Leonberger illustration
Working

Leonberger

Gentle and affectionate German giant

Breed characteristics

Size
Large
Exercise
More than 2 hours per day
Size of home
Large house
Grooming
Once a week
Coat length
Medium
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Under 10 years
Vulnerable native breed
No
Town or country
Country
Size of garden
Large garden

About this breed

The town of Leonberg in Southwest Germany has on its crest the dog that was created there in 1840 by the mayor, Heinrich Essig. He was helped by the monks of St Bernard who had crossed their St Bernards with Newfoundlands and this cross was the basis of the new breed. It is thought that there was also an infusion of Pyrenean Mountain Dog blood. Essig wanted to create a dog of leonine appearance to match the lions on the town's heraldic crest. Selectively bred for the red and fawn coats, the breed does have a leonine quality about it. The Leonberger was originally used as a guard dog but has now gathered legions of devotees because of its gentle and affectionate temperament.

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

The Working breed group

Over the centuries these dogs were selectively bred to become guards and search and rescue dogs. Arguably, the working group consists of some of the most heroic canines in the world, aiding humans in many walks of life, including the Boxer, Great Dane and St. Bernard. This group consists of the real specialists in their field who excel in their line of work.

 

 

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:

  • Gold
  • Gold With Black Mask
  • Golden Red & Black Mask
  • Lion & Black Mask
  • Lion Red With Black Mask
  • Red
  • Red & Black
  • Red Black Mask
  • Red Brown & Black Mask
  • Red Gold & Black Mask
  • Red With Black Muzzle
  • Sandy

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Non-breed standard colours

Non-breed standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Priority health schemes and tests

The Kennel Club's Assured Breeders must use the following schemes, tests and advice. All other breeders are strongly advised to also use these.

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following schemes, tests and advice.

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

Contact the breed health co-ordinator for the Leonberger.

Breed watch

Category 2        

Particular points of concern for individual breeds may include features not specifically highlighted in the breed standard including current issues. In some breeds, features may be listed which, if exaggerated, might potentially affect the breed in the future.

Read more

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club's rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding

There are not currently any additional breed specific restrictions in place for this breed.

More information

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