Intelligent, patient, playful dogs and are usually good with children. Leonbergers seem to enjoy dog sports such as tracking, agility, drafting, carting, rally and competitive obedience and swimming. Leonbergers learn well with reward-based training using treats or favorite toys. Can have a tendency to dig. ** Leonberger is considered a Foundation stock service (FSS) breed by the AKC
The Leonberger is believed to have resulted from a crossing of the Newfoundland, St. Bernard, and the Great Pyrenees by breeder Heinrich Essing. Established in 1846, in the Wurttemberg region of Germany, the Leonberger is believed to have been an attempt to create a breed that would closely resemble the lion in the Leonberger town crest. Essing donated Leonbergers to royalty, using his position on the town council, to promote the town of Leonberg and his dogs. At one time Emperor Napoleon II, Garibaldi, Bismarck, and the Prince of Wales, amongst others were believed to own Leonbergers. After Essing died in 1889, the first Leonberger Clubs were founded. In 1895, the "Internationaler Klub fur Leonberger Hunde Stuttgart" was founded and the first Leonberger breed standard was created. Due to the scarcity of food during the two World Wars, only a few dogs remained by the end of World War II. In 1945, some of the few remaining Leonbergers were gathered in Germany and the breed was re-established. The first Leonberger was imported to the United States in 1971.