Other names: leonberg

Leonberger is a breed of large–sized shaggy dogs with a black mask on their muzzle, bred in one of the southwestern regions of Germany.

Brief information

  • Breed name: Leonberger
  • Country of Origin: Germany
  • Weight: males 59-77 kg, females 45-59 kg
  • Height (height at the withers): males 74-80 cm, females 61-74 cm
  • Life expectancy: 9-11 years


  • Leonbergers are relatively easy to learn, but agility and other disciplines involving honing obedience skills are not for them. At the same time, in the draft, animals can become serious competitors for other large dogs.
  • The breed is famous for its good nature and sincere love for children, but this applies only to adults. Puppies are not so understanding and in games they can be guided by the principles of the dog pack and bite the kids.
  • Leonberger is a wonderful companion and watchman. He has a well-developed territorial instinct, so even the most hardened lover of easy money will not be able to sneak past a dozing dog.
  • In Germany of the XIX century, representatives of this breed were used as a cheap draft force. The dogs transported small loads on light wooden carts, thereby saving the owner's budget.
  • Physically and psychologically, leonbergers mature slowly, becoming fully mature individuals by 2-2.5 years.
  • Leonbergers are family dogs that get maximum pleasure from communication and games. Due to the impressive size of the breed, suburban maintenance is recommended, but putting its representatives on a chain, limiting contacts with people, is strictly contraindicated.
  • Unlike their colleagues in the section, leonbergers are not characterized by excessive salivation. At the same time, if the dog is worried or passionately lusts after the cookie that you are eating in front of her eyes, "threads" flowing from the mouth are inevitable.
  • Representatives of this breed are not annoyed by loud, harsh sounds, so feel free to turn on the recording of your favorite rock concert or learn the basics of working with a drum kit.
  • Leonbergers are moderately restrained and never raise a fuss over trifles or out of harmfulness. If the dog barks, it means that something has happened that requires the owner's intervention.
  • The breed does not tolerate heat well, preferring to lie in the shade on especially sultry days. For this reason, in summer, dogs are walked early in the morning or late in the evening.

Leonberger is a large, but at the same time elegantly graceful handsome man who knows exactly how to win a place in the owner's heart. He is calm and reasonable, as befits a thoroughbred "German", and certainly will never use his own strength against those who are weaker. Good-natured and playful, Leonberger sincerely welcomes guests, whom he willingly meets at the door and accompanies, delicately holding his coat with his teeth. At the same time, he manages to do a good job as a watchman, sitting regally on patrol and bringing to a pre-infarction state with his deaf, bass barking of the most hardened lovers of someone else's good.

Breed characteristics

Aggressiveness ?
Not aggressive ( Rating 1/5)
Activity ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Training ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Molt ?
High ( Rating 4/5)
Need for care ?
Average ( Rating 3/5)
Friendliness ?
Very friendly ( Rating 5/5)
Health ?
Below Average ( Rating 2/5)
Cost of maintenance ?
Expensive ( Rating 5/5)
Attitude to loneliness ?
Moderate time ( Rating 3/5)
Intelligence ?
Standard ( Rating 3/5)
Noise ?
Almost inaudible ( Rating 1/5)
Security qualities ?
Excellent ( Rating 5/5)
*Leonberger breed characteristics are based on expert assessment amitypuppies.net and reviews of dog owners.

History of the Leonberger breed


Leonberger is a breed that owes its origin to a German official, and its name to the city of Leonberg, in southwestern Germany. In any case, this version has become the most widespread. Somewhere between the 30s and 40s of the XIX century, the mayor of Leonberg, Heinrich Essig, set out to bring out a completely new type of large dog. According to the breeder's idea, the breed was supposed to resemble the appearance of a mountain lion, which in turn was the heraldic symbol of the city.

Initially, a bitch took part in breeding experiments newfoundland and male St. Bernard . A few years later, a Pyrenean mountain dog joined this "love duet", which made Essig the owner of a litter of several shaggy puppies with a silver-gray coat color and a black mask on their muzzles. This arrangement did not suit the breeder, so the experiments had to continue. In the end, the Leonbergers acquired warmer, lion-like tones of the dog, with which they were registered in 1848.

At some point, vanity and thirst for financial gain began to speak in Essig, so, without hesitation for a long time, the official began to promote his wards in aristocratic circles. So the Leonbergers appeared at the court of Napoleon III, in the boudoir of the Austro-Hungarian Empress Sissi, in the mansion of Richard Wagner and other representatives of the Beau monde. Less than ten years later, the Swabian mayor's pets turned out to be an extremely popular commodity. Now, in order to get a shaggy lump from the nursery of the Leonberg mayor, I had to lay out a tidy sum.

Unfortunately, after his death in 1889, Heinrich Essig did not leave any clear description of the Leonbergers' appearance or breeding books, which gave rise to other interesting versions of the origin of the animals. In particular, some experts argued that the Leonberger is not an independent breed, but simply a more pumped version of the Old German Hovawarts, which were on the verge of extinction in the XIX century. As proof, proponents of the theory even cited the names of several breeders of that time who were engaged in restoring the gene pool of endangered animals, among whom, as it turned out later, was the Leonberg mayor.

The first Leonberger came to Russia only in 1989. The Second World War affected, which only eight purebred representatives of this family survived in Germany, and only three of them were suitable for breeding. By the way, despite the fact that the number of animals has been fully restored today, the breed is not yet in the top of the most popular in our country. Nevertheless, the gene pool of domestic nurseries meets all the requirements of current standards, which allows made in Russia leonbergers to exhibit and acquire champion diplomas not only at European, but also at world exhibitions.

Video: Leonberger

Leonberger breed standard

Leonberger puppy's muzzle

Leonberger is a broad–chested, shaggy fluffy XXL with a contrasting mask on his muzzle and a calm, sometimes a little detached look. Representatives of this breed are characterized by sexual dimorphism, so even a novice dog lover can distinguish a bitch from a male. For example, "girls" have less prominent withers, poorer "collar" and "pants". In size, bitches are also inferior to males: the height of the average "leonberger" is 65 cm and much less often – 75 cm .


Leonberger's head is massive, but without excessive weighting, with a slightly convex skull and a clearly traceable, moderate stop. The dog's muzzle is long, but not sharp, with a characteristic hump – the so-called Roman profile.

Teeth and jaws

The pedigree Leonberger has a complete dental formula (the absence of M3 is not a defect) and strong, grasping jaws with a scissor bite. A direct bite is also acceptable, although it is not considered a reference.


The dog's nose lobe is massive, standard black color.


Leonbergers have light or dark brown oval-shaped eyes, set not too close, but not too far from each other. The third eyelid of the representatives of this breed is hidden, the white of the eyes is clean, white, without redness.


The fleshy hanging ears of leonbergers are set high and close to the head.


Elongated, smoothly turning into the withers. There is no subgroup or suspension.

Leonberger's muzzle


Leonberger is harmoniously built and muscular. The dog's back is wide, smooth, with a raised withers and a rounded, massive croup. The chest is oval, spacious and deep, reaching to the elbows. The abdomen is slightly tightened.

Leonberger with a child


The legs of pedigree leonbergers are strong, set in parallel. The shoulder blades of dogs are long, located at an angle. The elbows are well pressed to the sides, the pasterns are springy, vertical when viewed in profile. The hind legs are characterized by elongated, dense hips, forming distinct angles with the shins. Hock joints are strong, with good angles. All leonbergers have rounded, lumped and directed strictly forward paws with black pads.


The tail of dogs is well pubescent with toilet hair. In a static state, the tail is lowered, in a moving animal it is slightly bent and raised (not higher than the back).


Leonbergers have a rich two-layer "fur coat", consisting of medium-soft or coarse dog fur and a fluffy, thick undercoat, giving the dogs a resemblance to a lion. Areas with particularly abundant adorning hair – neck, chest, hips. There are thick patches on the front paws.


Leonberger can have six lion (yellow), sandy, red and reddish-brown colors. At the same time, a black mask is necessarily present on the dog's muzzle. Another acceptable color option is fawn or red wool with a black tip, provided that blackening does not dominate the main tone. The standard does not exclude the presence of a white groove on the chest, as well as light hairs on the paws.

Disqualifying vices

Leonbergers at the exhibition
  • Brown color of the nose lobe, paw pads.
  • No black mask on the muzzle.
  • Obvious anatomical deformities: a back with a "saddle" or a humpback, legs in a sweep, a cow's set of limbs.
  • Tail "bagel".
  • Any color of the iris, except light or dark brown.
  • Curly or cord-shaped dog.
  • A large area of areas with white hair (spots larger than the palm of the hand on the chest), as well as their presence where it is prohibited by the standard.
  • Behavioral deviations from the standard: unjustified aggression, timidity.
  • Incomplete dental formula (the exception is the absence of M3), malocclusion.
  • Lip depigmentation.

Leonberger's photo

Leonberger's character


It is difficult to find a more accommodating and reasonable being than Leonberger. This shaggy-haired good-natured man is perfectly aware of his own physical capabilities, but he will not even think to check them on the owner or his family members. At the same time, he is not cowardly and, if necessary, knows how to "bark" so that the desire to test the patience of the animal disappears completely. Despite the unspoken watchdog qualification assigned to the breed, Leonbergers lack such qualities as excessive suspicion, malice and a desire to lead over everything that comes into view. To compete with the owner because of the alpha male status, as well as to see in every two-legged creature a personal enemy, is not in the nature of Leonbergers. Moreover, if a dog detects aggression and distrust atypical for the breed, it signals its mental ill health. And the mentally unstable Leonberger is nonsense.

In general, representatives of this breed are a bit phlegmatic. Sometimes it seems that the animal's patience is boundless, especially when you observe with what heroism it withstands annoying childish molestation and leprosy. Your heirs can turn the house upside down and arrange protracted concerts that burst the eardrums – all this chaos will not cause the dog the slightest discomfort. However, such universal calm is demonstrated only in a narrow family circle. Leonberger, although he does not feel hostility towards strangers, is unlikely to get into friendship with them either.

Leonbergers have quite good relationships with other animals. They do not spoil the life of cats and do not chase garbage rats with such zeal, as if their whole life depends on this prey. As for other dogs, shaggy giants are unlikely to provoke someone into a fight. On the other hand, much depends on the degree of upbringing of the pet. However, even the most obedient and meek "Leon" on occasion will easily give an arrogant provocateur a rebuff.

Leonbergers need to be in constant contact with people, although it is difficult to guess this from the appearance of the dog. Sometimes it seems that these fluffy "blocks" only know what to withdraw into themselves and indulge in passive contemplation of what is happening around them. Do not believe this deceptive impression: leonberger is an extremely sociable and sociable guy who will gladly exchange an afternoon rest on a mattress for your company.

Education and training

Good boy

In training, leonbergers, if not excellent students, are solid good guys. They are smart, obedient, willingly involved in the workflow. The only thing that somewhat slows down the training of the animal is its natural slowness (not to be confused with disobedience). No Leonberger will rush at full speed to execute a command without thinking carefully about the expediency of the action. By the way, about the teams: dog owners are of the opinion that the breed does not need them in principle. You can control the behavior of a shaggy companion by changing the tone of voice (higher-lower), gently but persistently convincing him. Leonbergers are naturally intelligent and will quickly guess what is wanted from them by intonation.

Important: it is undesirable to take two Leonberger puppies into the house at once. Representatives of this breed are sociable guys who easily find contact with their fellow tribesmen. As a result: in the "duet" of the befriended puppies, the owner turns out to be the third extra. Kids who are passionate about each other are immune to learning and training, so it will be extremely difficult to get them to do it. If there is no way without a second "leon" in the house, wait until the first pet is socialized and begins to obey your requirements.

If you really want, the dog can be taught to respond to commands, while it is important to understand that the options "Lie down!" will be perfectly executed. and "Stop!". Everything that requires a lot of effort and concentration will be done in the style of "and so it will do." For example, leonbergers can sit on command, but this will not be an exemplary shepherd's landing, but a relaxed falling apart on its hind legs. Shaggy "heroes" are also not eager to aport items, so if you plan to teach "Leon" this trick, start training with him from the age of 3-4 months. OKD is a serious test for the breed, and not all dogs stand it with honor. However, there are real virtuosos among leonbergers who are able to step on the throat of their own song in order to please the owner. It is these unique individuals who perform at agility competitions, easily acquiring certificates of passing the OKD.

Maintenance and care

Ball game

Leonberger, despite his outward detachment and phlegmatism, is a sociable and sensitive being, who vitally needs to freely enter the house to communicate with family members. In general, the maintenance of a leonberger in a country cottage is considered the best option, which implies certain inconveniences for a person. In particular, the "Swabian lion cubs" are characterized by a great love of water. During walks, they are happy to wallow in puddles, after which they calmly carry kilograms of dirt into the house. What is it! Even to quench his thirst from a bowl of water, "leon" will be with such zeal, as if this is the last sip in his life. The result: a local flood in the room after each drink.

In order to keep the house in relative order and once again not to get annoyed with the pet, it can be periodically moved out into the yard. Moreover, the booth and the aviary are not perceived by the fluffy giant as a sophisticated punishment. On the contrary, in the warm season, dogs prefer to cool off somewhere under a tree, climbing into the shady corners of the yard. Ideal, from the point of view of Leonberger himself, an option for summer housing is a cozy canopy installed in the garden or on the infield lawn, next to which there is a small pool (bath) where the dog can cool off a little.

It is more expedient to keep puppies brought from the kennel in the house for up to a year, so arrange a place for them in a non-draughty corner. Remember that the bone system of the tiny leonberger is formed for a long time and difficult, so do not let the baby jump on slippery parquet and laminate. Cover the floors in the rooms with rugs and newspapers or restrict the pet's access to that part of the house in which you are not mentally ready to spoil the interior yet. Another dangerous construction for young Leonbergers is a staircase, and indeed any stairs. Up to a year, it is better not to allow a puppy to descend from the porch or climb to the second floor of the cottage on its own.

Walking and physical activity

Outwardly, leonbergers seem to be strongmen, but in practice, dogs cannot and do not want to work hard for a long time. This is especially true for puppies, whose activity must be carefully dosed. There can be no question of any long walks, let alone jogging, until "Leon" turns 1.5 years old. Well, so that the animal does not get bored from short promenades, do not cut circles along the same route. Change locations more often, letting the baby off the leash in quiet places so that he can play researcher and get acquainted with new objects, smells and phenomena for him.

Adults are more hardy, so you can go on long excursions with them. By the way, the activity of a mature dog is usually limited to walking, which is especially valuable for owners who do not have the opportunity to train systematically with a pet. Leonberger is supposed to be walked twice a day, for about an hour. Well, in summer, given the breed's innate passion for water, the dog can be taken to the beach, allowing her plenty to swim. Just don't go swimming late at night. The wool should have time to dry before Leonberger goes to bed. Otherwise – hello, the unpleasant smell of the dog, eczema and other "joys".

Leonbergers in harness


Leonberger after an invigorating shower

Getting a four-legged companion with such a luxurious "fur coat", it is important to understand what scale of molting is waiting for you. The Leonbergers have a "hair fall" twice a year and very intensively. However, individuals who live permanently in heated rooms can gradually shed their fur throughout the year. Since "leonov" is not supposed to be cut and trimmed, you will have to fight with molting exclusively by combing (a metal comb and a massage brush to help). Combing Leonberger "on dry" is a bad idea, there is a risk of breaking the structure of the wool and increasing the percentage of the split hair. So don't be greedy and buy a professional conditioner designed to facilitate the procedure.

Interesting fact: Leonbergers living in aviaries and spending a lot of time on the street have much thicker hair than their domestic counterparts.

It is recommended to wash animals as needed, but since no self-respecting leonberger will pass by a puddle, it is not so rare to arrange sanitary days. Be sure to monitor the condition of the pet's eyes, as they can turn sour at the "Leonov". To avoid this unpleasant phenomenon, wipe the dog's eyelids once a week with a cloth soaked in tea infusion or chamomile broth. Leonberger's ears, in addition to the standard cleaning of sulfur and dust particles, will also need ventilation. To do this, lift the ear cloth and work with it as a fan, providing air flow into the auricle.

To care for leonberger's claws, use a claw cutter for dogs of large breeds, and arm yourself with it at least once a month. Special attention is paid to the thumbs. The claws on them do not touch the ground, which means they do not wear off. Dental examination is another mandatory procedure. Plaque is easier to prevent than then walking with a four-legged friend in veterinary offices. Tomato juice, as well as hard vegetables like carrots, are suitable for leonbergers as natural cleaning compounds. Dry croquettes of industrial feed also work as abrasives, cleaning off all unnecessary teeth.


I'm not hinting at anything, but...

It's easy to suspect a glutton in Leonberger, who sweeps away everything in his bowl with lightning speed. In fact, the breed is characterized by a slow metabolism, because of which dogs treat food without exaggerated delight (there are also exceptions). Do not perceive this behavior as something out of the ordinary and do not try to stuff your pet with treats to arouse his interest in food. Overweight leonbergers absolutely do not need, especially puppies who have too vulnerable backbone. It is better to reconsider the diet and the amount of food: it is possible that your and the dog's vision of the size of a normal portion simply do not coincide.

Sometimes, to stimulate leonberger's appetite, it is enough to let him watch the cat eating his canned food. In such cases, the spirit of rivalry works wonders. If the dog, on the contrary, gives the impression of being eternally hungry and does not disdain to rummage in the trash, there is clearly something wrong with it. It is possible that the pet's body is infected with worms, but in any case, you can not do without consulting a veterinarian.

Leonberger's daily menu consists of meat (lean varieties and trimmings), fish (only sea and only in the form of fillets), vegetable salads (cabbage + carrots + unrefined vegetable oil), buckwheat and rice porridge (no more than 20% of the main diet) and fermented dairy products. Banned: any "human" food, from sausages to confectionery. It is better to feed both a puppy and an adult dog from a stand, because, due to the anatomical features of the structure, bending to the ground while eating, leads to stretching of the stomach in leonbergers.

Health and diseases of Leonbergers

In Russia, breeding of the breed is carried out under the vigilant control of the Cynological Federation. In particular, in order for the Leonberger bitch and male to be allowed to mating, one RKF pedigree will not be enough. You will have to attach to it the results of the examination of the couple for dysplasia, as well as the certificate of the kerung passed with honor (a test to establish the type of temperament). It is thanks to such strict selection criteria that domestic leonbergers do not have serious health problems. Nevertheless, it is worth calmly accepting the fact that the diseases typical of large dogs have not yet bypassed the breed. For example, at different stages of life, Leonberger may have eosinophilic osteomyelitis (inflammation of bone tissues), Addison's disease, osteosarcoma, entropy or ectropy of the eye, as well as the notorious dysplasia of the joints.

How to choose a puppy

  • Over the past decade, Russian nurseries have stepped far ahead in terms of the quality of the Leonberger breeding base. Nevertheless, it is better not to hope for a lucky chance and periodically check in at breed exhibitions, where it is easier to get acquainted with highly qualified breeders.
  • The weight of a healthy newborn puppy is about half a kilogram. By the 40th day of life - ten times more. Keep this in mind if you take a 45-day-old baby (it is at this age that they begin to distribute them).
  • Carefully examine the puppy. A healthy leonberger should be well-fed, fluffy and cheerful. Special attention is paid to the color of the eyelids of the crumbs. If the mucous membrane is pale pink, most likely the animal has anemia.
  • 40-day-old leonbergers should be able to lap well from a bowl. To make sure of this, look into the nursery during the feeding hours of the litter.
  • If you encounter a breed for the first time, ask the breeder if he is ready to provide you with advisory support for the first time.

Photos of leonberger puppies

Leonberger Price

Leonbergers are a relatively scarce "commodity", with an appropriate cost. For example, in domestic kennels, prices for puppies start from $400 and end in the district $800 - $1000 . The maximum price tag is put up for the offspring of prize-winners of European and world exhibitions, so if you want to amuse your own vanity and brag to your friends, it makes sense to overpay. Leonberger puppies from manufacturers with Russian diplomas will cost an order of magnitude cheaper, which does not prevent them from surpassing their own parents in the future and getting the title of interchampion.

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