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Leonberger Dog Breed… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

So, you think you’ve seen what a large dog looks like. Well, that may be true, but we’re here to tell you that you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen just how big a Leonberger can be! In fact, if you’ve ever seen those videos on YouTube where folks put a “lion mane” on a Golden Retriever and then have him run around scaring people, if you become an owner of a Leonberger, you could probably do the same only save yourself some money on not having to buy the lion mane costume!

This is because…

Some of these guys, particularly the more “yellowish” ones, look a little bit more like an escaped circus lion than they do an actual dog. But please don’t misinterpret what we’re saying here because we think this is great! Particularly when you fully understand that inside this giant “wall of dogs” lives a gentle giant that is not only highly sweet-natured but is also very calm and composed.

But is he the one for you?

That’s a tricky question to answer. The Leo is not the easiest dog to have at home, mainly because of his enormous size. He needs a lot of space to move around, so he may not be the right dog if you have a small apartment or condo. This is why we decided to write this article so that if you are considering adopting a Leonberger puppy or, better yet, adopting a Leonberger rescue dog, you’ll have a better idea if this is a good decision.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Leonberger Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Germany

Original Purpose:  Companion animals and helpers

Height: 25.5 to 31.5 inches at the shoulder

Weight: 120 to 170 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Working group

Life Span: 6 to 8 years

Origin of the Leonberger Dog Breed

The Leonberger was developed in Germany in the 19th century by a famous breeder, Heinrich Essig, who was from the town of Leonberg – hence the name Leonberger. Essig claimed he developed this breed by crossing a Saint Bernard, a black and white Newfoundland, and a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. He may have also used many local German dogs in his breeding program.

Leonberger’s were…

It was trendy in Europe and North America then and featured in many dog shows, such as the Westminster Kennel Club. A Leonberger Club of America was formed in 1891, the first of many. Unfortunately, like many other domesticated dog breeds throughout Europe, World Wars I and II proved devastating for the species. The fact that the Leo was a German breed did not help from the “PR perspective” either!

The good news is that…

The breed did survive these tough times and was once again accepted by the American public, but not overnight. This is probably why it took until 2010 for the Leonberger dog breed to finally become “officially” recognized by the American Kennel Club. Indeed, it is an honor late in the coming, but a benefit nonetheless.

Physical Characteristics

Leonbergers are big and powerful, tall dogs and rise to 31.5 inches. They can be very bulky and weigh anything from 120 to 170 pounds. Aside from their sheer size, these dogs are also easily distinguishable by the black mask on their face, making them look menacing when they are lovely. They have a thick double coat and soft undercoat, which may have different color variations, such as Lion Gold, Sandy, Red, and Red-brown.

The males of the breed…

They tend to look more menacing than the females, apart from being much heavier. The female Leos have a refined look and are pretty feminine, with hazel or dark brown eyes, a kind facial expression, and flat ears. Os also have a deep chest, a slightly tucked abdomen, powerful legs, a tail with an upward curve, and a strong neck and back. T here is no question that the Leos have an imposing presence and attract attention everywhere they go.

Temperament and Personality

As mentioned, the Leonberger is a gentle, caring, affectionate, and loving breed. H  is charming to children and very calm and composed in their interactions. Ese are not dogs that get panicky or jumpy and are very reserved. They are straightforward to train and are pretty clever. They have a natural tendency to be submissive, so much so that they are even responsive to the commands of a small child.

This is what…

It makes these large dogs so sweet. Children adore Leonberger puppies and get attached to these dogs. UUnfortunately, like many larger dog breeds, LeosUnfortunatelye span, which is why this could be a deal breaker for some because who wants to say goodbye to such an incredible animal every 6 to 8 years?

Potential Health Concerns

The Leonberger breed has a life expectancy of only 6 to 8 years. T is something ubiquitous with dogs of this size. TLeo is vulnerable to several genetic conditions and severe health disorders such as…

And while many of these conditions may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues. IThis is why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. Until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Kathleen S. February 28, 2020, 6:10 am

    My wonderful Leonberger, Aslan.passed over the Rainbow Bridge at the age of 9 1/2 years. He was the most loving, intelligent and mischievous dog I have ever known


  • Bill O. January 18, 2024, 5:33 pm

    Why can’t I find information of a Leonberger that is larger than the standard size? When I ask for the largest size of a recorded Leonberger, all i get is the standard. Do all males stop growing at 31.5″?
    Just wanted to see if some were larger than others and what they looked like beside a person.
    Bill – NW Indiana

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