Is The Giant Leonberger a Dangerous Lion Dog

In this post I am just posting one video “THE GIANT LEONBERGER – DANGEROUS LION DOG?” from Animal Watch. I think it is a great video. It is 15 minutes long, which is I admit a bit long. However, all you need to do is watch one minute of it, at a random place to get an idea of how Leonbergers look like and how they interact. I did not take any videos of our Leonberger Bronco (that will change with the next Leonberger we get) so for videos I have to rely on the work of others, and I think this video is great (I’ve got plenty of photos though).

I think this video is bypassing the usual myths about Leonbergers and it is being more honest about the history of Leonbergers than most books and websites I’ve come across, so I like  it. Yes, even Wikipedia is getting Leonberger history wrong. First, the creator of the Leonbergers breed, Heinrich Essig, was a politician, a councilman of the town of Leonberg, but never the mayor, as claimed by the majority of Leonberger books and Leonberger websites. This is confirmed by this video. The legend says that Heinrich Essig created the Leonberger to resemble to lion in the town of Leonberg’s coat of arms, which essentially means that Germans were pretty bad at drawing lions back then. Maybe Germans know how to draw lions now a day.

A lot of books state that the average lifespan of Leonbergers is 6-8 years, I stated 8-10 years in my book because their health had improved due to research by the (Leonberger Health Foundation International). A few other books also state 8-10 years, like mine. This video stated 10-12 years. It is the first time I hear that number, but it is believable because LHFI is doing their job. I should say that all royalties from my book goes to the Leonberger Health Foundation International. I can also add that work of the Leonberger Health Foundation International benefit not only Leonbergers but also other giant breeds as well as humans who are at risk for cancers that are very rare in humans but common in giant breed dogs such as, Hemangiosarcoma. However, it makes me wonder what will happen to the Grey Muzzle Award in the future. So if you buy my book you help Leonbergers, giant dog breeds, and people unlucky enough to get certain rare cancers common in some dogs.

The video stated that 22 breeding Leonbergers survived World War II and with respect to World War II I said that “that the Leonberger has twenty-two founder animals, or animal ancestors unrelated to one another (ten males and twelve females).” Both this video and my book thus disputed the very common claim that only 8 Leonbergers survived World War II (~80-90% of the books). So the agreement between the video and my book was very high despite the larger lifespan claim in this video.

Another item is that Heinrich Essig claimed to have used St. Bernards, Newfoundland dogs and Pyrenees dogs to create the breed. This is typically translated into, Heinrich Essig used St. Bernards and Newfoundland dogs to create the breed, or Heinrich Essig used St. Bernards, Newfoundland dogs and Great Pyrenees dogs to create the breed. I pointed out that Pyrenees dogs were probably not Great Pyrenees dogs but another breed called Pyrenee Mastiffs, that no longer exists. I also pointed out that Heinrich Essig did not keep a record and therefore we don’t know if what he said was even true. This video brings to out attention that Essig (without stating so) might have used the local farm dogs in his breeding, dogs which would have been the ancestors of the German Shepherd. That later part was news to me, and something that was never suggested in any of the 20+ Leonberger books that I’ve read. However, it makes sense. Leonbergers have some German Shepherd traits and our German Shepherd, we called her Baby, thought our Leonberger Bronco was her puppy, and raised him, and protected him with her life.

I can add that all royalties from my book is donated to the Leonberger Health Foundation International.

Anyway, enough rambling about Leonberger facts and history. Enjoy the video, or parts of it.










Finally, if you would like to learn about more about my book and find out where to buy it, click here or here. You can also click the image below to buy it from Amazon.

This image shows the front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger. It is beige and brown and has an old Leonberger in the middle. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.
This is the front cover of the book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.

By thomasstigwikman

My name is Thomas Wikman. I am a software/robotics engineer with a background in physics, but I am currently retired. I took early retirement. I am a dog lover, and especially a Leonberger lover, a home brewer, craft beer enthusiast, an amateur astronomer, I’m learning French, and I am an avid reader. I live in Dallas, Texas, but I am originally from Sweden. I am married to Claudia, and we have three children Jacob, David and Rachel. My blog feature the crazy adventures of our Leonberger e Bronco von der Löwenhöhle as well as information on Leonbergers

15 replies on “Is The Giant Leonberger a Dangerous Lion Dog”

The Leonberger history fascinating, and I can see both other breeds could well be in their lineage, But as you say as well as the excellent video, no hard evidence to prove the breed..
I used to know a lady who kept Newfoundlands, so can see the resemblances.
Lovely to read that improvements made to help their health and longevity and that you are donating to the Leonberger Health Foundation.. Excellent.. 🙂

What ever their heritage they are beautiful dogs with what looks like tons of energy and they will keep any owner fit as they take their owners for a run.. 🙂

Enjoy your day 🙂

Liked by 1 person

Thank you so much Sue for your kind words. Yes their heritage is complex and a bit of a mystery. In addition there are many other incorrect claims regarding Leonberger history on websites and in books, about things we do know.

LHFI has been able to identify harmful genes and breeders following their guidelines have been able to breed them out. That is one of their successes. Our Leonberger Bronco lived an unusually long life for a Leonberger (two weeks short of 13). Because of that LHFI wanted his DNA and we submitted it with the help our veterinarian. He also got a longevity award called the Grey Muzzle Award.

Liked by 1 person

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