Dog Breed Group: Working Dog
Life Span: 8-10 years
Weight: Male: 50-77, Female: 40-63
Height: Male: 28-32, Female: 26-30
Origin of Name: This breed occurs with a generous double coat; the Leonberger is a large, muscular, and elegant dog.
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Unique among the bigwigs of the AKC Working Group, Leos was developed first and foremost as a partner. The breed was the braild of 19th-century politician Henrik Essig, a German politician and entrepreneur from Leonberg, Germany. Using other St. Bernards and Newfoundlands, Essig's goal, among other large working breeds, was to breed a princely pet for the European monarchy - indeed a dog fit for a king. He was a grand success, and clients such as Napoleon III, Czar Alexander II and the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) set out to include this royal companion in their royal court. Other famous Leonberger masters, if not of blood, the soul's aristocracy include musicians Richard Wagner and Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi. Despite their regal beginnings, Leos have long been employed as versatile Working Dogs on farms, pastures and waterways. They are surprisingly agile and are excellent swimmers. A feature of the breed is cart pulling, an activity that provides an enjoyable outlet for their eccentric strength.