Leonberger Dog Breed Traits & Facts

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Last Updated on September 20, 2023

*The Leonberger, a gentle giant that is rare among extra-large breeds, is a unique example of a Leonberger dog. His first breeding was for companionship, not for operational purposes. This big dog is an excellent cuddle buddy. A Leonberger is a great choice if this is what you’re looking for.

This does not mean that the Leonberger dog breed is ideal for all. Leonbergers are a large breed and require plenty of space. They love to run , so they should be in homes that can accommodate their large bodies. They shed quite often. They make great family pets if you can overlook some of their needs.

If you are wondering if this breed is right for you, then you have come to the right place. We will be discussing the needs of this breed, such as food requirements and grooming, and how to choose a quality breeder. Let’s take a look at Leonbergers and all of their Lion-ish looks ..

Leonberger Dog


The Leonberger is a relatively new breed, although some might call them an old designer breed. In the 19th century, a politician named Heinrich Essig from Leonberg, south-west Germany, sought to create a large dog fit for a king. He bred the Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, and other large breeds to develop the first line of Leonbergers. Legend has it that he handpicked the puppies that looked like Lions to match the town’s coat, which depicts an lion.

He was successful and Napoleon III, Tsar Alexander and King Edward VII all had Leonbergers take care of their courts and palaces. Many aristocrats, as well as renowned composers, also adopted Leonbergers. Leonbergers were initially only accepted by wealthy families. They became employed on farms throughout Europe , pulling carts. They also assisted with water rescue in waterside communities.

His gentle nature, love of people, large frame and cuddly appearance make he ideal .ideal for therapy. He excels in all areas, from supporting the blind to children’s hospitals. He is a wonderful family dog. He commonly finds himself between 90th and 100th place in the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) popularity ranks. He would be more famous if it weren’t for his enormous size.


The Leonberger is first and foremost a gentle giant He is a graceful and elegant man, regardless of his size. He is not a stout brute. He is playful with children and adults alike. However, he can match his strength to his partner.

He barks loudly and announces all who visit his yard, humans and animals. He is gentle with all, but his presence can deter intruders. Most because he has a protective streak . If he feels threatened, he will protect his family. If he is allowed to go out at night, and he spots something, he will alert the entire neighborhood.

His outgoing personality makes him easy to get along with. He is also sensitive and takes everything to heart. He doesn’t need to be taught or shouted at. He is sensitive to your emotions and will cheer you up if you’re feeling down.

This pup is the biggest lover of cuddle time of all dog breeds. He will climb on your bed to sleep with you until the kingdom comes. Do you believe King-size beds were made for this purpose? You can invite your giant dog to be with you! This breed is extremely affectionate and will be happy if he feels your warmth.

He also needs companionship, and hates being alone. This is not the breed for you if you spend a lot of time outdoors, whether you’re working or exploring. He looking to have fun . when he’s not snuggling or lying down with you. If he can spend time with his family, he will happily play in the yard for hours. If you have a swimming pool, your dog will love it. He is a swimmer and will not be deterred by a few sausages.

Size & Appearance

He is a large-sized dog that has lots of fluff. Female Leonbergers weigh between 90 and 140 pounds. And they measure between 25 and 29 inches tall, from paw to shoulder. Males are even larger!. They weigh between 110 and 170 pounds and measure between 28 and 32 inches tall. Leonbergers can be distinguished from other breeds by their dimorphic nature. Males are large and have a lion-like look around their necks and chests. Females are feminine and do not wear a mane.

‘Mommy! It’s a Lion!’ This is something you will hear on your walks several times per week. It’s true. He does indeed have a lion-like appearance, especially for the males. He is balanced and proportionate. He has a large rectangular-shaped head and medium-sized, oval eyes. His lips are tightly sealed, which means less dog drool. His ears are medium-sized, triangular-shaped and drop down.

When relaxed, his tail is quite long and hangs just below the hocks. It rises slightly when he is awake, but not higher than his spine. His large, arched paws, which are often called cat-like, are tight and rounded. His gait is smooth and even, which makes him effortlessly strong when he’s moving.

Coat & Colors

The Leonberger has a thick double-coat that helps keep him warm in winter. It regulates his temperature, and keeps him cool during the warmer months .. Please do not shave him. His undercoat is dense and soft, insulates him from the heat. His outer coat is medium-long in length, flat and medium-softly to coarse in texture. His outer coat is what makes his coat weather-resistant.

Despite his large lion-coat you can still see his body. His face hair is very short and fine. He has feathering fur around his ears. There is also a lot of feathering at the rear of his legs. His tail is also bushy. We’ve already discussed the differences between male and female manes. Leonbergers, unlike other breeds of dog, are not allowed to have their manes trimmed except for a quick manicure.

The Leonberger has four official colors. These colors are yellow, reddish brown, sandy and reddish-brown. The yellow is a sandy-colored colour, very similar to a lions’ color. All Leonbergers wear a black mask . Their hair can also be black-tipped. Some people have a tiny patch or stripe of white around the chest and toes.

Exercise Requirements

Despite his calm nature, this strong dog needs at least one hour of exercise each day. People assume that he is a couch potato, but it’s more often than they realize. His exercise does not have to be intense. It’s enough to get his heart rate up by taking a long, brisk stroll through the park or forest. You can also take a dip in the local lake.

To keep him interested, mix his activities throughout the week . Leonbergers can be a bit destructive, even though they are generally well-behaved. Mentally and physically. There are no excuses for Leo! We recommend investing in larger toys for Leo, such as a Jollyball or an XL KONG Classic . to keep him busy throughout the day. These toys are great for interactive and solo play.

Living Conditions

This breed can be adapted to living in an apartment, provided it has enough space and meets its exercise needs. Apartments in small cities are not a good idea. Apartments that are more spacious and comfortable may be an option. His ideal house would be large space with access to a yard. While this lion-lookalike will not wander off, it is important to secure his yard to avoid any neighbors being scared.

The sweet-natured Leonberger is suitable for all families, including those with young children and too cool-for-school teenagers. Young singletons and active retirees looking for a furry friend. He is happy as long as he has his basic needs met and is with his favourite people. He is a very fond child ,, and will often snuggle up to them if there are other people around. He is a wonderful family pet.

He is equally friendly with other animals. With slow and controlled introductions, he will accept dogs, cats and other members of the family. Outsiders are not allowed to join the family. Leonbergers can have a strong prey drive. This means that they chase and bark at any and all that fly past or wander into their territory. Another reason to surround your yard is this!


The Leonberger is very eager to please his people , and will do whatever it takes to please them. This is great news. Training sessions are a great way to spend time with your child and help him with his work. Positive reinforcement training is a good idea to start him young. You will likely be his most motivating factors. Make it enjoyable by giving him praise and yummy treats.

He is a large dog with a tendency to chase things. It’s important to socialize his puppy from an early age. Socialization refers to the act of introducing him to other dogs, animals, and people. You will also introduce him to grooming, exercise, and loud noises like the washing machine. Good breeders will begin the socialization process early, increasing your chances of your dog becoming obedient.

Crate training anxious dogs is a common practice. We believe the Leonberger is a great candidate for crate training, due to his sensitive nature and insistence on being left alone. Invest in a 54 inch dog crate, and spend time researching how to introduce him to it. Although many owners sell their crates, your Leonberger will find shelter in his new place .. Training your dog on leash is another priority. At up to 170 pounds, he could easily whip you off your feet if he wanted to. You can save him from going on a walk with you by teaching him how to walk politely on a leash . Although it can be tedious, it is well worth it. It will also make walking much more enjoyable.


Leonbergers reasonably health dogs . Unfortunately, his lifespan is shorter than many other giant-sized breeds. His time with you will pass quickly at an average age of nine years. This is why it is so important to keep him healthy and fit. Get him moving with exercise and good nutrition. Keep him up-to-date with his vet visits.

All purebred dogs are susceptible to certain health concerns more than others. Leonbergers are no exception. While some Leos may be affected by one or more of the above, others will have other health issues. The following list, which lists the most common diseases in the breed, is a great place to start your research on health.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

*Joint dysplasia can be a problem in giant and large breeds. The genes play a major role in the development of dogs. It is important to breed dogs with good hip and elbow scores. Large dogs require more growth than smaller dogs. If their bones develop too fast, uneven growth can occur. Uneven growth can lead to arthritis. It is important to check out Leos who are unable to stand or sit, climb stairs or move as freely as possible.

Eye Conditions

The Leonberger, as with many breeds, can be susceptible to various eye problems. The most common eye problems are progressive retinal atrophy (which is the gradual deterioration and loss of sight) and age-related cataracts. The breed is also susceptible to ectropion, entropion, and ectropion. Eye conditions can be characterized by bumping into objects, watery eyes and reddening.


This is an endocrine condition that is caused when hormone levels are low. Although it is not curable, dogs with this condition can live normal lives with regular medication. You should look out for signs such as weight gain, mental dullness and brittleness. A good breeder will be able to test for the disorder and not breed Leos with it.

Leonberger Polyneuropathy

There is a polyneuropathy type that can affect the Leonberger breed. Two DNA tests are needed to identify them (LPN1 and LPN2). This is an inherited neuromuscular disorder that results in a degrading of nerve fibers. The symptoms include a wobbly gait and exercise intolerance. They can be seen between the ages 2 and 4. Any dog suffering from this condition or having the mutated gene should be avoided being bred.


*This condition has similar symptoms to the previous in both age as well as symptoms. You should also be aware of paw dragging, and knuckling. It is due to the degeneration in white matter of the central nervous system. To identify a carrier, the LEMP DNA test must be performed. Carriers should not be bred.


Most Leonbergers will eat between five to seven cup of food every day. This depends on many factors, including age, size, energy level, and other factors. A 90 pound Leo will need much less than a 170 pound Leo, so it’s important to tailor his food consumption to his individual needs. Be sure to read the labels and not overfeed your dog. If you let your Leo gain weight, it can cause a lot of health problems.

Feeding your child the highest quality food you can afford is one way to ensure his health. A well-balanced diet will provide all his nutritional requirements and keep him healthy and strong. Large or giant dogs will appreciate kibble that is specially designed for them. They provide the best nutrition for their large breeds. This is particularly important for puppies as it will control his rapid bone growth.

The Leonberger, like most giant breeds, is prone to gastric torsion, also known as bloat. It usually happens during meals, especially right after or just before exercise. This is a serious condition that can cause stomach twisting and may even lead to death. It is recommended that he eat smaller, more frequent meals at least one hour before or after exercising. It is important to understand the signs to watch out for and seek immediate medical attention in case of an emergency. Some vets may recommend that your Leo be tacked to the abdominal wall in order to stop it.


The Leonberger’s coat needs a lot of attention in order to look its best. This is something you must do. It will make him look disheveled and cause matting to lead to both pain and problems. He sheds a lot throughout the year, and more during the shedding season. The Leo isn’t the right breed for you if you hate dog hair.

He has a thick double coat. His undercoat is thick, dense, and short while his outer coat is long and straight. They work together to keep him cool in summer and warm in winter. He needs to brush every day . throughout the year. To brush his undercoat, use a metal brush. A pin brush or slicker bristle brush is best for his topcoat. You will spend more time brushing him in the shedding season, so an undercoat rake is essential for managing his coat.

Pay attention to areas that are prone to matting, such as the back of his legs and behind his ears. The water-loving Leo makes bathtime so much easier. A walk-in is recommended unless you are the Hulk. Bath him once every six to eight week using a gentle, but concentrated shampoo. Make sure you dry and rinse him well.

Other grooming requirements include weekly teeth cleaning and a dog toothpaste. You should check his ears for any signs of a bacterial infection. These ears should be cleaned weekly using a cotton bud with an ear cleaning solution. Many Leos will have their nails trimmed at least once a month. To make things easier, get him to accept his grooming routine from an early age.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

The Leonberger is a relatively rare sight in America, and he usually sits between the 90th and 100th spot in the AKC’s popularity contest. This means you may need to travel to find a quality breeder depending on where your home is. It is important to find a responsible breeder who produces healthy litters of Leos. You can expect to be placed on a waiting list. However, this is a sign that the breeder is responsible!

The average price of a Leonberger from a reputable breeder is around $2,000. This is a good price for happy, healthy pups. Responsible breeders will check for any of the above issues and provide health certificates. They will help with socialization and training the animals to be comfortable around humans. A great place to start your Leo search is with the AKC’s list of reputable breeders.

Inviting a giant dog into your home will also incur additional costs beyond the initial puppy price. It all adds up, from XXL crates, tough toys, high quality puppy food, and higher insurance costs. be aware of the long-term costs , like higher vet bills, more food and boarding. The Leo is more expensive than the Yorkie.

Rescues & Shelters

If buying a puppy is not an option, you might consider adopting one from a rescue shelter. It’s great to think about this, as there are so many dogs in search of their forever homes. Rare dogs like Leos can be hard to find so expect them to be taken in when they do come up. Talk to staff at your local shelter about your Leo’s needs.

There are dedicated rescue groups that focus on a specific breed or their mix. Justgiants is a rescue organization that focuses on giant breeds only. If you are looking for a rescue pet, you can also look at other websites and social media groups.

As Family Pets

  • The Leonberger is a gentle giant who adores his family more than anything in the world.
  • He needs a daily fix of cuddles and will climb on all of your furniture whether he fits on it or not.
  • Leonbergers are a well-balanced mix of energy and calmness.
  • He hates to be left alone and needs a family that can spend most of their time with him.
  • He needs at least one hour of exercise every day.
  • As long as he is socialized well as a pup, he gets on well with other dogs and animals.
  • Some Leonbergers have a high prey drive, so you need to prepare for this.
  • He is eager to please and can be very obedient with early training.
  • Ideally, he needs a large home with access to a secured yard.
  • He loves children and makes a great choice as a canine sibling.
  • He sheds a lot, and you’ll spend a lot of time grooming and cleaning.

Final Thoughts

The Leonberger is a rare breed , but that doesn’t mean he isn’t amazing. This is due to his size. He is a sweet dog and you’ll soon discover that you have the space to house him. He loves his family, especially the little ones, and will give you lots of love and doggy kisses.

He needs certain things from his family, such as living space, 60 minutes of daily exercise, and constant company. As you can see, Leonbergers are a very easy-going breed. Many breed lovers say that once you have a Leo, your life will be complete. It’s not hard to see why.

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