Dog Breeds 101: Leonberger

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Dog Breeds 101 – Leonberger
Photo – Wikipedia – lic. under CC 3.0

The Leonberger is a large and muscular working dog with a soft and gentle expression. These dogs are often described to be vigilant, obedient, calm and confident in all situations. They were originally bred to help in farms and they excel in doing so. These are dogs that can grow up to 31.5 inches tall at the withers and can weigh between 100 to 170 pounds. The dogs’ double coat is straight and soft the touch. This breed has a shorter average life span of 7 years and is not prone to develop any major health issues. [1] [2]

As pets, Leonbergers love to be with their humans and dislike spending a long time in the backyard. However, due to their size, they should never be left alone with children. Early obedience training is a must for these dogs and they need a firm and consistent owner for them to become well-adjusted house pets. They need at least an hour of exercise per day to prevent the development of any undesirable behavior. Since they are large and have a loud bark, they make excellent guard dogs. They get along well with other pets if they were given plenty of socialization while they were young. [2]

The breed came about when a dog breeder from Leonberg, Germany named Heinrich Essig crossed a female Landseer Newfoundland with a St. Bernard. The impressive dogs soon became popular and Essig exported hundreds of Leonbergers outside the country and donated some to royalty including Napoleon II, Prince of Wales and Emperor Napoleon III. The “Internationaler Klub fur Leonberger Hunde Stuttgart” was established 1895 soon after Essig’s death and the first breed standard was created. However, the world wars negatively affected the breed’s population and it is said that the modern Leonbergers can be traced back to only eight dogs which survived World War II. [1] [3]


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