Leonbergers at Westminster

Did you watch the Leonberger at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show trying to get into his handler’s pocket for a treat?

That is pretty typical Leo behavior!

They will always keep you guessing and they really want to have fun so long as they are with their people. Dogs at dog shows should have fun and Leos usually do!

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show spurs many calls to breeders of all types of dogs when viewers see the beautifully groomed and presented entries and believe they have identified the perfect addition for their family.

Put on the brakes! Not so fast! Is that dog you see on television the best match for your family?

Let’s look at Leonbergers, since you are visiting a Leonberger site.

That big Leo strutting around the show ring has spent many years preparing for this and all other shows. That dog is well groomed and well trained. If you get a Leo, will you train your dog like this? If you don’t train your Leo in basic obedience, you could have one hundred and fifty pounds of destructive dog in your home.

Think before you get a Leonberger, or any other breed of dog you think would be perfect for your family. Do you have the time to train and socialize your dog? If not, rethink your desire for a dog.

If you have your heart set on a Leonberger, find the right one. Find one that will be as healthy as possible from a breeder that desires only to better the breed with each well thought out mating.

The best first step in locating a Leonberger is to start your search at the Leonberger Club of America. LCA member breeders follow stringent ethics guidelines and perform extensive evaluation and medical testing of their breeding stock. LCA member breeders hold themselves to high standards.

This does not guarantee perfection in a puppy, but rather offers a promise that medical testing, temperament evaluation, and good thought has gone into the breeding decision. Leonberger Club of America breeders will spend huge amounts of time discussing pedigrees and breeding plans with prospective owners. You will learn volumes from these conversations.

But you say, “I just want a family pet.”

Yes, you only want a family pet, but don’t you want that companion to be as healthy as possible? DO NOT buy a Leonberger, or any other dog, on a whim or as a spur of the moment purchase. Most Leonberger breeders have long waiting lists for their pups, but the wait is worth it.

If you are looking for a Leonberger puppy be aware of fancy websites with flashy photographs and big promises. Be especially careful of breeders who do not provide complete registered names of their dogs. This complete name allows you to study objective health related data about that stock. Websites such as the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals have a search function which will show what health tests have been done on that Leonberger and for LCA member breeders, will show a CHIC number demonstrating that breeder’s dedication to proper health clearances and compliance with Parent Club ethics guidelines for breeding.

Some “breeders” show pedigrees on their websites that are not official records of their dogs’ lineage. Many of these dogs are seemingly unknown to long term and established Leonberger breeders. That is a red flag.

If you have your heart set on a Leonberger, seek one out from a reputable breeder who is dedicated to breeding the best quality pups possible.

Remember that the dogs you see on television are looking their best. The daily life of a Leonberger is one where the dog will be covered in leaves, has muddy paws, and is shedding huge clumps.

To see a listing of LCA member breeders, click here.

To get started on your puppy search, click here.