Here are some fun and fascinating facts about the Leonbergers that will surely surprise a lot of people!
This large-sized breed hails from a small town called Leonberg that is situated in Germany. And, it is believed that to honor the place where these canines were developed, they were named after it and this is how these pooches got the name Leonbergers.
Leonberger is already a pretty huge breed, but there is still a fairly big visible difference between a male and a female Leonberger based on their size. The male Leonbergers have a heftier body than the female Leos and they weigh somewhere between the range of 50-80 Kilograms while the females weigh around 40-65 Kilograms only.
The Leonbergers have a thick and long double coat which is one of the most distinctive features about these canines as it gives them a lion-like appearance. But their beautiful coat surely comes at a cost and that is heavy shedding. These pooches shed a lot all-round the year and the frequency and amount of shedding further increases during the shedding season which comes at least twice every year. Hence, this breed is not highly recommended to those people who are very easily affected by dog hair.
Herr Heinrich Essig who was the mayor of Leonberg is credited with the creation of this breed. Essig was a huge canine-admirer and he had a special place for large-sized dogs in his heart. In 1846, he decided to create a new big-sized breed that would also have a similar appearance to that of a lion and after a careful breeding program, he was successful in his mission as he created the lion-like canines known as Leonbergers.
Essig used various huge canine breeds in his breeding program for the creation of Leonbergers. Breeds like the Landseer Newfoundlands, the Saint Bernards and the Pyrenean Mountain Dogs were all involved in the carefully orchestrated breeding program organized by Essig. And the result of this breeding process led to the formation of the new breed, the Leonbergers.
The first World War took a heavy toll on the Leonbergers and these canines were on the verge of extinction. It is believed that only 25 Leos were left when two breeders named Otto Josenhans and Karl Stadelmann came forward to save this breed. Along with them, a small group of people also started a breeding program in 1922 and within a few years, they were able to revive this breed.
Although Leonbergers have been in existence since 1846, these canines were recognized by the American Kennel Club as a distinct breed just 8 years ago, in the year 2010.
Because of their size and lion-like appearance, many people are intimidated by the Leonbergers. But rather than being domineering or aggressive, these pooches are extremely kind and gentle with others. Leos are especially highly affectionate and friendly with small children and they love to spend a lot of their time playing with a small child. These canines are also very warm with elderly people and are fairly cordial with animals like cats and other dogs as well. And, because of their sweet-temperament and loving nature, Leonbergers are known to make amazing therapy dogs.
Apart from being amazing watchdogs and protector of their homes, Leonbergers are also known to make highly effective search-and-rescue dogs. Their powerful nose is being employed to find various missing people in several countries like Germany, Canada et cetera.
Ariel, the Leonberger who was owned by Paul and Mary Ann Smith in the United States of America, shocked everyone by delivering 18 puppies in 2009. In her first pregnancy, she only gave birth to 4 puppies, but she was able to surprise everyone in her family during her second delivery as she delivered six more than a dozen puppies in the same litter.