In 1855, Heinrich Essig, a town councillor in Leonberg, Germany, crossed a Newfoundland with a St. Bernard. In his aim to create a large and powerful dog to use for draught work or a flock guardian, he then added other giant breeds including the Great Pyrenees. The breed was stabilized by the end of the 19th century and recognized in several European countries. Essig’s desire was to produce a lion-like giant dog as the lion is the animal pictured in the Leonberg coat of arms.
The Leonberger is an agreeable family dog, distinguished by his marked friendliness toward children. As a companion, he is obedient, pleasant-natured and fearless in all situations.
Though large, the Leonberger has a lively nature. He requires regular outdoor exercise.
As might be expected from his background, the Leonberger stands about 27-30 in (69-76 cm) at the shoulder.
The profusely long coat is medium soft to coarse in texture. It may be straight or have a slight wave. It is especially thick, forming a mane on the neck and chest. There is a thick undercoat.
In keeping with the desired leonine appearance, the Leonberger is usually lion yellow with a black mask. Red, reddish brown or sandy colours are also permitted.
The dense coat requires regular brushing and combing.
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