The Leonberger is a very large, majestic dog with a characteristic black mask. This breed has been used for guarding livestock, obedience and tracking. This dog is versatile and has been successful in many endeavors.
The Leonberger is used in Germany for search and rescue and has a reputation as a great water-rescue dog. It has webbing between the toes to aid in swimming. The Leonberger is mild mannered, calm, friendly, and affectionate. Its warm, gentle personality makes it an excellent family companion dog.
It comes in tawny, reddish-brown, may have black tipped hair on the outer coat. A small white star on the chest and a little white on the tip of the paws are permitted.
The coat is waterproof, rough looking. Weekly brushing is needed. Bathe only when necessary. This breed is a seasonally heavy shedder, during this time the dog should be brushed and combed daily. Some de-matting is required to avoid hotspots; wetness and damp-wet weather conditions are responsible for the hot spots. Check behind ears, feathering on legs, and tail for mats.
It is prone to hip dysplasia, and other skeletal diseases/disorders. Also eyelid defects and bone disease, possible behavioral problems.
The Leonberger is a lively, loving, sweet dog. This dog just loves everyone. It is steadfast, stable and calm. Its intelligence is extraordinary; its loyalty and love for its family is unparalleled. The Leonberger has a friendly personality.
This breed is very good with children; it is trustworthy and has incredible patience, even with the most obnoxious children (but there are some that are not as patient). Generally if the situation becomes too intense, instead of showing any aggression, the Leonberger simply walks away. This dog needs a gentle, patient master; it does not respond very well to harsh training-methods.
This breed wants to please, and responds well to training. To be an excellent watchdog it requires some special training. Early, thorough socialization is important, as this puppy will become a very large adult. Usually it gets along with other dogs. This gentle giant is serious, intelligent and brave; it is more agile than many other giant breeds. It loves to be included in all family outings and is very adaptable to most any environment.
The Leonberger dog loves to swim, hike and be trained to pull carts and sleds. If you plan to have your Leonberger pull carts or hike, one has to wait until the dog is grown; it is not recommended before the dog is about 18 months old.
This breed is not recommended for apartment life. It is relatively inactive indoors and will do best with at least a large yard. It prefers cool climates and can live inside or outside, but mostly prefer to be wherever you are.