Well-known for the lion-like hair around its neck, the Leonberger is a large, muscular breed of mountain dog. It originated in Germany as the result of a cross between a long-haired St. Bernard, a Landseer Newfoundland, and later on, a Great Pyrenees.
The Leonberger is one of the largest dog breeds, which shouldn’t be a shock considering the breeds that it’s descended from.
A male Leonberger can grow as tall as 31.5 inches and weigh as much as 170 pounds, while a female can grow up to 29.5 inches.
The Leonberger was traditionally used as a farm dog and for pulling carts but is now kept mainly as a gentle, lovable family pet.
- Buying Price
The average Leonberger price is around $2,200 to $3,500. This breed is definitely a bit on the higher end of the price spectrum for dog breeds, although not as expensive as other breeds like the Tibetan Mastiff (upto $4000) and Samoyed.
Its high price is primarily due to its relative rareness, but other factors, namely the breeder’s location and reputation, and the dog’s age also influence the price.
Rescuing a Leonberger costs around $300, but finding adoptable Leonbergers can be difficult since it’s an uncommon breed.
- Essential Accessories
The buying price of your pet is not the only upfront expense. You also have to budget for the costs of necessary accessories for your dog. The essential accessories are food and water bowls, a crate, a leash, and collar.
The quality of food and water bowls is important, especially in terms of its durability and easiness to clean.
Veterinary professionals recommend stainless steel bowls due to their durability and ease of cleaning. You should refrain from buying bowls made of plastic because they are less durable, can foster bacterial growth, and may contain harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA).
You can find a wide assortment of food and water bowls made out of different materials and with lots of different designs to satisfy you and your pet’s preferences. These range from about $1 to $80, but a simple pair of stainless steel bowls large enough for a Leonberger can be purchased for $10 to $20.
Your pet also needs a comfortable crate. This is used mainly during travels, for housetraining, and for just giving your dog a space of its own.
Given the large size of the Leonberger, an adult one would need a very large crate, around 48” x 32” x 35”. You can buy one for around $30 to $140 depending on the material and design.
The Leonberger is very active and likes to interact with a lot of people and other dogs. It is highly advisable to have a durable leash and collar before taking it out for a walk. This prevents possible conflicts with other dogs or injuries caused by accidents.
You can buy large, heavy-duty nylon harnesses for between $30 and $60, depending on the material and extra features. You can also buy cheaper but acceptably durable leashes and collars for as low as $6.
Aside from the initial expenses of getting a Leonberger (buying price/adoption fee, essential accessories), there are also important recurring costs when taking care of one.
- Nutrition Expenses
Nutrition expenses involve dog foods and vitamins. They do not have to be expensive to be high-quality. Most grade A and B dog foods have sufficient nutrients and minerals for your pet.
Just one important thing to keep in mind is that you should avoid feeding your Leonberger too much protein. This may increase its risk of arthritis for being too heavy for its joints. Talk to your vet to determine how much protein and other nutrients your dog needs.
The top recommended dog food for the Leonberger are the Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy Dry Food and the Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Large Breed Puppy Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food.
These formulas can be bought for about $40 to $50 for a 30- to 35-pound bag.
Vitamins are optional for healthy dogs. But they may sometimes be required if your pet suffers some kind of medical or health condition. Talk to your vet before putting your dog on any supplement.
Cost varies based on supplement type, dosage size, and the number of doses, but a one month supply will usually cost about $15 or more.
- Toys & Entertainment
Toys help your dog avoid boredom, prevent stress, and provide exercise and mental stimulation. Dog toys can be used for chewing, exercising, or even just for comfort.
Two dog toys that will make your Leonberger enjoy and be active are the Kong Classic chew toy and a treat dispensing ball.
The Kong Classic is durable and made of all-natural rubber. You can buy one for between $5 and $20 depending on size.
Treat dispensing balls, as the name suggests, dispense treats as your dog rolls them, and usually require your dog to roll them in a specific way. Sometimes, these toys also make fun noises as they roll. These toys run from around $15 to $30.
- Medical Expenses
The Leonberger is prone to several health problems including gastric torsion (also known as bloat), entropion, arthritis, and hip dysplasia. It also only has an expected lifespan of 8 to 10 years which is considerably shorter than other breeds but is typical for other very large dog breeds.
These factors make healthcare even more essential.
A responsible owner must ensure that their dog receives all necessary vaccinations and adequate dental care and that their dog maintains a healthy coat.
The average price of vaccination is between $10 and $50 per vaccine depending on the type of vaccine. The Health Pets USA also offers packages ranging from $35 to $96 which will save you a few dollars. Consult a professional regarding the type of vaccines that your pet needs.
Dental care is also important because poor dental hygiene can result in the development of certain diseases.
The Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery & Dental Care offers low-cost dental care priced at $260. This package already covers most dental procedures such as cleaning and extraction, if needed.
Your pet’s grooming is as important as the other medical expenses. Good grooming serves as a preventive measure against the development of some diseases and infections.
Bathing services for a large dog like the Leonberger cost about $40 to $50. Nail trimming and flea treatment cost around $15 to $20
In addition, you need to make sure your dog undergoes annual wellness exams to ensure its good health and to prevent some diseases from getting worse. A routine veterinary exam usually costs around $50.
Where to Get Leonberger Dog Breed
You can find Leonberger puppies and adults on trusted sites such as Puppy Find (not to be confused with Puppy Finder, although they are both reliable sites) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) marketplace.
The Leonberger Club of America also has a list of reputable Leonberger breeders (together with their contact information and addresses) available on its website.
Buying a Leonberger from a breeder is not the only option, however. You may choose to adopt one if that’s what you prefer.
Buyer’s Guide to Getting a Leonberger
Now that you have an idea on how much you are likely to spend to obtain and maintain a Leonberger, here are a few things to consider when getting one:
One of the most important things that you should know before buying a pet is the breeder.
If you are getting one from a famous and reputable breeder, then you don’t have to worry. But if you are not sure, there are some signs that may probably reveal if you are dealing with a competent breeder or not.
The first things that you should search for are the official documents. A competent breeder will have the complete documents of the dog. These documents must include the registration certificate, the pedigree or heritage documentation, and medical records.
Competent breeders will also be knowledgeable of the breed they are selling. This does not mean they have a perfect knowledge of the dog, but they should at least be able to answer your basic questions regarding the breed.
They may also sometimes give you a diet sheet, photos of the puppy’s parents, and training and socialization tips. Breeders are not usually required to provide these, but reputable and trusted ones usually do.
Also, ask your breeder if the dog was trained and properly socialized. This can serve as a testament that the breeder is a good one and that it really puts effort into raising its dogs.
- The Condition of the Dog
It is important that you first check the condition of the dog you are getting.
Ask about its health problems, if any, and the risks of any future medical problems (this information should also be included in the dog’s medical records). A competent, trustworthy breeder will never hide anything from you and will disclose all of the dog’s past and current medical problems.
You should also ask whether the dog has been recently vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped, and/or treated for fleas. Note that not all breeders will include all of these in their packages but make sure that you know what health care they’ve already received before proceeding with the transaction.
Also, ask your seller about a return period. During this period, you can get a refund from the breeder in case a professional finds out that the dog has some undeclared health condition. Return periods often last 48 hours, but your breeder should also offer a health guarantee for much longer.
Having this agreement with breeders serves as proof that they are indeed competent and trustworthy.
- Home Environment
The Leonberger generally gets comfortable easily with other dogs and small pets but still needs proper training, preferably starting from an early age. It can live adequately in an apartment setting and is typically not particularly active at home, although it would enjoy being able to play in a large yard.
The Leonberger also sheds only moderately, so as long as you brush it weekly, its hair won’t be much of a problem at home. It has a water-resistant double coat that makes it resistant to cold weather, but prone to overheating in hot weather.
Although it enjoys going outside, it usually prefers to stay indoors with its owner. Just make sure to prepare the household to make your new companion as comfortable as possible in its new home.
The Leonberger is one of the largest dog breeds but also one of the gentlest. It’s very sweet and affectionate, especially towards its family. It may be a bit hard to train, but just be firm, work with it consistently, and give it the love it deserves and it will grow up to be a lovely companion.