Although they were bred to resemble fierce lions, Leonbergers are anything but savage predators. Au contraire—Leos are famously gentle and loving pups.
Hailing from Germany, Leonbergers are known for their graceful elegance and serene patience. These working dogs are employed in a number of jobs on farms and waterfronts, and their impressive strength makes them especially good at cart pulling.
If you find yourself charmed by this unique breed, then it’s time to explore how a Leonberger puppy might fit into your life. Our detailed breed profile will help you determine whether a Leo is right for you.
These massive working dogs are energetic and powerful. Leonberger puppies, in particular, are active and exuberant. Check out the rest of our breed guide and get to know this incredible dog.
|Size||Giant. Leonberger males will reach a height of 28-31.5 inches, while females will usually be 25.5-29.5 inches tall. Typically, males will weigh between 110-170 pounds, and females will weigh between 90-140 pounds.|
|Breed Characteristics||Leonbergers are a massive, muscular dog. Their thick double coat is waterproof and comes in shades of golden and reddish-brown. They also sport a black face mask, a bushy tail, and a lion-like mane.|
|Temperament||The Leonberger is a gentle and sweet dog. Their affectionate, loyal, and protective nature positions them as great family pets. Sometimes, however, a Leonberger will be stubborn and dominant.|
|Grooming and Health Needs||These dogs require A LOT of brushing—expect to brush him daily. They also shed a lot, even more so during the twice-a-year shedding season.
Like other giant breeds, Leos are at risk of bloat, a condition that is both sudden and fatal. Leos are also prone to orthopedic problems like hip dysplasia as well as eye problems, cancer, and hypothyroidism.
|Training||A Leo’s impressive size and strength make it extra important to teach this breed what he can (and can’t) do. These dogs are eager to please, and they respond best to positive training methods. Be kind, firm, and consistent to achieve the best results with your Leo. Vetstreet also warns that you’ll need to work on training a Leo for at least two years.|
|Energy Level||Leonberger puppies are active and boisterous. Adult Leos will be more serene and even-tempered, but they still require daily vigorous exercise like hiking or jogging alongside a bicycle. Having a large fenced-in yard where he can run freely is a huge plus for this breed.|
|Life Expectancy||You can expect a Leonberger to live up to 9 years.|
While they have many terrific traits, the Leonberger is not a low-maintenance dog. There are several things to consider before bringing one of these puppies home.
Perhaps the most obvious quality to consider is a Leonberger’s great size. You might compare these massive canines to a bull in a china shop. They’re liable to knock things over—including toddlers! Keeping a Leo in a small, city apartment is not an ideal living situation.
If you’re used to a neat house, then a Leo probably isn’t the breed for you. These dogs are sloppy eaters who love playing in mud and water. Their giant size also puts this breed at risk for a number of health issues. And, unfortunately, Leos have a short life expectancy (9 years).
Teenage obstinance isn’t just for human adolescents. Before they reach adulthood, Leos are often stubborn and destructive. They’re enthusiastic chewers, and their giant size means this could do more damage than the average puppy.
Grooming a Leo is not for the faint of heart, either. These dogs have tons of hair, and they shed. A LOT. You’ll need to brush a Leonberger puppy every day.
These dogs also require a decent amount of vigorous daily exercise. If you’re an active person, this is great news. If you prefer to “Netflix and Chill”? Probably not the best breed to adopt.
On a more positive note, the Leonberger gets along well with other household pets, including cats. They’re great around kids, and proper training and exercise will ensure this breed burns off enough energy to make him calm in the home.
The decision to adopt or to work with a breeder for your new Leonberger puppy is a personal choice that requires research. Thankfully, there are many resources out there to help you find a rescue or a breeder who offers healthy, ethically sourced Leonberger puppies.
Adopting a Leonberger
It may come as a surprise, but adopting a Leonberger puppy is possible. According to the AKC, most shelters report that the majority of their rescue dogs come from individual owner surrender due to a lifestyle change or an incompatibility with the dog. What this means for you: there may be many adoptable dogs and puppies out there who are looking for a new forever home.
The main difference between a breeder and a rescue is that a rescue may not always have young puppies to choose from. The benefit, however, is that most are mandated to only adopt out dogs that have been microchipped and spayed/neutered. This means you may end up with a dog who’s already been housebroken and doesn’t need these common medical procedures. You may also find a Leonberger mix that has all the traits you want from the breed, but with a little extra thrown in.
Finding a Leonberger rescue can be as simple as searching the Internet. Start your search by checking out the Leonberger Club of America. They offer many resources and can help you find a local rescue.
Finding a Leonberger breeder
The first step is to do your research. Sadly, there are many puppy mills posing as reputable breeders along with many online scams. Be aware and reach out to different online forums for conversations about getting your future furry family member.
Be sure to ask questions and make arrangements to meet the parent dogs or mother. In the end, you must follow your gut. If something seems wrong at a breeder you visit, or the Leonberger puppy seems too good to be true, there’s probably something fishy going on.
The AKC also offers resources for finding a breeder, with fairly strict guidelines on who they let participate.
Knowing what you’re in for when you get a Leonberger puppy is an important step in being a responsible pet owner. Whether you find an ethical breeder or are planning to adopt, prepare yourself for an affectionate and friendly addition to your household.
After you find the right Leonberger puppy, it’s time to prepare your home! Here are a few resources to get you started.
- How to Survive the First 24 Hours with Your New Puppy
- How Long Can You Leave a Puppy Alone?
- How Often Should I Walk my Puppy?
- The Essential New Puppy Checklist
- Puppy Training Resources
Featured image via Pixabay