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Aside from their size I suppose the next most distinguishing feature of the Leonberger would be their temperament. Leos are tremendous family dogs. They love children and are very tolerant of childish vocalizations, pokes and prods. Over the years my dogs have experienced children, other dogs, other animals and mostly behaved very well.
Electra met her first baby when she was about eight months old. She wanted to lick the babyís feet and get a good sniff at his diaper. Electra and Belinda would play with my son Ross. He would run around the house and hide under a blanket, Electra would find him by sticking her nose under the blanket. Ross would shriek, giggle, punch and then throw the blanket over her head and Electra would lie down and lick him. When we got Belinda, she would lie on her back while Ross blew raspberries on her tummy and rubbed her ears. Clifford met his first baby when he was four months old and he lay on the floor of my Chiropractor's office while this tiny kid who could just sit up played with his paws. Don't get me wrong dogs should never be tormented by children and must always be supervised but if dogs and kids have a mutually enjoyable game they play that is what having a dog in the family is all about.
Lindsay and a pile of Leos
Ross and Tilda 2020
In his book ďThe LeonbergerĒ Guido Perosino describes the Leonberger temperament as follows.
ďIt loves itís owners company in whatever
circumstance, indoors, outdoors, in the car, at the sea, in the
mountains. Itís exuberance, which sometimes is a bit much, is expressed
especially when it is young and has experienced a separation from itís
owner, even for a brief time, and is so happy to see him again. However,
the dog keeps itís exuberance under control when accompanying us on a
walk in the city, to a hotel or restaurant, where it is calm, faithful
and becomes our nearly imperceptible shadow.
Itís attachment is exclusive and demanding and so strong as to be considered a temperament defect by some, along with itís marked emotionality.
It has an outgoing temperament within the family that is slightly more contained with friend, and with strangers it becomes dignified and even reserved.Ē
Ross said when he was11 or 12 "Leonbergers are like moms because they are always there if you get hurt and they always like hugs."
This is Julia and Clyde from many years ago demonstrating the amazing athleticism that Leonbergers are capable of, for short periods of time, then they go lie down.