Leonberger Association of NSW




What is a Leonberger?  


The Leonberger is a large dog with few drawbacks for those who enjoy large, loyal, gentle, beautiful, water loving, hairy, active, fun-loving, social dogs.


The Leonberger originated in Germany in the Mid 1800's.  The mayor of the town of Leonberg wanted a Large dog that looked like the Lion on the Leonberg town crest.  He acheived this by crossing many Mountain breed dogs including the Saint Bernard, Newfoundland and Pyremean Mountain dog.  we have ended up with not only a dog that resembles a Lion in more ways than just looks but it has inherited both the great temperament and love of water from is ancestors


ORIGIN -  Leonberg  -  Germany     1846

BRED FOR -  Bred as a Companion and family dog.   To resemble a Lion to represent the Leonberg town crest.

HEIGHT  -  Dogs 72cm  - 80cm     Bitches 65cm  -  75cm

WEIGHT -  Dogs 50kg  -  80kg      Bitches  40kg  -  60kg


COLOURS  - lion Yellow,   Cream,   Golden to red-Brown.    All with Black Mask and black ear tips.

AGE  -    10 - 12 years is about normal but they can live into there early teens.   for a Giant Breed they are considered quite long lived.

EXERCISE  -   a good walk and free run every day.  Better still a swim at the beach and a good play with other doggy friends at the local park.




ARE THEY GOOD WITH CHILDREN? - Generally Leos love children but they must be will socialized and trained as they are BIG dogs and a child could easily be knocked over by an over enthusiastic Leo.

As with any dog no child should be left un-supervised with dogs.    As much as Leos are, as a rule, great with kids, it pays to teach a child to respect and be kind towards any dog.


THE IDEAL OWNER  -    The Leonberger is a big dog with few drawbacks for those who enjoy large, beautiful, water loving, hairy, active, fun-loving dogs.  These dogs love the company of people and dogs and other animals..  They do best if not left alone for long periods as they are a VERY social dog.  Your Leo will enjoy being part of the family and being involved in your activites. 

The Temerament is suitable for familys, children and other pets as long as you train them and socialise them so they know how to behave around children etc.    The breed is generally healthy, and unlike many large breeds, does NOT tend to dominate over people or other animals which makes them a delight to live with.

The Leonberger's biggest drawbacks is the coat.. they tend to shed some coat most of the year with one or two major coat changes a year depending on whether your dog is de-sexed or not.. When a Leo is Desexed the coat tends to grow a little longer and get a bit thicker and they dont molt as much.    The more brushing you do the less you will need to vaccum.  


In short they are not for everyone but once you fall in love with Leos you will find it hard to stop at just one.


OTHER PETS ?  -  As a general rule Leos are very good with other dogs and other pets.  Most Leos love a good romp down the park with other dogs of any size..  With smaller Animals like chickens  I find them ok  BUT you need to keep a good eye on some of the more active Leos when they are young so make sure they dont PLAY with them as with there size they could easly kill them even when they dont mean too.. (Even an 8 week Leo is around 8 to 10kgs...) so its up to the owner to not leave a puppy alone to get up to mischife.


 COAT MAINTAINENCE  -   Coat is semi-long to long and can get VERY thick in winter so a daily brush is needed to help keep the coat free of knots and will help reduce the shedding of coat arond the house.    It is important to keep the long fluffy areas well groomed such as around the ears, tail, back pants.  If you groom these area's every day you can get away with the main body coat once a week...  but if you let it go for too long specialy if your dog gets wet  you will find the coat getting matted...  


DO THEY GET HOT?  -  I often get asted this here in Australia..  Well I live in Sydney and I find that the Leos just never get that thick under coat as they would in there home country where it very cold and snows in winter..   So our Aussie Leos tend to shed more coat and they also sleep more on the hot days..  they will find a cool spot often in the bathroom or in front of the fan / Acconditioning and just sleep through the heat of the day,  once the cool of the evening arrives the Leos come alive!  Leos are not the sort of dog that you would take for a run at lunch time on a hot day in summer..  So be prepared to take them for a walk in the coolness of early morning or late at night. 

I find that if you keep the coat well groomed and thined out so that the air can get to the skin and if you are senible with excerising them in summer then there should not be a problem. You may want to send them to a groomer a few times a year to remove the undercoat if you find it difficult...  

Also a good idea is a wading pool for them to soak in when they get hot...  only down side to this is if they run into the house after being in the pool... that coat holds a lot of water.   


NO DROOL - But that does NOT mean No MESS..   Leos Love water even if its only in a small bowl,  Most Leos drink with at least one Leg in the bucket even if its hard to then get your face in to drink.... the bigger the bowl the better but if big enough they will climb right in.  


So to sum up todays Leonberger,  they are Loyal, Graceful, beautiful, funny, water loving,  hairy,  gentle, enthusiastic, loving, powerful, social, family dog, that is sometimes clumsy and sometimes so laid back its amost horizontal.        Did I mention they love water....  


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