About this group
The Leonberger’s protective nature is served well by their enormous size, as the very look of them is enough to deter any assailant.
That said, Leos are gentle giants. They love being around people and are very sensitive and intelligent, which makes them highly trainable. They make great family pets, as they are tremendously loyal, steadfast and patient, but they are also high maintenance, due to very heavy shedding and the need for plenty of space (their size makes them unsuitable for apartment living).
The breed originated in Leonberg, Germany (hence its name) in 1846 and is the oldest pure bred German dog. It was the brain child of local man Heinrich Essing, who wanted to create a breed of dog that looks like a lion. The process of developing the breed was an elaborate one – first, a newfoundland/St Bernard cross was created, which was then crossed with a Pyrenees Mountain Dog, and then again with a St Bernard.
Leos make great search and rescue dogs, and are particularly popular for this purpose in Italy and Germany. This endeavour is likely helped by their webbed feet, which make them very strong swimmers.
Health wise, Leos are prone to hip dysplasia, cancer, bloat, eyelid defects and nerve disorders. Like many large dogs, they have a relatively short life span of about 8 years.
By joining this group, you club together with other Leonberger owners to get a good deal on insurance for your trusty colossal companion.