Leonberger Care Requirements: Above all, Leonbergers need to be an integral part of their human's family "pack." They will happily adapt to a wide variety of living situations, ranging from apartments to estates, as long as they are loved and included in activities.
As puppies they require excellent training and consistent, frequent socialization activities. As adults they require frequent and consistent exercise.
Food: What to feed a Leonberger is the subject of long and frequent debates. There are as many opinions as there are nations and Leonberger households! Two things are always agreed upon though: 1) Leonbergers should be fed premium quality food whether commercially prepared or prepared in the home. 2) Leonberger puppies should not be fed a diet that encourages rapid growth. Good breeders help guide new owners in the selection of foods. And, all owners should check with their veterinarian and with many of the carefully written books on canine nutrition to determine what is best for their dog and their household.
Grooming (the dog and your home): Leonbergers can be messy, and must be considered "high maintenance" dogs from the perspective of housekeeping. Although they don't drool as a rule, they will occasionally drool when stressed or after drinking (usually with their heads and front paws as far as possible in the water.). Any water bowl is fair game for pawing and spilling!
Leo coats are slow to dry. Huge, muddy paw prints are a given during the rainy season.Leonberger coats vary in length and thickness. They shed moderately year round and they "molt" with dramatic season changes, usually twice a year. If you have one with a very thick undercoat and long feathers and mane your grooming activities will be more demanding than if you have one with a more compact coat. All Leo's coats are waterproof and very wear resistant. To keep these coats shining and elegant, as well as to keep clothes and furniture in acceptable condition requires at least some brushing on a daily basis. Bathing a giant dog, regardless of coat thickness, requires lots of patience, water, shampoo and towels. A high powered professional hair dryer can help.
It's worth noting that grooming, beyond brushing, toenail clipping, and a little trimming to even the fur on toe tips, is not allowed for the conformation ring in Europe. The natural look of a real working dog that does real work is the sought-after ideal.
Training: Leos are not natural obedience and agility zealots; however, they are so loyal and conforming to their family's culture and expectations that they tend to participate in obedience exercises in order to please. Because they are so calm and stable, they perform well even when their handlers are stressed. They usually excel in commands likeDown, Stay! Achieving a perfectly executed Sit and Finish is another story. Leos are known in obedience classes for their casual approach to sitting. The sitting part is not a problem, but sitting up straight is not a priority for a dog that prefers to be laid back and relaxed. Retrieving is also not a favorite activity. Chasing a ball, a toy, or a stick is great fun, but bringing it back is such a bother! There are Leos with obedience and agility titles, but these don't come as easily as they do for smaller dogs.