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Dog articles

Published in: User Breed Notes

The Leonberger

The Leonberger is a large, strong, and muscular dog. Height at Withers (top of shoulder blades): dogs 72cm to 80cm (28.75 in to 32in) and bitches 65cm to 75cm (26in to 30in) Males in particular are powerful and strong. The colour varies between lion yellow, red-brown and sandy with black hair tips and a black mask, the underneath is lighter than the main colour. If your Leonberger is going be a show dog a small white patch on the chest or white hair on the toes will be tolerated but it is likely to lose you points in the show ring, as will too much black


Medium soft to coarse with long hair with a thick undercoat and a slight wave in the coat (found on most Leonberger’s). The mane forming around the neck and chest is more evident on the males. There should be feathering on the back of the front legs and also on the tail, and breeches on the back legs.


Leonberger puppies do not need a lot of exercise as they need to rest or their bones will be damaged. Lead training at the puppy stage will save you a lot of excess lead pulling when the dog grows to adulthood. When the Leonberger is around 9 months old it is ready for longer walks but don’t go over the top as his/her bones and muscles still need to strengthen. Free running is better than long walks (it also saves your arms). In adulthood the Leonberger becomes the all-terrain dog - where you go the Leo will go with you, even if you want to go swimming as they love water. His need for regular exercise will keep you fit as well.


The Leonberger is a very friendly and socialiable dog and will mix with all types of dogs. They especially love children as they are very protective of them and seem to have no limits when it comes to babies and toddlers being near them. Protective and loyal to their to their owners they are good watchdogs and will not bark unnecessarily.

The Leonberger as a pet

The cute little fur ball you got from the breeder will grow into a dog that stands 72cm to 80cm to the shoulders in about 18 months. Their growth rate is very fast so you will have a large and powerful dog with a puppy brain, and you will have to remind yourself how old he/she is and not go by size alone.

Training can be very frustrating as they can be a very slow / stubborn breed, they also love the water so if you have a pond you will need to put a fence around it. They will also go out in the rain and lay in it as it doesn’t bother them, so get your wets out cause they will go for walks no matter what the weather is.

Get yourself a good vacuum cleaner as they tend to lose a lot of fur no matter how much you groom them - which should be done at least once a week, making sure you get all off the coat including the under coat.

They like company and don’t like being left alone. They will lie by your side or on you as they are very affectionate (The nickname for the Leonberger is ‘Lean-on-berger’!). Leos can look very intimating because of their size and other dog owners may be worried about this and they may tend to keep their dogs away which is unfortunate as the Leo will want to play and make friends, but often they do not get the chance they need to be sociable.

If you are seriously considering a Leonberger, then get in touch with the owners club who have a list of owners who will not mind if you visit them to see their dogs. I would advise you to take advantage of this opportunity before you purchase, as such a large dog is not for everyone. The cost of upkeep of a Leonberger is approx 20 a week, this includes food, insurance, treats and biscuits. Most owners agree on this being the average for one dog.

Posted: 09-10-2004


A breed I know little about but now thanks to your article I know a lot more. A very interesting and informative article.


Excellent insight into the Leonberger, thank you Leo.


A fantastic article marie!
Fantastic breed which i will one day have the pleasure of owning!


An interesting insight into your breed, thanks.


A very interesting article thank you Leo. Leonbergers are a breed I know very little about, with your help I now know a little more about them.


Excellent article - I've always wanted to know more about this lovely breed.

Lucky Star

Marie, Great article for would be owners- well done!!! xxxx


Having had the privilege of being owned by one for over 7 years, I have to say they are just about perfect: Gentle, calm, friendly and with a wonderful sense of humour. If you can survive the first year, which is tough because they have all the usual puppy faults (only much bigger and more troublesome due to their size and strength), you quickly forget how hard it was!

david richardso


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