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The Leonberger Breed

The Leonberger is a very large breed of dog. The breed's name derives from the city of Leonberg in south-west Germany. According to legend, the Leonberger was ostensibly bred as a 'symbolic dog' that would mimic the lion in the town crest.

The Leonberger is a very large, strong dog, substantial yet elegant. In appearance, he is rather squarely built and comes in shades of golden, reddish tan and brown. His distinguishing feature is his black mask, and dark, kind eyes. He should have close fitting flews and should not drool. Mature male Leonbergers are markedly masculine and carry a lionesque mane and long fully feathered tail. Females may appear less extreme in coat and are notably feminine when compared to a dog. In temperament, the Leonberger is distinguished by unflappability -- a coolness under pressure -- and friendliness. However, the Leonberger is also a mild guard dog who will alert to a threat and stand watch, using his size and substance to protect rather than his teeth. Unflappable though they are, Leonbergers are also quite sensitive, and become attached to their pack -- human or animal -- very quickly and very deeply. Leonbergers have Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees and Saint Bernard as foundation stock and it is not surprising that they excel in cart work and water work. For a big dog, the Leonberger is very agile and capable of tremendous feats of athleticism for his size. He is called a gentle giant but in truth this is the characteristic of a mature dog of three years or more, younger specimens can be willful and rambunctious.

The Leonberger has a medium length soft to coarse double coat that is very water resistant. Males often have particularly thick fur on the neck and chest creating the appearance of a mane. There is distinct feathering on the backs of the front legs and thighs. Coat colour can range from lion yellow, red, reddish brown, and sandy. Black hair tips are permitted, but black must not determine the dog's basic colour. All Leonbergers have a black mask. The Leonberger sheds fur very heavily. A good brushing every week is sufficient to keep it in fine shape, except when the undercoat is being shed; then daily combing or brushing is in order for the duration of the moult. Regular use of a drag comb (it looks like a small rake), especially in the undercoat, is highly effective.

A Leonberger is a family dog, the desire to be with his pack is far more important than a large yard, and he can adapt to modest living quarters if he is given time with his people, a daily walk and regular training time. Leonbergers are good with children and other dogs. Socialization and thorough obedience training are extremely important with any giant breed, including Leonbergers. Although the Leonberger is generally welcoming of friends and family, he is watchful ("much praised," says the FCI standard, "for his watch and draft abilities") and may use his size to intimidate but never his teeth to protect his loved ones. The defining characteristics of a Leonberger are kindness, steadiness, self assurance and an easy going joie de vivre.

-From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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