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N°145 / 20. 09. 2002 / GB
TRANSLATION : Mrs. C. Seidler, revised by Mrs E.Peper
ORIGIN : Germany.
DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THE ORIGINAL VALID STANDARD : 04.01.1996.
UTILIZATION : Watch, Companion and Family Dog.
HISTORICAL SUMMARY : At
the end of the thirties, beginning of the forties of the 19th century,
Heinrich Essig, town Councillor in Leonberg near Stuttgart, crossed a
black and white Newfoundland bitch with a so-called "Barry"
male from the monastery hospice Grand St.Bernhard. Later a Pyrenean Mountain
Dog was added. This resulted in very large dogs with predominantly long,
white coats. Essig's aim was for a lion-like dog. The lion is the heraldic
animal of the city of Leonberg.
GENERAL APPEARANCE : According to his original purpose, the Leonberger is a large, strong, muscular yet elegant dog. He is distinguished by his balanced build and confident calmness, yet with quite lively temperament. Males, in particular, are powerful and strong.
IMPORTANT PROPORTIONS : Height at the withers to length of body : 9 to 10. The depth of chest is nearly 50% of the height at withers.
/ TEMPERAMENT : As a family dog, the Leonberger is an agreeable partner
for present day dwelling and living conditions, who can be taken anywhere
without difficulty and is distinguished by his marked friendliness towards
children. He is neither shy nor aggressive. As a companion, he is agreeable,
obedient and fearless in all situations of life.
The following are particular requirements of steady temperament :
HEAD : On the whole deeper than broad and elongated rather than stocky. Proportion of length of muzzle to length of skull: about 1 to 1. Skin close fitting all over, no wrinkles.
Only slightly developed.
NECK : Running in a slight curve without break to the withers. Somewhat long rather than stocky, without throatiness or dewlap.
LIMBS : Very strong, specially in males.
: Forelegs straight, parallel and not too close.
: Seen from the rear, position of the hind legs not too close, parallel.
Hocks and feet : turned neither in nor out.
GAIT / MOVEMENT : Ground covering even movement in all gaits. Extending well in front with good drive from the hindquarters. Seen from front and behind the limbs move in a straight line when walking or trotting.
HAIR : Medium soft to coarse, profusely long, close fitting, never parted, with the shape of the whole body be visible despite the thick undercoat. Straight, slight wave still permitted; forming a mane on neck and chest, specially in males; distinct feathering on front legs and ample breeches on hind legs.
COLOUR : Lion yellow, red, reddish brown, also sandy (pale yellow, cream coloured) and all combinations in between, always with a black mask. Black hair tips are permitted; however, black must not determine the dog's basic colour.
Lightening up of the basic colour on the underside of the tail, the mane, the feathering on the front legs and the breeches on the hind legs must not be so pronounced as to interfere with the harmony of the main colour. A small white patch or stripe on the chest and white hairs on the toes are tolerated.
FAULTS : Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
N.B. : Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Nowadays, leonbergers primarily are family and companion dogs, they live well together with other dogs and other animals.
Despite its size and strength, teaching a leonberger to defense work is not advisable at all. Leonbergers basically are balanced family dogs. Obedience practice (at a basic level) is useful to each dog, to my view, it eases everyday life with the dog and in our modern world it can even save the dog's life (i.e. stop at roads). Tracking can be successful but for this we need an extraordinarily searching dog. Leonbergers are successfully used in search and rescue work.
Dog shows are nowadays more and more popular where the optical structure, the "beauty" of the dog is compared to the standard describing the "ideal" specimen of the breed. Training a show dog is widely different from training a sport dog. A whole new speciality is ring dressure, posing, showing teeth and at breeds where it is needed, cosmetics and trimming. When showing a leonberger it is usually enough to bath and brush the dog with the right dog shampoo and conditioner since it is a mountain breed. Teaching ring dressure (like every exercise) can be started at the age of a couple of months so the dog would know what we expect in the ring in the extreme circumstances of the show. Handling is very important, many times the jugde's decision is merely based on how one dog shows him/herself at the moment of judgeing. Well prepared dogs are neutral to the dogs and people around, and they pay full attention to the owner/handler at all times, they move together in harmony.
Agility is widespread at owners of pure and mixed breeds alike. Spending time together, winning the obstacles together is joyful for the dog and the owner. According to the current Agility regulations there are three size categories (small, medium and large) and training is based on this as well, but there exists "Giant" category (officially not recognized yet) where extremely large dogs can work without risking to overcharge their joints.
There are some areas though where leonbergers can be especially well used. Even at puppyhood leonbergers are very responsive to water (i.e. playing with garden tap at the age of 3 months), and gradually with love we can train them to apport from water. This is a very good basic for water rescue work and later even participation at examinations and competitions. Today in Hungary there is no practice at all for this despite the large number of dogs who are able to do similar activities (apart from leonbergers i.e. newfoundlands or landseers).
The benefits of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) are well known abroad and even in Hungary there are initiatives and successes. The force tranquil radiating from the leonberger, the balanced, stable nerves and the playfulness make the leonberger an ideal therapy dog. At some places there are well developed conditions to assess the dog's instincts and to participate at programmes (the most common areas are hospitals, elderly homes, autist or mentally/physically challenged children, etc.). Please visit Mador's therapy page!
Carting is a useful passtime, especially if you have children and a sled too.
You will be proud of your leos as sleddogs. Especially if such a sweet brave puppy leads your pack...
Apart from the above, leonbergers can help you to bring your art talent on surface and give you inspiration. The process of creation is calming, and one can be proud of the result.