Puppies and Dogs For Sale in UK

The Lifesaver – Leonberger


The Leonberger, classified in the working group, is well known for its exceptional size, its royal connections, and its use in water-based lifesaving services. The Leonberger was believed, according to legend, to be bred as a dog which would mimic the appearance of a lion.

A brief history of the Leonberger

LeonbergerBreeding historians believe that the Leonberger was developed by a man named Heinrich Essig, a dog breeder who lived in the town of Leonberg, Germany. Essig claimed to have first developed the Leonberger breed by breeding a Landseer Newfoundland dog with a Barry–a forerunner of the St. Bernard; he also claimed to further develop the Leonberger by introducing a Pyrenean Mountain Dog into the mix. According to legend, Essig wanted to create a breed which would resemble the lion, which was the coat of arms of the town of Leonberg at the time. The breed was commonly used both as a working dog and a dog of royalty in the 19th century. Napoleon II, Empress Elizabeth of Austria-Hungary, Emperor Napoleon III and Otto Von Bismarck all owned Leonbergers. Like many dogs common to Europe, the Leonberger was nearly driven to extinction during World War I and World War II. Only five members of the breed were left in Europe following World War I. The breed was rescued until World War II, when many of their owners and breeders either fled or were killed in the fighting. The breed was used during the war to pull ammunition carts, often resulting in their deaths. It is believed that less than a dozen Leonbergers survived Europe in World War II.


The Leonberger is a very large dog. Males of the breed are typically 28 to 32 inches in height at the shoulders, while females of the breed are typically 25 to 30 inches in height at the shoulders. They weight anywhere from 110 to 170 lbs.; male Leonbergers typically weigh more than females. The breed is muscular and well balanced due to their being bred for working purposes. They have a double coat, which typically comes in black, red, tan and yellow, which is water-resistant. Their coats shed frequently and they require weekly brushing to remove dead hair and keep the coat in a healthy shape.

Personality wise, the Leonberger is considered today to be a family dog first and a working dog second. A well trained and properly socialized Leonberger will be confident but submissive to family members, friendly towards children and gentle to infants, insensitive to strangers and generally playful, kind and loyal. Because of their large size and strength, proper training is essential for this breed. They can make excellent pets in homes with children, but it is important for homeowners to recognize that without proper training, the mere size and strength of the Leonberger can pose a potential hazard to children. They require daily exercise to keep their energy and health in check.

Did you know? Trivia

  • Leonbergers have webbed feet and are very strong swimmers; they are often used during water rescue operations.