The Leonberger is a gigantic, beautiful dog renowned for its friendly character. The majestic posture, the luxurious mane of brownish-yellow tones, the look full of proud calmness, the regal tread of powerful paws – who is this if not a lion? This is a Leonberger, a German breed of powerful, strong, but at the same time friendly, even meek-tempered dogs.
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History of the origin of the breed
Such a breed of dogs as the Leonberger got its name due to the name of the small town of Leonberg, which is located in Germany, so it is a purely German breed. The name of this city is translated literally as the lion’s mountain, which, accordingly, was the symbol of this place. We can say that the breed was born thanks to German pedantry and the desire for order.
A certain Heinrich Essig, mayor of the German city of Leonberg, was engaged in dog breeding. His dream was to bring out a dog with the appearance of a lion (the image of a lion was contained on the Leonberg coat of arms). Essig crossed Landseer, Newfoundland, St. Bernard and Pyrenean mountain dog. The result of this fantastic cross was the modern Leonberger breed. As before, and now these dogs are successfully used as companions.
Only the main breeds of dogs are known that participated in the experiment to develop a new species, these include the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, St. Bernard and Newfoundland. As a result of this experiment, a very large dog was obtained, growing from sixty-five to eighty centimeters and weighing sixty-five kilograms. She had a powerful gray body and a black head.
Leonberger quickly gained immense popularity. From the latter, the breed had to “take” the fashionable at that time white color. The name of the breed – Leonberger – was first mentioned in 1846, and the first dogs of “lion” color appeared in 1865.
These dogs have become the favorite pets of royalty. Among the owners of this breed, one can list such famous historical figures as Napoleon III, Prince of Wales, Elizabeth of Baden and many others. However, puppies of this species were not available to everyone, since they cost a fortune at that time.
It is also worth noting that very rapidly this breed spread literally all over the world, since its representatives could be found just a few years after their birth, both in Japan, in Canada and in many other countries. Its excessive popularity is also justified by the fact that these are unusually intelligent dogs, ready to give their lives for their master. They are bold and determined.
Description of the breed
The body of the Leonberger is covered with smooth, slightly wavy, thick hair. The most common colors are yellow-golden, red-brown.
The current breed standard was approved in 2002. The Leonberger is a large, strong, yet elegant, harmoniously built dog. A lively temperament is combined with confidence and calmness. Dogs are playful, get along well with children, obedient and immune to noise – a characteristic feature of the breed.
- The Leonberger’s head is more convex than compact. The skin on the head does not form folds. The skull is powerful, domed, but not heavy. The transition from forehead to muzzle is moderately expressed, but clearly marked.
- The ears are medium in size, drooping. fleshy. Close to head, set high.
- The eyes are oval, medium in size. Set neither wide nor narrow, not deep, but also not convex. Eye color – from light brown to the darkest brown, whites without redness. The eyelids are tight-fitting. Because of the structure of the back, the nose of the Leonberger is called the “ram’s nose”. The bridge of the nose in dogs is evenly wide, slightly arched. The nose is black.
- Full scissor bite in dogs. Pincer bite is also allowed. The cheekbones are slightly developed, the muzzle is rather long, but not pointed. The lips are black, tight-fitting. The corners of the lips are closed.
- The body is distinguished by a pronounced withers (especially in males). Neck without dewlap. The bottom line is slightly tucked up. The loin is muscular, broad and strong. The croup is also wide, rather long and rounded. Should not be upturned.
- The chest is wide and deep (reaching to the elbows), oval in shape. The back is strong, straight and wide.
- The forelimbs of the Leonberger are straight, parallel, not set narrowly. The elbows are close to the body. Feet are rounded, turning neither in nor out. The arched fingers are collected in a ball. Black pads.
- The hind legs are set parallel, not narrow. The thighs are set obliquely, long and muscular. The hind feet are slightly more elongated than the front ones. Lean on black pads. Sweeping movements, uniform.
- The tail of dogs is very fluffy. Hangs straight at rest when the dog is agitated – bends slightly without rising above back level.
Leonberger’s wool is two-layer. The top coat is long, straight (a small “wave” is acceptable. The coat is tight, should not form partings. The undercoat is thick. On the neck and chest of the dog, the coat forms a collar, on the front and hind legs – feathering.
The color of the Leonberger should be “lion”: red, yellow, brownish red, sand. Combinations of these colors are acceptable, always with a black mask. At the same time, black tone as the main one is unacceptable. A small white spot or blaze on the chest and white hair on the fingers are allowed.
Leonberger has always been and remains a family dog, responsible for children, home and household. Leon, being an intellectual dog, does not require special training, but only education. You need to make friends with him, talk or just look into the eyes, and he will understand without words what they want from him.
They are calm but playful, strong but not aggressive or dominant. In addition, Leonberger swimmers are great and will gladly join the family on the water.
Leonbergers are irreplaceable as guards, because they have incredible dexterity and ingenuity. They will never allow a person who has some bad intentions to get close to a protected object, which also speaks of a well-developed instinct. But, in spite of all their external severity, they are very kind and lovely creatures. They are madly in love with children and can play with them all day, even if the child decides to ride it, she will not resist.
Due to their large size and tough disposition, passed down from generation to generation, such dogs are practically not adapted to city life. Of course, they can be placed in an apartment, but it is worth leaving it alone, as upon returning you will not recognize your living space, since very few intact objects will remain in it. And the neighbors will also have a lot of fun, because besides her other “talents” she has a very clear voice and can whine and bark for hours, notifying the whole neighborhood that she is very bored and sad to be at home without a master.
The Leonberger is a very powerful dog. Therefore, she needs to move as much as possible. Any active play is encouraged, preferably outdoors. Plus, the Leonberger are amazing swimmers! They cannot be pulled out of the water even in the coldest weather.
The Leonberger is a balanced, calm and loving dog. It is a loyal protector combined with friendliness. Serious, intelligent and brave, Leonberger always strives to please his master and lends itself well to training.
These dogs are in great need of companionship. With a lack of attention, Leonbergers become lethargic and bored. They love to take part in all family affairs. Dogs of this breed are good at feeling the mood of people, they can be very excited during family quarrels. If you get a Leonberger, you will get a loyal friend for life.
Too large for a small apartment, these dogs need space and a cool climate. These dogs feel best in a house with a spacious yard. Despite the fact that Leonberger dogs adapt well to living conditions, these dogs are not for permanent residence on the street.
Leonberger is a dog that is often not very accurate with food and drink.
Leonbergers have a talent for surprisingly gentle and affectionate treatment of children with whom they are always ready to play.
A spectacular appearance, combined with the docile nature and inclinations of a good watchman and security guard, make Leonberger one of the best candidates for the role of a companion of a large family with children. The dog plays with pleasure with the younger members of the family, but at the same time he always listens to the instructions of the “pack leaders”.
Does the breed have any disadvantages? Like other large breeds, the Leonberger requires considerable resources of time and attention to grow and develop as a harmonious and well-mannered dog. In addition, the breed is not very good at dog sports..
Are you ready to devote your time to a puppy, and then an adult dog, to arrange daily long walks for him? Do you want to raise a real “home lion”? Then cast aside doubts – the friendship of a sincerely loving, loyal and devoted pet awaits you.!
Leonberger and other pets
He is not characterized by increased and unreasonable aggression and the desire to dominate, as in many guard dog breeds.
Caring for Leonberger
The thick coat of Leonberger, and especially their lush mane, requires maintenance. It is important to comb the dog in a timely manner, especially during the molting period, and, if necessary, wash it. Monitor your ears and teeth.
Leonberger – strong and physically developed dogs, they need regular long walks, constant, but not intense physical activity.
In terms of care, they require attention and time. As a rule, their saliva does not flow, but sometimes it can flow after drinking or during stress. They also splash water.
The Leonberger’s coat dries slowly, and after a walk in wet weather, huge, dirty paw prints remain on the floor. The long, undercoated coat of the Leonberger needs to be brushed regularly, at least once a week. Dogs of this breed shed constantly, but not much. However, during the shedding period, which happens 2 times a year, these dogs should be brushed daily, unless of course you want the hair to remain on the floor and furniture..
Just like other dogs, the Leonberger needs to be bathed periodically, cleaned his ears, teeth, wiped his eyes and cut his claws.
During the year, their coat sheds evenly, with two abundant sheds in spring and autumn. Naturally, a dog with a long and thick coat needs more care than a smooth-haired one. All Leonbergers have a water-repellent wool that protects them from the elements.
If you want it to look well-groomed, you need to brush it daily. This will significantly reduce the amount of hair shedding. Washing a giant dog requires a lot of patience, water, shampoo and towels.
But the breed does not need grooming. Brushing, clipping and a little trimming on the paw pads, it is the natural look that is considered ideal.
Despite the fact that leonberger do not need a lot of physical activity, long daily walks will help them maintain physical and mental health.
Like any large breed dog, the Leonberger needs proper, balanced nutrition from a young age. It is necessary that the puppy receives all the vitamins and minerals necessary for development. In addition, it is important that bone development matches the development of muscle mass. First of all, the advice of the breeder will help you to formulate the diet correctly..
They should be fed in small portions rather than given all of the feed at a time. According to statistics, the most common causes of death: cancer (45%), heart disease (11%), other (8%), age (12%).
However, it is important that such a large and strong pet is familiar with the rules of “good form” for dogs. Experts also advise to start classes with a puppy on OKD as early as possible.
Leonberger is a dog with high intelligence, he easily grasps new commands and quickly understands what is wanted from him. If the dog is guilty, it knows very well about it and will try to earn the owner’s forgiveness; if the Leonberger was not justly punished, he may be offended. It is best to treat the dog evenly and calmly, then communication with the dog will be fruitful. Leonberger loves water very much, the dog will not pass by a pond or even a deep puddle, but will definitely climb to swim.
Large, fairly healthy breed. Dysplasia of the hip joint, the scourge of all large breeds of dogs, is less pronounced in Leonberger. Mainly thanks to the efforts of breeders who screen their dogs and rule out producers with potential problems.
Surveys on the lifespan of Leonberger dogs in the US and UK have come to 7 years, which is almost 4 years less than other purebred breeds, but which is typical for large dogs. Only 20% of dogs lived for 10 years or more. The oldest died at the age of 13.
Certain cancers are among the serious diseases affecting the breed. In addition, all large breeds are prone to volvulus, and the Leonberger with its deep chest and even more
Dogs of this breed are most prone to the following diseases:
- Dysplasia of the hip joints
- Entropion (turn of the century)
Photos by Leonberger
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