Looking for cute photos of the Leonberger? Check out Petside's slideshow dedicated to the Leonberger!
The Leonberger was originally bred in the 19th century by Heinrich Essig, who lived in Leonberg, Germany, the root of the breed's name. Originally bred as large family, farm and draft dogs, the Leonberger is a recognized member of the Working Group.
History tells us that these double-coated mountain dogs were bred by Essig and were donated to royalty and other popular figures of the 19th century. At one time, it was reported that, as the AKC notes, "Garibaldi, the Prince of Wales, King Umberto of Italy and the Czar of Russia all owned Leonbergers."
While popular 19th century figures owned Leonbergers at one time, their numbers were not always certain. Following World War I, all written records of existing Leonbergers were destroyed. Two German men, Stadelmann and Josenhans, are credited with tracking approximately 30 Leonbergers down and beginning a breeding program to preserve the breed. Breeding continued during and after World War II.
While there numbers may not have always been certain, what is certain is that Leonbergers are some of the nicest dogs you'll come to meet. Equipped with a kind temperament and a soft and playful demeanor, Leonbergers make excellent family dogs. To be sure, they are reliable companions that make great and loyal friends for those who own them.
Leonbergers are great with children, and, with regular training, can be the epitome of what it means to be a family pet. Their heavy coat does require a bit of brushing, and they do need moderate exercise.