children.
The Leonberger has an incredible patience, also towards children and noise. If it is too much for the dog, it just simply walks away.
The Leonberger is not recommended as a dog for apartment life. They will do best with a large yard and large space. The Leonbergers prefer cold climates and can easily sleep outside, but as most dogs, prefer to sleep as close to the human members of their family sleep as possible. Usually indoors.
A Leonberger is quite strong and full of energy. This excess energy added to its large size and heavy weight that can reach 100 pounds may make it difficult to constrain the dog. The dog can also get mischievous and also destructive. Therefore, socializing and crate training the dog should start while it is still a very young puppy.
Leonbergers are generally healthy. The only ailment that affects the breed is dysplasia. However, few cases of hereditary diseases such as heart problems, Paralysis/Polyneuropathy (ILPN), osteosarcoma, thyroid disorder, hemangiosarcoma, perianal fistulas, Osteochondrosis Dissecans, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), allergies, entropion/ectropion eyelids, digestive disorders, and cataracts have been reported.