Leonberger German Shepherd mixes are not a type of dog that people encounter very often. However, the combination of Leonberger and Shepherd is a crossbreed that has a lot to offer. Their unique ancestry makes them a versatile dog all around.
One thing that many people immediately notice about these dogs is their large size. Their traits help make them excellent watchdogs, for sure. Many wonders, too, about this dog’s suitability as a family dog because of its growing popularity.
Do Leonberger German Shepherd mixes make good family dogs? Yes, they are great family companions, however, they will do best in homes where owners appreciate their traits as a breed mixture, including being able to deal with protectiveness towards its family.
The Leonberger German Shepherd Mix is a Unique Dog
According to DogTime, the Leonberger is actually a combination of Great Pyrenees, longhaired Saint Bernard, and Newfoundland. This crossbreed has its origins in Germany as working stock.
German Shepherds originate in 19th century Germany, developed from dogs used for flock guarding, police, and military work. Combining this dog with the Leonberger creates a crossbreed that excels at guarding, as well as exciting outdoor activities.
Of the two breeds, the Leonberger is known more specifically as a working dog, while the German Shepherd retains a reputation mostly as a herding breed. These designations apply to both the American and European breed registries.
These dogs are tall, with heights ranging from 25.5 to 31.5″. Their weight averages between 120 and 170 pounds. According to Dogell, these are typical sizes.
One thing worth noting is that a Shepherd parent that has another breed in its ancestry might contribute to a dog that is slightly smaller. However, most of the dogs with this type of lineage will be larger dogs than the usual German Shepherd.
Most of these crosses are considered giant-sized because of their height and weight. Giant-sized dogs grow at a slower rate than smaller breeds, making their final size difficult to confirm with certainty until they are around two or three years old.
The coat colors can range from lion-yellow shades of brown and red, with a distinctive black mask. This dog’s double coat is long and water-resistant, making them versatile dogs who can enjoy the water. This animal’s coat has a soft feel, with straight hairs.
What Are the Leonberger German Shepherd Mix’s Grooming Needs
These dogs have serious grooming needs, due to their long coats, and will shed a lot. Anyone who decides to add one of these dogs to their household will need to be prepared to clean up loose fur on a regular basis to keep your home clean.
Leo Shepherd crosses have heavy shedding periods twice a year. Moderate shedding occurs throughout most of the year with these dogs, making weekly brushing a necessity. A weekly brushing will help ensure optimal coat health for your pet.
How You Groom Your Dog is as Important as How Often
When brushing your dog, use a slicker or rake-style grooming tool to reach the undercoat as well as the top layer. Gentle strokes will get most of the loose fur, without hurting your dog in the process, which keeps it a pleasant experience.
Owners might not notice the double coat as much in dogs that are active outdoors since shedding is ore obvious indoors.
However, you’ll need to take the lead in providing care especially when your dog is shedding to keep everything neater. Removing the loose hair as your dog is shedding will help avoid tangles and mats that can become painful, as well as look unsightly.
Mats are places that can easily conceal twigs that might poke and otherwise hurt your dog. Another unwelcome side effect of having mats and tangles is that they can easily harbor ticks and fleas. Bites from these pests can get infected easily.
How Often Do You Bathe a Leo GSD Mix?
For ideal coat health, your dog should be bathed monthly according to Pets in House with a thorough brushing after the dog’s coat has dried to keep everything perfect.
A bath can be one of the most effective ways to get rid of loose fur, especially during your dog’s key shedding times. Rising your dog with water from the hose is also recommended whenever your dog has taken a swim, to remove pollutants.
When you bathe your Leonberger German Shepherd mix, it is important to use a shampoo designed for the needs of a long-haired dog. Using the right shampoo will help keep your pet’s coat in the best shape possible by providing essential nutrients.
What Are the Additional Grooming Needs for Your Leo GSD Cross?
Although bathing and brushing are the most important parts of grooming your dog, there are several other actions you need to take for your dog to always look their best. Although they may seem minor, these steps will contribute to your dog’s health.
One important thing to keep in mind is that most groomers advise against shaving this breed mix. The coat may grow back too slowly or grow back in too thickly. Shaving should be reserved for times when directed to do so by a vet.
Your dog’s claws should be clipped monthly, using a clipper specially designed for large breeds. The right clippers will not only provide an even cut but will help you avoid hurting your pet in the process, reducing any fear of the clippers.
A dog’s teeth and gums should be checked and cleaned two or three times a week. Make sure the gums are free from redness and bleeding and the teeth free from tartar. Use toothpaste and a brush designed for dogs when you clean their teeth for ideal results.
The dog’s ears should be cleaned weekly or as needed with warm water and a damp cloth. The insides of the ears should be free of bad odors, particularly a sulfur smell. When the ears are healthy, they will have a pink color on their insides without swelling.
Your dog’s eye areas should also be cleaned weekly. A cloth with warm water or chamomile tea can help clear away tear stains from your dog’s coat.
Owners Need to Train Leonberger GSD Early for the Best Behavior
Leonberger German Shepherd crosses inherit the tendency to be mischief-makers capable of destruction from both of their parent breeds. Proper socialization and early training are necessary to ensure your dog’s good behavior.
Dogs of this particular cross have a high intelligence level, and obedient to their owners. When they are given proper leadership and gentle guidance, they will enjoy excellent relationships with their owners or handlers.
These mixed breeds usually get along well with other dogs and other animals ranging from cats to horses. They are usually gentle with children, but should not be allowed to play or interact with them unsupervised because of their size.
Like a dog with inherited herding instincts, these dogs might herd people or other pets. Sometimes the family members are most likely to herd are children. Supervision around children can help prevent a lot of injuries that are possible.
One of the less desirable German Shepherd traits these dogs have sometimes inherited is a higher chance of biting. When a poorly-socialized dog bites, their aggression may impact anyone from another dog to a child.
The breeds that makeup Leo Shepherd mixes have strong protective instincts that make them excellent watchdogs. They are also sensitive to conflict. When family members argue, these dogs are likely to behave defensively against the louder person.
What Exercise and Social Needs Does the Leo GSD Mix Have?
As social dogs who bond closely with their families, Leonberger German Shepherd mixes are ill-suited to life as “backyard dogs”. An hour of exercise every day will help these dogs avoid boredom and the destructive behavior that comes with it.
One thing to avoid with these dogs is leaving them alone for extended periods. The Leonberger ancestry might make them experience separation anxiety, while the Shepherd ancestry might make them inclined to escape and wander off.
Because these dogs enjoy being a part of their families’ lives, they do well on trips away from home. If you have a large enough car, your dog is likely to enjoy the ride.
What is the Best Way to Introduce Leo GSD Mixes to New People?
A Leonberger German Shepherd cross is likely to require introductions to other people or animals at some point. Handling introductions properly eliminates a lot of issues.
New people should be introduced carefully because a dog might see a stranger as someone they need to protect their family members from. When the stranger to the dog is a friend or family member, he or she will need to get used to them.
The dog should have a chance to interact with the new person, while leashed and supervised. A person they are getting used to should speak to them in a calm, confident voice.
How Should a Leonberger German Shepherd Mix Be Introduced to Pets?
Introducing one of these dogs to cats is relatively easy. Most are friendly towards cats but introductions should use the usual precautions, such as initially keeping the two pets separated. They can then be gradually introduced under supervision.
Getting acquainted with other dogs might need to be a more careful process. Although Leo is usually dog-friendly, Shepherds may have problems accepting other dogs. You may have difficulty discovering which breed will be dominant in your dog.
Never leave the two dogs alone unsupervised until they have gotten used to each other. Consider feeding both of them separately as well, too.
What Activities Are Best for Leonberger German Shepherd Mixes?
According to Beth Stultz, activities are a great way for you and your dog to bond even more effectively. There are several options ideal for large dogs worthy of consideration.
Dark parks are popular in many locations, and it’s likely that there is one somewhere near you. If your dog has good social skills, playing with other dogs is excellent. Always check for secure fencing, and pay attention to separate areas by size.
Surfing and other water sports with dogs have become more popular in recent years. Even if you don’t surf or your dog won’t get on board, trips to the beach can provide a lot of stimulation. Just remember to rinse his or her coat after being in the water.
Longer hiking or backpacking trips can maximize your dog’s fitness level. State and national parks offer many dog-friendly trails. Working on your dog’s recall skills off-leash is always a good idea before you go on one of these trips.
If you’re a fitness enthusiast, you may have thought of taking your dog with you to classes. The good news is that this type of class is a very real possibility in many areas. Both conventional fitness classes and yoga are possibilities for dogs.
Fitness classes that include dogs usually take place in an outdoor setting. Some of the equipment that people use in these settings includes hand weights, resistance bands, and balls. Having your dog take part will serve as a motivation to keep it up.
Doga, or dog yoga, has increased in recent years. Doga not only involves gentle stretching but also includes meditation and massage. Dog yoga can help increase the sense of connectedness between dogs and their owners.
There are multiple options for finding a Leonberger German Shepherd mix, and this video demonstrates how ideal many of these dogs can be for all kinds of families when they come from rescues.
When you’re thinking of adding a new dog to your family, it always helps to have a good idea of what you can expect. The more you know about the dog you select, the greater the dog’s chances of adjusting to everything.