Well-known for the lion-like hair around its neck, the Leonberger is a large, muscular breed of mountain dog. It originated from Germany and is the result of a cross between a long-haired St. Bernard, a Landseer Newfoundland, and later on, a Great Pyrenees.
The Leonberger possesses a water-resistant double coat that helps it tolerate extreme cold weather; although it is not that tolerant to hot weather. It is also considered as one of the largest dog breeds.
A male Leonberger can grow as tall as 31.5 inches and weigh as much as 170 pounds, while a female can grow up to 29.5 inches.
The Leonberger was traditionally used as a farm dog and for pulling carts. It is now kept mainly as a family dog and undoubtedly, a gentle and lovable one.
- Buying price
The average Leonberger price is around $2,200 to $3,500. This breed is definitely a bit on the higher end of the price spectrum for dog breeds, although not as expensive as other breeds like the Akita and Samoyed.
Its high price is primarily due to its relative rareness, but other factors namely the breeder’s location and reputation, and the dog’s age also influence the price.
- Essential accessories
The buying price of your pet is not the only upfront expense. You also have to include in your budget the costs of necessary accessories for your dog. The essential accessories are the food and water bowls, crate, leash, and collar.
The quality of food and water bowls is important especially in terms of its durability and easiness to clean. It is recommended that you buy bowls made of stainless steel due to their durability. You should refrain from buying bowls made of plastic because they are less durable and may sometimes contain harmful chemicals such as the Bisphenol A (BPA).
Chewy offers a wide assortment of food and water bowls made out of different materials. It also has a lot of designs available to satisfy your pet’s preference. These are usually priced around $0.74 to $80.
Your pet also needs a comfortable crate. This is used mainly during travels or sometimes for housetraining. Given the large size of the Leonberger, an adult one would need at least an XXL-sized crate (48” x 32” x 35”). You can buy one from Petco for $33.99 to $139.99.
The Leonberger is very active and usually interacts with a lot of people and other dogs. It is highly advisable to have a durable leash and collar before taking it out for a walk. This prevents possible conflicts with other dogs or injuries caused by accidents.
The Dog Harness sells high-quality multi-purpose harnesses perfect for your Leonberger. It has heavy-duty nylon harnesses priced between $29.9 and $60 depending on the size and other additional customizations. You can also buy cheaper but acceptably durable leashes and collars from Chewy for as low as $6.
Aside from the initial expenses of getting a Leonberger (buying price/adoption fee, essential accessories), there are also important recurring costs when taking care of one.
- Nutrition expenses
Nutrition expenses involve dog foods and vitamins. They do not have to be expensive to be high-quality. Most grade A and B dog foods already have the sufficient nutrients and minerals for your pet.
Just one important thing to keep in mind is that you should avoid feeding your Leonberger too much protein. This may increase its risk of arthritis for being too heavy for its joints.
The top recommended dog food for the Leonberger are the Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy Dry Food and the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food.
The Eukanuba is formulated with high-quality animal-based proteins and contains phosphorus and calcium for better bone growth. It is priced at $41 per 33-pound bag.
On the other hand, the Blue Buffalo contains the essential vitamins and antioxidants needed by your pet. It costs $47.99 per 30-pound bag.
Vitamins are optional for healthy dogs. But they may sometimes be required if your pet suffers some kind of medical or health condition. One recommended dog vitamin is the H3 Essentials Advanced Vitamin and Mineral Supplement which costs $19.99.
- Supplementary accessories
The supplementary accessories are mainly for your pet’s enjoyment and to avoid boredom and mental stress. These are usually dog toys used for chewing, exercising, or even just for comfort.
Two dog toys that will make your Leonberger enjoy and be active are the Kong Classic chew toy and the Treat Dispensing Giggle Ball.
The Kong Classic is durable and made of all-natural rubber. You can buy one for around $6.99 to $15.99 depending on size.
The Treat Dispensing Giggle Ball is a rolling toy designed to make a giggling sound when played with. This feature, together with a treat dispensing mechanism, will surely give your pet a fun experience. This toy is priced at $26.99.
- Medical expenses
The Leonberger is prone to several health problems such as gastric torsion (bloat), Entropion, arthritis, and hip dysplasia. It also only has an expected lifespan of 8 to 10 years which is considerably shorter than other breeds. These factors make healthcare all the more important.
The things a responsible owner must ensure are the vaccinations, dental care, and maintaining a healthy coat.
The average price of a vaccination is between $12 and $48 per shot depending on the type of vaccine. The Health Pets USA also offers packages ranging from $35 to $96 which will save you a few dollars. It is recommended that you consult a professional regarding the type of vaccines that your pet needs.
Dental care is important because poor dental hygiene can result in the development of certain diseases. The Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery & Dental Care offers low-cost dental care priced at $260. This package already covers most dental procedures such as cleaning and extraction, if needed.
Your pet’s grooming is as important as the other medical expenses. Good grooming serves as a preventive measure against the development of some diseases and infections. The Dog Party USA offers bathing services for a large dog like the Leonberger for $45. It also offers nail trimming and flea treatment for around $7 to $15.
It is also good to avail of annual wellness medical tests for your pet to ensure its good health and to prevent some diseases from getting worse. The Compass Veterinary Clinic offers Annual Pet Wellness Exam for only $49 and covers almost all the medical examinations for your pet.
Where to Get Leonberger Dog Breed
You can find Leonberger puppies and adults on trusted sites such as Puppy Find (not to be confused with Puppy Finder, although they are both reliable sites) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) marketplace.
The Leonberger Club of America also has a list of reputable Leonberger breeders (together with their contact information and addresses) available on its website.
Buying a Leonberger from a breeder is not the only option. You may choose to adopt one if that’s what you prefer. There are several sites that you can check for puppies or adults available for adoption such as the Leonberger Rescue Palsand Leonberger Rescue.
Buyer’s Guide to Getting a Leonberger
Now that you already have an idea on how much you are likely to spend for owning a Leonberger, here are some things to consider when getting one:
One of the most important things that you should know before buying a pet is the breeder. If you are getting one from a famous and reputable breeder, then you don’t have to worry. But if you are not sure, there are some signs that may probably reveal if you are dealing with a competent breeder or not.
The first things that you should search for are the official documents. A competent breeder will have the complete documents of the dog. These documents must include the registration certificate, the pedigree or heritage documentation, and medical records.
Competent breeders will also be knowledgeable of the breed they are selling. This does not mean they have a perfect knowledge of the dog but they should at least be able to answer your basic questions regarding the breed.
They may also sometimes give you a diet sheet, photos of its parents, and training and socialization tips. Breeders are not usually required to provide these but reputable and trusted ones will usually do.
Also, ask your breeder if the dog was trained and properly socialized. This can serve as a testament that the breeder is a good one and that it really puts effort into raising its dogs.
- The condition of the dog
It is important that you first check the condition of the dog you are getting. Ask about its health problems, if any, and the risks of any future medical problems (this information should also be included in the dog’s medical records). A competent breeder will never hide anything from you and will disclose all of the dog’s past and current medical problems.
You should also ask whether the dog has been recently vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped, and/or treated for fleas. Note that not all breeders will include all of these in their packages but just make sure that whatever they offered before are present or accomplished when proceeding with the transaction.
Also, ask your seller about a 48-hour return period. During this period, you can get a refund from the breeder in case a professional finds out that the dog has some undeclared health condition. Having this agreement with breeders serves as proof that they are indeed competent and trustworthy.
- Home environment
The Leonberger generally gets comfortable easily with other dogs and small pets but still needs proper training, preferably starting from an early age. It can live adequately in an apartment setting and is typically not that active at home, although it would enjoy being able to play in a large yard.
The Leonberger also sheds only moderately so as long as you brush it weekly, its hair won’t be much of a problem at home. It has a double coat that makes it resistant to cold weather.
Although it enjoys going outside, it usually prefers to stay indoors with its owner. Just make sure to prepare the household to make your new companion as comfortable as possible in its new home.
The Leonberger is one of the largest breeds but also one of the gentlest. It is very sweet and affectionate especially towards its family. It may be a bit hard to train, but just give it the love it deserves and it will grow up to be your lovely companion.