Leonberger general features, temperament, health

Leonberger dog breed face

FCI # 145, Origin: Germany, Group 2.2 Molossoid Breeds. Mountain type.

Height: 27-31 in, Weight: 100-170 pounds

Grooming: High, Shedding: High, Coat: Medium or long weather resistant double coat.

Color: fawn, yellow, red-yellow (always with the black mask).

Ease of training: High, Energy level: Medium, Span of life: 7-15 years.

Breed: In the German town of Leonberg in the late 30's and early 40-ies of the XIX century, an animal lover and expert of dogs, a distinguished professional dog breeder, Heinrich Essig decided to create the breed of dogs that will look like a lion, depicted on the emblem of the city.

According to the records, preserved in the archive, first Essig crossed the famous long-haired St. Bernard named Barry from the Monastery of St. Bernard, who saved dozens of people in the mountains with the black and white Landseer (Newfoundland).

Further, using the method of intra-inbreeding for four generations and then crossing the offspring with the St. Bernards of yellow-white color and the Pyrenean Mountain Sheepdog of white color, Essig obtained by a very large dog of a silver-gray color with a black head and ears (black mask). This dog was able to swim, had a sensitive ears and a sharp vision. The new dog was also strong, capable of tracing and with the high level of endurance in all respects.

Thus, the name of the breed - "Leonberger" - for the first time appeared in the canine community in 1846. The first registration by the breeder and the first breed description were made by the rector of St. Bernard's hospice and is stored in a museum in Bern.
Later Essig continued to work over the color of his dogs, changing color scheme - from black and white, they turned to black-white-red, reddish-brown, golden-red, resembling a lion, but always with a black mask. Silver-gray color was removed from the standard only in 1973. But Essig did not leave any documents, that would reflect the characteristics of the breed.

Essig died in 1889. The standard was still absent. Unscrupulous people were selling any large dogs as the Leonbergers. The breed fell into decline. People were already laughing over the Leonbergers. But in 1890, in Apolda was founded the Leonberger Club (later it moved to Heidelberg). The first standard was written by Albert Cull in 1895. That marked the beginning of a proper breeding.

The World Wars severely affected the breeding of the Leonbergers, but in 1922 the Club was reformed by the same few breeders, who have been able to keep their dogs. Having only five dogs and plenty of enthusiasm, they have begun the breeding of a Leonberger once again. These five dogs became the ancestors of all the Leonbergers, which are now known.??From that time the Leonbergers are written in the studbook.

In 1948 in the city Leonberg was created a new Leonberger Club, the main goal of this organisation was to reconstruct the purebred livestock, that was destroyed during the two World Wars almost completely. It's founders were E. Kraus and R. Beutesbacher.
Today the Leonberger breed, according to some sources, has about 8,000 individuals.

Leonberger dog breeds

Leonberger is a working dog, trained for operational search and rescue operations in the mountains. Nowadays allover the world are organized kennels and Leonberger Clubs, engaged in breeding, showing and training Leonbergers and many of this organisations have achieved high marks from international experts.

General Features: Leonberger is a very large muscular dog, which incorporates the best qualities of all the breed ancestors. Coat color varies from pale yellow to brownish-red with a mandatory black mask on the muzzle and ears.

One of the most important characteristics of the Leonberger's exterior is matching his size with the proportions, that are established by the breed standard: height at withers should refer to the length of the body, as 9:10, the height of the chest should be 50% of the height at the withers.

Leonberger dog breed photo

Extraordinarily beautiful head and muzzle, rich thick coat, a tail, that looks like an "ostrich feather", ??graceful "lion" gait and the royal appearance are always attracting attention and they are a true delight to the eye.

Leonberger is loyal, intelligent and easily trainable, sensible dog.

Expression of the Otterhound's eyes is open and friendly. Eyes are deep-set.

Temperament: The unique character created for the Leonberger reputation of an ideal dog for home and for family. Leonberger is a loyal, intelligent and easily trainable, sensible dog, which is not afraid of bad weather and cold. Leonberger loves children and he is a great keeper. At the same time he is a magnificent companion dog and a guard-dog. Soft, accommodating nature of the Leonberger, his readiness to obey to the owner's will makes the presence of this giant in the house surprisingly pleasant and joyful. Unlike other large guard dogs, such as the Caucasian Sheepdog, Rottweiler, Black Russian Terrier, and others, for the Leonberger it is not typical to have the high level of aggressiveness and virulence, the desire to dominate over the others, including his family. Such traits are disqualifying faults in this breed. However, all this does not affect the guarding qualities of the Leonbergers: their household and their territory is always protected in the best way. But in his family he is always just that kind, gentle, docile dog, who's lively and cheerful character distinguishes him from the other guarding breeds.

Leonberger's love to children should be specially mentioned. Sometimes it goes beyond all reasonable limits. Your Leonberger on a walk may easily drag you somewhere to comfort a stranger's crying baby - he will not just pass by; and ??"his" kids can do just anything - the dog will play with them bravely and vigilantly guard against any dangers. The only thing we should not forget: love for children is a characteristic only of an adult dogs. Puppies are not the same forgiving with children (this you can say about puppies of any breeds), so for the benefit of both sides you should not leave the kids with a puppy unattended.

Leonberger is a very fast learner: he studies the commands quickly, remembers them well, but in everyday life this dog understands perfectly just a normal human speech, addressed to him. You can even communicate with your Leonberger without any commands, just talk to him.

If Leonberger has to be punished, it should be done wisely. It should be kept in mind that the Leonberger knows when he is really guilty and when it was not quite fare. And if in the first case, he would apologize by himself, in the second case he may take offense thoroughly. With your Leonberger you should always talk with calm and respectful tone, then training and communication with him will be lively and fruitful dialogue between a man and a dog.

Another feature of the Leonbereger - his love for swimming. He is ready to dive into a glass of water. So, if you meet a pond during your walk with the Leonberger, then either keep the dog bit stronger, or release him to swim.

Health problems: The Leonberger is a strong and healthy breed. Still in some lines they may be prone to the hip dysplasia.

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