Facts about Leonberger

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The Leonberger is one of the oldest breeds originating in Germany. It is a large, long haired breed that was always meant to be foremost a companion and watch dog. Here are some facts about this breed:

Fact 1: The Leonberger emerged from the enthusiasms and exploits of Heinrich Essig.

In 1830’s, in the small town of Leonberg, Germany, a breed of dog known as the Leonberger was claimed to be created by Henrich Essig. Essig was the Mayor of Leonberg, Germany during that time and well known in their town as keeper of rare and exotic animals and also known as a keen breeder of dogs and work well as a trader of dogs. At the peak of his career as a trader, he sells about 200-300 dogs a year. He has passion in breeding dogs but he never used to record the selections of dogs for he was not a detail-oriented person. Essig was also into politics then, and when he became Mayor of the town, he thought of inventing a breed of dog that could represent their town.

During that time, Victorian-era, dogs were became famous pet and companion of celebrities and other respected people in the community, especially dogs which were of large breed with thick fur. Essig came up with the idea of creating a breed of dog that could be the town’s distinction. The ensemble of Leonberg at that time was a Lion, so he thought of creating a breed of a dog that may resemble to a look of a lion. With Essig’s enthusiasm to come up with the desired dog, he blended longhaired Saint Bernard, black and white (Landseer) Newfoundlands and a white Pyrenean Mountain Dog to establish the breed. Local farm and butcher dogs may also have contributed to the mix. Though this information were just translated from various information because Essig was not able to keep a detail of it, people were likely to believed it because of the comparable appearance of the said dogs to a Leonberger. There are critics who doubt that Essig created the Leonberger because there was this kind of dog as early as the year 1500’s, but whatever reason Essig was still the recognized creator of Leonberger.

Essig’s sought to know more about the Leonberger during that time, so he successfully exported it to other countries like Japan, U.S. and England. As he settled into the routine of selling Leonberger dog, their town was also identified because of it. Although there are some people say that Essig used his power as a Mayor to earn the business it is also believed that Essig was a genius in marketing and trading industry. The first Leonberger that has been registered was in 1846. And because Leonberger became famous then, some Leonberger was known abroad performing in theaters.

Essig died in 1889, but left behind the identity of their town where Leonberger race came. His nephew continued to breed Leonbergers and his death gained the confidence of Leonberger owners to create a Leonberger clubs. And years after, Leonberger clubs were formed not only within the community but internationally. The work and aspirations of Essig to create a type of dog for the community, he has formed a Leonberger.

Fact 2: Leonbergers need to be trained consistently.

Around the beginning of 20th Century, the Government of Canada import Leonberger to be able to use as water rescue or lifesaving dogs. This only proved that Leonbergers are docile. Leonbergers training is not that difficult because of their playful character. But not all keepers can train well a Leonberger because it needs connection or a bond between the dog and the owner. Why is this so? They need to feel the security that they belong in the family of their owner and be able to develop trust. Creating a bond between the dog and the owner will benefit them both as time flies because security can be gained from both parties. Usually, the Leonberger behavior is the result of proper nurturing of the owner from the moment it became part of the owner’s life. If the owner did not trained the dog well or inconsistent with their rules then this might just result to confusion. The Leonbergers intentionally obey their keeper because of their nature of being loyal.

Nowadays, Leonbergers keepers are commonly family-oriented people. With this environment, Leonberger can easily be trained because they have a character of being playful. Simply by playing with them can train them how to catch a ball and alike that even young ones can train them. The consistency of training a Leonberger can develop their different skills. During the first period of training there might be failures, it is normal because it was just the first attempt, but once it is consistently delivered Leonberger can easily adopt the task effectively. Once this happens, it is important to appreciate what the dog achieved because believe it or not Leonberger loves being appreciated. Leonbergers are not difficult to train, taking them in walk at a park, playing with them and giving them treats whenever done things right can result to an effective training. Just by delivering a consistent training a Leonberger can develop a good relationship with his owner.

In the field of rescue team, just like what the government of Canada has adopted, Leonbergers are known to use in water rescue and lifesaving dogs like Labrador and Golden Retriever. With this sensitive task, tough training might apply. It is important that Leonberger must still socialize because it may cause Leonberger to surrender in any rescue groups. It is also better to travel a Leonberger and expose in any different social situations so that a Leonberger will know how to interact in certain situations and for the trainers also to know what is still to be meet.
Consistent training of Leonbergers is needed for the purpose of guiding them the know-how things. Make it possible to incorporate new lessons into Leonbergers daily life as often as possible. This training cannot be delegated to someone else because it is a relationship based of owners and Leonbergers. As each lesson is learned, the rest of the household must also work with the dog, ensuring that they are obeyed as well.

Fact 3: Leonbergers is not recommended ‘œclean houses.’

The Leonberger is large physically and possesses a furry skin. Because of this feature it usually not recommended for ‘œclean houses’. Part of Leonbergers grooming is brushing their hair. It takes about five minute routine everyday to do this and causes dead hair to fall around the house everyday. If the owner is pristine to house keeping the Leonberger are unlikely for him. The Leonberger has a feature also that loves to play in water and dirt so it may also have the opportunity to indiscriminate into the house that can leave a trace of dirt. These are just some of the incidents that may confront the keepers of the Leonberger.

Having Leonberger as a pet means sharing a home with them. They can grab foods on the dining table because of their height. They do not drool but they have a tendency when eating and drinking is not closing their mouth which causes dirt in the house. When Leonbergers plays outside the house, in the garden perhaps, they do not care at all getting dirty. So when came back in the house they bring dirt all around even put paws mark on their owners clothes as they jump off to acquire attention.

Leonbergers experience the shedding of their fur, it usually happens twice a year. That is why it is common in the homes of families with Leonbergers that fur around it. Leonberger likes to stay close with his keepers, like sleeping at the edge of the bed or just anywhere near. So keeping them out of the house could bore them and even cause them to be frustrated. They are great companions so keeping them in the house and connecting them every now and then is a great help. Though it may cause some dirt and fur around the house it does not cause any trouble because more in exchange can attain.

Living with Leonbergers at home is not that easy in terms of maintaining a clean house but what is best of having them is that they are great companions. They might not be able to meet cleanliness around the house but if they are properly trained they may meet the necessary standards of their owner. Leonbergers just need to be guided along the way so that they know how things work around the house. Keepers should make it sure that they still are the leader of the house and Leonbergers are the follower. Because there are opportunities, not only in the Leonberger keepers, the dog is being followed by the keepers.

It might be difficult for some keepers to have Leonbergers in their home, especially if they are meticulous, but somehow proper training could help Leonbergers. They are sensitive to human actions from facial expressions to tone of voice. Through these things Leonbergers can make a conclusion of their keepers out of it. Leonbergers like water and even playing in mud and no longer will lose them those so it was expected from them to bring home with it.

Fact 4: Leonbergers have a huge appetite.

The Leonbergers contain large stature but it does not mean they are healthy. They ate well and have a huge appetite but there are times wrong eating habits could result into unhealthy ones. The Leonbergers are inherently large physique, but that does not mean it they need to be big right away. When Leonberger is still a puppy, it should not be overfed with foods rich in protein that brings immediate growth of the dog. Why? Because the natural evolution of a Leonberger is physically big that any force of their immediate growth can weaken their other parts of the body. Just let them reach their natural growth span. The correct feeding of the Leonberger brings proper shaping of their bodies. In this case, Leonbergers could grow well and has a great possibility to achieve a well developed and healthy body.

The well care of the Leonberger, especially feeding, is an important aspect that should focus the attention of the keeper. Proper eating habit can prolong Leonbergers life and even creates stronger physical traits. Even though Leonbergers have a huge appetite proper diet is still need to be observed because sooner or later it can affect their health condition. If the keeper left food in the dining table a Leonberger can easily grab it because of his height that is why it is not advisable to just leave foods everywhere for a them to be trained with their eating habits as well. One thing also that could help Leonbergers with their eating habit is do not let them feed while their keepers is eating. Through this technique Leonbergers will not be dominant with their eating habits.

Even though Leonberger have a huge appetite, they can self-regulate their eating habits. Yet it is not advisable to fed Leonbergers when they just came from an outdoor activity like walking or running. To check if a Leonberger is getting fat, try to feel their ribs and if it is not touchable already then Leonberger has to undergo a diet. When the Leonberger was served food, they eat it but it does not mean that they will always be feed. Besides that it is expensive it does not discipline them. The keeper of Leonbergers can serve food periodically but with a limited amount only for the reason that the metabolism of the Leonberger is slow.

Leonbergers are advisable to eat anywhere from 4-8 cups of dry food per day, depending upon age and activity. Premium quality foods are also recommended to be served, particularly to those of adult size, because it is free from preservatives and artificial ingredients. Keepers can also serve soaked biscuits to their Leonbergers. It is expected that keeping a giant dogs like Leonbergers will cost a lot in terms of feeding them because they usually have huge appetite due to their built. But it is also important to train them well also in eating habits not only to build them a good physique but also prolonging their life.

Fact 5: Leonbergers is a workout companion.

Leonbergers are naturally playful. Once they create a bond with their keepers they become their loyal companion. Being playful and a good companion can create a Leonberger as a workout companion also. Leonberger are easy to be with in any activity, whether indoor or outdoor, because of their characters. For instance, keepers can walk with them at the park or play with them. With their warm personality they enjoy doing things with their keepers. Leonbergers get board if they just stay in the house or in the yard without any activity. Just like human they are in need of exercise due to their large stature. Exercise can make them even stronger and they will be able to build a bond with their keepers.
Leonbergers are very intelligent and can easily be trained. With their character of being obedient, Leonbergers enjoys obedience training that even workout activities can be easily adopted. That is why most of their keepers love having these dogs beside them while working out. Leonbergers dogs need lots of exercise because they have large and well balanced muscular built. Because they are working dogs, they need to maintain their strength and physical endurance. Leonberger dog breed will need daily walk and regular training in order to make it physically fit and healthy all the time. Keepers can them to a walk in the park or jogging in the morning are some of simple but effective ways that will work for the Leonberger. Taking Leonberger out of the yard and keeping them as a workout companion is also helpful for the dog since they are exposed in new environment and even have a chance to socialize with other dogs. When performing different exercises it is a good idea to choose a large surfaces, outdoors, grass or sand or gravel rather than cemented. With these scenarios Leonbergers get tempted to use their full physical strength. But before taking them to a walk or any workout outside their yard, keepers will need to be very stiff with this dog because if the Leonberger cannot control by his keeper it has to be on hold because it might occur a safety risk to itself. But when Leonbergers were used to follow their keeper’s command, like for instance stopping them from moving or alike, then there is a little chance of having problems during workout outside.

Even though enjoys playing outside they still did not adapt to being an outside dog. They must be joined within the owners’ family. It is an effective tool for keepers to give time with their dogs even outside their home. In this instance, Leonberger can be an effective workout companion. When there is proper guidance, keepers are ensured that having Leonberger is not an obstruction during workouts and even benefit both the owner and the Leonberger. But still be cautious that the Leonberger does not need a huge amount of exercise especially during puppy-hood as this can lead to long term damage to bones and joints. Gradually increase the amount of exercise as muscles grow and bones strengthen.

Fact 6: Leonbergers are very expensive.

Leonbergers are very expensive, the average cost of Leonbergers nowadays cost about $1250 to $2400 in America but this was just the price of the dog from the market excluded the basic need of the dog as it grow older. This breed of dog is expensive because it is sold with breeding rights. If among the choices are from champion bloodlines then it may cost much higher. But be careful to those who are selling it in bargain because it may not be true blood Leonberger then money just get wasted. Interested individuals who want to keep a Leonberger should also consider all the needs of this dog. To be able to identify why these dogs are expensive is considering its basic needs.

First thing to consider is the Leonbergers food and shelter. Having this kind of dog means opening the keepers’ home to them. Not only the garden or the backyard but the whole house. They are devoted to their owner that is why they like to be with them as much as possible. And living with Leonbergers at home is expected to produce a not-so-clean house because of its fur can be seen around the house. Aside from this, Leonbergers have abruptly enters the house even it came from mud or just jump out of the water that makes the house need to be cleaned every now and then. And cleaning the house may cost not that much but still will cost the keeper somehow. Leonbergers are large dogs, meaning that the monthly food bills are substantial. They are expensive initially and continue to be expensive throughout the years. It is understandable that as it grows bigger its food supply is much higher and even more selective depending on the health condition of a Leonberger.

And the Second thing to consider is their health expenses. During the early months of a Leonberger vaccines are needed and this sounded not cheap. Visiting a veterinarian every three weeks until it reached four months old and once a year from one year onwards may cost a lot. And even if they grew up, medications in some cases may cost much higher for bigger dogs. Leonbergers physical feature of having a thick fur also needed proper grooming. Leonbergers fur need brushing and their nails to be cut every week. If the keeper does not know how to do this grooming stuff then it is advisable for them to spend bucks for it and bring them to a grooming centre or veterinarian.

It is not that hard taking care of dogs, considering like Leonbergers, if anyone is passionate about it then the cost of it does not matter at all. As long as the owner and the dog meet what they both needed from each other then it will satisfy them both. Just make sure to choose wisely what kind of dog is to be adopted before considering how much will need to be spent for it.

Fact 7: Leonbergers has an average life span of 8-10 years.

Leonbergers were observed to have an average lifespan of about 8-10 years, which is about 4 years less than the average purebred dog that is of similar sized breeds. Leonberger are observed to have a short life span and various health problems that curse most breeds of giant size. But even though Leonberger have a shorter life they seem to be healthier than any the other giant breeds. For instance in Germany, Leonbergers are registered with the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) through the German Kennel Club, wherein they are responsible for keeping the stud book and supervise registrations of Leonbergers across the country. Through this system, breeders have the proper supervision of records of Leonbergers. While in America, the Leonberger Club of America (LCA) maintains the stud book and they are the only institution that are capable of issuing registrations that are legitimate. It is strictly implemented that breeding regulations are being followed. These methods were observed by this country not only to protect the Leonberger breed but also to assure that good health living was provided for them.

Leonbergers were observed to have a healthier life compare to other big breed of dogs even if it has a shorter life span and distinct health issues just like other big breeds. Most of the Leonbergers breeders are health conscious that is why they were observed to have a healthier life. Any interested individual who wants to have Leonbergers as their pet must consider its health condition first and be aware that its life span is jus 8-10 years in average. But some keepers try to prolong their dog’s life by observing what they eat.

There are some people who are willing to take care of Leonbergers due to its characteristics of being warm and intelligent. But there are also some doubts because of its short life. It is tragic for others who really are passionate of dogs, especially to those who wanted to have Leonbergers. But there is also some really keen on Leonbergers that rather than regret the brief life of it they are just maximizing the time they can enjoy with Leonbergers. That is why some of the keepers of Leonberger were health conscious of their pets to also prolong their life with them. But even if Leonbergers were given good health living it is still their nature to have a life span average of 8-10 years. It was believed that large dogs have a shorter life span than those of shorter dogs.

Take note that big dogs died early because they age quickly. But it is not important how long or how short a keeper will have their dogs but it’s the quality of their dog’s life that is most important. It is a great thing that Leonbergers are loyal and known to best companion so it is not that difficult to make memories with them. Just give time prioritizing their nutrition, maintenance of the frame, and strong immune systems, then excellent quality of life have been provided to them when they die.

Fact 8: Leonberger dogs may suffer from a neuromuscular disease called Leonberger Polyneuropathy (LPN)

The Leonberger may suffer from polyneuropathy sickness. It is a hereditary or acquired later in life neurological disease which was known as Inherited Polyneuropathy (IPN) or called by veterinarians as Leonberger Polyneuropathy (LPN). Polyneuropathy occurs when many nerves throughout the body malfunction simultaneously. It is a serious, unpredictable, occasionally progressive, and life threatening neurological disorder that may be acute and appear without notice, or chronic and develop gradually over a longer period of time. LPN affects the longest nerves of the Leonbergers body. LPN may result weakness and dysfunction in the muscles which are stimulated by these nerves. The muscles that do not receive the proper nerve signals become weakened and avoid a dog from moving or do things normally.

The symptom of LPN, during early diagnosis, is weakness or abnormality in the end part of the limbs and confused also with other problems. Leonberger that carries this disease may progress either slowly or rapidly. Some other symptoms of LPN are insensibility and lethargy that may result to misplacement of the feet and stumbling, wobbling, crossing of the limbs exaggerated and lengthened stride or sometimes a high stepping ‘œmarrionette-like’ walk. Even if it the sickness was observed with abnormality in the end of the limas it may also occur in the forelimbs. If the larynx of a Leonberger is also affected there can also be changes during barking and breathing. During exercise, it can also be observe that difficulty in breathing may occur. While during eating, there is a chance of being choked. And eventually the disease may progress to the point where the dog cannot support its own weight. These LPN may occur at a young age, from 1 to 5 years old, and to as late as over 8 years of age.

Leonbergers, when it was noticed a LPN carrier, must be brought to a veterinary for consultation. There are also expert with this kind of sickness but for initial consultation have it first on its resident veterinary. Because there are cases that during the early stage it was misdiagnosed by some. Physical and neurological examinations might take place during the first consultation. More advanced tests, including nerve conduction velocity and muscle and nerve biopsies are needed to make a definitive diagnosis for this kind of sickness. There is no harm in securing than ignoring the symptoms. So far, there has no definite cure to LPN but there are medications that are being provided to slow its progression. Leonberger breeders, veterinarians and researchers, together with their different facilities, are not stopping to work on the right medication for this sickness.

Fact 9: Leonberger is a water rescue/ lifesaving dog

Leonbergers enjoys doing obedience, agility, carting, working trials and water rescue. Because of these traits some Leonberger keeper considered these abilities into serious work. During earlier years of 20th century, some Leonbergers were started to be identified as water rescue or lifesaving dog. Regardless of its size, Leonbergers is a lively dog. They are also carries the ability of tracking and searching dogs in some areas. Because Leonbergers are intelligent, they are in high spirit when their mind and body are given something to do. In some countries, like England and Canada, Leonbergers together with other breed of dogs like Labrador and Golden Retriever are being used during search and rescue operations. Training a Leonberger requires patience and need not be harsh because they will not respond very well. Trainee need to consistent and confident with their instructions because it may only cause confusion to the Leonberger if they are inconsistent. Appropriate communication between Leonbergers and trainee is essential tools during the training. These gentle giant, the Leonberger, is serious, eager and willing to please, responding well to training because of they are intelligent. It is not difficult for Leonberger to get along with other dogs. In fact, Leonbergers are more active and coordinated than many other giant breeds.

Leonberger loves playing with water and digging soil, they inherit the love of water from their Newfoundland ancestors and love the chance to use their natural instincts. With their webbed feet they handle the water with ease and even train for water rescue. Aside from that Leonbergers active competence of connection with humans, quick learning ability and balanced personality make this dog remarkably suited to work. There is no doubt that Leonberger could be an effective water rescue dog. It is a great factor that the dog acquires a strong natural attraction to water that could make any training easy for them and any team successfully do the rescue task when on duty. Water training for Leonbergers can provide an excellent conditioning activity to any adventure-loving dogs, like Leonbergers. It offers sensory stimulation and aerobic demand for the mind and body. Also, the time shared and the great teamwork stimulates the heart and soul of a healthy human-to-dog relationship. It is a good chance to develop trust and respect for both parties since it is really needed during the search and rescue operation. Leonbergers and its owner can create a mutual understanding that makes any task easier to solve.

The stature of Leonbergers is really a plus as an effective rescue dog. Because of its muscular ability, that give rise to its sport performance a powerful bound is delivered. Leonbergers enjoy pleasing their keepers, so training them with a serious task is enjoyable to them. Positive training is also a great factor when training a dog for water rescue and search and rescue because it could produce an output that enhance their unexpected ability in a certain task. Leonbergers can be not an ordinary house guard but a rescuer with their enhanced character.

Fact 10: Leonberger is a great help for Therapy work.

Leonbergers are also very effective therapeutic accomplice for all ages. Because of its character of being calm, intelligent and playful, Loenbergers are a great help in therapy work. But having Leonbergers in therapy work should not be taken easily for it should be trained with obedience and ready to socialize to different environment and even feel comfortable with it. Leonbergers and their owners must be devoted to do the task for it will not benefit them both alone but the clients that might need their therapy work as well. Because of this ability of Leonbergers, the Leonberger Club of America (LCA) conducted a program that will award Leonbergers and their owner who participate a therapy work in year 2002. Many Pet owners participated in the said event because it shows the ability of Leonbergers to touch lives, heal hearts and make the world a better place simply by being there. The winner of the said program was awarded with the Therapy Award.

Nowadays, there are many dogs that get involved in therapy work which brings joy, comfort and tenderness to hundreds of patients throughout the world. The health benefits for human of Leonbergers by just simply being companions can be either physical health or psychological well being. For example, when in the presence of a pet dog, people show reductions in cardiovascular, behavioral, and psychological indicators of anxiety. Other health benefits are gained from exposure to immune-stimulating microorganisms, which, according to the hygiene hypothesis, can protect against allergies and autoimmune diseases. The benefits of contact with a dog also include social support, as dogs are able to not only provide companionship and social support themselves, but also to act as facilitators of social interactions between humans.

Some healthcare institutions adopt having Leonbergers visited or reside with the patients. Given the character of Leonberger of being gentle and love for children is one main reason why Leonberger is an effective tool for therapy work. During the therapy work the identity of dogs as mans best friend can be proven. For instance, home for the elderly enjoys having Leonbergers around even just by lying on the couch which brings pleasure to the eye that makes patient smile. The Leonberger is an excellent therapy dog that confidently fulfills all the demands of patient life. They are sensible dog who can perform whatever job is required with the proper training. Leonberger are known to be friendly and dependable, so with these characters it is easy for them to adopt any environment as long as well guided by keepers. Nowadays, dogs are being part of therapeutic work, not only Leonbergers alone, but considering the joy it can bring is no doubt that they can really be helpful in healthcare industry. Leonberger and its owner should work as a team during therapy program for better results to any patient that needed their services.

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