Living With Leonbergers

Living With Leonbergers

When I take my Leonbergers out for a walk I’m still amazed how few people know what they are. In fact the number one thing you must be prepared for when owning these giant walking carpets is to answer the question ‘what are they?’ at least 2 to 3 times a day.

It doesn’t bother me and my two like being the centre of attention. Leonbergers are gentle giants that said because of their size they can easily knock over even me a 6 foot 16 stone man when they are at full gallop. While leo’s are without doubt beautiful beasts, I would not a recommend them as pets to anyone who isn’t prepared to have an animal totally take over their life 24/7. Leo’s are not for the house proud, they are also not for people who go out a lot or fail to have a very good sense of humour.

Buying a leo pup is a life time commitment which will send you for the first year to the edge of your patience. I’ve had dogs for many years and for me nothing compares to owning a leo they are quite simply life changing. The first trait of a leo is they suffer with selective deafness which means that most commands other than Dinner and Biscuits are generally ignored. Ok i’m being a little unfair I don’t want to give the impression that leo’s are not trainable they are, despite what some may say they are hyper intelligent.

I do think they have a streak of cat running through them, by that I mean they know what you want of them and they will get to it when they feel like it. My boy as a pup learnt all your main commands: sit, stay, wait, down in his first week in fact the first day with us at aged 8 weeks. Now at 18 months old he can still do them all but it’s a case of ok.. ok keep your hair on I’ll do it in a minute. The trouble with these guys is they are so darn cute!!! So even as they run around the garden with a treasured plant or shrub half hanging out of their jaw, you can’t stay mad at them for long.

Leo’s are lovers not fighters and despite their size like nothing more than climbing on your lap and giving you a big wet lick they love to be loved. They are also hyper sensitive to human emotion and don’t like family rows or raised voices.
If you hate the idea of wet muddy dogs then Leo’s once again are not for you. Leo’s love both!!! I think they love Water just a little bit more than mud… water bowls are not just portals for liquid refreshment they are a place to get a foot bath and full head wash. And just when they are dripping enough they will come find you to tell you once again just how much they love you.

Because Leo’s are rather large and bouncy i personally feel they are best kept on a lead when out in public as they can cause harm to the old and young just because of their size, to them everyone is a potential best friend who should be knock over and licked. I know many dog owners won’t agree with me but I think now days all dogs should be kept on a leash for there own safety. People can and are be very confusing to dogs not to mentions at times darn right cruel. Most dog problems would never happen if we had a strict leash law. Out of control kids (which most seem to be) and dogs are seldom a good mix. I also think we should have enclosed dog parks but i’m digressing

People do three things when they see the leonberger’s coming: develop a child like grin on their faces, quickly speed up to say hello or quickly cross the road in case they are eaten because they think they are a new breed of bear/dog/lion. As I have already said most people have no clue what a leonberger is, I hope they never become popular because then people will buy them totally without any knowledge of all the stuff they can get up to and a Leo in a dog shelter would be the saddest site in the whole world.

We took over six months of research into large breed dogs before we settled on a leo. As we live close to a breeder we went to see our pups mum and dad and other extended family members twice before buying. We came to leo’s with our eyes wide open and it was still a shock.

I once said I wouldn’t have a puppy  again but I know in my heart that is probably not true.   As my boy is almost grown up and our girl heads towards 6 years old you become aware that these wonderful friends won’t be around for very long. Sadly most large breed dogs  don’t live past 7 to 8 years old. That said a number in my Leo’s breeder bloodline some have made it to 10 years old but more than that is very, very rare. I’m a great believer in life quality over life length when it comes to dogs or humans and my two have a wonderful life and they bring me so much joy and comfort.

Our Male leo Woden is going through his last big Alpha faze and he is proving to be a bigger handful now than at any time since we had him.  It’s typical that Leos don’t begin to calm down till they reach at least two years old. Yes puppyhood lasts a long time in the leo breed in fact some would say they act like puppies their whole life. Woden is going back to training again on Thursday just to refocus him, plus in the winter they can get very bored and it will give him something to think about.

My wonderful girl Bella who we got at 5 years old gives us no problems at all and simply wants to be stroked and stroked. At least once a day the two of them put on a great display of dog wrestling for my wife and me. Woden is about three inches taller than Bella but that doesn’t bother her she keeps him well in his place and is something of a kung foo expert.  I guess the main problem with leo’s is once you get one you just know in time you’ll get another… I dare say over the coming months and years i will post a lot about my furry friends