Love with a side of fur and muddy paws.
The modern, quality-bred Leonberger is a strong, elegant dog with a medium, dense coat that is especially prominent on the neck and chest and particularly mane-like on males. Little Leonberger puppies grow up fast! Adults are very large dogs, usually weighing over 100 pounds. When measured at the top of the shoulder, females are often over 27” and males are often over 30”. They have a striking black mask on their face and carry almost puppy-like floppy ears on their head. Leonbergers have strong, round working bone and their limbs are adorned with “feathering” – decorative fur that flows perpendicular to their legs. They stand on sturdy, cat-like paws that are webbed and allow them to excel in water activities. They have the structure of modern working dogs, carrying moderate, balanced angles on well-muscled bone and exhibiting clean, effortless, and efficient movement at the trot. The silhouette is the composite of perfectly balanced, flowing, and harmonious toplines and underlines.
For all their admirable features, the temperament of the Leonberger makes them stand out from the pack. A bit of an anomaly in the canine world, the adult Leonberger retains many qualities of the adolescent dog, never losing his playfulness or curiosity. Many owners swear that their Leonbergers have a sense of humor; indeed, many Leonbergers love to clown around. Leonbergers see themselves as members of a human pack and, as a result, most Leonbergers are very quick to adapt to household expectations and work well with every member of the family unit. Typically, Leonbergers get along well with children and senior citizens alike. Leonbergers thrive on affection and are often strongly motivated by food. While they lack the strong aptitude for obedience that many of their working brethren have, their deep love of family and willingness to please help make them a joy with which to share one’s home. Obedience training is especially necessary with these gentle giants as illustrated by the joke,:
“What does a 150 pound Leonberger eat?”
“Anything he wants to!”