How We Work

Since the circumstances surrounding each Leonberger that comes to us is varied, we make every effort to ensure the dogs are housed and cared for in a controlled environment when they first come to us in order that they can be assessed safely.

Owner Surrenders

In the case where an owner surrenders a dog to Leo Rescue Canada, we ask that a detailed questionnaire outlining the animal's medical and health history, reason for being surrendered, etc., be completed.  This enables us to get a 'head start' on finding a new home for the dog, since this valuable information provides important details about the dog's history.

In some cases, where the dog is being surrendered as a result of lack of training or minor behavioural issues,Leo Rescue Canada will do its best to help the owner keep the dog by offering training suggestions and providing the names of qualified trainers in their area.  If the owner is unwilling to do this, the dog will be evaluated prior to being taken into rescue.  If the dog is accepted by Leo Rescue Canada and a basic lack of training is the problem, our volunteers will work with the dog so that it can learn how to become a well behaved member of a new family.  In the case of behavioural challenges, the severity of the dog's issues will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and a decision will be made whether to accept the dog into rescue following the initial assessment.

Important Note : Leo Rescue Canada will not accept or place dogs with a known bite history.

Shelter Surrenders

From time to time, we learn of a possible Leonberger that has been turned in to an animal shelter or an animal clinic.  In this situation, one of our volunteers, many who are experienced breeders, are sent to determine whether the dog is a Leo.  If the dog is a Leo and the shelter/clinic agrees to turn it over to, or adopt it out to, Leo Rescue Canada , the dog is taken and housed in a safe, controlled environment, until a thorough health and behavioural evaluation can be conducted.

By adopting a Leo from a shelter, we are freeing the shelter's staff and resources to assist other dogs.  Moreover, since history has shown that shelters often have problems re-homing giant breed dogs, they often end up being euthanized to make room for other dogs taken in on any given day.  By adopting Leos from shelters we are not only able to prevent such a tragedy, but are also able to provide these dogs with the love and attention they need until a suitable new home can be found.

All costs (e.g., shelter fees, vet bills, etc.) associated with getting the dog surrendered to us are borne by Leo Rescue Canada

Found or Abandoned Dogs

If you suspect you have found a Leonberger and don't know where the dog came from, every effort must be made to locate the dog's legal owner before Leo Rescue Canada can accept the dog into rescue.   Oftentimes, the owner can be found by contacting local veterinarians, animal shelters and/or police departments.  If the owner cannot be found, please advise Leo Rescue Canada and refer the dog to the local animal control agency.   In turn, Leo Rescue Canada will contact the animal control agency and request that if the dog is not claimed by the dog's legal owner within the timeline required by law for that particular jurisdiction, that Leo Rescue Canada be contacted and given the opportunity to assess the dog and have the dog turned over to our care if the dog is a Leonberger.  Once in our care, if the dog has a tattoo or micro-chip we shall attempt to contact the dog's breeder to see if we can re-unite the dog with its owner that way.   In cases where we are unable to find the owner and/or breeder, the dog will be considered homeless and will become the responsibility of Leo Rescue Canada, whereupon we will find it a new forever home.

If you aren't sure the dog you have found is a Leo, click  "Is It a Leonberger ? for information about identifying Leonbergers.

General Information

We make every effort possible to contact the breeder when a dog is first turned over to Leo Rescue Canada.  It has been our experience that most ethical Leonberger breeders assume responsibility for the lifetime of any dogs they have bred, and usually wish to have dogs returned to them for re-homing.  If this is not possible, in the event the dog does not have a tattoo or microchip, or the owner surrendering the dog is adamant the breeder not be contacted, we will assume full responsibility for the dog at the time it is surrendered.

Unless we are fortunate to receive a full health history and medical records at the time of surrender, all dogs in our care receive a complete behavioural and health check-up and are brought up to date with their shots and treated for existing conditions if necessary.  All dogs are spayed or neutered before leaving Leo Rescue Canada, unless the dog is too young.  In this case, the adoptive owner will be required to pay a deposit which will be refunded once we receive proof of spay or neuter.

Leo Rescue Canada reserves the right to repossess the dog if the owner fails to comply within a given time frame set out by Leo Rescue Canada

Given the need to protect both the dogs in our care, and the adoptive families of the dogs, we will not place Leos in homes where children under the age of 8 years old are present, unless we know the dog has a history of being comfortable with and behaving appropriately around small children.

In all cases of adoption, there is a trial period to ensure the dog and new family are a good 'fit' for each other.  In the event a dog is returned to us after being placed, depending upon the circumstances for the dog being returned to us, the adoptive family's information will be placed back into our files for upcoming consideration in the event a more suitable dog becomes available.