Health, longevity, vitality:
When you invite a dog to join your family you want it to stay
for a long time in good health, and you want it, even in its old
days, still to be vital.
The general rule is that bigger dogs have
a shorter life-span, and the Leonberger is no exception.
However when we look at other giant breeds we feel quite
optimistic and proud that the Leonberger does not suffer from
wide spread illnesses like many giant breeds. A life-span of over
ten years is not unheard of for Leonbergers, and a few even live into
The national Leonberger clubs have breeding regulations,
adopted to circumstances and kennel club rules in their country.
Health related requirements are generally an important part
of those breeding rules.
In nearly all countries a stud book is
kept by the national kennel club, which issues a pedigrees (certificate
of descent) for all purebred dogs, independent of compliance to
the breed clubs breeding regulations. Therefore, before buying a
puppy, one should always check with the national breed club to
assure that the litter confirms to the breeding rules.
If you are considering getting a dog, health and temperament
should be your top considerations. For Leonbergers, you must be
very sure that you obtain your dog from a breeder and not from a
commercial dog trading establishment (puppy mill). Make sure that
the breeder is a member of their country's Leonberger Club and is
on the current list of approved breeders. That is your only
assurance that the strict breeding standards imposed by most
Leonberger clubs have been followed. It must be clear that there
is never a 100 % guarantee that your dog will never be ill or
live to be ten years old, but your chances are much better if you
get a puppy from a breeder that is meeting the health standards
of the national breed club.
Most FCI affiliated Kennel Clubs do not require more than the AKC in the way of
breeding standards, but most of the national clubs are diligent
in requiring adherence to very precise guidelines developed to
minimize genetic flaws and diseases.
Although, in most countries, law forbids clubs to fix a price
for puppies, many clubs recommend a price. Most breeders stick to
that price. If a breeder asks a price out of line for his country
(either much lower or much higher) you should be careful and try
to find out why that breeder is not using the breed club rules
and guidelines. It is always a good idea to visit several
Leonbergers are expensive, but the Leonberger Clubs have been cautious
by not letting prices get driven up to the level that greed
interferes with good breeding practices. The current prices allow
most breeders to recoup the costs of breeding healthy litters and
also help keep frivolous buyers from purchasing Leonbergers on a whim.