Leonberger Dog Breed
|Life Span:||6 to 8 years|
|Litter Size:||Average of 8 puppies.|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, KC,|
|Color:||Coat color can range from lion yellow, red, reddish brown, and sandy.|
|Male Height:||28.5-32 in (72-81 cm)|
|Male Weight:||120-170 lbs (45-76 kg),|
|Female Height:||25-30 in (64-76 cm)|
|Female Weight:||110-140 lbs (36-58 kg)|
|Living Area:||The Bernese Mountain Dog is an extremely loyal breed of dog, and will become upset if kept outdoors too often. You\'ll need to make some provision for keeping your dog indoors with your family as often as is possible.
That said, however, the Bernese Mountain Dog does need some room to walk, run, and play outdoors, eliminating extremely dense urban areas as an ideal place to keep a Bernese Mountain Dog. Since the Bernese Mountain Dog isn\'t as prone to physical activity as some of its working dog cousins, however, you don\'t need to actually live out in the country in order to give your dog its ideal living environment--suburban areas or even less-dense urban areas will probably be fine to meet your dog\'s needs.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is one of the oldest, most beautiful breeds of working dog recognized by the kennel clubs of the world--yet also one of the most fragile in certain ways. In its short life, however, the dog provides its owners with a sense of beauty and loyalty not often equalled by other breeds. Berense Mountain Dogs are gentle, loyal dogs above all.
The fragility of the breed isn\'t readily apparent from its appearance: a distinctive tri-color coat, a stocky, muscular form, and a blazing white cross of fur on their breast. But years of isolated environments and inbreeding have conspired to keep the Bernese Mountain Dog\'s genetic line pure--but have also given it its share of problems, shortening the breed\'s average lifespan considerably in recent years.
Perhaps it\'s a necessary trade-off, however. One can\'t have everything, as they say--and the Bernese Mountain Dog\'s excessive degree of loyalty and beauty, the product of dedicated breeding and preservation for centuries in the Swiss Alps, may have been paid for, tragically, by its too-short life.
The Bernese Mountain Dog\'s coat is thick, moderately long, and shiny. According to breed standards, this coat should be trimmed as little as possible. The dog\'s distinctive markings include a white tail and a white inverted cross on its chest (when the dog is viewed from the front.)
The Bernese Mountain Dog has had a long history in Switzerland, with images of the dog (incorporated into allegorical religious paintings) appearing as early as the mid-17th century. The dog began to appear in written descriptions of the area somewhere in the mid-19th century, described as a traditional farm and herding dog used throughout the Alps.
The dogs became increasingly popular as the popularity of professional dog breeding and showing rose throughout the start of the twentieth century, and the Bernese Mountain Dogs were one of the earlier breeds recognized by many kennel clubs around the world--thanks to the efforts of a number of Swiss "Sennenhund" enthusiasts, of course. Yet the longevity, purity, and early popularity of the dogs for professional breeders (with the exception of the AKC) has led to dramatic problems for the Bernese Mountain Dog in recent years--problems related to heredity and inbreeding, including a genetically induced propensity for cancer, have conspired to shorten the lifespan of this once-hardy breed.
If there\'s only one word to describe the Bernese Mountain Dog, it\'s "loyal". The chief goal of the Bernese Mountain Dog\'s life--however brief it may be compared to some other breeds--is to be a loyal, helpful companion to you and your family.
This has its advantages and its disadvantages, of course. The chief advantage of the Bernese Mountain Dog\'s friendly temperament is the ability the dogs have to integrate themselves into virtually any kind of family environment. Children or other household animals are not a problem whatsoever for the Bernese Mountain Dog (though of course the earlier it gets to know its fellow housemates, the better it will deal with them in adult life.) The Bernese Mountain Dog\'s herding instincts make it a natural with animals (or children) that it perceives as "lower" than itself in the pack hierarchy, and the dogs will serve as ideal watchdogs and protectors for even the most recalcitrant of children or the most vicious of cats.
The chief disadvantage of the Bernese Mountain Dog\'s temperament, however, is its neediness. The Bernese Mountain Dog has a powerful, genetically-rooted need to please its humans--which means that you\'ll have to devote a great deal of attention to this dog in order to keep it happy and to keep it out of trouble. Training is also more difficult for the Bernese Mountain Dog than for some breeds--although the Bernese Mountain Dog will try assiduously to please you, it doesn\'t have some of the cunning other breeds exhibit, which allow them to learn the rules quickly (and even sometimes to use the rules to manipulate you.) So training a Bernese Mountain Dog will require a great deal of patience, however good the dog\'s basic intentions and will are.
Another major quality of the Bernese Mountain Dog is its laziness--surprisingly, given its genetic heritage. The Bernese Mountain Dog is only willing to exert large amounts of energy for fairly short periods of time, preferring to simply be with its humans or to engage in short bursts of work followed by rest. This can be a negative quality if you prefer your dogs to be active companions--but it can be an extremely positive quality if you\'re used to dogs whose abundance of energy leads to destructive behavior if you leave them alone for more than an hour or two.
Thyroid Disease - High Risk
The Leonberger ranks #30 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. There is a high risk of obtaining a dog that will develop thyroid disease. For this reason you should make sure you, or your breeder, are testing all dogs before breeding. It may even be a good idea to test dogs that you don't plan on breeding so that any instance of disease can be traced back to breeding pairs and eliminated.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
The Leonberger is prone to a serious risk of cancer. In a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (45%), cardiac (11%), and "unknown" (8.5%)