This large dog appeared in the German city of Leonberger, the description of the breed can be expressed in a few words: a powerful dog with a frightening appearance, noble and meek, with excellent guard qualities. It has an impressive size and appearance, a bit like a lion.
Leonberger – characteristics of the breed
Dogs seem to be made for paintings. Their impressive bright appearance is breathtaking and alarming. The formidable description of appearance does not correspond to the character – in fact, these are huge, kind, fluffy animals that love people. For the Leonberger, the breed standard includes giant size and long coat. Outwardly, he resembles a warm fur ball, the dog is serious and smart, perfectly amenable to training. Pets are used as watchdogs, service dogs, and participate in rescue operations.
Leonberger dog breed – origin
These are the oldest individuals bred in the German city of the same name with a lion on the coat of arms. The founder of the breed is Heinrich Essig, who crossed the Newfoundland with the St. Bernard in the early 19th century. The resulting hybrid is mixed with a mountain dog. The subsequent offspring Essig crossed with a yellow St. Bernard and received a large breed of reddish-gray color with a dark mask on the muzzle and a brave, kind heart. He called her Leonberger, the description of the breed emphasizes the similarity of the animal in color and hairiness with a lion. Dogs are popular with shepherds and farmers.
The breed was on the verge of extinction several times during the world wars, but it was possible to resurrect it from five purebred individuals. Since 1922, a stud book has been kept in Leonberger with a description of the population. World exhibitions of the breed are also held there, a monument to the dog, which glorified the area throughout the world, was erected. For the Leonberger, security and search are the most popular professions. Now individuals are successfully bred and there are about 8,000 dogs.
Leonberger – breed standard
Their modern appearance was formed in the 20th century. Standard breed description:
- large muscular body, heavy bone;
- the Leonberger has giant dimensions – height up to 80 cm, weight – up to 77 kg;
- the head is proportional to the body, the length of the muzzle is medium;
- chest – wide and powerful;
- ears – black, fleshy, shaggy, hanging;
- eyes – medium, brown;
- tail with long hair, hanging down;
- the muzzle is decorated with a black mask of a frightening look;
- lips – dry, tightly adjacent to the jaws;
- luxurious double water-repellent coat, shorter on the muzzle and paws, a mane is visible on the chest;
- the color of the breed varies from lion-yellow, red, sandy to reddish.
Leonberger – character
This is the best companion and family dog - fearless, obedient, devoid of shyness and aggression. The Leonberger has the characteristic of an intelligent, peaceful and loyal animal, which is actively used as a watchdog. His gentle disposition is surprisingly combined with a formidable appearance. Leonberger seeks to please the owner and is easy to train. In public, the dog is well-mannered and calm, greets strangers, is not afraid of the crowd, waits while the owner makes purchases.
In the description of the breed, the Leonberger has a special tenderness towards children – this huge ball of wool allows them to do whatever they want with it. Kids climb on his back, pull by the tail – he endures everything and protects them reliably. The gentle nature of the breed does not affect its guard qualities in any way – the Leonberger boldly guards the territory. He loves communication and without it becomes lethargic, sloppy with food and drink. By acquiring a giant, the family will acquire an excellent companion and reliable guard, ready to give his life for her.
Leonberger dog breed – maintenance and care
This is a long-haired and large dog that needs some care. Leonberger needs combing, bathing, quality food, walks, hygiene procedures. When kept in an apartment, it will have to be removed from wool. If the dog lives in an aviary, it must be released periodically. The Leonberger has a lifespan of about 9 years – short, like all large dogs. He needs mandatory vaccinations and vet check-ups.
Leonberger breed – care
In terms of caring, the Germans demand a little time for them. Leonberger – detailed description of care:
- daily comb the coat with a metal comb to avoid the appearance of tangles;
- Leonberger should be bathed as it gets dirty or once a month;
- inspect eyes to avoid souring, wipe with tea leaves;
- cut nails once a month;
- wipe your ears;
- examine teeth and gums, give solid food for cleaning – carrots or dry food;
- treat with parasites, wear a collar against ticks and fleas, inspect the coat of the Leonberger after a walk;
- do annual vaccinations;
- walks about 1 hour a day are required, not too active with team training.
Due to its large size, the Leonberger feels better in a spacious courtyard. He loves to swim very much, if he installs a bath in the territory where he can dive if necessary, such procedures will benefit him. The Leonberger is a healthy dog. Problems often appear with the joints – you need to show the dog to the veterinarian. Sometimes there is a volvulus of the intestines, so you need to feed him in small portions.
What to feed the Leonberger?
Nutrition is given special attention. The dog is large, but it should not be overfed, it should not eat greedily. Both dry food and natural food are suitable for feeding Leonbergers. The first type includes a set of vitamins and minerals, does not require time to cook food. Description of natural and healthy products for Leonberger:
- lean meat (pour boiling water over);
- boiled fish without bones;
- cereals (buckwheat, rice);
- turkey necks;
- 1 teaspoon per day of vegetable oil – in any dish.
Hot or cold food should not be given to him – it should be at room temperature. An adult Leonberger is fed twice a day – in the morning and in the evening. Portion should be completely eaten. If food remains, the next time the amount should be reduced. Fresh water should be in the bowl at all times. If the dog refuses to eat, this may be a symptom of an illness and you need to show it to a doctor.
How to raise a Leonberger?
Germans show miracles of training. They mature late, but then they quickly remember everything they were taught. You need to know how to train a Leonberger so that he grows up obedient. It is important to remember a simple rule – the Germans learn while playing. You can’t shout at them, you need to establish a trusting relationship and close contact. Leonbergers are light and jumpy, they remember the main commands easily, they are capable of more – to become excellent athletes. They can often be found at agility competitions.
The first mating of a young individual is best done after the third estrus, which they have every six months, starting from the age of one. The Leonberger dog breed is bred only using healthy dogs. Two months before mating, pets should be examined for inflammation. From a sick female Leonberger, offspring are doomed. A healthy girl is taken to the boy, it is better to meet the animals twice. The Germans bring a litter of up to five or six carouses weighing about 500 grams.
Leonberger puppies – care features
Babies are born active, with shiny coats and strong bones. By 40 days, their weight increases to 5 kg., They begin to eat on their own. Puppies need to be fed 5-6 times a day, gradually reducing this number to two. Meals include cereals in meat broth, cottage cheese, vegetables, chicken, veal. The Leonberger breed is vaccinated – the first vaccination of puppies takes place at 8-9 weeks and is duplicated at 12. Pets need walks, but their limbs should not be overloaded. Leonberger babies need to be combed out and trained, then it is easy to get a well-mannered calm dog and a good friend.
If you need a balanced guard dog in your house, the handsome German Leonberger is perfect, the description of the breed includes such qualities as fortress, calmness and equanimity. He retains dispassion, even if chaos reigns around him. It is difficult to provoke aggression in a German, and in most cases this is not required – people and other animals are afraid of only the frightening appearance and size of such a pet. For the family, the Leonberger is a loving and devoted protector, friendly and good-natured.