The breed was created in the small town of Leonberger, in southwest Germany in 1846. This is a versatile dog that has become a favorite of the royal court. Unfortunately, during the First World War, the Leonberger was on the verge of disappearing completely, but fortunately a few canine specialists managed to save it. This is the oldest German breed.
According to the official version, the father of this breed is Heinrich Essig, known not only as a dog breeder, but as the mayor of the town Leonberger. He set the task of selecting a dog that looks like a lion (this animal was the emblem of the city). The basis of the new breed were the Landseer and San Bernard, but at a later stage the blood of the Great Pyrenees was added. The first Leonberger dog appeared in 1846.
In 1948 in the town of Leonberg a new club of this breed was created, whose goal was to restore the original breed, which almost completely disappeared during the wars. Today, according to some sources, the number of these dogs is about 8,000 and puppies for sale can be found all over Europe. In Germany, this breed is used as a service dog in the police and to rescue people buried by avalanches.
The Leonberger is a large, well-built, strong dog, but at the same time - fine and noble. This breed combines the best qualities of its progenitors.
The top layer of the fur has long and straight hair, and below is the second layer of hair, which is thick and dense. The chest and the neck have a rich collar. The coloration varies from pale yellow to brownish cloudy with mandatory black mask and black ears. The height of males of 72 to 80 cm, female - 65 to 75 cm. The females of this breed weigh about 26 pounds and males about 35 kg.
The body of the dog is long and wide, and the snout is elongated without acuteness. The ears are medium sized, fleshy and edged in black. The eyes are brown and almond-shaped, with a mild expression. Some dogs of this breed have a white spot on chest.
Character and behavior
The Leonberger is a balanced, calm, unruffled and even loving dog. It is a devoted defender, smart and brave dog that always tries to please its master. These animals are good guards and excellent therapy dogs.
It is a wonderful companion - loving and responding.
Training and education
The Leonberger is a good “student”, easily learns because it is a very smart dog and strives to earn the praise of his master. Dressage methods should not be oppressive, and be based on respect, justice, fortitude, patience and consistency. This is a talented dog that easily lends itself to education and prefers the soft voice, not sharp commands. It possesses a keen sense of justice and therefore the punishment should meet the offense.
The dog has an enviable memory, so it is a very good tracker, who could easily find buried under avalanches people.
Grooming and care
These dogs need companionship and love. In a family dispute, they can become very restless.
Because of its size the Leonberger should not live in a small apartment. They need space and fresh air, so it is better to raise them in a house.
The maintenance of the Leonberger's fur is not easy. You have to comb it every day, and even more often during seasons when its hair falls the most. Bathe your pet only if necessary.
This breed is susceptible to hip dysplasia, volvulus, entropion, arthritis and Addison's disease. There are also some dogs that are sensitive to certain medications and anesthesia.
Unfortunately, the average life span of this breed is about 9 years.
Children and other pets
You can take your pet anywhere with you, it is gentle and kind to all. It is strongly attached to the family and coexists well with other animals.
The Leonberger's love of children is very popular. If your dog sees a small child crying in the street, it will immediately go to comfort him.
In September 2006, in the anniversary exhibition, organized by the German Leonberger Club and dedicated to the 160th anniversary of the breed, a monument was built to this breed. On this occasion the mayor Bernhard Schulker said that the breed is now so admired outside Germany that perhaps people think that the city is named after the breed, not vice versa.
Essig, who is the creator of the breed, has bestowed a Leonberger to Emperor Napoleon III. According to historical documents, Princes Metternich had such dogs in the 17th century.