How to Identify a Leo

Note:  The information presented below is only a guideline. It is important to know that variations in breeding can and do deviate from all the characteristics mentioned. Also a found dog or traumatized dog in a shelter may not match the usual physical characteristics or personality traits perhaps due to illness, stress, malnutrition and/or mistreatment by previous owners.

** The photos on this page are not necessarily of rescued dogs. Owners have agreed to have photos of their dogs posted to assist in the information requirements of this page and the website.

It is important to know that variations in breeding can and do deviate from all the characteristics mentioned. Also a found dog or traumatized dog in a shelter may not match the usual physical characteristics or personality traits perhaps due to illness, stress, malnutrition and/or mistreatment by previous owners.

Leonbergers, or Leos as they are often called, are considered a giant breed dog. They have outgoing personalities and are generally known for their stability and consistent even-temperedness.

Adult males are approximately 76 cm (30") at the shoulders, and females are approximately 70 cm (27.5"). Upon maturity, males usually weigh around 140 lbs, although some males have been know to reach a weight in excess of 180 lbs. Females are considerably lighter, weighing around 90 - 100 lbs.

Full Body Side Profile
( Adult Male )

Full Body Side Profile
( Adult Female

Male / Female Size Comparison
( Adult Male in foreground )

The general appearance of the Leonberger is that of a large-sized dog, robust and muscular. There is usually a black mask covering the foreface and extending at least up to and over the eyes. They have webbed feet and the coat is rather long, but not flowing or parting, with a dense undercoat. The males usually, although not always, develop a luxurious mane around the neck and chest area, while females may have a mane, but to a lesser extent. Adolescent male and female dogs do not have a mane as a general rule. The furnishings (the long fur on the front quarters, hind quarters and tail) are very abundant.

Face with Dark Mask
( Adolescent Male )

Face with Dark Mask
( Adult Female )

Face Mask with some Grey
( Adult Male )

As far as colouring goes, Leonbergers can range from an almost white cream to mostly black. The most common colours, however, are lion yellow, red, reddish-brown, and sand. Wolf grey, while not that common, is also seen.

Lion Yellow
( Adult Female )

Reddish-Brown
( Adult Male )

Sand
( Adult Female )

Wolf Grey
( Older Adult Female)

Dark Colouring - Mainly Black
( Adult Male )

Red ( Adult Female )

In addition to all this, Leos should have tight flews that prevent them from drooling.

Happy Leo with No Drool !
( Adult Male )

Happy and No Drooling !
( Adult Female )

Still No Drool! Also Happy !
( Adult Male )



Sketch of a typical Leonberger physique.
Main characteristics pointed out in red text.



Here's a handy checklist to help you determine whether a dog is a Leonberger:
Is it a relatively large powerful animal ?
Does it fall within the colour range ?
Does it have webbed feet ?
Does it have a dark "face mask" ?
Does it have a mane ?
Does it have abundant furnishings on the legs and tail?
Is the body ratio height to length 9 : 10 ? See yellow lines on sketch)
Is the depth of body 50% of its height ? See blue lines on sketch
Is its temperament friendly and agreeable ?
Have you noticed that the dog "leans on you" a lot ?(It's an odd quirk of theirs !)
If you answered YES to most of the questions, you may just have a Leonberger !