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Breed Overview
Introduction | Characteristics | Standard | Health | Care | History


Leonberger Standard: English

Leonberger
----------------
FCI-Standard # 145 / 19.08.1996 / GB
Translator: Mrs. C. Seidler
Origin: Germany
Date of publication of the valid original standard: 04.01.1996
Utilization: Watch, Companion and Family Dog
Classification FCI:
Group 2 Pinscher and Schnauzer, Molossian and Swiss Mountain and Cattle Dogs
Section 2.2 Molossian, Mountain Dogs. Without Working Trial

BRIEF HISTORICAL SUMMARY:
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.

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.

BEHAVIOUR/TEMPERAMENT:
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.

HEAD:
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.

CRANIAL REGION:
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.


FACIAL REGION:
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.
Eyes: 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.
Ears: Set on high and not far back, pendant, medium size, hanging close to head, fleshy.

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

BODY:
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.

FOREQUARTERS:
Legs: 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.

HINDQUARTERS:
Legs: Position when seen from rear, not too close, parallel.
Hocks and feet: Turned neither in nor out. Dewclaws: Must be
removed.
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.

MOVEMENT:
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.

COAT:

Hair: 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 (faw 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)

FAULTS:
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 and consider how much the essentials (in particular temperament, type, balance and movement) are affected.

DISQUALIFYING FAULTS:

  • Shy and aggressive dogs.
  • Severe anatomical fault i.e. pronounced cow hocks, pronounced roach back, very hollow back, extreme turning out of front feet. Totally insufficient angulation of shoulder, elbow, stifle or hock.
  • Absence of teeth (with the exception of M3). Over- or undershot or other faults in the mouth.
  • Distinct ring tail or tail forming too high a ring.
  • Cords or strong curls.
  • Faulty colours: Brown with brown nose and brown pads; black and tan; silver; wild-coat colour.
  • Complete lack of mask.
  • Brown nose leather, brown pads.
  • Very strong lack of pigment in lips. Eyes without any brown.
  • Too much white (reaching from toes to pastern, white on chest larger than palm of hand, white in other places).
  • Entropion, Ectropion

N.B.: Male animals must have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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