Most Leonbergers are wonderful, loving dogs, but due to their size and strength, they are NOT the dog for everyone. They require time, dedication, grooming and, above all, training to ensure a well-behaved dog. Buying any dog should be a lifetime commitment, so make sure you learn about the Leonberger before you buy. As with any breed of dog, do not buy a Leonberger if you somehow believe it will be a catalyst toward changing your life style. It won’t. Research and purchase a dog that matches your lifestyle as it currently exists.
Here are some facts about Leonbergers for you to take into consideration if you’re thinking of adding one to your family. This list is from the Leonberger Owner’s Guide published by Leonberger University.
Before making the decision to bring a Leonberger into your family, ask yourself the following questions.
1. Do you know that while adult, well trained Leos are overall calm, good natured and loving, Leo puppies and teenagers in particular are full of energy and hormones and can be quite a handful for the first year or two?
2. Do you know Leonbergers love to be with their family and don’t make good “only outside” dogs? A Leo isolated from its family will become very destructive.
3. Do you have a large, fenced property? Leonbergers can cover a huge amount of ground in 30 seconds and they have large feet which can ruin a small suburban lot in a matter of days. A Leo kept in a small backyard without enough exercise can easily become over protective.
4. Do you have a large enough indoor space to provide room for them to walk around without constantly being in your way and lie down without blocking entryways? Think extra coffee table!
5. Do you mind shedding? Do you have time to brush a big dog every week and a good vacuum cleaner? Leos shed twice a year and you’ll be able to make articles of clothing from the hair you pull out of your carpets.
6. Do you have the time to meet the Leos socialization requirements? The window of socialization closes by 20 weeks of age and it’s important to get your Leo to many new and unique places and introduce it to many new people and things as possible to help bring out the natural self confidence later in life.
7. Do you have small children? Although gentle, Leonbergers can easily topple a small child. (or an unwary adult!)
8. Do you realize the Leonberger, like most giant breeds has a shorter lifespan than the small and medium breeds? The average lifespan for Leos is around 8 years.
9. Do you have a good training facility nearby and the commitment to take your Leo to group classes so it learns to work with you around distracting circumstances and be able to better socialize with a lot of different dogs?
If you have answered “yes” to the above questions then a Leonberger may be the right dog for you!