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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 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 actually 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 actually think this is great!

Particularly when you…

Fully understand that inside this giant “wall of dog” lives a gentle giant that is not only extremely sweet-natured, he is also very calm and composed as well.

But is he the one for you?

That’s a hard question to answer. The Leo is not the easiest dog to have at home mainly because of his large size. He needs a lot of space to move around, so if you have a small apartment or condo, he may not be the right dog for you.  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 or not.

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 by the name of Heinrich Essig, who was from the town of Leonberg – hence the name Leonberger.

Essig claimed that…

He developed this breed by cross 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…

Very popular in Europe and North America at that time and featured in many dog shows such as the Westminster Kennel Club show. A Leonberger Club of America was formed in 1891, the first of many to come.


Like many other domesticated dog breeds throughout Europe, the World Wars I and II proved devastating for the breed. The fact that the Leo was a German breed did not help from the “PR perspective” either! Fortunately…

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.  Certainly, an honor late in the coming, but an honor nonetheless.

Physical characteristics of the Leonberger dog breed

Leonbergers are big and powerful dogs, very tall, and rise up to a height of 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, which makes them look menacing, when they are actually very sweet. They have a thick double coat and soft undercoat which may come in different color variations such as Lion Gold, Sandy, Red and Red-brown.

The males of the breed…

Do tend to look a bit more menacing than the females, apart from being much heavier. The female Leos have a very refined look and are quite feminine in appearance, with hazel or dark brown eyes, kind expression on the face and flat ears.

Leos also have…

A deep chest and slightly tucked abdomen, powerful legs, a tail with an upward curve and a strong neck and back. There is no question that the Leos have an imposing presence and attract attention everywhere they go.

Temperament and Personality

As we’ve already mentioned several times, the Leonberger is a very gentle, caring, affectionate and loving breed. He is especially nice to children and are very calm and composed in their interactions with humans.

These are not…

The sort of dogs that get panicky or jumpy and they are very reserved. They are very easy to train and are quite smart. 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…

Makes these large dogs so sweet. Children adore Leonberger puppies and get attached to these dogs. But unfortunately, like many larger dog breeds, Leos have a short life span, which is why for some this could be a deal breaker because who wants to have to say goodbye to such a great animal every 6 to 8 years!

Leonberger Dog Breed Health Problems

The Leonberger breed has a life expectancy of only 6 to 8 years. This is something very common with dogs of this size. The Leo is vulnerable to a number of genetic conditions and serious health disorders such as…

And while…

Many of these conditions may not be life threatening, they can certainly become quite expensive to deal with particularly if they become recurring issues.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But 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.

{ 1 comment… 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


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