While doing research for another article, I stumbled upon the ‘Leonberger’. If you aren’t familiar with the term you might, at first, imagine the Leonberger to be a tasty triple-decker burger created by some fellow, aptly named Leon.
Not so. In truth, the Leonberger is a breed of dog. These very large dogs are wonderful watchdogs and quickly become well-loved family members, provided they have been taught adequate social skills, as puppies.
Basically, they are ideal watchdogs because of their size, not because of temperament. Leonberger’s are not yappy dogs. They are stable, loyal and calm. Leonberger’s are very energetic, as well as intelligent.
Leonberger’s are noble dogs. They are most commonly found in European countries and are still considered rare in most other parts of the world. In fact, as recently as the mid 1980’s there were less than one hundred Leonberger’s, living in the United States. Because they are such an uncommon breed they are relatively expensive, normally in the $1500 price range.
Breeders tend to be extremely picky when it comes to finding homes for these gentle giants. An up-to-date list of reputable breeders can be found on the official Leonberger Club of America website. (http://www.leonbergerclubofamerica.com/breederslist.aspx) Most of these approved breeders maintain a waiting list for families interested in incorporating a Leonberger, into the household.
Leonberger’s have beautiful double coats, ranging in shades from a light sand-like color to dark red-brown. Because of their thick coats, they are prone to shed. It is important to brush a Leonberger, often.
They are best known for the ‘black mask’ that covers a portion of their face. Full-grown females usually weigh close to 110 pounds. Males usually weigh closer to 140 pounds.
The lifespan of a Leonberger is approximately eight to ten years. This variety of dog tends to suffer from the same type of health problems as other large breeds.
When most people think of large breeds of dogs, they picture them as ‘droolers’. (Remember the movie, Cujo?) Leonberger’s, fortunately, are not big droolers. They do, however, have webbed toes.
Leonberger’s are devoted family members. As a rule, they love children and get along well with other pets, residing in the same household. They are not the easiest breed to train but are known to widely tolerate commands such as ‘stay’ and ‘down boy’, in effort to please their human.
Like any other puppy, Leon’s exhibit destructive tendencies when they get bored. To combat this, puppies should be presented with a variety of interesting toys to play with when left alone.
With a great deal of training, many Leonberger’s have entered the workforce as therapy and water rescue dogs. Even though they are ideal candidates for this, it is important to remember that they do not adapt well as outdoor pet.
For a wealth of additional information on the Leonberger breed, please visit the Leonberger Club of America website. (http://www.leonbergerclubofamerica.com)