# 1



Despite being extremely cuddly bundles of fur as puppies, Leos grow quickly and can reach 80+ pounds by the time they are 8 months old. 

When deciding if a Leo is the dog for you, you must consider :

  • The adult dog which will be living with you for the next 8-10 years. 

  • Adult Leonberger females stand around 26-28 inches at the withers and weigh in at over 100 pounds. 

  • Males are usually considerably larger, standing around 28-31 inches at the withers and weighing in around 140 pounds on average, although some have been known to weigh in excess of 180 pounds.












Are you ready to share your life with a dog that goes from a cute little bundle of fur to a 100+ pound giant fluff ball ? 

Click your answer at the right.


















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# 2

Like all breeds of dogs, Leonbergers have their own distinctive personality.  Originally bred as working dogs, they are intelligent, strong, and need mental stimulation.  As such, it is important to get your Leo out and about in the world.  Exposure to people and other dogs must be a constant part of your dog-care routine from the time you bring your puppy home and throughout the rest of his life in order to help ensure he remains a friendly and outgoing companion.  Besides socialization, activities outside the home give mental and physical stimulation to this intelligent breed. 


Do you plan to find and schedule things for you to do together in the company of other people and dogs ?































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 Note :

Leonbergers are “in your face” dogs and often will stand on their hind legs to greet people.  They also have a tendency to lean on their loved ones, which is why they are jokingly referred to as “lean-on-bergers”. 

Although they would not deliberately hurt anyone, their sheer size and exuberance could result in injurious accidents, especially when they get excited. 

For this reason, it is very important to make sure that you encourage your Leo to develop self-control through early training and consistent mental stimulation.

Did you answer "No Way" to either of the first two questions ?  

If so, the Leo might not be the right dog for you.  END QUIZ NOW if you have changed your mind.

Still love the idea of getting a Leo ?  Keep going !



















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# 3

Since Leos are sensitive creatures and, at the same time, physically strong, independent thinkers, you may find training to be a challenge. 

A sense of humour and the ability to expect the unexpected are essential if you share your life with a Leo.  Training must be started early and be consistent, firm but gentle, and a life-long process.  Although they are not naturals at obedience training, they are so loyal and conforming to their family’s culture and expectations that they tend to excel in order to please. 

They learn quickly what you want them to do, but get bored easily if asked to do things repeatedly.  They are also known to have a mind of their own.  When asked to do something they will usually obey – if they choose!

Are you prepared to provide consistent, on-going training throughout the lifetime of your Leo and appreciate the humour in their personality quirks ? 


































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 Note :


Leonbergers can be pushy and a challenge to lead.  You must establish and maintain your position as a benevolent leader or your Leo will take over the leadership role and, with it, your life and your home! 

Benevolent leadership requires you to be firm and fair, while respecting the sensitive nature of the Leo personality.  If treated too harshly, Leonbergers have been known to “shut down” emotionally, so it is important to use positive reinforcement training techniques rather than dominance-based techniques with these gentle giants if you want them to excel and develop a strong desire to please you.

If taking the lead firmly, quietly and gently does not come naturally to you – and you don’t have the ability to be a kind and consistent leader – then the Leonberger is not the dog for you.

Did you answer "No Way" to that last question ?  Is the amount and type of training required for a Leo seeming like too much work ?

Perhaps it is time to press


Still want a Leo ? 































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# 4

With their webbed feet, Leonbergers love to splash and play in the water – whether it’s a lake, a wading pool or a water dish is immaterial. 

To the Leo, water is FUN.  They often slosh water everywhere, especially whenever they drink from their water bowls.  Add the occasional bout of muddy paws when it rains and you have an idea of what life with a Leo is like!

Are you prepared for muddy paw prints all over the house when it rains ?  Do you find the idea of having to wipe up after your dog difficult to accept, or do you just accept this as part and parcel of sharing your life with a Leonberger ?































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# 5

In a list of Leo priorities, neatness and cleanliness rank near the bottom. 

Although the Leonbergers you see at dog shows look neat, tidy and perfectly groomed, don’t be fooled.  Leonbergers shed…A LOT ! 

Regular grooming is essential to keep their coats healthy.  And because they have a dense undercoat, they “blow” their coats profusely every Spring and Fall, leaving fur deposits throughout the house.  In fact, at times you will find enough fur comes out in the grooming comb to make up a whole other dog!  Add to this their compulsion to roll in rotting vegetation or carcasses on occasion and you have an idea of what to expect!

A typical example of fur from a 10 minute grooming session.

Are you prepared to comb out your Leonberger on a regular basis to remove mats and keep his coat healthy and shiny, or arrange for him to go to the groomers on a frequent basis if you aren’t prepared to groom him yourself ?  Are you prepared for dog hair over everything during shedding season ?




























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# 6

All puppies chew, some until 18 - 24 months. 

Since Leonbergers grow very quickly and things that were safely out of reach when they were little are easily grabbed by the time the puppy is 6 months old, they will chew anything they can get their mouths on, so teething accidents can be extensive and quite costly if the puppy is not properly supervised. 

Are you prepared to deal with early destructive behaviour ?

























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# 7

Leonbergers have been known to jump over fences and break through electric fencing if the object of their desire is strong enough. 

To make sure your Leonberger stays put in your yard, it is important to have adequate fencing in place.  Most Leonbergers will not challenge fences that are 6 feet high or higher. 

Do you have a suitably contained property and, if not, are you prepared to take the necessary steps to ensure your property is properly secured to prevent your Leonberger from escaping your yard ?  

Please Note :   Chaining your Leo outside is NOT an option !

























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Note :

Leonbergers are devoted family members, especially fond of children and well able to tolerate other household animals, provided they have been properly socialized to them

They were originally bred not only to serve as a working dog, but also as a companion.  Although independent minded, Leonbergers need the company of their family and have always been more suited to life indoors with their “pack”, rather than isolated for long hours each day or left alone outside. 

Leonbergers expect to be a part of your family and to be included in everything you do, from boring shopping trips to stimulating hikes in the woods or swimming at the beach.

Leos lacking the companionship of their family will suffer from loneliness and may exhibit separation anxiety when left alone.  Which could result in : 

  • nuisance barking

  • self-mutilation

  • chewing walls and furniture and/or

  • soiling the house. 

This can be a frustrating, lengthy and expensive problem to overcome so it is imperative that these very social dogs be an integral part of family life from the time they first join your household.

Are you prepared to have your Leonberger live in your home as an active part of your family ?


Any "No Way"  answers above ?



Still longing for a Leo? 









































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# 8

If there is one thing equally as fun to a Leonberger as being with his family, it is digging. 

Where there are Leos there will be holes: holes in the lawn, holes in the flower gardens and sometimes, if left alone too long and become bored, holes in the drywall or siding. 


Are you prepared for uprooted plants and huge holes in the yard ?
























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# 9

Leonbergers will sometimes get sick and sustain accidents.  It is important that you understand that medical care is part of life with a Leo. 

In addition to the annual check-ups and immunizations, there will be costs for spaying or neutering surgery (unless you are planning to use your Leo in a breeding program, in which case be sure you understand what is involved in responsible breeding practices), and maybe emergency treatment for illness and/or injuries suffered as a result of accidents. 

Depending upon the severity of the condition, treatment can be very costly and run into the thousands of dollars. 

Although you may never have an emergency run with your dog, if you do the cost financially and emotionally can be devastating. 

For this reason, it is imperative that you either have your Leo covered through pet insurance or set aside sums of money for the next 8-10 years to help prevent and treat any illness and injuries your Leo may sustain.

Are you prepared to do this ?
































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Due to the increasing popularity of the Leonberger, less than careful breeding to meet the demand for puppies has led to an increase in the possibility of your Leo having hip dysplasia, immune system disorders and/or an aggressive temperament. 

Careful choice of a breeder, proper socialization and regular medical exams can help alleviate some of these things. 

Are you prepared to familiarize yourself with the breed ?  And rather than rush to buy the first Leo that comes along, wait until you find a responsible breeder you feel comfortable with – one who will help match the perfect Leo to you and your family ?





































Thank you for being honest with your answers. 

If you  had a " NO WAY " response to one of the questions, please do some more research on dog breeds.  Perhaps a Leonberger is not the best choice of a companion for you.  Please click on this link to look at other breeds at the CKC Site.  It should help you with your search for the ideal dog for you and your family.





Were most or all of your answers " YES " ?

Now that you have found out a little bit more about what to expect when you share your life with a Leonberger, it’s time to find out even more about these wonderful dogs. 

Read books, but more important, go to dog shows and talk to breeders, talk to pet owners, as well as people involved in Leonberger Rescue. 

And if you have a computer, or have access to one, join a discussion list.  There are several Leonberger lists to choose from.  And make it a point to meet as many Leos as possible, pet and show alike, to become familiar with the breed standard.

Make sure a Leo will fit in with your family and lifestyle.  Ensure that all family members are aware of the breed’s traits and are in agreement with the decision.  A Leonberger is a lifelong commitment, so make absolutely certain that this is truly the breed you want to share the next  8 - 10 years with. 





To help you in your quest for more information click here to learn about the breed history

Or head on over to our  Choosing a Breeder  page 

Please also look at the option of  rescue  for a Leonberger in need of a good home.


Other Suggested Reading Material :

The Leonberger  (English version) by Guido Perosino ( available from the author at gp@darwin.it )

Leonberger  by Madeline Lusby  ( available on-line at www.shopanimalnetwork.com )






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Page Last Updated

March 14, 2008

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The Quiz - Are You Ready for a Leo ?