By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 18th October 2022



Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The giant dog breed Leonberger is a mix of Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, and Saint Bernard. Characterized by a large, muscular structure, the Leonberger dog possesses a domed skull with a deep, rectangular shaped head, and a distinct black mask that extends to the eyebrows. Since Leonberger is a dimorphic dog breed, with either an elegant feminine or a strong masculine form, the genders can be easily distinguished. With inherited traits from search and rescue dogs as well as working dogs, Leonbergers exhibit sound coordinated movement, agility, and great bearing strength.

Leonberger Pictures

Quick Information

NicknamesLeo, Gentle Giant, Gentle Lion
CoatWater-resistant, double coat with the finer, shorter hairs on limbs and muzzle
ColorDifferent combinations of sand, red-brown, red, and lion-yellow
Breed TypePurebred
Group of BreedWorking, Utility, Mastiff
Life span7-10 years
WeightMale 120-170 lb (54-77 kg); Female 100-135 lb (45-61 kg)
Size and HeightMedium to large; Male 28-31.5 inches (71-80 cm); Female 25.5-29.5 inches (65-75 cm)
SheddingSeasonally heavy
TemperamentBrave, Steady, Affectionate, Intelligent
Good with ChildrenYes
Size of Litter6-14 puppies
BarkingOccasionally when threatened
Country Originated inLeonberg, Germany
Competitive RegistrationACA, AKC, NAPR, DRA, APRI, ACR, CKC, NKC, NZKC, FCI, KCGB

Leonberger Rescue Training Video

History and Origin

According to legends, the Leonberger breed was founded by Heinrich Essig, a notable citizen of Leonberg during the 19th century. It is believed that he produced a Leonberger by mixing a Landseer Newfoundland with a Saint Bernard, and later crossing with a Great Pyrenees. The first registered Leonberger dogs were created in 1846. These dogs were owned by the royal households in Europe, including Otto Von Bismarck, King Umberto I, Napoleon II, Prince of Wales, Empress Elizabeth, etc.



Having a lively and loving personality, the Leonberger is considered a family dog breed, showing incredible loyalty to its family. As a calm and friendly dog, Leonbergers show self-discipline when protecting its property or family, and an unbelievable composure with passersby. Their robust, playful, and kind behaviors help in adjusting to a wide range of situations when taken to a new place. A devoted, trustworthy Leonberger can remain patient even when intimidated by an obnoxious child. Usually, the Leonberger is not aggressive towards other dogs or pets.



Although it does not require lots of exercises, the dog should be taken on long walks every day. When out for a walk with his dog, the owner should either lead the way or walk beside his pet, acting as the pack leader. A playful Leonberger can be taken to all the family outings, where it can be included in heavy activities like hiking, swimming, and pulling sleds or carts. However, these activities are recommended for a matured dog, which is more than 18 months old.


Apart from brushing their coats every week, Leonbergers can occasionally be bathed for maintaining cleanliness. Be sure to use a drag comb to brush a Leonberger regularly during molting season. In addition, proper grooming including some de-matting is necessary for preventing hotspots, a skin condition, which commonly develops in dogs during damp/wet weather. Use a grinder or nail clipper to trim their fast-growing nails, preventing them from cracking or splitting.

Health Problems

Due to the efforts of some breeders, hip dysplasia, a common health concern in large breeds, has been kept under control in Leonbergers. However, Leonbergers are susceptible to some common health issues, including, heart problems, thyroid disorders, progressive retinal atrophy, cataracts, allergies, bone cancer, soft tissue cancer, digestive disorders, etc.


Start obedience training for the puppies early to help them socialize. Outdoor training sessions with patient, positive, consistent methods are important to help the puppy grow up to a well-mannered family member. The young dogs should be introduced to other pets and get accustomed to animals and strangers in a supportive and encouraging manner.


Feed your dog with a premium-quality commercial dog food meant for larger breeds. Your Leonberger’s diet should include ground turkey or chicken meat, connective tissue, fat, cartilage, and bones. You can also include raw veggies and fruits containing useful micronutrients and phytochemicals in the diet.

Interesting Facts

  • According to legend, this dog breed was apparently produced to mimic the lion.
  • Though they were traditionally kept in farms for pulling heavy loads and keeping an eye on livestock, Leonbergers are now often used in lifesaving and rescuing operations.
  • Three Leonberger dogs played the role of ‘Buck’ in the 1997 movie ‘The Call of the Wild: Dog of the Yukon’.

2 responses to “Leonberger”

  1. Alec says:

    :,) I love them.

  2. Kris says:

    Can you recommend any good rescue sites or breeders for Leonbergers? Thank you for the fantastic wealth of information!

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