The Leonberger is one of the oldest breeds originating in Germany. It is a large, long haired breed that was always meant to be foremost a companion and watch dog. Leonbergers can come in different colors and build but all should have black masks and have a strong body that is still elegant and neither massive nor plump.
"The Leonberger is a strong muscular, yet elegant dog. He is distinguished by his balanced body type and confident calmness, yet lively temperament. Males, in particular, are powerful and strong."
Leonberger FCI Standard
The Leonberger breed is not for everybody. Leonbergers are large and powerful dogs that need training from early puppyhood so an owner can live with the full grown dog of over 100 pounds without issues. While meant to be a perfect family dog, careful selection of breeding dogs (puppy buyers need to be very diligent in choosing a breeder) and early socialisation are key in order to achive the perfect companion the Leonbergers should be.
The Leonberger is classified by the FCI in the molossians, type mountain dog (Group 2, Section 2.2), not a typical working breed that was bred to serve one purpose. Today's Leonberger is best described as a family companion who is willing to take over the task of companionship and almost anything else their pack leaders can come with. While not a good choice for a running or bicycling companion, Leonbergers do enjoy hiking, swimming, and gatherings of family and friends. Leonbergers can be trained to do almost anything as long as you have patience and a sense of humor! Leonbergers have captured working titles in obedience, water rescue, agility, carting and herding, and seem to have a natural ability as therapy dogs. They are happiest as a member of a family that includes the Leonberger in daily activities.
The LCA put together a little writeup with all the reasons why you might not want to buy a Leonberger. Download here. In case you still are convinced that the Leonberger is the right breed for you, please visit the Looking for a Puppy? section of this website to read about what to look for in a breeder and in the parents of your future own "wittle weo".