With permission from Brend Saito (see comment), in this post I am sharing something she shared on Facebook in memory of her golden retriever, Odie, who passed away in May 2021 at the age of 12. The author is unknown.
“A dog asked :
“Tell me, human, why’d you record me? ”
The human replied, “You were so little and cute then and I couldn’t resist”
“But I ate your flowers, peed on your carpet and broke the expensive vase and all your clothes are full of hair from me… never thought about giving me away? ”
Again the man replied:
“I was also upset at first and had more work to do, but then when you sat down on my lap as usual, everything was fine… you don’t give your children to the orphanage because they once are mischievous. ”
The dog looked attentively at his owner and asked:
“But look, now I’m very old and I have my problems too… I cost a lot of money because you go to the vet with me more often and I need special food… I’m not as agile as I was 10 years ago… and i don’t smell like a baby anymore”
The mistress swallowed briefly and struggled with tears for a moment when she then answered:
“My love, you will ALWAYS be my baby, you have enriched my life and given me countless beautiful moments, now you are old and not quite healthy but that doesn’t change how much I love you.
You have always been there for me, comforted me when I was sad and made me laugh, you are my most precious treasure. And I wish we can spend more time together.
I will continue to do my best to make your life beautiful.
I will do everything for you my little darling.. ”
The dog gently placed its paws on his wife’s cheek and licked.
The sun shone in his eyes that shone like opals.
H a p p y.
L O V E
Anyone who has and loves dogs understands without words….
With this post I just wanted to say a few words about the book I wrote “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle”. This book features several dozens of funny or astonishing dog stories centered on our late Leonberger Bronco, as well as information about Leonbergers and an extensive Leonberger resource guide. The book contains a lot of color photographs and colorful illustrations depicting Bronco’s adventures. The book is intended for all dog lovers of all ages or anyone who loves to read fun dog stories. It is also intended for those who are looking for information on Leonbergers.
Bronco wasn’t our only dog, but our world wouldn’t have been the same without him. For instance, he once saved the life of our pug by fending off an attack from another dog. He probably saved our Labrador’s life, too, by sniffing out an impending insulin shock before it happened. Bronco’s hamster search and rescue operations gave us some great stories to tell, and it kept our hamsters safe. Then there was the time he chased off a nightly stalker, well a peeping Tom who’d been terrorizing my wife and other women in the neighborhood. The private detectives I had hired could not catch him but Bronco did.
Bronco is no longer with us, but even in his passing he was distinctive. Leonbergers tend to live less than nine years—but Bronco came very close to reaching his thirteenth birthday. In fact, he received an award for longevity called the “Grey Muzzle Award.” We already knew he was a special dog, but we sent his DNA to two labs for research anyway.
Below are four selected book spreads.
If you would like to learn more about my book and find out where to buy it, click here or here. You can also click on the cover images above to buy it from Amazon. All royalties are donated to the Leonberger Health Foundation International. I can add that all illustrations were done by Naomi Rosenblatt.
One year ago, I launched my Leonberger blog. Alex Diaz-Granados another blogger I know gave me some advice so I could get started. Well, that was one year and one day ago today (March 13, 2022). I was too busy yesterday to work on my blog, so this post is one day late for a one-year anniversary, but I am doing my one-year anniversary today.
The purpose of the blog was to inform people about Leonbergers, a truly remarkable dog breed, as well as advertise my then upcoming book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, Stories and Tips from Thirteen Years with a Leonberger.” I invited friends and announced the existence of my blog on Facebook and Instagram. Later in July of 2022 my book would be released, and a couple of months after that I started interacting with other WordPress bloggers upon the advice of Alex. At this point I am blogging just because it is fun.
I read somewhere that when you launch a blog you should make five posts at once because having a blog with just one or two posts makes it look empty. Therefore, I made five posts on launch day. Below I am posting five pictures corresponding to each of the five posts. If you click on the picture, you can look at that original old post.
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 blog is primarily about Leonbergers. I review Leonberger books, but I also review books that are not about Leonbergers but that I love, and I want to promote. This post is one of those. I am reviewing Secrets in the Blood Kindle Edition, August 1, 2013 – by Unity Hayes. The book is 225 pages, ASIN : B00E50JO3A, it currently cost $2.99.
Unity is the author of Secrets in the Blood (mystery/romance – August 1, 2013). She has been writing since the age of 15 and has always dreamed of telling stories through the craft of writing. Unity is a Registered Nurse that enjoys small town living, antiquing, and spending time with her family.
Secrets have been buried in a steel town for many years, but someone is about to blow the lid off them and rock this little town. Cassidy loves her life just the way it is. But when mysterious and good looking West arrives, her world is turned upside-down. West carries the secrets of the steel town. Cassidy is attracted to the stranger but a relationship seems impossible as West’s accusations make him appear crazy and bodies start to pile up. No one wants to believe West; can Cassidy let her feelings go and trust him? Who is the killer? How many bodies will pile up before the biggest secret of all is revealed?
An Action-Packed Romantic Thriller with Mystery and Captivating Drama
I normally don’t read books in the romance category. However, this book is so much more than a romance book. It is more than anything a mystery, a thriller, a captivating drama and a fast paced adventure. The romance is an added bonus for those who like that. What I found so intriguing about this book were the thick mysteries as well as the fast-paced action. There were surprises on almost every page. It is one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read.
The setting, a replica of an 1880’s old wild west town called the Watering Hole, appealed to me, perhaps because we’ve stayed in such a place in Arizona. It was a tourist trap of course, but it was fun. The book brought back memories from that trip and the descriptions of the town in the book felt real to me. If the Watering Hole was real, I would take my family there, well assuming that there were no murders or other strange things happening.
There’s danger, death, and a string of violent or strange events. Every page made me wonder what was going on and what was going to happen next. As I was reading my mind went to the girl with dragon tattoo, but that is a different story. This is a very good and unique story, the drama and the dialogue are brilliant, and the character development is good. The author is a registered nurse, which certainly benefitted the descriptions of injuries and the healing processes of the victims. I think realism is an important advantage. I highly recommend this fun and exciting thriller.
Finally, if you would like to learn 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.
Facebook recently reminded me of our late Leonberger Bronco’s Grey Muzzle Award. He got it three years ago. He was 12 years and 8 months old at the time. The Grey Muzzle Award is an award given by the Leonberger Health Foundation International (LHFI) for longevity. Leonbergers, and other giant breeds, don’t live very long. LHFI bestow the award on any Leonberger who has reached the age of twelve. The Grey Muzzle Award is also given to breeders, because they are partially responsible for the dogs’ longevity. This is a special award and it made us very happy that Bronco got it.
We got the award a little bit late because we applied for it a little bit late, but when we got it we were very happy. When Bronco passed away from a heart failure four months later, we submitted his DNA to LHFI for research.
The Leonbergers receiving the Grey Muzzle Award are the canine equivalents of centenarians—humans who are at least one hundred years old. You don’t have to have your Leonberger registered with the LCA or AKC to apply for the award—it’s open to all purebred Leonbergers around the world. You can also apply if your dog is deceased, as long as he lived past the age of twelve. If you have a twelve-year-old Leonberger, simply fill out a form on the LHFI website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LHFI will ask for some information, including the registered name and call name of the dog; the breeder’s name, kennel name, address, and email; the dam’s registered name; the sire’s registered name; the owner’s name, address, and email; the birth date of the dog; and whether the dog is alive or dead. If the latter, they will want to know the cause of death. In addition, they would like you to write a one-paragraph tribute to the dog and send two (preferably high-resolution) photos—one head shot and one favorite photo.
This is a contentious question that can easily lead to heated arguments, which is why I never brought up this issue in my book. I don’t like one-star reviews. A blog post though is a different matter. I can easily delete angry comments as well as the blog post itself.
It is very common for veterinarians and others to recommend that dogs be neutered or spayed between the ages 4-6 months. However, not all dogs are the same and this seems to be bad advice for many giant breeds, especially Leonbergers.
With this post I am presenting advice and statements from various sources that I consider to be reliable such as AKC/club certified breeders of the specific breed in question, the corresponding breed organization/club, such as the Leonberger Club of America, and scientists in the specific field. In my experience veterinarians who care for all kinds of dogs and pets typically do not have knowledge that is breed specific enough on this issue.
When we got our late Leonberger Bronco (Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle) 15 years ago our breeder Julie Schaffert told us to wait with neutering him until he was two years old if possible. Julie Schaffert has been an LCA (Leonberger Club of America) certified breeder since 1992 and is arguably the most prominent Leonberger breeder in North America. A few days ago, I sent her this question:
Hello Julie, I hope all is well with you and your Leonbergers. I am currently reading a Leonberger book by Vanessa Ritchie. I’ve read dozens of Leonberger books. It is a very good Leonberger book. However, in the middle of page 30 she is saying something that concerned me. She is saying to neuter/spay your Leonberger at 6 months old. I remember you telling us to wait with ours and we waited until significantly passed one years old. Assuming that is correct, this mistake needs to be pointed out and perhaps corrected. Before saying anything, I wanted to make sure that is correct, that spaying/neutering at 6 months old is indeed too early for a Leonberger.
Thank you for any help
Happy New Years
This was her answer
Happy new year. Yes, it’s now recommended that giant dogs not be neutered or spayed until after 2 years. In the old days it was recommend earlier any time after 6 months. All the new data says wait.
A few months ago I participated in an online discussion (Leonberger Facebook group) on this issue and I mentioned that we neutered our Leonberger passed one years old, close to 18 months, but we did not wait two years. There were people who did not like this saying we needed to wait longer. Some people said that 12-18 months was good enough, but they were in general rebutted. The consensus was that you needed to wait two years or not neuter the dog at all if that was practical. Opinions were strong, and I got the feeling that some people felt neutering before the age of two was animal abuse. Whatever you do, don’t discuss this with Leonberger enthusiasts at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
The reasons we did not wait two years was that our veterinarian at the time wanted to do it sooner and Bronco was moving furniture around because of his excess energy. He was strong, energetic and a bit restless. He dragged sofas, chairs and tables around. He was very friendly and harmless, but he had a lot of energy. Perhaps he should have been a home decorator instead of a dog.
So that’s where I was coming from”. In addition to that I searched on-line today to see what people with expertise in the area are saying. I should say that I know enough about internet search not to trust whatever comes up at the top. You need to first consider credentials and expertise.
This one year old article (click here) from the AKC states that a larger or giant breed may need to wait until they are near or over 12-18 months of age before neutering or spaying. The article also provides the following interesting information.
Research conducted by the University of California – Davis reveals that for some dog breeds, neutering and spaying may be associated with the increased risks of certain health conditions such as joint disorders including hip or elbow dysplasia, cranial cruciate rupture or tear, and some cancers, such as lymphoma, mast cell tumor, hemangiosarcoma, and osteosarcoma. The research conclusions are not surprising. Sex hormones are important in the development of any animal. We know they affect psychological development as well as the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and the immune system.
I believe this is the University of California – Davis article in question (click here). It is from 2020. Notice that the suggested guidelines for age of neutering is beyond 23 months for several of the giant breeds in the table of 35 breeds (click here). Also notice that the table does not include Leonbergers.
Hillhaven Leonbergers (click here) in Ireland recommend not neutering until at least 2 years of age. They warn against doing it at 6 months old, despite what some veterinarians may recommend.
I did not find an on-line Leonberger Club of America recommendation but this old 2011 article (click here) from the Leonberger Club of America states: Because the Leonberger is a slow maturing breed in general, most breeders will ask puppy owners to wait a year or so before altering their puppies, to allow bones to develop more fully.
I did find an article from the Saint Bernard Club of America (click here). The Saint Bernard is genetically similar to the Leonberger. This article states: Above all, no giant breed puppy should be altered before the growth plates in the bones have matured and closed, usually between 15 and 24 months of age.
This Newfoundland dog magazine (click here) states : Currently, the recommended age that a Newfoundland dog should be neutered is 18 to 24 months due to the possible health problems that can arise from altering before that age. The Newfoundland is another dog that is genetically similar to the Leonberger.
So in conclusion, even though the expert advice regarding neutering and spaying is not crystal clear and varies, doing it at six months old is too early and can harm the Leonberger’s health.
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.com.
I think it is awful when people return dogs. Barring some very special circumstances, such as severe illness or death, this is not something that should happen. If it does happen a reputable breeder will take the dog back. A Leonberger, well any dog, should never be turned into a shelter. The Leonberger Club of America and the Leonberger community in general are very concerned about the wellbeing of all Leonbergers. Therefore, you often have to go through an interview before you can purchase or adopt a Leonberger. Are you fit to be a Leonberger owner? Would you pass the interview? Below is the interview we went through including our answers.
Kennel von der Löwenhöhle Questionnaire and our Answers
Why do you want a Leonberger?
We have a dog book, and while looking at dogs we came across the Leonberger, a gorgeous dog from Germany. We also had the opportunity to meet some Leonbergers, a mother and her puppies, which were wonderful. We have read that Leonbergers are great with children and good guard dogs, which is something we’d like. We have two dogs, but we have not raised them as puppies. We have never had a puppy and would like to have one.
What do you like about the Leonberger and what do you know about its characteristics? Do you prefer male or female? Why?
They are very beautiful and love to swim. We have a huge pool, and my children love to spend their summers swimming. Leonbergers also make wonderful pets and are good guard dogs, and best of all they don’t drool. We don’t prefer a male or a female dog.
Are you aware this is at least a ten-year commitment?
Yes. We have two other dogs, and of course we are aware that they live up to ten years—hopefully more.
Do you have any other pets? Have you had any experience raising a giant-breed puppy?
We have a Lab and a German shepherd. We have two dwarf hamsters, Moldova and Montenegro. My son also keeps a baby ball python in a cage in his room (UGGH). As I said before, we have never owned a puppy, but we met some Leonberger puppies from a breeder who resides in Houston.
Where will your dog be kept—indoors or outdoors? Backyard or kennel?
Our dog would be kept mostly indoors. (We live in Texas, and it would get too hot outside.) At night we take all our dogs for walks and for occasional swims during the year. When the dog is still a puppy, we would keep it in a puppy playpen and take it out every half hour to go to the bathroom (until obedience training). We do have a fenced backyard the puppy can play in, and we have a dog run with a dog door so the dogs can come and go as they please.
Is your yard fenced?
Yes. Our yard has a seven-foot-high solid wood fence all the way around
How many hours will you be out of the house? Where will your Leonberger be while you are gone?
I am a stay-at-home mom, and we would almost always have someone in the house, such as our housekeeper, children, and family. If we are gone for a long periods of time, we have a dog sitter who comes to our house to take care of our dogs.
Do you have children? If so, what are their ages?
We have three kids, ages thirteen, ten, and eight. Two boys and one girl (in that order).
Describe a typical day at your house now. How do you think it will change once the puppy arrives?
On a typical day, the kids go to school, and I like to take a long walk. I go through some paperwork, I prepare dinner, then everyone comes home. On weekends, my younger kids have sports, but my oldest kid stays home (he plays during the week).
I would be with the dog most of the day and would do my shopping while the housekeeper is there. I do not plan on leaving the puppy for any long period of time. I’m sure that having the puppy will be like having another child. We have been told that the puppy will be quite rambunctious for the first three years of its life.
Have you observed any obedience classes in your area? It is very important that Leonberger puppies start obedience classes by sixteen weeks of age. Would you attend such classes?
We have not observed any obedience classes yet. However, we are interested in the International K9 training facility in Dallas and would absolutely attend these classes.
Von der Löwenhöhle puppies start their crate training at our kennel. Will you continue this training? If not, why not?
Yes, we would continue crate training at our home. We will follow your advice and that of our veterinarians in regard to further training.
What plans do you have for your Leonberger—e.g., showing, breeding, obedience, family companion, therapy? If you plan to show or breed, what experience, if any, have you had?
Our major purpose for wanting a Leonberger is to have a family companion.
Please add any other information you feel will help us pick out a puppy for you.
We would like a dog that will fit in well with our family.
Below is an updated list of where you can find the book. If your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.
ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954
ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR
My email is : email@example.com
Below are a few of the places where you can buy it. Click on a link to buy it from your favorite store.
All purebred dogs are more or less inbred, which comes with inherent health risks. That is especially true for large breeds. However, Leonbergers, especially those bred in North America, are fortunate compared to other large breeds. The Leonberger breed standard does not call for traits that can be detrimental to health. The precise and restrictive breeding regulations of the Leonberger Club of America (LCA) and other Leonberger clubs, and the work of the Leonberger Health Foundation International or LHFI, have resulted in Leonbergers being relatively free of inherited illnesses compared to other large dog breeds in America. For more information see Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, “Guide to Congenital and Heritable Disorders in Dogs,” rev. 2011
The Leonberger Health Foundation International (LHFI) was founded in 2000 by Waltraut Zieher and other members of the LCA’s health, education, and research committee to “facilitate the solicitation and distribution of donations given to support health related breed-specific research.” The LHFI also administers a program that collects DNA samples from Leonbergers to share with universities and research institutions.
LHFI’s global biobank contains DNA samples from more than nine thousand Leonbergers. Among the organization’s notable achievements are the eradication of Addison’s disease among Leonbergers and the raising of nearly half a million dollars for research into conditions that affect canine health, including osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, glaucoma, cardiac diseases, thyroid diseases, and neurological disorders. Its research also supports healthful longevity and aging as well as population diversity. Another success is the fact that since 2011, no Leonbergers with two copies of the LPN1 gene mutation (which causes Leonberger polyneuropathy) have been recorded in LHFI’s biobank.
One happy event for our family was when Bronco received his Grey Muzzle Award, which is an award given for longevity by LHFI. LHFI bestows the award on any Leonberger who has reached the age of twelve. These Leonbergers are the canine equivalents of centenarians, humans who are at least one hundred years old. The Grey Muzzle Award is also given to breeders, because they are partially responsible for the dogs’ longevity. The Grey Muzzle Award was certainly a happy event in Wikman family. If you have a twelve-year-old Leonberger, simply fill out a form on the LHFI website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The foundation will ask for some information, including the registered name and call name of the dog; the breeder’s name, kennel name, address, and email; the dam’s registered name; the sire’s registered name; the owner’s name, address, and email; the birth date of the dog; and whether the dog is alive or dead. If the latter, they will want to know the cause of death. In addition, they would like you to write a one-paragraph tribute to the dog and send two (preferably high-resolution) photos—one head shot and one favorite photo. To find out more about the Grey Muzzle Award click here. To see the 2019–2020 awardees video featuring Bronco click here.
I can add that when Bronco passed away, we sent his DNA to the University of Minnesota to be used in research. This was facilitated by the LHFI.
Leonbergers have a long history in North America and the United States—despite the fact that until 1985, there were only seventeen Leonbergers known to be living in the United States.
See: Lusby, Leonberger, page 15.
In the 1870s, Leonbergers were brought to Newfoundland to invigorate the stock of Newfoundland dogs. Around the same time, two Leonbergers named Caesar and Sultan were purchased from Essig’s kennel and transported across the ocean to join the Wellesley-Sterling theater company in the United States as the stars of their productions. Then in 1879, Caesar and Sultan visited President Ulysses S. Grant, who called them the largest and most magnificent dogs he had ever seen and presented them with gold medals. During the years between World War I and World War II, a New Jersey family, the Wolfs, opened their home as a temporary refuge for Jews fleeing Germany: they also imported Leonbergers. Unfortunately, this introduction of the breed into the United States did not last, and it would be another fifty years before the Leonberger appeared in America again.
See: Bliss-Isberg, Leonberger, page 60.
See: Bliss-Isberg, Leonberger, page 64
See: Bliss-Isberg, Leonberger, page 101.
During the late 1970s and the 1980s, a few families—Waltraut and Klaus Zieher, Brian Peters, Manfred and Sylvia Kaufmann, Keri Campbell and Melanie Brown, and Mary and Reiner Decher brought Leonbergers to the United States. The Dechers had started a breeding program and were looking for a mate for their first dam, Viona. By chance their neighbor discovered through a newsletter that there was another Leonberger in the United States, and that led to the families’ finding and connecting with one another. I should add that the Dechers were careful to conform to the German breeding regulations and performed hip X-rays that they then submitted to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). Viona became the first OFA-certified Leonberger in America.
See: Bliss-Isberg, Leonberger, page 152.
On Saturday, November 2, 1985, eight of these Leonberger enthusiasts met at a hotel in Denver, Colorado, to found the Leonberger Club of America (LCA). This group of founders, which has since been dubbed the Denver Eight, appointed a registrar, formulated a breeding acceptability checklist, and instituted various policies, including the requirement that OFA certification is mandatory for breeding. LCA membership grew: it held social gatherings, began publishing LeoLetter, and imported an increasing number of dogs. Now the LCA has thousands of members across the country, and Leonbergers receive high ratings on health tests relative to other large breeds. For example, in 2000, the OFA reported that only 14.6 percent of Leonbergers tested positive for hip dysplasia, compared to 47 percent of Saint Bernards.
See: Bliss-Isberg, Leonberger, page 154.
See: Bliss-Isberg, Leonberger, page 176.
Another important historical event was the founding of the Leonberger Health Foundation International (LHFI), in 2000 (it was just called the Leonberger Health Foundation back then). According to its website, the organization was founded by Waltraut Zieher and other memers of the LCA’s health, education, and research committee to “facilitate the solicitation and distribution of donations given to support health related breed-specific research.” The LHFI also administers a program that collects DNA samples from Leonbergers to share with universities and research institutions, and of course it administers the Grey Muzzle Award.
LHFI’s global biobank contains DNA samples from more than nine thousand Leonbergers. Among the organization’s notable achievements are the eradication of Addison’s disease among Leonbergers and the raising of nearly half a million dollars for research into conditions that affect canine health, including osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, glaucoma, cardiac diseases, thyroid diseases, and neurological disorders. Its research also supports healthful longevity and aging as well as population diversity. Another success is the fact that since 2011, no Leonbergers with two copies of the LPN1 gene mutation (which causes Leonberger polyneuropathy) have been recorded in LHFI’s biobank. LHFI is one of my favorite charities.
The end of the twentieth century marked not only the end of the Cold War but also the beginning of what I call the Dog Wars of America. In 1985, the American Kennel Club (AKC) registry comprised one-third of the world’s known dog breeds. But the AKC had recognized only a few new breeds since 1887—a period of ninety-eight years. So the organization decided to change that policy, but this did not always go smoothly. The members of rare-breed clubs often did not want to be part of the AKC. For example, the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) was very reluctant to join, so a relatively small splinter group, the United States Australian Shepherd Association, was formed and designated the official member club of the AKC, which was not welcome news to the ASCA. The border collie is another example. Charles Krauthammer, the late political columnist, called the AKC the politburo of American dog breeding.
See: Bliss-Isberg, Leonberger, page 159.
Similarly, in 2003, a new Leonberger club was formed—the Leonberger Club of the United States—with the goal of becoming the Leonberger member club of the AKC. This essentially forced the LCA’s hand, so they applied for membership in the AKC, a process that took years to complete. But ultimately the AKC approved the LCA as members in 2010: Leonbergers would officially become part of the Working Group. Fortunately, 90 percent of LCA breeders agreed to continue following LCA regulations regardless of whether the club would remain independent or become part of the AKC. Also fortunately, AKC membership afforded more opportunities for Leonbergers to participate in dog shows, which is important to many owners.
See: Bliss-Isberg, Leonberger, page 187
For information on the history of the Leonberger starting in 1830’s see this link
The Leonberger takes it name after the town of Leonberg in Germany
The Leonberger breed was originally created by Heinrich Essig (1808–87) in the German town of Leonberg, in what was then the kingdom of Württemberg
The coat of arms of the town of Leonberg, Germany, was allegedly the inspiration for the first breeder of the Leonberger, Heinrich Essig (maybe you can say that the Leonberger looks the way it does because Germans were bad at drawing lions back then)
The breed was first registered in 1846
According to Essig, the Leonberger is a cross between a Saint Bernard, a Newfoundland, and what is thought to be Great Pyrenees or a Pyrenean Mastiff (not known which). In reality the mixing and matching went back and forth between these three breeds throughout history and it may be more complicated.
In the 1870s, Leonbergers were brought to Newfoundland to invigorate the stock of Newfoundland dogs
In 1879 President Ulysses S. Grant gave two Leonbergers gold medals
The first Leonberger breed standard was created in 1895
Leonbergers were used in the World War I to pull ammunition carts and cannons, which was one of the reasons the breed was decimated during World War I
Leonbergers have webbed paws
Leonbergers are double coated
Until 1985, there were only seventeen Leonbergers known to be living in the United States
The Leonberger Club of America was founded in 1985
The Leonberger was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2010 as its 167th breed.*
The Leonberger is unique in the AKC for being the only dog in the Working Group originally bred to be a companion.†
According to an estimate prepared by BioMed Central, there were around 30,000 Leonbergers in the world in 2020 (registered only).‡
There are around 3,300 Leonbergers in North America—2,300 in the United States and 1,000 in Canada.§
The five countries with the most Leonbergers, in order, are France, with nearly 8,000; Germany, with more than 4,000; and Great Britain, the United States, and Sweden, with approximately 2,300 each.¶
The country with the highest number of Leonbergers per capita is Finland, with nearly 2,000 Leonbergers among a population of 5.5 million people.
And that a Leonberger named Hagrid appeared on Britain’s Got More Talent in 2017? Hagrid was attempting to set a new Guinness world record for catching the maximum number of sausages in his mouth in the shortest period of time.