Leonberger - A Lion Like Dog Breed

Leonberger is a giant breed of dog that has derived its name from Leonberg, Germany. Its deep and loud bark and intimidating lion like appearance makes it a good watchdog. This breed is clumsy and mischievous; hence not recommended for apartment. Only a committed and strong trainer can provide it training.

The dog looks beautiful when its coat is groomed but it sheds profusely which could be problematic for cleanliness obsessed people. This breed should be provided frequent socialization and obedience exercise so that you can have a steady minded dog inside home. Despite being bulky, they excel at dog’s game requiring agility. The dog shouldn’t be left alone with kids because they can unintentionally knock them.


This breed’s dogs are immensely docile in nature, arguments or fights in the home can easily make them depress. Maintain the positive environment for the breed to thrive. Leo loves being with its family, they shouldn’t be left alone in the backyard. Keeping their bulky size in mind, they need at least an hour of exercise and play.

Leonberger Puppy

Leonberger Origin

The Leon Berger hails from Leonberg, Germany. This breed was developed by Heinrich Essie who wanted a lion like breed. He crossed female Newfoundland dog with male Longhaired Saint Bernard, and Great Pyrenees. The resultant breed developed got fur like lion, and needs lots of space, attention and time of individual.

Because of its attentive and protective traits, it was used as guard dog and watchdog. This breed is quite rare even in its own native place. With positive reinforcement technique and socialization, it turns out to be great family friend. Without giving it productive training, the dog will be mischievous and destructive in nature.


Leonberger Characteristics

  • The breed belongs to Leonberg, Germany and is a protective watchdog.
  • It is a fearless, attentive, loyal and adaptable breed.
  • Height of the breed is 74-80 cm.
  • It weighs around 59-77 kg.
  • Life expectancy of this breed is 8 to 10 years.
  • It is also known by names like Gentle Lion, Leo.
  • The dog comes in red, mahogany, sandy and yellow color.
  • Average cost of this breed is $1500 - $2000 USD.
  • This breed is not recommended for apartment life. You need to at least have a yard for it.
  • They are suitable for cold climate areas.
  • They are not suitable for toddlers. With young children they tend to be playful and cheerful.
  • They have mild energy in body. Give this breed an hour of exercise to make it happy and healthy.
  • It is a high maintenance dog. Its coat requires intensive care.
  • It is not a hypoallergenic breed.
  • They shed profusely and shedding increases at the time of seasonal change.
  • Strong leadership is required to train them.


Leonberger Appearance

It is a large, muscular and elegant looking dog. The dog has magnificent double coat like lions. They have balanced body with no exaggeration of body features. They have wide head with black mask.

Their muzzle is blunt. Nose is well developed with two broad nostrils. Their eyes are deeply set and are dark brown in color. The dog has dense mane like lions. Despite being giant and bulky, it is light o feet and swift in reflexes. Male breeds have more massive built than female. Females tend to have fragile appearance.

  • Size and Weight

Average height of the male breed is 72–80 cm and female breed’s height is 65–75 cm. male breed weighs around 48–75 kg and female weighs around 41–59 kg.

  • Coat and Color

The breed has magnificent, thick double coat. The breed comes in lion yellow, golden or reddish-brown color.


The dog looks beautiful when it has been bathed and groomed else it looks damp and leafy. Brush its coat daily to keep it clean and tidy. They shed profusely so brushing will keep dead hairs in control.

The dog loves getting wet and muddy. Bathe it as necessary. Clean its teeth so that it could have healthy teeth and gums. Check its ear regularly for any sign of infection, allergy or wax built up.

Leonberger Temperament

  1. Personality - This breed is fearless, bold and notorious. Ongoing training is required to keep it disciplined. They are not eager to please like Golden Retriever. They have strong mind of their own and will do things according its way. They tend to be messy eaters and drinkers. This is not the right choice of breed for fastidious housekeepers. They take pride in itself and will be dominant or aggressive towards other animals. The dogs are suspicious with everyone other than their family. They need exposure to friendly and good people so that they can recognize good behaviors or evil behaviors.
  2. Behavior - The dogs excel in areas requiring strength and agility combined with usage of mind. They have working as watchdog and guard dog since inception. They also excel in myriads of activities like herding, water rescuing, carting, tracking and agility. This breed tends to be mouthy and bouncy. Especially puppies are over excited for everything. Teaching good manners and obedience to them is imperative. The dog is insensitive towards noise and violence. Keep the home environment lively and fun filled. The dogs do not have high prey drive but they tend to chase small animals like cats and rabbits.
  3. Activities Requirement - There is no point of owning a dog when you cannot offer it activities which it loves to do. The dog is meant for active owner who wants a giant species for trekking, hiking and other outdoor adventures. The breed requires their mind and body to be exercised. Provide it great deal of play and exercise so that it doesn’t become destructive.
  4. Trainability - It is important to train this breed at an early age so that you can have well-adjusted adult dog inside home. Socializing the puppy is important so that it can have nurturing values. They are notorious and quite clumsy; strictness is required to keep them in line.


They are fussy eaters and are prone to obesity. Puppy diet should have high quantity of protein to foster its development. Feed the puppy three times a day till the dog reaches one year. After that you can reduce it to twice bowl of meal per day. The food should be superior in quality and shouldn’t have artificial preservative in it.


The dog lives up to 8 to 10 years of age.


Leonberger Health Issues

The dog is not hypoallergenic in nature. Breed health concern may include,

  1. Dilated cardiomyopathy
  2. Lip fold pyoderma
  3. Cherry eye
  4. Bloat and osteosarcoma
  5. Osteochondritis dissecans
  6. Deafness
  7. Epilepsy

Leonberger Habitat

The dog thrives in apartment that has big rooms and average sized yard so that the dog doesn’t have to confine itself to small space. The dog thrives well in cold climate regions.

Leonberger Pet Names

  1. Dragon
  2. Khaleesi
  3. Sammy
  4. Lukka
  5. Modric

Things To Consider Before Buying


  1. They form strong bonds with their family and make wonderful family dogs.
  2. Their exercise needs are not to overly demanding and vigorous.
  3. They make perfect protective watch dogs.


  1. This breed has a short lifespan.
  2. They are heavy shedders and are not hypoallergenic.
  3. They are rare breed and not easily available.