The Leonberger!

One of the distinct characteristics of a leonberger is its black mask – usually up to the eye area or just above the eyes. However, it never completely fills the entire head. To match its famous black mask, the nose and lips are also of the same color. This breed is generally very large. The skull is somewhat shaped like a dome with warm, affectionate brown eyes, giving off a gentle, somber expression. The ears are hanging and just the right size. The tail is set low and usually thick, reaching at least the hocks. Its feet have black pads and webbing between the toes to help in swimming.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
8-10 years

Energy Level:

Living Conditions:
Wide variety of climates; not for apartments.

Below average.

Exercise Needs:
Daily walk. They love to swim.

Breed Group:


27-31 inches

100-170 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Tawny to reddish-brown, lion yellow, red, reddish brown, and sandy

National breed club:
The Leonberger Club of America

Leonberger Skills

German breeder Heinrich Essing in Leonberg, Germany established the breed in 1846. Essing was then trying to create a breed that would closely resemble the town crest lion. Today, the breed is used in Germany for search and rescue and has made a mark in water rescue operations.

Leonberger Personality

Leonbergers are affectionate and sweet – they love everyone. Even the brattiest children can get along with them as they have this incredible patience and friendly personality. In times of discord, instead of joining the fray, they just walk away. They do not respond well to harsh methods of training. They prefer a lengthy, specialized training. Often described as a gentle giant, leonbergers are brave and intelligent and can get along very well with other dogs. Compared to other large breeds, they are more agile.

Exercise Needs

Leonbergers love to swim and are very good at it. Generally, they do not need a lot of exercise but they are not inconvenient to bring in family outings as they easily adapt to any environment.

Living Conditions

The leonberger is not good for small spaces specifically cramped apartments. They would do well in large yards and can live both inside and outside (even in cool climates).

Grooming Requirements

Weekly brushing is needed. Seasonally, the leonberger sheds considerably and should be brushed and combed daily during this time.

Health Issues

They are prone to hip dysplasia like all other large breeds. Eyelid defects and bone disease are also common.

If you liked this dog… would also like the golden retriever which is similarly friendly, reliable and trustworthy.



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