The Leonberger is huge. A male is between 28 and 31 inches high and a female between 26 and 30 inches. Males between 120 and 170 pounds and females between 100 and 135 pounds.
The breed is named after the town of Leonberg in Germany. It was developed in the mid-nineteenth Century and has Newfoundland and Pyrenean mountain dog in its ancestry.
The population of the breed was decimated during both World Wars. The German army used Leonbergers to pull ammunition carts in both wars and this was a contributing factor to their huge drop in population. It is said that at the end of the First World War only 5 of them were left.
All Leonbergers alive today descended from the eight dogs remaining at the end of World War II .
In their home area Leonbergers were used by Farmers to guard sheep flocks and also for draft work. These days they are widely used as water rescue dogs and but mostly they are family dogs.
As a breed the Leonberger has benefited from sensible action by breeders. Taking advice from the orthopaedic Association for Animals and using x-rays they have screened out animals with hip dysplasia. The rules for the German breeding program for Leonbergers specifies that the only dogs that can be used for breeding are those with no hip dysplasia in their history for three generations. Members of the Leonberger Club of America have also follow these guidelines for more than 20 years. It has reduced the incidence of hip dysplasia in Leonbergers to around 10%. Many other large breeds of dogs could benefit from such a sensible program. Unfortunately they are not long lived. Their average lifespan is about 7 years. Most larger dogs have shorter lifespans than small dogs and the Leonberger lives about 4 years less than the average lifespan for purebred dogs.
Leonbergers as Family Pets
The American Kennel club ranks the Leonberger as the 97th most popular breed in the United States. If you can cope with their large size they make the most wonderful pets. The Leonberger is well known for its temperament. They should still be socialized and trained but you will end up with a great dog. They are friendly towards kids and submissive to family members. They tend not to be aggressive towards other dogs. They react well when introduced to new people. On the other hand they will protect their family or the family’s property when needed.
The Appearance of the Leonberger.
The Leonberger is a large dog. He is sometimes known as the gentle giant.
After the Second World War breeding started again the Newfoundland was reintroduced into the bloodlines and this has resulted in a darker dog than the original dogs. The American Kennel Club recognizes 4 colors and one marking.
It has a double coat and the face has a black mask.
It is a dimorphic breed with the male and female looking different to each other. The male looks very masculine and can have a lion-like mane. While the mail looks distinctly masculine the female looks equally feminine. It is easy to distinguish between males and females.
The Leonberger as strong jaws and a Scissor bite. It has a large head which is in proportion to its body.
It has a double coat which is water-resistant. The outer coat is distinctive.
The Leonberger has a beautiful temperament and is very easy to get along with. Thanks to the effort of breeders, it suffers much less from genetic diseases another large dogs. They are a good choice for family pets with a couple of disadvantages - one of these is there a large size and the other is everyone to be short lives.