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The Leonberger: A Large and Friendly Pet Dog Breed

Linda Crampton is a biology teacher, writer, and long-time pet owner. She currently has dogs, cats, and birds in her family.

Dylan the Leonberger as a puppy

Dylan the Leonberger as a puppy

What Is a Leonberger?

Leonbergers have a reputation for being gentle giants. They are intelligent, friendly, and playful dogs. They are affectionate and loyal family members and patient with children and other animals in the home. They are also good watchdogs. A well-trained and socialized Leonberger makes a wonderful pet.

Leonbergers are often called Leos by their families. Based on what I've experienced during my years with a Leo as a pet, the breed is unfamiliar but attractive for many people. People often stop to stroke our dog when we take him for a walk and ask us questions about him. Leos are generally great ambassadors for their breed.

Dylan at eighteen months old after playing with his brother

Dylan at eighteen months old after playing with his brother

History of the Breed

The Leonberger breed was created in the mid 1800s by Heinrich Essig, a politician, businessman, and dog breeder in the town of Leonberg, Germany. He reportedly wanted to breed a dog that looked like the lion on the town’s crest. He began by crossing a Landseer Newfoundland female with a male Saint Bernard. As he continued to develop his new breed he added a Great Pyrenees into the mix. Eventually the Leonberger was created.

Scala (on the left) and another Leonberger that she met in a park

Scala (on the left) and another Leonberger that she met in a park

Pets, Therapy Dogs, Show Dogs, and More

Today Leonbergers are family pets as well as therapy, working, and show dogs. They often participate in competitive events such as obedience, carting, herding, water rescue, and agility. All of these activities can be fun for both Leos and their owners and may be helpful for other people. They should only be performed if a dog enjoys them, however.

A Leonberger who is simply a pet can give his or her owner a great deal of enjoyment. As long as a prospective owner is prepared to train and care for such a big dog, a Leo can be a great friend.

Moose the Therapy Dog With Children

Differences Between Males and Females

Adult Leonbergers have a regal appearance. They usually have long, yellow-brown hair, but some dogs have a reddish-brown or a cream coat. Some coats have a combination of colours. The dogs have a black mask over their face. They often have black hairs on their ears and sometimes black tips to their body hairs. Their coat is water resistant.

By the time they are about four years old, male Leos have longer hair on the neck and chest, which is known as a mane. Females may have a mane too, although it's less noticeable. An adult female weighs around 100 to 130 pounds. An adult male weighs about 130 to 175 pounds. Females may reach 29 inches high (measured at the highest point of their back), while males reach around 31 inches in height.

Ryan, a male Leonberger

Ryan, a male Leonberger

Training

Since adult Leonbergers are so big, it’s very important to train the dogs while they are young. A boisterous, untrained adult won’t fit into a family very well and will be hard to handle. Aggressive Leos are rare, but as in any other breed of dog the chance of aggression increases if a dog is inadequately socialized or is easily frightened.

Consistent and gentle but firm training is important from an early age. Leos don’t respond well to harsh corrections. Attending obedience classes would be very helpful for educating a young dog. In addition, puppies should be exposed to a wide variety of people, animals, places, and situations.

Adult Leonbergers Playing

Exercising a Leo

Despite their size, Leos don't require a lot of exercise. They should have a daily walk, however. Taking a Leonberger for a walk is a good way to meet people, since many people are curious about the breed and ask for information.

Leos generally love to swim and to get muddy. They make great water rescue dogs. Some enjoy retrieving objects likes balls or sticks, but most Leos are not natural retrievers. It often requires a lot of effort to train them to return a thrown object. They just don’t see the point of fetching things. Having said that, while Scala and Ryan had very little interest in retrieving, Dylan enjoys it just as much as my Labrador Retriever.

Leonbergers can be trained to pull carts, but they must be at least eighteen months old and in good physical condition before they start pulling weights. They also make good trackers and can be taught to herd. Some Leos compete in obedience trials and some compete in agility events, but although they are powerful animals they are not as fast as many other breeds. Some Leo owners find agility events to be hard on their dog’s joints.

Ryan enjoyed his cooling bed, especially in summer.

Ryan enjoyed his cooling bed, especially in summer.

A Leonberger in the Family

Living Space

Leos don’t require a huge amount of living space, despite their size. An apartment might be too small for them, but a house with a good-sized, fenced yard would be just fine. Leos do need to leave the house for daily exercise, though.

A Family Member

Leos enjoy being part of the family’s activities and receiving attention and affection. A Leonberger should not be left alone for long periods. He or she will become bored. Boredom can lead to behaviour problems.

Grooming

Leonbergers shed their coat and require regular brushing. Twice a year they go through a heavier molt as the seasons change. Grooming is not only a physical requirement but is also a great way for a person to bond with their dog. A grooming session can be a pleasant and relaxing time for both the person and the dog.

Feeding

Although Leonbergers are giant dogs, they don't require as much food as might be expected. Different people have different ideas about the ideal diet for a pet dog. A puppy's breeder and the puppy's veterinarian should be consulted about the best diet to follow.

Despite the disagreements about factors such as cooked versus raw food in a dog's diet and dry food versus canned, it's widely agreed that puppies shouldn't follow a diet that makes them grow too rapidly. Research has shown that rapid puppy growth—especially in a large breed of dog—can increase the risk of skeletal, joint, and other health problems.

We are lucky that Dylan's breeder is very knowledgeable and that she has kept one of the other male puppies in Dylan's litter for herself. In addition, she has kept in touch with all of the purchasers of the puppies in the litter. At one point she felt that the puppies were growing too fast. She contacted the people that supply Dylan and his brother with food to order a slightly different type of food for the pair (after discussing the situation with us).

A Leonberger Puppy Playing With Water

Water

Like all dogs, Leonbergers must always have access to water in their home. They also need a source of water if they are away from home for a long time, especially when the weather is hot. They generally don’t drool, but they may be messy drinkers. Water often drips out of their mouth as they leave a water bowl.

If you’re planning an extended walk, be sure to bring water for your dog—especially if it’s warm outside.

— ASPCA (American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

Ryan as a young puppy; he seems to be concentrating very hard!

Ryan as a young puppy; he seems to be concentrating very hard!

Potential Health Problems

Leos are susceptible to a number of health problems, including hip dysplasia, bloat, and cancer. Additional problems experienced by some dogs are bone disease, eyelid defects, a genetically-determined neurological disease called leukoencephalomyelopathy (LEMP), and a neuromuscular disease known as Leonberger polyneuropathy (LPN), which is also genetically controlled. Genetics and family background should be discussed with a puppy's breeder. It would be a good idea to do some research about the genetically-determined disorders before a visit to the breeder.

Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hip joints develop an abnormal structure, which can cause discomfort and movement problems. The condition ranges from mild to severe. Some dogs don't experience any symptoms from their hip dysplasia, while others require medical or surgical treatment.

Bloat involves two different processes. In the first stage, the stomach fills with gas and fluid and distends. This may be followed by a second stage in which the stomach twists. The distended and twisted stomach may interfere with the function of other organs and with vital processes such as the flow of blood in blood vessels. Bloat is a life-threatening condition and a medical emergency.

Ryan as an older puppy

Ryan as an older puppy

Preventing Disease

While not all diseases in dogs can be prevented, the risk of a dog developing some of them can be significantly reduced if the dog eats a healthy diet and follows a healthy lifestyle. Regular vet checkups are important, too. Lots of useful health information can be obtained from knowledgeable breeders and dog organizations, although there is no substitute for good veterinary advice.

Unfortunately, the cause of bloat isn't known for certain. The following steps for avoiding bloat are often recommended by veterinary organizations, including ASPCA.

  • Don't feed a dog a huge meal. Eating a large amount of food very rapidly has been associated with bloat.
  • Several smaller meals in a day are better than one giant one.
  • Don't allow the dog to drink a large amount of water either before or after eating.
  • Don't allow a dog to exercise vigorously shortly before or after a meal.
  • Avoid raised food bowls.
Ryan waiting for me in the car with his black Labrador Retriever brother

Ryan waiting for me in the car with his black Labrador Retriever brother

Leonberger Lifespan

Unfortunately, like other large dogs Leos generally have a shorter lifespan than smaller dogs, although this is not always true. It’s hard to predict how long an individual Leo will live. Some Leonbergers have lived for as long as fourteen years, while some have lived for as little as seven years. The average lifespan seems to be somewhere around nine to ten years.

In my experience, certain breeders tend to produce longer-lived Leos. This may be due to the genetics of the family line and/or the diet or lifestyle recommended by the breeder. Lifespan is worth investigating when a potential Leonberger owner is looking for a breeder, as is the health record of a puppy's relatives.

Sam and Ryan

Sam and Ryan

Should You Get a Leonberger?

Leonberger puppies are very cute and look like fuzzy teddy bears. However, a cute puppy will grow into a handsome but very large adult. Before you buy a Leo ask yourself the following questions.

  • Do you have the money for the purchase price of the dog and for training classes?
  • If you don't want to take your dog to training classes, do you have experience in training a large dog?
  • Do you have the time and energy for regular training and for giving frequent attention to your dog?
  • Can you afford the ongoing expenses of dog food and vet bills?
  • Do you have a fenced yard of a reasonable size?
  • Will your Leo have company during the day if you work?

If your answer is no to any of these questions, don’t get a Leo. If your answers are yes, research Leonberger breeders, choose an accredited one, and check out references from the breeder’s previous clients. Then choose a puppy, bring your new Leo home, and welcome him or her into the family. You'll probably have a great companion.

References and Resources

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: When do female Leonbergers come into season and how should they be managed during this time?

Answer: Although the ages varies, female Leonbergers often come into their first season (or heat) when they are between nine and twelve months old. Like other big dogs, however, they may experience their first season when they are a bit older. They are in heat for around three weeks and come into heat approximately every six months.

When she is in heat, the female releases a bloody discharge. The discharge contains pheromones, which are chemicals that attract males. A female in heat should never be left alone out of doors, including in her own backyard. A male dog attracted by the pheromones may jump a fence or even dig under it to get to the female and impregnate her. Nevertheless, the female still needs exercise. She could chase balls or toys in the home or play in a securely fenced backyard with careful supervision.

In some dogs the bloody discharge is more problematic than in others. Owners may decide to limit their dog’s access to certain parts of the home. While it’s understandable that the owner wouldn’t want blood on their upholstery, carpets, or bedding, it’s important that the dog doesn’t feel isolated from the family or feel like she’s being punished for being in heat. Gates, crates, and special pants sold for dogs in heat can all be useful, as long as they are used wisely and with kindness.

I’ve only given a summary of how to care for a Leonberger in heat. If an owner hasn’t spayed the female and the dog is approaching the age when coming into season is possible, the owner should do some research about how best to care for their dog.

Question: We have a Leonberger/St. Bernard mix. Since we won't be mating him, should we have him neutered for better health?

Answer: This is something that you should ask your veterinarian. If you do decide to neuter your dog, you should also ask your vet about the best age to do this with respect to the dog's health.

© 2010 Linda Crampton

Comments

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 18, 2020:

Hi, emge. I've never had a German Shepherd in my family. The breed sounds interesting.

MG Singh emge from Singapore on July 18, 2020:

Didn't know much about this breed. In that respect it's an education. I have 2 German Shepherds at home and they are simply great.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 18, 2020:

Thank you very much, Rajan. I think Leonbergers are lovely dogs.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 17, 2020:

Thanks for sharing this wonderful information about the Leos dog breed. That it is a multi-utility dog and is not aggressive is an added advantage.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 28, 2020:

I'm sorry about the loss of your dog, Manuela. It's very sad when a pet dies of a health problem.

Manuela from Portugal on June 28, 2020:

I love big dogs, I already had a grand danois and he was lovely, unfortunately he passed away when he was 7 due to heart problems.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 15, 2020:

Hi, Denise. I think they are beautiful dogs, too, but I feel that way about all breeds and about mixed breeds! Dogs are lovely animals.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on June 15, 2020:

What beautiful dogs. I've never had anything larger than a poodle before so I'm sure they would be a real eye-opener for me. Right now we have a Chihuahua mix and she is almost too much for this little apartment. It almost seems cruel to have her cramped here.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 01, 2020:

I’m not an expert in dog breeding. All I can do is share what I do with respect to obtaining a dog from a breeder.

Personally, I wouldn’t buy a dog that I hadn’t chosen by visiting a litter or from a breeder that I hadn’t met. My family has always visited the breeders of our dogs multiple times. They have all been happy to discuss the dog’s background and we’ve met his or her mother and some other relatives. Even when we bought a Leonberger from a breeder in the neighbouring province, we brought the puppy back to our home in person to avoid subjecting him to the stress of an airplane flight.

What you do is up to you and your wife. I assume you’ve investigated the requirements for bringing a dog from Peru to the United States. There are too many unknown factors for me in the situation that you’ve described, but that’s just my opinion. Good luck, whatever you decide.

Jorge Gonzalez on January 01, 2020:

My wife wants to bring a puppy from Cuzco , Peru and it seems to me is a kind of Leonberger mix with an unknown breed and probably the mother was the same origin with unknown breed too, I am assuming because the size is like a regular golden retriever, so my question is , should we be concerned about bringing him to the USA

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 29, 2019:

Hi, Johanna. Thanks for the comment. I've found that Leonbergers can be lovely pets, despite their size.

Johanna Sandev from Santa Rosa, California on December 29, 2019:

Very nice article and introduction to a lesser known breed. They look awesome and seem to have a great disposition. Thank you for writing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 05, 2019:

Hi, Rebecca. I think Leonbergers are especially cute as puppies. They're lovely as adults, too!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on December 05, 2019:

What an awesome-looking dog. So cute as a puupy. I love big dogs. More to cuddle with. Nice-looking article

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 10, 2019:

Hi, Delaney. My family has taken our Leonbergers

that far on a single hike, but not on one day after another. My answer depends in part on your dog's current state of fitness. The trip might be okay if you slowly build up to that distance to increase your dog's endurance, as a human athlete might train. That way you could see how your dog responds during regular training and get a better idea about whether they can handle the trip.

The potential temperature actually concerns me far more than the distance. At a high temperature your dog will probably find it much harder to travel the route. While you're backpacking, there's no way to quickly get to a vet in an emergency. I think the heat might be a problem.

Delaney on May 10, 2019:

Hi! Sorry for a late question; how would a Leo do on backpacking trips? Walking about 8-12 miles in a day? The temperatures might reach 70-80 on hot days. Is that too much for them?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 22, 2018:

Thank you very much, Shyron. Blessings to you, too.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on January 22, 2018:

Your Leos are beautiful. Wonderful hub.

Blessings and hugs

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 17, 2017:

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Peg. It is a strange coincidence that you just bought a Leonberger photo, especially at an antique store. I think the breed is becoming more well known, but that seems to be quite a recent development.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 17, 2017:

Oh, my. These guys are incredible. I loved the video of Moose the Therapy dog. He really seemed to eat up all that attention. And that Ryan's puppy face! So cute. His black Labrador brother looks much like my Tony who's just a small fry at 105 pounds. Great article and I learned a lot. It's a weird coincidence but last weekend at an antique store I bought a framed picture of a Leonberger with a small girl resting on his flank. Love the doggies.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 27, 2017:

Hi, Andy. In my opinion, it doesn't matter which gender is bought. The biggest difference between the two is size. Their personality and behaviour seem to depend on their genetic background and the way in which they're treated, not their gender. We've only had one female Leonberger in our family and our male Leos have been neutered, however, which may be significant. People who breed the dog could probably give you a more accurate answer.

Andy on August 27, 2017:

Hi. Would you recommend a dog or Bitch. We have experience of golden retrievers, and plenty of space. We would prefer the larger male dog, but not sure if it would be more difficult to train and control. Thank you

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 27, 2017:

Yes, the breed is a lot of fun. In my experience, Leonbergers make great pets. Thanks for the visit.

carolynkaye from USA on January 27, 2017:

Great Hub! I didn't know too much about this breed before, but they seem like lots of fun. The puppy playing with his water bowl video was too cute. Thanks for sharing :)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 27, 2016:

Hi, John. Riley sounds like a great dog! If you search the Internet for "Leonberger breeders in British Columbia" you'll find a few breeders in the province, including the one where we got Dylan. If you investigate the breeders carefully you may find one that is helpful for your needs.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 02, 2016:

Thanks, Nadine. The Leonberger is new to many people, but it seems to me that it's gradually becoming better known. It's a lovely breed.

Nadine May on November 02, 2016:

Great post and I always learn new things from your articles. This dog breed was new to me.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 27, 2016:

Hi, papaw. Leonbergers are generally great people and companion dogs, but they aren't known as guard dogs. They like to be part of a family. Staying outside all the time, especially in a hot environment, wouldn't be good for a Leo. I don't think the breed is the best one for your requirements.

papaw on October 27, 2016:

Hi AliciaC, i live in west Texas and it gets awful hot and dirty here. i am wanting a dog to be a guard dog and a herd dog and be a good companion for me and my grandkids. i don'r really like a big dog in the house, so can a Leo be left outside all the time as long as he has a place to get in out of the weather. he will be with me all day long doing our chores. i think i will like the Leo dog. what is your opinion

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on August 01, 2016:

Thanks for the comment, vespawoolf. I had to laugh at the sentence about your husband! I appreciate your visit.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on August 01, 2016:

After reading the personality profile, I´d have to say that if my husband was a dog, he´d be a Leonberger! It sounds like a delightful breed and a great choice for families. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 21, 2016:

Thank you very much for the comment, Leosrme. Despite having had three Leonbergers in my family up to now, I was unaware of Leonberger polyneuropathy. I appreciate the fact that you've shared the information and your opinion about Moose.

Leosrme on July 20, 2016:

I am the owner of two Leonbergers. This is basically a good article. However you fail to mention the MOST important health problem in a Leonberger and that is Leonberger Polyneuropathy. LPN. This is a problem in the breed even though breeders are doing genetic testing and trying to breed out the gene. The university of Minnesota has for many many years been conducting research into this problem and has collected DNA from Leonbergers around the world. Our last Leonberger gave his DNA for the programme. LPN is a serious and debilitating illness and can kill Leos. A friend of mine's dog died from it at only 8. Laryngeal paralysis goes with it and is no uncommon. It can be life threatening and can require surgery to correct it. A good breeder will have tested the parents of puppies for the LPN 1 and LPN2 gene. However, they are finding other markers all the time.

Also quite frankly, the video of Moose being converged upon by so many children at once was very worrying indeed. Lots of Leos are therapy dogs. However, to prevail upon a dog's good nature in this way is unfair to the dog. He was clearly very stresssed by the whole experience - his body language bears that out. As a dog trainer, I would never advise anyone to allow their dog to be stressed in this way. It is clear that the dog's owner has no clue as to his body language and how to read him. While I understand that children would want to mob him and do what they are doing, the person who owns the dog should make sure that only two or three children at a time do so to avoid him being so stressed. If this poor dog has to go through this once a week or once a month, I feel very sorry for him indeed.

This is giving the impression that Leonbergers will allow anything to happen to them and be good natured about it. This is not the case always. While my girls are very good natured and love people, I would never want to put them in the position where they felt they had to get themselves out of a situation as this dog clearly wants to do.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 17, 2016:

Thank you very much for the comment, Stella. I've never had a beagle in my family, but I think they're lovely dogs. I love my present dogs, but I wouldn't mind having a beagle as well!

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on February 17, 2016:

AliciaC, I love theses dogs. I have always had large dogs until now, I have two 13 inch beagles. It is different than having large dogs. Large dogs will always be in my heart. Thanks for this beautiful hub. Stella

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 01, 2015:

I am so sorry for your loss, Nikki and Gary. I know how devastating it is to lose a beloved dog, especially when they are still young. I'm very glad that you rescued Bert, even though his loss is so hard for you. You gave him a great life which he may not have had otherwise.

Nikki and Gary hall on April 01, 2015:

Having just lost or 5 year old Leo we are heartbroken

Bert came into our life as a mistreated 18 month old dog who we rescued three years ago

We nursed him back to health only for a dreaded doggy type of MS degenertabe desease to start to make his back legs stop working properly which started 6 months ago but up until then he was a bundle of furry fun

It was the hardest thing we have ever had to do but it was the right thing to do as he still had his dignaty and his mind was as bright as a button

He loved us (his family) unconditionally and loved to be with us

He was a star who shone so bright for the little time he was on this earth and didn't have a bad bone in body he loved everyone

I am a man who doesn't show emotions usually but all I can do is cry just thinking about him

Be warned if you take a Leo they leave a massive hole in your heart when they move over to the other side the house is so quite without him

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 25, 2014:

Hi, ginger. The answer to your question is probably yes. Leonbergers are generally very friendly with people and other pets. Mine have got on fine with my cats and with the smaller (though not small) dogs in my family. However, like all dogs, Leos vary in personality. They must be well trained when they are brought into a family, too.

ginger on November 25, 2014:

would a leonberger get along with small dogs? cause i really want one but i have a rat terrier so i dont know if they will get along.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 22, 2014:

Hi, DAN. It's interesting to read about Buck's progress. He sounds like a lovely member of the family!

DAN on September 22, 2014:

Our "Buck" is now 3 1/2 years old, 32 1/2" at his shoulder and weighs 170lbs. He's truly a Very Healthy and physically sound Giant. He loves to sleep but also loves to play. He's also a perfect example of the so called Lean-On Beger. he does this every chance he gets.

He should be fully mature in the next 6-10 months according to his breeder. If there are any complaints it is he wants to be with his family Every hour of Every day no matter what. On occasion when we do leave him home he goes in his crate and pouts.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on September 21, 2014:

Hi, Chantal1976. Yes, it's an excellent idea to delay stair climbing, especially for a big puppy. Climbing stairs can be hard on puppy joints. I'm glad you are enjoying life with your Leonberger. I know what you mean about not being able to imagine a house without a dog!

Chantal1976 on September 21, 2014:

We have a Leo, 15 weeks old and 22kgs (approx 48lbs) I was concerned he was growing too fast but not really much I can do to slow it, he's on the best recommended food, we've been advised not to walk him very much for the first year, just a couple of brief short walks a week. He is a beautiful boy full of life, I won't let him sleep upstairs until he can safely do our stairs, can't imagine my house without him now

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 09, 2014:

Hi, Bodenberger. Your boy sounds like he's going to be a giant! I'm glad that he doesn't seem to be overweight, since being heavy can cause joint problems. Perhaps you could discuss his growth rate with your vet next time you see him or her. You could also contact his breeder (if you haven't already done so) to check how fast his parents grew and how big they are.

Bodenberger on July 09, 2014:

We have now had three Leo's the first a bitch followed by 2 males. We now have a 6 month old boy 26" at the shoulder and weighs 41.5 kg (90lb), he is on normal growth rate apparently but this is at odds with the 10lb a month suggested in earlier posts. Our puppy doesn't feel at all overweight but we are concerned at his size, unfortunately we don't have records from the previous dogs. Great site

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 04, 2014:

Hi, ologsinquito. Yes, Leonbergers are interesting, and they can be great pets. People do need to realize that the cute puppy will grow into a large dog, though. As you say, Leonbergers can be perfect for the right owner.

ologsinquito from USA on May 04, 2014:

They look like interesting dogs, a little too large for my family, but perfect for the right owner.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 26, 2013:

Thanks for sharing all the advice, DAN.

DAN on July 26, 2013:

Bringing a new puppy into your home should be a careful, well thought out decision weighing both the good and sometimes bad aspects.

A high quality Leonberger purchased from a highly reputable breeder is expensive, $ 1500.00 - $ 2,000.00 is about average.

This is even more so when considering a "GIANT" breed dog like a Leonberger.

The breed can definitely be all they are described as, loving, loyal, wonderful with children and other animals, protective of their family, especially children and females. To reach this level they need constant, soft training from the day they enter their new home and meet their new family.

Remember this cute little ball of fur will in a short time grow into a "HUGE" unbelievably strong dog who will be part of your family for hopefully many healthy years.

What do you do if they are not healthy, a major health problem can turn into thousands of dollars in Vet. bills, then what !

Remember a giant breeds health care is "Always" considerably more expensive than a normal size dog. From flea medication to vaccinations thru serious medical procedures.

To help with this I suggest to every new dog owner to research and obtain "GOOD" pet health insurance, the earlier the better.

Always purchase your dog from a highly reputable breeder, a list of breeders is always available from the LCA ( Leonberger Club of America)

Each will have photos and descriptions for the puppies breeding parents along with their health history. Then phone the breeder / breeders of choice many have long waiting lists for each liter.

I waited well over a year for our current boy. Males are more popular than females and females make up a much higher percentage of each liter.

Don't ever buy a puppy from a newspaper ad, Craig's list or a local Pennysaver !!!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 25, 2013:

Thank you very much for the visit and comment, Helen! I appreciate the vote and the share, too.

Helen Murphy Howell from Fife, Scotland on July 25, 2013:

Oh what a beautiful animal this dog is!! I had heard of the breed but I didn't know much about them, many thanks for the information and I can see why these dogs are such a popular breed!

Great hub, with excellent information, especially for folks thinking about buying a dog of this breed. Voted up + shared!

DAN on July 05, 2013:

I've read most of the comments posted, one more thing that is Very important. When purchasing any type of dog it is important to "do your homework" before hand, this is especially true with giant breeds.

These dogs when purchased from a reputable breeder can be very expensive and the waiting list for getting your new puppy can be long. ( we waited well over a year to get ours)

You might get anxious and be tempted to "just" get your new puppy from a pet store or an ad in the paper, don't !

Giant breeds have very special needs while growing both physical and mental. They grow in size very quickly but don't fully mature for several years. They need a lot of extra training and care during their growing time. Their bones stay soft until around 2 years old so rough housing or physical straining ( weight pulling, daily running on hard pavement etc.) can cause permanent damage to their joints if started too early.

Read all you can about the breed you are thinking about buying before you make your purchase.

Harsh training is also a no-no. Most of these giants are very sensitive mentally and do not respond well to being yelled at. If done they can become very skittish and fearful.

They must learn early on who is the Alpha of their family but this should only be done thru proper training earning their respect without fear.

If you do this you will have a loving, obidient family companion throughout the dogs life and a joy to own.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 04, 2013:

Thanks for the comment, DAN.

DAN on July 04, 2013:

Leonbergers are adorable puppies that very quickly grow into a "GIANT" dog physically but not mentally and a new owner or would-be owner must know this.

Leonbergers do not fully mature until between 3-4 years old. Even at 2 they act like a huge adolescent and can be a handful without "Proper, EARLY training.

Also due to their size and strength Everything costs considerably more, vet bills, food, health insurance ( a must ) even toys. Our 2 year old male has not met a toy he cannot tear to shreds in minutes if that is what he feels like doing.

They usually do not drool but they do shed a lot. We comb ours at least once a day and it still amazes me how much hair comes out each time.

They are wonderful, loyal, versatile, trustworthy family members and a lot of fun but owning one does present a few draw backs and you must be prepared for this.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on July 03, 2013:

Thank you for the comment, W1totalk.

W1totalk on July 03, 2013:

Wonderful dog. Great article. Thank you.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on June 30, 2013:

The Leonberger is an interesting dog breed. It can make a lovely pet! Thanks for the comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 30, 2013:

The Leonberger - A Large and Friendly Pet Dog, I had no idea about this kind of dog, so interesting, informative and useful to any reader.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 30, 2013:

Hi, Scribenet. Leonbergers are adorable when they're puppies - and when they're adults, too! Thanks for the comment.

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on May 30, 2013:

The puppy video had me laughing out loud...just imagine that in a kitchen! Oh I love the big dogs...well I love the little dogs...guess I love them all. I did not know of this breed...goes to show how much there is to learn...I am sure I would love to meet one!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 23, 2013:

Hi, dennis. I hope your Leonberger becomes a great companion, if you get one!

dennis on May 23, 2013:

hoping to get one soon love what I read and see

Justice285 on May 05, 2013:

thanks so much they have been looking for one for mouths! check mine out some time please

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 05, 2013:

I'm glad that my answer helped, Justice285.

Justice285 on May 05, 2013:

thanks for the anwer my friend was looking for one thx

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 05, 2013:

Hi, Sue. Yes, Leonbergers are definitely big dogs! They have a lovely personality, but they are too large for some people.

Susan Bailey from South Yorkshire, UK on May 05, 2013:

I have never before heard of this breed of dog. Rather larger than I would want in my little house but the puppies look so sweet. Shame they have to grow so big.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on May 04, 2013:

Hi, Justice285. Yes, Ryan is a member of my family. You could do an Internet search for Leonberger breeders that are located close to your home to find a puppy.

Justice285 on May 04, 2013:

Do u have this type of dog ? where do u buy one ?

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 29, 2013:

Hi, Ingenira. Yes, Leonbergers are great dogs!

Ingenira on April 29, 2013:

Amazing dog, I'd love to have one at home.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on April 21, 2013:

Thanks for the comment, vespawoolf. I hope that you're eventually able to get a Leonberger. They are great companions!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on April 21, 2013:

The Leonberger sounds like just the type of dog my husband loves. I read the Hub to him and he was intrigued. We wonder if this breed can be found in Peru? It's amazing the purebred dogs that can be found in Lima. We're living in an apartment now and are short on space, but this dog may be an option for the future. Very interesting and well laid-out. Thank you!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 11, 2013:

Hi, Sue826. Leonbergers have been a rare breed until recently, but their popularity is growing and they're becoming more common. In the last couple of years when we've been taking Ryan for a walk, we've actually met people who have recognized that he's a Leonberger. That never used to happen!

Sue826 from Albuquerque on February 11, 2013:

Leonburger - first time hearing about this breed

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 11, 2013:

Thank you for the comment, romper20!

romper20 from California on February 11, 2013:

gorgeous dog!!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 11, 2013:

Thank you very much, toknowinfo! I appreciate your comment, as well as the votes and the share. I'm happy to discover another Leonberger fan.

toknowinfo on February 11, 2013:

Excellent hub. The information is so well put together. I love Leos. The first time I met a Leo puppy was years and years ago. The woman was shopping in a pet store with her new puppy she had just picked up from the airport. I fell in love with the breed then, but can't bring myself to get one because of their likely shorter life span. It is good to read that some do have longevity. Thank you putting this wonderful hub together and sharing your knowledge. Voted up and more and sharing.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on February 05, 2013:

Thank you, ignugent17. I appreciate your visit and comment!

ignugent17 on February 05, 2013:

Thanks for the information. They look so loving. It is also nice to know more about dogs.

This is very useful! :-)

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 30, 2013:

Thank you, DDE. Leonbergers are certainly loving dogs. They can make excellent pets.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 30, 2013:

Soo lovely I love dogs they are loving and are great rescuers too. You have told me everything I need to know about the breed as well. Thanks for sharing this information.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 21, 2013:

Hi again, shiningirisheyes. Ryan is technically my sister's dog, but we live in the same house so we are part of the same family. My dog is Misha, who is a black lab like yours!

I'm very happy to meet you, and I'm looking forward to reading your hubs too.

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on January 21, 2013:

Thanks for the timely response as I too, have read this statistic. The added weight stress makes sense.

Your Ryan is a beautiful member of the family. My baby's name is Bella and she is a black lab. Quite a handful as yours is, except not quite as large.

Great hub and I look forward to reading more

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on January 21, 2013:

Thanks for the comment, shiningirisheyes! I don't know how true it is, but I've often read on pet websites that large dogs tend to have a shorter lifespan because having big bodies stresses their heart, joints and skeleton. I'd like to see a scientist's report to find out if this is actually the reason for their shorter lives, though - I suspect the reason is actually more complex!

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on January 21, 2013:

This sounds like an excellent breed. Very beautiful as well. I was curious why larger dogs have a shorter life span. Not sure whether or not you can answer that but it has always peaked my curiosity.

Well-researched and interesting article.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on December 24, 2012:

What an interesting story, collegedad! Max sounds like a clever dog with a mind of his own. 15 miles is a long distance for a dog to travel. I'm glad that Max wasn't injured in his wandering.

collegedad from The Upper Peninsula on December 24, 2012:

We had a Great Pyrenees several years ago that developed wander lust. He would wander up to our 5' fence, wait til you weren't looking, flop over it and leave. Sometimes he would come back the next day, sometimes the next month. We finally figured out that he'd been living a double life. A family 15 miles away had taken him in. He'd stay with them until he got bored then he'd come back to us for a while. It's nice to hear that there is a breed out there that is a little more loyal than old Max.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 28, 2012:

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Minnetonka Twin. It is fun having Leonbergers in the family! They are lovely pets.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on November 28, 2012:

Hi Alicia-What a beautiful breed of dog. Gentle giants indeed. I bet you just love having two of these beauties. Great job educating us on this breed. It was very interesting and I love those pictures.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on November 08, 2012:

Hi, aviannovice. Socializing therapy dogs must have been a very interesting activity. I've never gotten to known a St. Bernard, but I'd like to. They are interesting dogs!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on November 08, 2012:

I never heard of these dogs before. I did therapy dog socialization for a couple of years in eastern PA. I find it interesting that they have St. Bernard in them. The dog that I worked with was also part St. Bernard.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 22, 2012:

Thanks for the visit and the comment, everythingdazzles. Leonbergers are definitely gentle giants, and they can make great pets. I enjoy having a Leonberger in the family.

Janelle from Houston on October 22, 2012:

Great hub, I love all the funny pictures you can find on pinterest. They are definitely gentle giants. So sweet.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 22, 2012:

I think that sums up the situation perfectly, PDX - when Leonbergers are seen for the first time they may seem to be "very sweet but somewhat intimidating"! The intimidation factor soon disappears, though - they are fun and friendly dogs and are great companions (provided they're trained properly, as is true for all dogs). Thanks for the comment.

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on October 22, 2012:

I dind't know about Leonbergers until recently. My wife lived in bellingham and before she met me, her dog (now our dog) went to obedicence school with a few leonberger's. Very sweet but somewhat intimating on first view. Nice article. Thank you!

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 08, 2012:

Hi, unknown spy. Leonbergers are certainly big dogs, but they're known as "gentle giants". They are generally very friendly! Thanks for the visit.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on October 08, 2012:

wow they're really big! dont know if i can come near them..im scared.

Linda Crampton (author) from British Columbia, Canada on October 02, 2012:

Hi, The Dirt Farmer. Yes, that definitely could be one disadvantage of Leonbergers - they are very big dogs! Thanks for the visit.