Please note
The questions and answers contained on this page represent our own practices and opinions.

While we respect the opinions others, the information contained here is based on our own experience and research.  They may not necessarily be in agreement with other Leonberger breeders and common veterinarian practices.

Please feel free to email with any further questions

Q1.    What is their life expectancy?
Most giant breeds are considered to live to around 8 years old, but it is not uncommon for leonbergers to reach up to 11 to 13 years of age and some have lived to 14. A lot depends on how you feed them, method and number of times vaccinated and other environmental practices and conditions. Genetics can and does sometimes deliver us some unexpected blows, but a lot can certainly be controlled by owners. See our policies on vaccination and feeding to ensure you get the healthiest and longest life span out of your dogs where your input can indeed make a difference.
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Q2.    What size do they grow?
That largely depends on the parents' heights and the lines. It would be fair to say that most leonberger pups will reach their near adult height by the age of around 8 to10 months, which will be anything from around 68cm - 72cm on average at the top of the shoulders for females and 76 - 80cm for the males. Should either or both parents be on the taller side of the scale, an
increase in height can be expected. Another influencing factor can be early spaying or neutering before this initial growth phase is reached, as this practice can interfere with natural maturing and delay the closing of the growth plates. The breed standard for females is 65 - 75cm and for males it is 72 - 80cm at the withers. In our personal opinion, we feel that taller is better as the leonberger isn't just a large breed, but a giant mountain breed, and as such should stand out as being extra tall.
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Q3.    Do they moult?
Yes - A lot! Twice a year, the thick downy undercoat renews itself and creates a lot of loose fur floating around. This happens typically in Spring and Autumn. The best way to deal with this is to get a large undercoat rake and grooming it all out as fast as possible (outside!), collecting the fur in bags for future spinning projects or to provide birds with soft warm nesting material. If you don't mind your leo looking somewhat bald and ratty looking, you could also use a Mars Coat King, which cuts through and strips out the undercoat very quickly, but does a rather extreme job in my opinion. I don't advise people to clip or shear the leo's coat, as it may not grow back, or it could grow back less than it's original glory.
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Q4.    How much do they eat?
That depends on age and amount of work. Usually a mature leo will eat about the same as a German Shepherd, as leonbergers are not as hyperactive and wound-up as the more active large breeds. They are quite happy to laze around most of the time and live life at a much more relaxed pace. If you require your leo to work, or have a bitch in whelp, then of course you must increase the food intake.
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Q5.    What do we feed our dogs?
We feed our dogs a natural normal foods diet, as described in the BARF diet book by Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst. The bulk of this diet consists of raw meaty bones, raw chicken carcasses, with raw pureed fresh vegetables, fruits, raw whole carrots, porridge made from barley meal with added eggs and a variety of other natural ingredients added for optimum health. After extensive research into "man-made" dog foods, regardless of price or whether brands from the vet or supermarket, we believe it is not only not the best you can feed, but in most cases down right harmful for your dogs in an accumulative effect. Our policy is to feed foods unaltered from their natural state by human hands as far as possible. We never need to take our dogs to the vet to have their teeth descaled, nor does their breath smell 'doggy', nor do they suffer skin allergies etc. Etc.

An added advantage to feeding our dogs this natural foods died is the natural control of worms and fleas, as a healthy immune system keeps opportunistic bacteria and parasites well under control.  See links page for further information, or email us with further questions.
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Q6.    Do we vaccinate our dogs?
No, We have now done years of extensive research on both human and animal vaccinations.  We now believe  that no vaccines are safe, but downright harmful and can and do cause death or premature death or chronic auto-IMMUNE diseases, as the immune systems are overburdened and even destroyed. We will not personally vaccinate any of our animals ever again, however, we do not insist that new puppy owners must do this. We will provide you with as much information as you can handle on the subject, but the final decision for your puppy is yours.

We used to until early 2007, have a vaccination policy of only vaccinating pups once at the age of 16 weeks when their own immune system was fully developed, and the maternal antibodies gained from their mother's milk have worn off. After that, they would never be given another "booster" shot in their entire lives if they were in our personal care.

We do not believe it is necessary or beneficial to vaccinate with a cocktail of up to 5 diseases in one vaccine as the other diseases offered in the popular vaccines are not a threat to the dog's life, but the vaccines are. I must stress that it is very important to protect your pup from any strange dogs and dogs that you know have been vaccinated within a current timeframe of two to three weeks. If you choose to vaccinate your pup, all public areas where unknown dogs are walked, must be avoided until two to three weeks after your own pup has been vaccinated. If you choose to follow our policy of no vaccines, you must protect your pup in the same way until it is over 16 weeks old, as that is the time the immune system will be fully up and running by itself. This is because live Parvo virus is being kept circulating through the shedding of the virus from recently vaccinated dogs, through faeces, urine and vomit/saliva. Dogs by nature love to stick their noses into and sometimes eat or lick at these excrements, thus are at risk of catching the disease this way. If vaccinated,your own pup will also be shedding live Parvo virus into the environment for two to three weeks from vaccination, so it seems sensible that you do not put other unvaccinated dogs at risk either. More information can also be obtained elsewhere on this site, or email us with your queries.
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Q8.    What are their temperaments like?
Generally speaking leonbergers have a fantastic nature. They usually fit very well into a family situation and with other pets. However, there are some variances between individuals, which need to be taken into consideration. Alpha, or dominant types need stronger more consistent behaviour training as do some males going through their "teenage" phase where they like to challenge their owners. All leonbergers need a minimum of basic obedience training as young pups, because what is cute as a puppy can have disastrous results if left to grow into a habit for a fully-grown leo. An excessively shy or aggressive leo is a fault and not normal. Most leos are quietly confident yet exhuberant in nature, loving to accompany their owners where-ever they go.
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Q11.    Do they bark a lot?
Leonbergers are not barkers by nature. That is not to say they won't bark at play or if someone arrives and they get excited. But generally speaking, unless you allow them to, say, copy another dog in this bad habit as a pup, leos shouldn't bark without a good reason. It is not a good idea to let your leo have a regular bark session, or to rush at the boundary, barking every time someone goes past. If corrected at an early age, there should be very little barking from your Leo.
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Leonburns Leonbergers
Questions & Answers
Q7.    How much exercise do they require?
Again this depends on the age and individual nature of the dog you have. If you have more than one dog, they will largely exercise themselves if given enough room to do so. If you only have one leo, you will need to take it out for daily walks or runs at the park/beach etc. Leos love water, so a regular trip out to the sea, a lake or river is the best form of exercise for this breed. If your leo is confined to a small area all day while you are at work, do take it out twice a day for a good walk/run or play session before and after work. Weekends-only exercise is not enough for any dog.
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Q10.    Are they short or long-haired?
Mostly long-haired double coated. The undercoat is a soft downy thick layer and the outer guard hair is longer and can be wavy or straight, soft to medium coarse in texture but should never be curly. Some coats are longer than others, and some are thicker and more plush rather than long. The amazing thing about leonberger is the exceptional varieties they come in yet are still all obviously the same breed.
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Q9.    What colours do they come in?
The most common colours leonbergers come in are the traditional brown and reds with some black tipping, including the traditional black mask. Less common is the lion yellow colour and the more rare colours are the sand/cream/grey colours, black and tan, white with grey (always with a black mask) and the "chocolate/brown" gene colours. Some even come in predominantly black colours also, but never all black like the newfoundland. It is fairly rare in Australasia that you will have much choice in getting a colour other than the brown/reds.
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