"Gentle Lion"

Photo of Leonberger


This calm, sweet dog was bred to be a working dog and family companion. With Landseer Newfoundland, St. Bernard, Pyrenean Mountain Dog, and other ancestors, they began in Germany in the 1800s and gained popularity with royalty. They nearly became extinct after WWI, but around 1922, a deliberate breeding program began that brought the breed back.


Gentle, calm and friendly, these good-natured watchers make excellent family dogs. They are affectionate and incredibly patient with children, and when annoyed, will simply walk away rather than display any aggression. Leos love to be included in family activities, and will wait patiently if you stop to talk on an outing. They are calm indoors and their affectionate personality makes them excellent therapy dogs.


These large, powerful dogs give off an air of pride with a lion-like quality. They have a thick, weatherproof coat, and males sport a distinctive mane on their neck and chest. Despite several different colors, including yellow, golden to red, red-brown, and any combination of those, they all have a black mask. Some have a small stripe or white patch on the chest and some white hairs on the toes.


Leos are serious, eager and willing learners for calm, firm owners. They don’t respond well to harshness so patience and positive techniques will pay off. Since they get very large, be sure to teach respect and good manners from a young age – teach your Leo to heel, wait to allow people through doors first, and not to jump.

Grooming & Care

The thick, medium-to-long double coat does shed, so this breed needs daily to weekly brushing to collect loose hair and keep skin healthy. Check carefully for mats behind the ears, legs and tail and remove them to prevent hot spots. Bathe only when necessary, and check the ears and clean as needed to keep them healthy.

Health Concerns

As a giant breed, they can be prone to hip dysplasia and other skeletal problems. They may also be prone to a neurological disease called Inherited Polyneuropathy (or Leonberger Polyneuropathy). While there are several genetic risk factors that can lead to the condition, there is a genetic test available for one of the main contributors, so ask the breeder about it.

Famous Leonberger

Three Leonbergers played the lead role of “Buck” in the 1997 film "The Call of the Wild: Dog of the Yukon."

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 6
Home 44
Children 50
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 110
Exercise 61
Challenges They can be diggers and if they can’t be trained out of it, they will need an acceptable outlet.
Height 27 to 32 inches
Weight 100 to 170 pounds
Life 8 to 10 years
Home Alone 20
With Kids 21
With Strangers 91
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

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