Breed info


Characteristics and temperament:

Leonbergers do not like loneliness, they feel very good in the herd, with family or in the company of other dogs with whom they live.

Leonberger is an extremely loving, devoted and loyal member of his flock. "As much love as weight." Leonbergers raised from an early stage in the family make excellent children companions, but because of their size may accidentally fall over or step on a child. Therefore never leave small kids playing with dogs unattended

A well-mannered Leonberger tolerates strangers in the house in the presence of family members, initially keeps a distance, but at the next meeting, is vigorously wagging its tail. When the dog is alone, he takes over the duties as a guard of the apartment, house and land. Then, as a rule, lies quietly in the place from which he can watch the gate, does not react to people passing, rarely barks, only raises the alarm if someone tries to intrude into its territory or creates such an impression. In the face of real danger to the household a Leonberger will defend desperately the people he loves.

He likes to travel, he prefers to spend many hours in the car than to be alone at home, especially if there is no company of other dogs. Usually when left alone, he sleeps while waiting for the owner, there is no tendency to demolish the surroundings, although it happens that out of boredom, may cause minor damage. When the owner is on the horizon or his car, the dog reacts with a crazy dance and it's hard to calm him down. He is determined to greet you by removing your cap or licking your face (but it depends on what we allow our Leo as a puppy).

Leonbergers love long walks, after the first few minutes of fun they usually heel beside the master. Have a good sense of direction. However, in the woods better to keep Leonberger on a leash, as some like tracking and it is difficult to call them back.

 

Training: 

Leonbergers are calm, stabile and devoted to the owner provided that trained gently but firmly from the very beginning. Give him the rules he must follow. They are intelligent and have a good memory. They require early socialization, the puppy must be exposed to the entire surroundings, be accustomed to the traffic, meet the neighbours (especially their pets). You should allow strangers to touch the dog. The more Leonberger will see as a puppy the better guardian and companion will be in adulthood. Unfortunately some Leonberger are stubborn, when Leonberger does not want to do something he "sticks" to the ground.

Do not leave your puppy alone in the house for more than 2 hours (provide toys). During obedience lessons use rewards and praise. Play with your dog, but during the adolescence do not teach retrieving, definitely walk the dog a lot possibly in the rough terrain (climbing and descending the hill), let him swim as much as possible.

 

Standard and history:

CI-Standard N 145
Date of publication of the original valid standard: 04.01.1996.
CLASSIFICATION F.C.I. Group 2, Section 2.2

ORIGIN: Germany.
UTILIZATION: watch, companion and family dog.

 
BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY:

At the end of the thirties, beginning of the forties of the 19th century, Heinrich Essig (1809-1889), town Councillor in Leonberg near Stuttgart, crossed a black and white Newfoundland bitch with a so-called "Barry" male from the monastery hospice Grand St. Bernhard. 

                

Later a Pyrenean Mountain Dog was addend. This resulted in very large dogs with predominantly long, white coats. Essig's aim was for a lion-like dog. The lion is the heraldic animal of the city of Leonberg.

The first dogs really called Leonbergers" were registered in 1846, first show with presence of Leonberger was in Munich in 1885. Only a short time later, many of these dogs were sold as status symbols from Leonberg all over the Word.

Leonberegers appeared in the royal court soon (Empress Sisi possessed 7 of them, also Napoleon II, king Edward VII, Emperor Napoleon III, king Umberto I, King Leopold I) as well as at houses of XIX centaury celebrities (Otto von Bismarck, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Garibaldi.) In 1894, 374 leonbergers were exported to Russia, they appeared at the Russian imperial court as well. In the beginning of the 20th century, Leonbergers were imported by the Government of Canada for use as water rescue/life saving dogs.

In 1891 the first Leonberger Clubs were founded. The International Club President was Albert Kull and he created the first standard for the Leonberger, he also wrote some breeding rules.

Since 1901, for breeding were used Leonbergers with golden-red ointment with black mask.In both Word War and the needy post war limes, the numbers of breeding stock reduced dramatically.

Today the Leonberger is an excellent family dog which fulfils all the demands of modern life and combining the best of breed, used for mating (Newfoundland, St. Bernard, and Pyrenean Shepherd).

 
 
GENERAL APPEARANCE: according to his original purpose, the Leonberger is a large, strong, muscular yet elegant dog. He is distinguished by his balanced build and confident calmness, yet with quite lively temperament. Males, in particular, are powerful and strong. 
 
BEHAVIOUR/TEMPERAMENT: as a family dog, the Leonberger is an agreeable partner for present day dwelling and living conditions, who can be taken anywhere without difficulty and is distinguished by his marked friendliness towards children. He is neither shy nor aggressive. As a companion, He is agreeable, obedient and fearless in all situations of life.
The following are particular requirements of steady temperament:
  • Self assurance and superior composure
  • Medium temperament (including playfulness)
  • Willing to be submissive
  • Good capacity for learning and remembering
  • Insensitive to noise
 
 
SIZE
Height at the withers:
  • Dogs: 72 to 80 cm (recommended average 76 cm).
  • Bitches: 65 to 75 cm (recommended average 70 cm). 
WEIGHT
  • Male: 54 to 77 kg
  • Female: 45 to 61 kg
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS: Height at the withers to length of body: 9 to 10. The depth of chest is nearly 50% of the height at withers.
 
HEAD: on the whole deeper than broad and elongated rather than stocky. Proportion of length of muzzle to length of skull is about 1 to 1. Skin close fitting all over, no wrinkles.
 
CRANIAL REGION:
Skull: in profile and seen from the front, slightly arched.  In balance with body and limbs, it is strong but not heavy. The skull at its back part is not substantially broader than near the eyes.
 
FACIAL REGION:
Nose: black
Muzzle: rather long, never running to a point; nasal bridge of even breadth, never dipped, rather slightly arched (roman nose).
Lips: close fitting, black, corners of lips closed.
Jaws/Teeth: strong jaws with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, the upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth without any gap, and teeth set square to the jaw with 42 sound teeth according to the dentition formula (missing M3 tolerated). Pincer bite is accepted; no constriction at the canines in the lower jaw.
Cheeks: only slightly developed.
Eyes: light brown to as dark brown as possible, medium size, oval, neither deep set, nor protruding, neither too close together nor too wide apart. Eyelids close fitting, not showing any conjunctiva. The white of the eye (the visible part of the sclera) not reddened.
Ears: set on high and not far back, pendant, of medium size, hanging close to the head, fleshy.
 
NECK: running in a slight curve without break to the withers. Somewhat long rather than stocky, without throatiness or dewlap.
 
BODY:
Withers: pronounced, specially in males.
Back: firm, straight, broad.
Loins: broad, strong, well muscled.
Croup: broad, relatively long, gently rounded, flowing to merge with tail set on; never overbuilt.
Chest: broad, deep, reaching at least to the level of the elbows. Not too barrel shaped, more oval.
Underline and belly: only slightly tucked up.
 
TAIL: very well furnished. While standing, it hangs down straight; also in movement it is only slightly curved and if at all possible should not be carried above the prolongation of the topline.
 
LIMBS: Very strong, specially in males.
 
FOREQUARTERS: forelegs straight, parallel and not too close.
Shoulders/upper arm: long, sloping, forming a not too blunt angle, well muscled.
Elbows: close to the body.
Pastern: strong, firm; seen from the front, straight; almost vertical, seen from the side.
Forefeet: straight (turning neither in nor out), rounded, tight, toes well arched; black pads.
 
HINDQUARTERS: seen from the rear, position of the hind legs not too close, parallel. Hocks and feet turned neither in nor out. Pelvis: slanting. Upper thigh: rather long, slanting, strongly muscled.  Upper and lower thigh form a distinct angle.
Hocks: strong, distinct angle between lower thigh and rear pastern. Hind feet: standing straight, only slightly longish. Toes arched, pads black.
 
GAIT / MOVEMENT: Ground covering even movement in all gaits. Extending well in front with good drive from the hindquarters. Seen from front and behind the limbs move in a straight line when walking or trotting.
 
COAT
HAIR: Medium soft to coarse, profusely long, close fitting, never parted, with the shape of the whole body be visible despite the thick undercoat. Straight, slight wave still permitted; forming a mane on neck and chest, specially in males; distinct feathering on front legs and ample breeches on hind legs.
 
COLOUR: Lion yellow, red, reddish brown, also sandy (pale yellow, cream coloured) and all combinations in between, always with a black mask. Black hair tips are permitted; however, black must not determine the dog's basic colour.
Lightening up of the basic colour on the underside of the tail, the mane, the feathering on the front legs and the breeches on the hind legs must not be so pronounced as to interfere with the harmony of the main colour. A small white patch or stripe on the chest and white hairs on the toes are tolerated.
FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS:

  • Shy or aggressive dogs.
  • Severe anatomical faults (i.e. pronounced cow hocks, pronounced roach back, bad swayback; front feet turning out extremely.  Totally insufficient angulations of shoulder, elbow, stifle or hock joints.
  • Brown nose leather.
  • Very strong lack of pigment in lips.
  • Absence of teeth (with the exception of M3).  Over- or undershot or other faults in mouth.
  • Eyes without any brown.
  • Entropion, ectropion.
  • Distinct ring tail or too highly curled up tail.
  • Brown pads.
  • Cords or strong curls.
  • Faulty colours (brown with brown nose and brown pads; black and tan; black; silver; wild-coat colour).
  • Complete lack of mask.
  • Too much white (reaching from toes onto pasterns), white on chest larger than palm of hand, white in other places).
  • Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
 
 N.B.: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.