We are dedicated to producing healthy, long-lived Leonbergers. Every breed of dogs has their share of genetic and environmental health conditions and the Leonberger is no exception. Through careful breeding, proper diet, and thorough veterinary care, we can maximize every leonberger's chances for a relatively long and vigorous life.
Hip dysplasia affects only about 13% of Leonbergers, but is a rampant condition in many other breeds of leonberger proportions. Hip dysplasia is a multiple gene, inherited disease. Environmental factors, like high caloric diet during the rapid growth phase, may exacerbate changes in dysplastic hips but will not create hip dysplasia. HD is often present in Leonbergers years before symptoms appear and many owners are oblivious to the condition. Read more on hip dysplasia here.
Cancer, tragically, is the leading killer of Leonbergers. For young Leonbergers, there is some risk of cancer and for older Leonbergers the risks increase exponentially as they age. The most prevalent types are osteosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma. A number of other cancers, though less common, can affect Leonbergers. Because of cancer, the lifespan of the leonberger only averages seven years. If a dog lives a healthy life to the age of four however, they have a very good chance of living into the double digits.
Other Genetic Concerns
Leonbergers can inherit and develop a number of other conditions including thyroid disease, monorchidism, and polyneuropathy. Thyroid disease (when the immune system attacks the thyroid) and monorchidism (a not uncommon condition in Leonberger puppies where a testicle fails to descend) are both easily and inexpensively treated. Polyneuropothy, a painless but crippling nervous system disorder, is rare, but breeders must remain vigilant in efforts not to produce the spectrum of disease.