The Leonberger was first bred in Germany and is a mix of many breeds including the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, St Bernard and the Landsdeer Newfoundland. This breed almost became extinct after WWI and WWII but was brought back by dedicated breeders. Leonbergers were originally bred as draft, family and farm dogs and today they play various roles in addition to being great family companions.
- Size: Males measure up to 31.5 inches and females between 25.5 to 29.5 inches. Weight in case of males is between 130-170lbs and females between 100-130 lbs.
- Color: Their color varies from red-brown to lion-yellow, golden to sand colored and combinations thereof. Most have an unobtrusive stripe of white on the chest and white hair on toes.
- Life expectancy: Leonbergers life span is between 8-9 years.
- The Leonberger is known for its gentle, even temper.
- It is a self assured and calm dog; steady and dependable as a family companion. Your pet will be great around kids and other pets.
- They have a gentle, playful demeanor and respond well to consistent, patient and gentle training.
- Leonberger generally display calm, steady behavior in all situations and will mostly not display shyness, aggression or fear.
Where to find a Leonberger
After you have decided that a Leonberger is for you, your next step is to decide where to get one from. There are multiple options but be sure to use registered breeders from the Leonberger Club of America or look for one at a rescue center. Adoption is a great option but the dog may be older and could have already formed impressions about humans. Choose your Leonberger puppy with great care. Talk to breeders and experts and if possible, try to observe him/her thoroughly before bringing them home. When you buy from a reputed breeder, you will likely get a pet with all health checks and vet exams completed. Even then, ensure that your puppy is free from genetic disorders and diseases by asking for complete medical records. Leonberger prices can lie between $800 and $4000 depending on the breeder.
Bringing home your puppy
You must prepare your home for your pet by purchasing basic supplies like food and water bowls, leash and collars, crates, kennels and dog bedding etc. Ensure that you can restrict the puppy from the yard if it has an open pool. If needed, install baby gates to limit areas he is allowed in. Remove all dangling objects, wires, electric cables etc from puppy’s reach. Your new baby will take some time getting used to living away from its pack. S/he might cry at night for several weeks. This is natural and you can use the instructions in this article to housebreak your puppy.
Basic obedience training is a good way to get your Leonberger puppy to become the obedient family companion you are seeking. Also, consistent patient training will help you teach him the rules around the house. Without training, your puppy will indulge in bad behavior and might even consider itself as the alpha. So make sure you are firm but gentle while training your pet. You can also start with crate training so he/she will get used to sleeping alone through the night. Teach your pet basic commands like sit, walk, fetch etc. Training is a great way to bond with your pet and also helps you raise a social, happy companion that is great around people and other household animals.
Keeping your Leonberger healthy
- Take your pet for regular health checkups and ensure that its vaccination is up to date.
- Keep him well exercised. Daily brisk walks are great for your pet and will keep him mentally and physically fit.
- Up to 6 months of age, feed your pet 4 small nutritious meals. Dry dog food is best but make sure it is premium, high quality, vet approved food. Avoid foods with corn and meat byproducts which do not provide real nutrition.
- Never feed human foods to your pet especially chocolate, raisins, alcohol, mushrooms, raw meat etc. Here is a list of worst foods to feed a dog.
Avoiding health issues in your puppy
- Diarrhea– Leonberger puppy can develop diarrhea due to consumption of human food, or stale food. The condition will clear up within 24 hours. If it doesn’t and if your pet is appearing dehydrated or showing other signs like vomiting and fever etc, seek medical help immediately.
- Bloat– Bloat can occur when your puppy eats too much too fast. It can be potentially dangerous so seek medical help immediately. Signs of bloating include distended stomach, dry vomiting, coughing after eating etc.
- Fleas and ticks– These parasites can harm your dog but thankfully, there are many ways to prevent them. Here are the most effective flea and tick medicines to protect your pet.
- Diseases common to Leonbergers– Hip and elbow dysplasia, polyneuropathy, patella luxation, osteoarthritis and hypothyroidism are common in Leonberger dogs.
It is important for your Leonberger puppy to get adequate exercise. Walk your puppy at least twice a day. Over exercising is also bad and can strain the young pet’s bones. Do not make him/her jump from heights as doing so can increase the risk of hip dysplasia. Leonberger dogs prefer cool climate so exercise your pet during the cooler parts of the day.
A Leonberger puppy can be a great addition to your family. It is important to understand his basic needs and follow proper exercise and feeding schedule to keep him/her healthy. Caring for your puppy starts right at the Leonberger breeders. Ensure that his vaccinations are completed before you bring your pet home and be sure to ask plenty of questions about the food and special considerations, if any. Premium puppy food is best for your pet in the first few months. Avoid feeding table scraps as these can be dangerous and can quickly lead to weight gain. Ensure that your pet takes part in daily training but do avoid over exercising or over straining your young pet.