Categories
Leonbergers

Ten Leonberger Myths and the Truth

In this post I am stating and correcting ten Leonberger myths that I’ve seen on various websites and in various Leonberger books. Websites featuring incorrect information include Wikipedia. It is always good to remember that googling is not research and that a lot of information on the internet is wrong. In the list below I avoid stating the myth and then correcting it. Instead, I am trying to implicate the myth as a myth from the start or begin the sentence with the truth. The reason for doing this is psychological. Research has shown that if you state something false and then correct it, people tend to remember the first thing they saw, which was the myth, instead of the truth.

This embedded old historic photo of a Leonberger is from the AKC website.

To correct many of the myths regarding Leonberger history I am referring to the book Leonberger by Caroline Bliss-Isberg. If I am not specifically stating the source in a listed item it is from her book. Caroline Bliss-Isberg is a recipient of the Heinrich Essig Award and the Leo Heart Award and a very prominent leader in the Leonberger community. With the help of other prominent leaders of the Leonberger community as well as expert researchers she attained documents, illustrations and photos never before published and from it she created the most extensive (several hundred pages) and accurate account of Leonberger history.

Photo of the book Leonberger, by Caroline Bliss-Isberg. Click on the image to go to my review of Leonberger.
Leonberger, by Caroline Bliss-Isberg. Click on the image to go to my review of Leonberger.
  • If you want to spay or neuter your Leonberger it is best to wait two years, so do NOT spay or neuter a Leonberger at six months as some erroneously state. The neuter at six months claim is not very common, so it is perhaps not a real myth in that sense. However, I’ve seen it in some books and there are some organizations that insist on spaying./neutering even giant breeds. To learn about the reasons and the research behind the two years wait for Leonbergers click here.
  • Heinrich Essig was NOT the mayor of the city of Leonberg. Heinrich Essig was a prominent citizen of the town, and he was a successful businessman, farmer, innkeeper, horse and dog trader, large-dog enthusiast, dog breeder, and town councilman, but he was never the mayor of Leonberg. About half the Leonberger websites and books that I’ve come across get this wrong and the other ones get it right. However, it is the research by Caroline Bliss-Isberg that sets this straight as can be seen on page 20 of her book.
  • More than two dogs were used for creating the Leonberger. It was not just a St. Bernard and a Newfoundland dog as a few Leonberger books I’ve come across erroneously claim. See next list item for more information.
  • It is not entirely true that the following three dogs were used to create the Leonberger; the St. Bernard, the Newfoundland dog and the Great Pyrenée dog. This is a common claim based on the Essig’s claim that he bred the Leonberger from long haired St. Bernards, the Newfoundland dog and the grey-yellow wolfhound from the Spanish Pyrenees. However, the Pyrenean wolfhound is not likely to be what we call a Great Pyrenée dog. Moreover, these dogs did not look like they do today and there was a lot of breeding back and forth going on and Essig did not keep records. Therefore, the story is likely to be a lot more complicated. The bigger story is explained on the pages 23, 41, 45, 48-49 Caroline Bliss-Isberg’s book but it is also more briefly explained in my Leonberger History page on this website.
  • There were definitely more than five Leonbergers alive after World War One despite several Leonberger books and websites erroneously claiming only five survived. I should say that many of the more reliable websites get this right. It is true that World War I was tough on the breed. It didn’t help that Leonbergers were used to pull ammunition carts and cannons. However, more than five Leonbergers survived the war. After the war, Karl Stadelmann and Otto Josenhans, worked hard to save the breed, and they were able to find twenty-five Leonbergers whose owners were willing to cooperate in reestablishing the breed. Of these, only five were suitable for breeding. That is still a pretty significant genetic bottleneck.
  • There is a common erroneous claim associated with World War II as well, stating that only eight Leonbergers survived World War II. There was indeed a “genetic bottleneck” of Leonbergers in the 1940s. This was largely because people repeatedly bred the dogs they thought were the best specimens in a misguided attempt to improve the breed. Scientific pedigree analyses demonstrate that the Leonberger has twenty-two founder animals, or animal ancestors unrelated to one another (ten males and twelve females). Again, that is a little bit different from “only 8 survived”.
  • Another World War II myth is that Leonbergers were used for pulling ammunition carts in World War II just as in World War I but there is no proof of that.
  • Another incorrect claim that I’ve seen on websites and some books is that the Leonberger dog first appeared in North America in the 1970’s. As Caroline Bliss-Isberg describes in her book in several places, Leonbergers were introduced in the United States and Canada on several occasions during the 19th century and at the beginning of the the 20th century. However, it was typically just a few Leonbergers and the population was not maintained. It was not until the 1970’s that Leonbergers a permanent population was established in North America.
  • The lifespan of a Leonberger is on average 8-10 years not 6-8 years or 7 years, which is old data still reported by some websites. The Leonberg Health Foundation International have been successful in eradication several detrimental genes in the Leonberger breed. I should say the reliable websites typically have this information correct.
  • I’ve come across a few Leonberger books which grossly understate the size and weight of Leonbergers, for example, claiming that a male Leonberger weigh between 45 and 60 pounds. The weight of a male Leonberger is 120 to 170 pounds. Luckily the vast majority of books and websites get this information correct.

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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 is an image of 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.
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.
Categories
Leonbergers

Three Leonberger and Wolf Videos

In this post I am posting three videos that I like, first, an interesting informational video about Leonberger dogs Second a song video featuring a Swedish lullaby about a wolf. Wolves are after all close relatives of dogs and our Leonberger Bronco was accused of being a wolf. The third video from the Britain got talent show, feature a Leonberger, Hagrid making a world record in sausage eating.

First video: It is an AKC informational overview of Leos featuring Leonberger breeder Alida Greendyk, von Alpanese Leonbergers. The video is 4 minutes 25 seconds.

AKC video with Alida Greendyk, von Alpanese Leonbergers

Second video:  This music video, feature Vargsången or the wolf song, a Swedish or Nordic Lullaby. Dogs, Canis Lupus Familiaris, are descended from wolves Canis Lupus, and they have a lot in common. Our Leonberger Bronco was accused of being a wolf by an alarmed boy at PetSmart. We handled it well, so don’t worry. Bronco has been accused of being both a wolf and a bear, but as far as I can remember not a lion, despite the fact that Leonbergers were bred to resemble the Lion on the coat of arms of the town of Leonberg. I guess Germans are bad at drawing lions.

The song is about a woman protecting her child from being eaten by a wolf, but notice that despite that, there is empathy expressed in the song for the hungry wolf and his aching stomach. The existence of the stomach creates conflict between creatures in our world, and it’s been that way billions of years before humans entered the picture. The landscape is from northern Sweden where I am from. The singer is Jonna Jinton. The video is 4 minutes and 20 seconds….notice to get English subtitles you may have to change your YouTube settings.

Varsången with Jonna Jinton

Third video: is about a Leonberger named Hagrid who appeared on Britain’s Got More Talent in 2017, and other places. 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. You can watch Hagrid’s attempt below. The video is 4 minutes and 46 seconds.

Hagrid setting sausage eating record

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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". 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.
Categories
Book Reviews

Leonberger Puppy Book Or Just Puppy Book

This time I am reviewing a Leonberger book that only exist as an eBook/Kindle, All About Leonberger Puppies Kindle Edition by Laura James, published May 28, 2012. It is a very shorty book, 24 pages, ASIN: B00874J7SW. You can buy it from Amazon for $6.43.

The book All About Leonberger Puppies by Laura James. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.
The book All About Leonberger Puppies by Laura James. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.

Below I am posting my Amazon review of All About Leonberger Puppies. Click here to see my original Amazon review. BTW I gave the book three stars.

Generic Puppy Book with a Narrow Scope.

This short book covered how to pick a Leonberger/dog breeder, advice on bringing the puppy home, puppy food, food dangerous to dogs, and common puppy health issues. However, aside from mentioning that Leonbergers are double coated any Leonberger specific topics were avoided. You will not learn anything about Leonbergers by reading this book. All advice was generic and could be applied to any type of dog.

For example, Leonberger clubs, such as the Leonberger Club of America have lists of Leonberger breeders they approve of, but this was never mentioned. You should look there first. Leonbergers have health issues specific to the breed and this was never discussed. Leonbergers have certain personality traits that were never mentioned. The book did not contain many photos, something I would expect from a Leonberger puppy book. There were just a few small Leonberger puppy photos in the book. The book is very short and the information is generic, so you can’t say that it is “All” about Leonberger puppies. However, the advice was good, even though it was generic, and the book did not contain any errors, or misinformation, as far as I could tell, and it seemed to be well edited, therefore I give it three stars (really two and a half).

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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.

Image showing 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.
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.
Categories
Book Reviews

The Leonberger Book That is Copied from a Tibetan Mastiff Book

So, someone writes a generic dog book to promote a website and another dog book, the book they really want to sell, and then makes 61 copies of the generic book, make the titles breed specific, and adds a little bit of breed specific information, maybe from Wikipedia, to each of the 61 books, for dog breeds, mind you, that they probably never met. Voila! One example is this book, Leonberger (Divine Dogs Online) Paperback – August 14, 2016 by Mychelle Klose. Since the author forgot to remove references to Tibetan Mastiff’s we know what breed this book was copied from.

The paperback version of the book is 48 pages, ISBN 978-1537099552, item weight 3.68 ounces, dimensions 6 x 0.12 x 9 inches. You can buy it from Amazon, as a paperback, or e-Book. The paperback version is currently $12.98 on Amazon, and the Kindle version is $6.98.

This a photo of the front cover of the book Leonberger (Divine Dogs Online) Paperback by Mychelle Klose. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.
Front cover of the book Leonberger (Divine Dogs Online) Paperback by Mychelle Klose. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.

Below I am posting my Amazon review of Leonberger (Divine Dogs Online) by Mychelle Klose. Click here to see my original Amazon review. BTW I gave the book two stars.

This book on Tibetan Mastiffs, I mean Leonbergers, has issues and contain errors.

Mychelle Klose has written at least 61 breed specific books about dog breeds that she obviously never owned. I believe this Leonberger book was based on her Tibetan Mastiff book since she sometimes refer to Tibetan Mastiffs instead of Leonbergers. In the book she is heavily promoting her website and another book “How to have a healthy dog”. I get the impression that this book was created for the purpose of promoting the “How to have a healthy dog” book and her website, which is printed on the front page and throughout the book.

The book is very generic, applicable to any dog breed, and it does not contain a lot of specific information about Leonbergers. but there is some. Unfortunately, that information is incorrect a little bit too often considering it only covers a few pages. She claims that Heinrich Essig, the creator of the Leonberger breed, was the mayor of the town of Leonberg. Heinrich Essig was a prominent citizen of the town, and he was a successful businessman, farmer, innkeeper, horse and dog trader, large-dog enthusiast, dog breeder, and town councilman, but he was never the mayor of Leonberg.

She claims that only five Leonbergers survived World War I. It is true that World War I was tough on the breed, but it was not quite that bad. After the war, Karl Stadelmann and Otto Josenhans, worked hard to save the breed, and they were able to find twenty-five Leonbergers whose owners were willing to cooperate in reestablishing the breed. Of these, only five were suitable for breeding. That’s where that info originates. However, that’s a little different from saying that only five Leonbergers survived.

She also claims that only eight Leonbergers survived World War II. However, that is once again an exaggeration. There was indeed a “genetic bottleneck” of Leonbergers in the 1940s. This was largely because people repeatedly bred the dogs they thought were the best specimens in a misguided attempt to improve the breed. Scientific pedigree analyses demonstrate that the Leonberger has twenty-two founder animals, or animal ancestors unrelated to one another (ten males and twelve females). Again, that is a little bit different from “only 8 survived”. I found other errors as well.

The book design could have been better. The text is sometimes left adjusted and sometimes centered and the chapter titles are sometimes by themselves on the page preceding the actual text. It quite frankly looks like a mess. In addition, the pages are not numbered.

I am giving the book two stars instead of one because of the color photos and the external links section at the end, which feature links to great Leonberger websites.

Photo of the back cover of the book Leonberger (Divine Dogs Online) by Mychelle Klose.
Back cover of the book Leonberger (Divine Dogs Online) by Mychelle Klose.

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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 is a photo of 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
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.
Categories
Book Reviews

A Leonberger Book for Children

In this post I am reviewing Murphy and the Great Surf Rescue (Puppy Academy, 4) Paperback – August 29, 2017 by Gill Lewis. It is illustrated by Sarah Horne. It is the fourth and latest book in a children’s book series featuring the adventures of different dog breeds at the Puppy Academy. In the Puppy Academy dogs learn a job. In this book the main character is the Leonberger puppy Murphy. Considering that Leonbergers are a rare breed this is a nice surprise. The other books in the series feature a German Shepherd puppy, a Border Collie puppy, and a Labrador. The reading age is 7-9 but I believe it is OK for younger ages as long as a parent is doing the reading.

This paperback is 128 pages, ISBN 978-1627798044, item weight 4.8 ounces, dimensions 5.21 x 0.36 x 7.82 inches. You can buy it from Amazon, as a paperback, hardback or e-Book. The paperback version is currently $9.52 on Amazon, and the hardback is $12.94. The Kindle version is $9.99.

Normally I don’t read children’s books. OK maybe I do, but I read this one because it was about a Leonberger. I sent it friends of ours with young children (our children are grown up). I think this book was very well written and it is filled with life lessons and practical advice ideal for children. It is also quite useful to parents.

Photo of the front cover of the book Murphy and the Great Surf Rescue. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.
Front cover of the book Murphy and the Great Surf Rescue. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.

Below I am posting my Amazon review of Murphy and the Great Surf Rescue. I made some minor updates. Click here to see my original Amazon review. BTW I gave the book five stars.

A Leonberger learns important skills and as well as life lessons.

I bought this book for the children of friends of ours, but I read it myself first because it looked so interesting and the main character of the book, Murphy, is a young Leonberger, and we used to have a Leonberger. I couldn’t help myself, so I read the whole book, but I did not bend the book, so it is as good as brand new. Anyway, a Leonberger is a very large furry dog with big, webbed paws. They are great swimmers, they are protective and sensitive, and they are truly great family dogs.

Murphy is a member of the Puppy Academy where dogs train for all kinds of jobs. Murphy’s specialty is water rescue. In this book Murphy and his friends Scruff, Pip, Star, Major Bones, Boris, Professor Offenbach and Rodrigo are participating in some great water adventures and they are learning some great life lessons, especially Murphy.

The book is teaching children about water safety, the dangers of sea water, jelly fish, rip currents, how get out of a rip current, large waves, etc. The book also teaches children about envy and how to handle such feelings and to not compare yourself with others, and instead focus on learning and improving yourself. Above all, don’t play dangerous games or try to trick people. The book contained one oversimplification referring to Newfoundland dogs as the ancestors of Leonbergers. The St. Bernard is probably the main ancestors of the Leonberger but Newfoundland dogs and Pyrenee dogs are involved too, but that is not important.

I believe this is a really fun book for kids and it was interesting reading for me too. The story is great, and the information is useful and important. I highly recommend this book.

Photo of the back cover of the book Murphy and the Great Surf Rescue.
Back cover of the book Murphy and the Great Surf Rescue.

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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 is a photo of 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.
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.
Categories
Book Reviews

The Winding Road Is a Story About Survival and Courage

This blog is primarily about Leonbergers, especially our late Leonberger Bronco, or Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, which was his full name. I also review Leonberger books and sometimes I review books that are not about Leonbergers but that I love and want to promote. This post is one of those. I am reviewing The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival Paperback – July 30, 2022 by Miriam Hurdle. This paperback is 148 pages, ISBN 979-8842330812, item weight 9.9 ounces, dimensions 6 x 0.34 x 9 inches. You can buy it from Amazon, as a paperback, hardback or e-Book. The paperback version is currently $6.99 on Amazon, and the hardback is $25.26. The Kindle version is $1.99 or free if you are part of Kindle Unlimited.

This book is a gripping story of Miriam Hurdle’s fight to survive an aggressive cancer. She is a skilled author, and she was able to tell her traumatic story with clarity and honesty.

The front cover of the book The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival by Miriam Hurdle. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.
Front cover of the book The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival by Miriam Hurdle. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for the book.

Below I am posting my Amazon review for The Winding Road.

One Woman’s Encounter with Aggressive Cancer Told with Intelligence, Clarity and Honesty

This book describes the journey of survival of a woman, Miriam Hurdle, who was diagnosed with Melanoma in an internal organ. Melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer that usually does not appear in internal organs, at least not initially. This made the situation both unusual and quite dangerous. The cancer was discovered by chance during a hysterectomy.

Survival was not the only thing that she had to fight for. There was insurance, her work situation, finances, etc., that weighed heavily on her mind and the minds of her family. Add to that the brutal but necessary treatment. Luckily things worked out for her, and her family and her community gave her a lot of support. The book makes it clear how important this is in this kind of situation. The people around you can make a big difference making sure you don’t lose hope.

My mother got multiple myeloma and it was not discovered early, and she died at the age of 56. So, Miriam’s story resonated with me because I recognized a lot things from her story even though their cancers were not the same and the outcome was not the same. What Miriam went though is extremely difficult. I am originally from Sweden, which has national healthcare. Insurance is an additional burden that every American cancer patient must deal with that we were spared from. So, in that regard our journey was easier. Unfortunately, it did not end well for us.

Miriam is a great writer who writes with clarity, intelligence, and honesty about a very traumatic situation. I think this book can serve as a great help to anyone who may face this situation. In fact, cancer is so common that we are all likely to be touched by it at some point. Therefore, I highly recommend this book to everyone in order for all of us to learn something about the journey before facing it.

Photo of the back cover of the book The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival by Miriam Hurdle.
Back cover of the book The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival by Miriam Hurdle.

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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 is an image of 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.
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.
Categories
Veterinary

When Should You Neuter or Spay Your Leonberger

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.

Photo of me with our Leonberger Bronco standing on the sofa.
Is he ready to be neutered? I mean the dog.

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

Thomas Wikman

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.

Julie.

Black and white photo of our Leonberger Bronco
The Leonberger puppy Julie sold us

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.

Illustration showing that Bronco had pushed our German Shepherd into a storm drain. I am trying to drag/lift the German Shepherd out of the storm drain while holding onto a misbehaving Bronco.
A rambunctious Bronco

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.

Photo of (left to right) Daisy (Pug), Ryu (Japanese Chin) and Bronco (Leonberger)
Daisy (Pug), Ryu (Japanese Chin) and Bronco (Leonberger)

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.

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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.

This is an image of 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.com 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.com location for the book.
Categories
Book Reviews

Very Helpful Guide to Leonbergers, but DO NOT Neuter or Spay a Leonberger at Six Months Doing So Will Harm The Dog

On this blog I’ve previously reviewed six good Leonberger books:

I’ve also reviewed four Leonberger books that I don’t recommend:

With this post I am adding another Leonberger book that I recommend. It is a very good guide for new Leonberger owners with one caveat. It implies that you should neuter/spay your Leonberger at six months old, which would severely harm your dog if you did. The in general recommended six months does not apply to Leonbergers. Vannessa Richie did her research except regarding this. She has written many dog books, interviewed many Leonberger breeders, and she is a skilled author. However, it is obvious that she has never owned a Leonberger. Therefore, I am giving this otherwise great book four stars instead of five.

Photo of the front cover of the book the Complete Guide To Leonbergers by Vanessa Richie. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page for the book.
Front cover of the book the Complete Guide To Leonbergers by Vanessa Richie. Click on the image to go to the Amazon page for the book.

The book is The Complete Guide to Leonbergers: Selecting, Training, Feeding, Exercising, Socializing, and Loving Your New Leonberger Puppy Paperback – May 12, 2022 by Vanessa Richie. It is 195 pages, and the current price on Amazon for the paperback is $19.95, the hardback is $26.95, and the Kindle is $9.95. ISBN-13 978-1954288485, weight ‎12.5 ounces and the dimensions ‎are 6 x 0.44 x 9 inches.

This is my review for the book

Complete and Very Helpful Guide to Leonbergers, but DON’T Neuter/Spay a Leonberger at Six Months

As the title promises this book is indeed a complete guide to Leonbergers. It is focused on training and care. First the book examines whether a Leonberger is the right dog for you as well as the history of the breed. The rest of the book includes topics on how to find and prepare your home for a Leonberger, puppy training, socialization, exercise, grooming, nutrition, health, etc. The book has a lot of detail and a lot of useful information. The author clearly did her research. She interviewed ten breeders after all.

The content of the book is almost 100% correct as far as I can tell, and the information is very useful to Leonberger owners. I question the second page of the chapter on history where she claims that Essig bred his Leonbergers from two dogs, a white and black Newfoundland and a long-haired St. Bernard. Essig claimed a third dog was also involved, a Pyrenean Mountain Wolfhound or possibly a Pyrenean Mountain Dog (Great Pyrenees). However, Essig’s claims have been disputed, and this is not important.

The book design is very professionally done with various sorts of sidebars, highlighted headers, professional looking tables, dividers, little corner boxes with graphics for “helpful tips”, “fun facts”, “historical facts”, “Health Alerts”, pros-cons sidebars with graphics, and 62 black and white Leonberger photos. The author is not only a good writer, but she also knows a thing or two about book design.

I’ve read more than a dozen Leonberger books and this is among the best Leonberger books I’ve read. I wish this book had existed when we got our Leonberger. I should say that we did not do everything right, but we got a lot right, and he lived exceptionally long for a Leonberger, 13 years. If we have had this book, maybe he would have lived even longer. I should add that we donated his DNA to Leonberger health research (upon request).

The reason I am not giving this book five stars is because of a problematic blooper in the middle of page 30. It says “….the dog is spayed or neutered once it reaches maturity (typically six months)”. Leonbergers aren’t fully matured until the age of two and should not be neutered/spayed until then. If you spay/neuter a Leonberger much earlier (six months) you will harm the dog. Yes, they are different from most dogs. I should say that we did not wait two years, it was not practical, but we waited about one and half year, which is much better than six months. If the author removes the faulty parenthesis, I will change my rating to five stars and update this paragraph and the title of the review. Assuming the book is print on demand you can update so that future prints here on Amazon will be correct.

So, in conclusion, this is a great Leonberger book with a lot of useful information, and I highly recommend it to Leonberger owners and prospective owners, but the blooper on page 30 prevents me from giving a perfect rating at the moment.

Photo of the back cover of the book the Complete Guide To Leonbergers by Vanessa Richie
Back cover of the book the Complete Guide To Leonbergers by Vanessa Richie.

For more information on neutering and spaying a Leonberger click here

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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.

Image showing front cover of the book "The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle". Click on the image to go to the Amazon.com 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 Chapters Indigo location for the book.
Categories
Leonbergers

My Leonberger Blog Goals for 2023

I launched this Leonberger dog blog in March of 2022. The purpose of the blog was to promote my upcoming book “The Life and Times of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, stories and tips from thirteen years with a Leonberger” and to spread the word about Leonbergers, a rare but very special breed of dog. They are very large, friendly, unafraid but sensitive and loving, protective and strong, energetic and funny, especially when they are young.

Photo of Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle at three months old.
Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle at three months old.

In addition, Bronco was a very special Leonberger. Purebred Leonbergers typically live 8-10 years, but Bronco lived almost 13 years. He was two weeks short of 13 when he died from heart failure. Therefore, he received an award for longevity from the Leonberger Health Foundation International and we donated his DNA for research. I can add that I donate all royalties from sales of my book to the Leonberger Health Foundation International. It is a great organization that has improved the health of Leonbergers and other giant dog breeds substantially.

Image showing Bronco’s Grey Muzzle Award presented by the Leonberger Health Foundation International. He received this award because he lived longer than 12 years.
Bronco’s Grey Muzzle Award presented by the Leonberger Health Foundation International. He received this award because he lived longer than 12 years.

My on-line friend Alex Diaz-Granados, who is an experienced blogger (see “A certain point of view”) helped me get started. He suggested that I use wordpress.com, and here we are. I can add that Alex and I have been on-line friends for a long time. It started with epinions.com, a review site that paid reviewers for writing reviews. I joined epinions.com in 2008. He had joined a few years before that. I focused on software, travel, books, computer hardware and electronics. He focused on books, film, travel, and I think on-line stores and a few more topics. He can fill me in. I can add that sometimes epinions.com paid pretty well, so after a while it became more than a hobby for me. It became a source of supplementary income. I joined twitter and Facebook in 2010 and he was already there, and we both eventually joined Instagram. Unfortunately, epinions.com went belly up in 2014.

In March of 2022 I invited friends and Facebook friends to visit and follow my blog if they wished to do so, and many did. I had some traffic and comments in the beginning but then it died down, and it didn’t seem like search engines picked up my blog. In July of 2022 I released my book in honor of Bronco’s birthday on July 3rd. In the beginning I sold many books, well for a Leonberger book anyway, and I also had more visitors to my blog, but after a while the activity on my blog as well as book sales died down.

Alex suggested that I visit, comment and like the posts of other bloggers and in August I started doing that using Alex’ blog as a starting point and now I was getting more visitors and a lot more comments and likes, and search engines started to pick up my blog a lot more. Lately I even had a couple of posts go sort of viral with thousands of visitors in a couple of days. Those unknown visitors tend not to leave comments (or likes) but other wordpress bloggers do. That was not the best part though. The best part was meeting other bloggers and authors on-line, reading their blogs, reading their books, typically great books. This was fun. Blog visits and book sales became secondary. Blogging is now a hobby.

Photo of Bronco in my wife Claudia’s lap.
Bronco in my wife Claudia’s lap.
Photo of Bronco a few weeks after his first heart failure heading towards the end of his life.
Bronco a few weeks after his first heart failure heading towards the end of his life.

So, what are my goals for my Leonberger blog in 2023?

  • Continue my Leonberger blog and keep promoting my book on the blog for at least six more months.
  • Virtual Book Blast For Natural Selection with Jacqui Murray on February 13 2023.
  • I still have a lot to learn more about wordpress.com. I don’t know how to do inline images, I don’t know how to store images for later use, I don’t know how to make those little icons, hearts and clover, etc., that people put in comments, I only know the basics of the 20/20 template, I don’t know other templates. I have a wordpress book that I am planning to read. I need to learn more.
  • I will read more books by authors I know online. Knowing an author and reading their book(s) is a completely different feeling compared to reading someone you’ve never talked to (I have a long TBR list).
  • Post 20-30 book reviews on my blog. I don’t post all my book reviews on my blog. Most of my book reviews are only for Amazon (or Goodreads). On my blog I just post reviews for Leonberger books and reviews for books by fellow bloggers that I love and want to promote.
  • I want to start a second blog that is about facts and insights that could have a high impact on someone’s worldview and yet may not be well known, understood, believed or are controversial, yet are fully backed by the expertise in that field. As someone who have studied modern physics, loves gapminder, and have read a ton of books on all kinds of topics, I’ve come across quite a few, and I have radically changed my view of the world several times. However, I am hoping for good suggestions from visitors so I can expand the collection. I can be in charge of the fact checking, at least to begin with.
Image showing the Leonberger breed standard from the Féderation Cynologique Internationale.
In case you are interested. This is an overview of the Leonberger breed standard from the Féderation Cynologique Internationale.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and a Great 2023!

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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". 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.
Categories
Book Reviews

She and The Wolf

This blog is primarily about Leonbergers, especially our late Leonberger Bronco, or Le Bronco von der Löwenhöhle, which was his full name. I also review Leonberger books and sometimes I promote books that I love and this post is one of those. This time I am reviewing She & The Wolf: A Flash Fiction Collection Paperback – August 19, 2018 by Sara Kjeldsen. This paperback is 46 pages, ISBN 978-1719801263, item weight 2.88 ounces, dimensions 6 x 0.12 x 9 inches. You can buy it from Amazon, as a paperback or e-Book. The paperback version is currently $9.99 on Amazon. The Kindle version is $3.99 or free if you are part of Kindle Unlimited.

This book is a fascinating collection of historical fiction and fantasy short stories. I wrote a review on Amazon, which can be found here (Beautiful Stories That Will Stay With You), as well as on my social media.

This is a photo of the front cover of the book She & The Wolf by Sara Kljeldsen. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for She & The Wolf.
Front cover of the book She & The Wolf by Sara Kljeldsen. Click on the image to go to the Amazon location for She & The Wolf.

Below I am posting my Amazon review for She & The Wolf a flash fiction collection.

Beautiful Stories That Will Stay With You

This book is a collection of 15 short stories mostly about women but also men living during dramatic times in the past, or more recently, as well as people and creatures living in imaginary worlds. The American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars are examples of historic settings in the book. She & the Wolf, the last story, is an example of an imaginary setting. The focus of the stories isn’t so much the time or the location, or even the events. The stories are about the emotions of the characters living through complicated and extreme experiences. The emotions are often dark, there’s depression, hostility, loss, tragedy, and death, but also hope, compassion and reconciliation (Pacific Ocean, 1814).

The stories are intriguing, poetic and above all beautiful. The characters are fascinating, and they are quite relatable despite their extreme situations. You really feel for them and with them. It’s a book that leaves you with feelings and thoughts about our existence. I highly recommend this unique collection of short stories.

Photo of the back cover of the book She and The Wolf by Sara Kjeldsen.
Back cover of the book She and The Wolf by Sara Kjeldsen.

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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.

Image showing 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.
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.