This jumbo-sized dog breed is a mix of Newfie, longhaired Saint Bernard, and Great Pyrenees. Leonberger needs a good deal of exercise, attention, and space, but with the right owner, he can be a friend like no other.
There are TOP 10 interesting facts about Leonbergers.
Heinrich Essig, a noted politician, is generally credited with the creation of the Leonberger. The avid dog lover was known to trade somewhere between 200 and 300 dogs a year. A resident of Leonberg, Germany, he hoped to create a dog that resembled the lion on the town’s crest. In 1846, Essig announced that he had developed a new dog by crossing a Landseer Newfoundland with a Saint Bernard, and then a Pyrenean mountain dog. He named the new breed after his beloved hometown. He then left to promote the dog while his niece, Marie, bred and trained the dogs at home.
2) Search and Rescue
It takes a special kind of dog—ideally, one with a powerful nose—to become a search and rescue dog. Leos are agile, well coordinated, and eager to please. In Canada, Germany, and other parts of Europe, the dogs are often used to find missing people. Thanks to their webbed feet, they’re great swimmers, which makes them perfect for water missions.
3) Independent Mind
Leonbergers are not eager-to-please Golden Retrievers. They have a strong mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. Some Leonbergers, particularly adolescent males, are willful, obstinate, and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things.
The Leonberger enjoys swimming, tracking, agility, therapy work, pulling a cart or sled, and weight pulling -- all productive outlets for his energy. Fetching a ball or Frisbee, however, is not a natural activity for this breed.
5) Sensitive Breed
Leonbergers are known to be a sensitive breed. It’s said that the kind dogs get visibly distressed when their family argues or otherwise expresses anger or sadness. Leos are bred as companion dogs, and enjoy being in the company of their owners. They don't do well when left alone for long periods of time.
6) Therapy Dogs
These gentle giants have excellent bedside manner. They are great with children and the elderly, showing an amazing amount of gentleness for a dog of their size. (Their stature also makes it easy for them to be petted from a hospital bed.) In 2002, the Leonberger Club of America started an award program to celebrate Leos and their owners for taking time to participate in therapy programs.
7) They are Messy
Leos can be messy: Their huge paws track in mud; they may drool if stressed; and most play in their water bowls, dunking their heads and coming up slobbering. It is said that their natural look is slightly damp with leaves stuck to their coats.
8) Power and Strength
The Leonberger is a strong muscular, yet elegant dog. He is distinguished by his balanced body type and confident calmness, yet lively temperament. Males, in particular, are powerful and strong.
Leonbergers have a thick double coat that gives them their lion-like appearance. The coat can come in many different colors, such as yellow, sand, brown, and red, usually tipped with black. Even the texture of their coats can have variety. Thanks to their mane-like appearance, owners of the dog are likely to find a lot of hair around their homes. Frequent brushing is a must unless you want your house overrun with hairballs.
10) Almost Extinct
As with many other breeds, war threatened to wipe out the Leonberger. In an effort to save them from extinction, two breeders named Karl Stadelmann and Otto Josenhans rounded up the last 25. Only five of the remaining dogs were fit to breed; still, Stadelmann and Josenhans managed to reinvigorate the line. In 1922, a group of seven people came together to start a formal breeding program, and by 1926, they had 360 Leonbergers.