The Leonberger is a large breed dog that originated in Leonberg, Germany, in the 1800s. Heinrich Essig, an eccentric resident of Leonberg, is credited with the creation of the breed. Essig claims that the Leonberger was created first by crossing Landseer Newfoundland dogs with St. Bernards for four generations, and then out-crossing those dogs with Pyrenean Mountain dogs. He then took those crosses and bred them back to a St. Bernard, resulting in the Leonberger. There is no proof that this story is true, and modern genetics tells us that more than three breeds are actually represented in the Leonberger, but it sure makes a good story!
Leonbergers were bred to be all-purpose working farm dogs as well as companions, and they continue in this line today. Leonbergers make great family dogs, as they are especially kind and patient with children. Their working instincts and intelligence allow for easy training, though daily moderate exercise is required. Potential pet owners who are looking for an easy keeper need look no further – the Leonberger is a perfect companion dog. Just be warned: they tend to shed more than some other breeds, so daily brushing is a must.
Despite their hardworking heritage, Leonbergers are still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect their health – and your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Leonbergers are prone to include eye conditions such as ectropion; hormonal deficiencies such as hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease); breathing problems such as laryngeal paralysis; and cancers such as osteosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Leonberger inherits more than an intelligent mind, you’re covered.