The Leonberger is a large, strong and muscular dog. They have an unusual feature, webbed feet, which makes them good swimmers. They can be lion gold, red, reddish-brown, sandy (fawn or cream) and all combinations in between, with a black mask. Adult males measure 72-80cm and weigh 34-50kg. Adult females measure 65-75cm and weigh 30-50kg.
- Category size: Giant
- Grooming requirements: More than once a week
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Usually quiet
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Working
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: High
- Stability as a guard: Medium
The Leonberger dog breed was created in the 1840s to resemble the lion of the Leonberg town crest. It is a cross between a Newfoundland and St Bernard, and a backcross to a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. They became very popular and many distinguished people owned them. However, during World War I they almost died out, as people could not afford to feed them. The handful of dogs that were left were bred from carefully until World War II when they were nearly all lost again. Today the Leonberger dog is still relatively rare but it is gaining in number and popularity.
Leonbergers should be easy-going, placid, loyal and even-tempered. They get on well with other pets and children and are playful. They learn quickly and, because of their large size, training is especially important and should be started as early as possible
As with many breeds, Leonberger dogs can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip and elbow dysplasia (joint conditions that can be painful and lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
As a puppy, this dog should not be over exercised or allowed up and down stairs. When the bones are properly developed then the exercise can be gradually increased. The adult Leonberger dog should have long walks and loves to run around and play. They also have a great love of water and like nothing better than a good swim. A couple of hours' daily exercise is advised for a fit adult.
Giant-breed dogs, as well as having giant appetites, benefit from a different balance of minerals and vitamins, supporting different joint and cartilage needs. Leonbergers are also prone to bloating and stomach problems; try feeding smaller, more frequent meals to help minimise the risk.
The Leonberger has a double coat, which consists of a fairly long, close top coat and a thick undercoat. There is a 'mane' of longer/thicker hair around the neck and chest, and feathering on the legs. The coat needs to be brushed two or three times a week to remove any dead and loose hair and keep it in good order.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information