The Leonberger is a gentle giant that initially worked in the fields pulling carts.
What is a Leonberger? This St. Bernard and Newfoundland mix is a gigantic dog known for its gentle and playful disposition.
Just how big is a Leonberger?
These large dogs are one of the world’s largest dog breeds and look like a lion. This giant breed typically stands 29 to 31 inches tall and weighs 90 to 160 pounds. Their typical lifespan is eight to 10 years.
Well-trained Leonbergers make excellent family pets. The dogs require companionship. If you separate the dogs from their families, they tend to experience anxiety and become destructive.
The dogs also are prone to a difficult teen phase when they can be stubborn and destructive. That’s why obedience training is critical.
Before bringing one home, do some research to know the facts about the Leonberger dog breed.
That way, you’ll understand the dog’s grooming, health, temperament, and exercise needs.
The Leonberger has a double coat in a lion yellow, reddish-brown, or golden color. The dogs shed a lot and require regular brushing.
Leonbergers need daily brushing, especially behind their ears and on the back of their legs. Without regular brushing, their coats are prone to matting. Plan to buy an undercoat rake and a slicker brush to keep your dog’s coat smooth and beautiful.
Because they love to get wet and muddy, Leos also require regular bathing. They are talented water rescue dogs. Plan to bathe and groom your dog to nails every four to six weeks.
Exercise and training
Leonberger puppies and adults are active dogs. They were initially bred to work on farms and pull carts. But they also make good family dogs.
Plan to take your dog for regular walks or hikes because they need at least an hour of exercise each day.
Training a Leo is not tricky. The dogs are good at listening and following calm commands.
They enjoy training sessions and quickly learn if you remain calm and confident. Avoid using a harsh tone or being overly strict. Doing so can make the dog stubborn and more likely to disobey you.
Like other puppies, Leos like to chew. But due to their large size, they can cause more damage. Be sure to provide your puppy with tough chew toys.
Keep your dog busy with interactive feeders and puzzle toys. Leos that get bored can become destructive.
Leos can act as therapy dogs with appropriate training. Doctors, nurses, and patients enjoy spending time with Leonbergers, that work as therapy dogs.
Before buying any dog, ensure the breeder is trustworthy and gives you health certificates guaranteeing that the dog or his parents (or grandparents) are disease-free.
You can find a perfect Leonberger from an American Kennel Club-certified breeder. You also can adopt from a rescue like Great Dog Rescue New England, Leonberger Rescue Pals, or the Leonberger Club of America.
Leos require regular vet checkups and are prone to several chronic health conditions, including elbow and hip dysplasia and orthopedic problems. They also suffer eye conditions such as cataracts, entropion, and ectropion, which cause the eyelid to curl either in or out.
The dogs also often experience bone cancer, neurological diseases, and obesity or gastric issues.
Like other large breeds, Leonbergers can experience bloat, a condition in which the dog’s stomach twists, trapping gas.
Bloat can be fatal. Warning signs include drooling, a swollen abdomen drooling, restlessness, and attempts to vomit.
To reduce the risk, feed a high-quality dog diet, consider supplements, feed your dog several small meals a day, and don’t let your dog run right before or after meals.
Do Leonbergers make good pets?
The short answer is yes. These gentle giants are easy to train and enjoy spending time with people. They also are energetic and require about an hour of exercise per day.