At the end of the thirties, beginning of the forties of the 19th century, Heinrich Essig, town Councillor in Leonberg near Stuttgart, crossed a black and white Newfoundland bitch with a so-called "Barry" male from the monastery hospice Grand St. Bernhard. Later a Pyrenean Mountain Dog was added. The Result were very large dogs with predominantly long, white coats. Essig's aim was for a lion-like dog. The lion is the animal pictured in the Leonberger coat of arms. The first dogs called "real" Leonbergers were born in 1846. They combined the excellent qualities of the breeds from which they stemmed. Only a short time later, many of the dogs were sold from Leonberg as status symbols all over the world. At the end of the 19th century, the Leonberger was kept in Baden-Wuerttemberg as the preferred farm dog. His watch and draft abilities were much praised. In both World Wars and in the needy post war times, the number of breeding stock reduced dramatically. Today the Leonberger is an excellent family dog which fulfills all the demands of modern life.
FCI-Standard # 145 / 19.08.1996 / GB


General appearance:
Due to his original use, the Leonberger is a strong muscular, yet elegant dog. He is distinguished by his balanced body type and confident calmness, yet lively temperament. Males, in particular, are powerful and strong.

Important proportions:
Height at the withers to length of body: 9 to 10. Depth of chest is nearly 50% of height at withers.

As a family dog, the Leonberger is an agreeable partner for present day dwelling and living conditions, who can be taken anywhere without difficulty and is distinguished by his marked friendliness towards children. He is neither shy nor aggressive. As a companion, he is agreeable, obedient and fearless in all situations of life. The following are particular requirements of steady temperament: Self assurance and superior composure, medium temperament (including playfulness), willing to be submissive, good capacity for learning and remembering, not sensitive to noise.

On the whole deeper than long and elongated rather than stocky. Proportion of muzzle to skull region about 1 to 1. Skin close fitting all over, no wrinkles.

  • Skull: In profile and seen from front, slightly arched. In balance with body and limbs, it is strong but not heavy. The black part of the skull is not substantially broader than near the eyes.
  • Stop: Clearly recognisable but moderately defined.
  • Nose: Black.
  • Muzzle: Rather long, never running to a point; nasal bridge of even breadth, never dipped, rather slightly arched (roman nose).
  • Lips: Close fitting, black, corner of lips closed.
  • Jaws/teeth: Strong jaws with perfect, regular and complete scissor bit, in which the upper teeth close over the lower without any gap and the teeth are placed vertically in the jaw, with 42 healthy teeth, according to usual tooth formula (missing M3 tolerated). Pincer bite is tolerated; no constriction of canines in lower jaw.
  • Cheeks: Only moderately developed.

Light brown to as dark brown as possible, medium size, oval, neither deep set, nor protruding, neither too close together nor too wide apart. Eyelids close fitting, not showing any conjunctiva. The white of the eye (the visible part of the sclera) not reddened.

Set on high and not far back, pendant, medium size, hanging close to head, fleshy.

Flowing without break to the withers in a slight curve. Long rather than stocky, without throatiness or dewlap.

Withers: Pronounced, specially in males.
Back: Firm, straight, broad.
Loins: Broad, strong, well muscled.
Rump: Broad, relatively long, gently rounded, flowing to merge with tail set on; not in any way overbuilt.
Chest: Broad, deep, reaching at least to height of elbows. Not too barrel shaped, more oval.
Lower profile: Only lightly tucked up.
Tail: Very well furnished; while standing, it hangs down straight; also in movement it is only slightly curved and preferably should not be carried above the prolongation of the topline.
Limbs: Very strong, specially in males.

Straight, parallel and not too close.

Shoulder/Upper arm: Long, sloping, forming a not too blunt angle, well muscled; elbows close fitting.
Pastern: Strong, firm; straight, seen from front. Almost vertical seen from side.
Forefeet: Straight position (turning neither in nor out), rounded, tight, toes well arched; black pads.

Position when seen from rear, not too close, parallel.

Pelvis: Slanting position
Upper thigh: Rather long, slanting, well muscled. Upper and lower thigh form a distinct angle
Hocks: Strong, distinct angle between lower thigh and rear pastern
Feet: Standing straight, only slightly longish. Toes arched, pads black.

Ground covering even movement in all gaits. Extending well in front, and good drive from hindquarters. Seen from front and behind limbs move in a straight line when walking or trotting.

Medium soft to coarse, profusely long, close fitting, never with a parting, letting the form of the whole body be seen despite the thick undercoat. Straight, slight wave still permitted; forming a mane on neck and chest, specially in males; distinct feathering on front legs and ample breeches on hind legs.
Colour: Lion yellow, red, reddish brown, also sandy (fawn colour, cream colour) and all combinations in between, always with a black mask. Black hair tips are permitted; black must however not determine the dog's basic colour. Lightening up of the basic colour on the underside of the tail, the mane, feathering on front legs and breeches on hind legs must no be so pronounced as to interfere with the harmony of the main colour. A small white patch or stripe on chest and white hair on toes will be tolerated.

Height at withers:
Dogs (male): 72 to 80 cm (recommended average 76 cm)
Bitches: 65 to 75 cm (recommended average 70 cm)

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Disqualifying faults:
Shy and aggressive dogs.
Severe anatomical faults (i.e. pronounced cow hocks, pronounced roach back, bad swayback; front feet turning out extremely. Totally insufficient angulation of shoulder, elbow, stifle or hock joints.
Brown nose leather.
Very strong lack of pigment in lips.
Absence of teeth (with the exception of M3). Over-or undershot or other faults in mouth.
Eyes without any brown.
Entropion, ectropion.
Distinct ring tail or too highly curled up tail.
Brown pads.
Cords or strong curls.
Faulty colours (brown with brown nose and brown pads; black and tan; black; silver; wild-coat colour).
Complete lack of mask.
oo much white (reaching from toes onto pasterns), white on chest larger than palm of hand, white in other places).
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


Scientists can't specify the time, in which dog arise as a mammal species. It's hard to imagine those ages, even acccording to the skelet remains, but we know, that the process of domestication of the dog begun 10.000 years ago.

The origin of The Leonberger race is dated to 1846, we know it exactly. Leonberger dog was the result of the effort of dog - fancier Heinrich Essing from Leonberg. Leonberg is situated by Stuttgart in Germany. He was full - time fancier, because he took care of many animals in his home. The idea was to create the dog, who looks like a lion and is friendly and suitable for guarding. Leonbererger dog was created by intersecting Saint Bernard's dog, Newfoundland dog and Pyrenees shepherd's dog.

The empress Elisabeth enrich her pack by the Leonberger dog in 1870. She bought the dog for the price of 1400 gold coins, which was really big amount. 374 dogs were exported approx. in 1873. Aristocrats were the most common buyers of the Leonberger dog both in Europe and Germany, the land of their origin.

Heinrich Essing died in 1889. This event negatively influenced the breeding of the Leonberger dog. The opponents tried to annihilate the race, but they weren't succesfull. Owners and fans united in 1895 and founded "The international club for the Leonberger Dogs" in Stuttgart. "National Leonberger club" in Apolda and "Leonberger club" in Heidelberg followed in 1901 and 1908.

All breeding was badly influenced by both word wars. Volunteers struggled for the restoration of Leonberger dog breeding after 1945. On 10th June 1948 "German club for the Leonberger dogs" was founded. This club, which seat is in Leonberg, represents this race from 1948 till today. The club is the highest authority for leonbereger's breeding, which associate number of registered clubs from east and west Germany. Club administrate main breeding book and is a member of german kynologic association ( VDH ), member of FCI and preside at International union of Leonberger fanciers. Czech club of Leonberger fanciers, which ranged Bohemia and Moravia, is a member of the union from 1992.

Leonberger dog is breeded in majority of European countries as well as in the U.S.A. Great power in breeding is Germany, where several hundreds of dogs are registered each year. Leonberger dog couldn't became a popular race, but we can indicate, that he attract many fanciers. He's very strong, impressive and elegant dog, which attract wide surroundings. His nature is well - ballanced. Dog is quiet, self confident and temperament together. He's could be well mastered and trained, he's an ideal friend for whole family. Perfect guard and family dog together. Leonberger belongs to long - hair races, but not every dog we can sort to long - haires for first look.

Czech breeding is based on used to be "NDR" breedings. Import from west Germany has beeen possile from 1990, that's why we can found dogs of two main types in our country. First type is from east Germany. Dog is huge, heavy. His hair is rather shorter. His head is more broad. West Germany type has lighter skelet and longer hair. Cross breeding of those types helps to eliminate problems with relationship breeding, especially dysplasis of hip joints. Cross breeded dogs have a better hair too.

Leonberger is a dog for everyone, who wants to have beautiful, unusual and all - round animal, which brings by it's nature and look joy and fun to all family. Leonberger dog must be a number one dog for all, who wants and who are able to assure good living conditions for him.