The Majestic Lion-A fenséges Oroszlán


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General Aspect : The Leonberger expresses, in a highly harmonical way, both strength and elegance; he is characterized by a vigorous and bony framework, with a clearly outlined and well developed muscular mass. Test felépítése His shape could be inscribed in a rectangle; his trunk is solid and wide, with a straight topline and a never shrunk bottom line (lower line), he must never stand high on his limbs. The shoulder is well inclined, the hinder angulations are correctly wide with regular perpendicularity (plomb lines) and solid paws; gait is nimble and fluent. Pigmentation is marked. He is coated with a thick hair and undercoat, tawny or tawny/coal-black coloured, with a black muzzle. He has got a kind and reflective temper, though very lively. A major peculiariarity of the breed is represented by the sexual dimorphism and this implies a high consideration of the femininity and masculinity imprint.

Head and Neck: fej The head is never stocky, not even in males, where it is strong and duly developed, but, at the same time, also well-proportioned and harmoniously set on the neck. In females, the head is much lighter, slender and graced, expressing femininity. On the whole, the head must show no arris. The skull, somewhat rectangular (length width), is deeper than high, and it is leveled on the sides. At the upper part it is rather dome-shaped and connected to the muzzle by a large and rather shallow stop.

The muzzle is uniform, parallelepiped: width at the stop (nasion) is approximately the same as the width at the nose, and, consequently, it never has got a pointed tip. fej The topline is rectilinear up to 3/4 and then it continues with a typical light ram nose. The bottom-line, parallel to the top one, consists of the lip line which comes down just to cover the mandible. The nose is large, with clearly outlined nostrils, always dark black coloured; a brown colour as well as depigmentation will strongly penalize the animal. Ratio between skull and muzzle is approximately 1/1, the encephalic index being about 51/52; also volumes are also harmonically balanced. The cranium-facial axes tend to be parallel, consequently, both divergence and convergence will be penalized. Cheeks must not be so developed that they annul parallelism on the outer line of muzzle. A light chisel is present in the sub orbital area.

fej Skin covering skull is plain and without wrinkles, though some may appear when dog is standing at attention. Lips are well stretched, never open outward or too big; they are black-coloured with a dry and well-closing corner, set toward throat. Under the nose, an upside-down U-shaped lip covers a medium sized jaw that must be neither empty nor too heavy. Distance between the bottom line of nose and the upper lip disjunction is very small.

Eyes are set on the median line, in a subfrontal position. Szem They are medium-sized, almond-shaped, never round; when dog is standing at attention, they are expressively triangular, slightly bent. The eyelids (palpebral fissures) are well adherent, pigmented and never drooping. Iris may shade from hazel-brown to amber, but darker colours are more appreciated, particularly in a prominent mask. The sclera is white. A sweet, tranquil and good-natured expression is always required; eye split too wide as well as too narrow is to be rejected and the same will be the case of small, hollow eyes, excessively globular or hyperthyroid eyes. Heavy penalties are to be scored in case of a yellow or orange iris, particularly when this defect comes with round-shaped eyes, too large eyes and droping fissures. Inversion of lids is to be never allowed. Ears' gait and size are to be considered when dog stands at attention: they are medium-sized, triangular, rounded, hanging down close to the head. The ideal size is to be considered on the ground of the head shape and dimension of head; a proper length can be considered equal to the width of the ear at its junction point, just reaching the imaginary extension of the lip line.

Ears are topset, in an oblique and slightly sideways position in relation to the vertical line passing through the outer corner of the eye. Fülek Either a low junction (on the eye line) or a too lateral one (too backwards) are incorrect. We have noticed that backwards set or borne ears highly damage expression and ears placed too high and close to each other determine a too flat or even hollow cranium topline (when the upper bending line overcomes the topline of the skull itself); these faults sometimes come together with short ears and thus create an unbalanced effect between the upper and lower part of the head. The bottom line of the auricle is darker, covered with abundant hair, which is long and fine and, usually, of a lighter shade. The muzzle and part of the skull are covered with fine and thick hair, black or dark brown, so as to outline the typical mask. The mask may be more or less evident and has to reach the eyebrow arch in order to positively contribute to obtain the typical expression, very often stressed by the contrast between the dark mask and the tawny colour of the coat. The mask shades and diminishes at older ages; muzzle starts becoming white in the nose area. There are masks that cover almost the entire head or shade themselves with abundance of coal-black stripes on the neck, but nevertheless harmoniously match well the coat's chromatic context. A lack of mask is to be penalized as well as an incomplete or inverse one. A lighter mask is acceptable when the typical expression is kept.

The set of teeth must be secure and sound (42 teeth in adults, according to the well-known dental formula; a missing M3 is tolerated) with scissors bite. A level bite is also allowed. Dental This is clearly stated by the Deutcher Club fuer Leonberger Hunde. In fact they ban from breeding any subject with dental defects and also require, for reproduction purposes, a dental certificate. Teeth must be sound, strong and well aligned on arches. The lower jaw, at the level of the canine teeth, should not be narrowing. Undershot and overshot bites are significant, non-tolerated faults. The upper row of teeth is placed upon the lower row without any gap. The heads' outline continues to the neck without any discontinuity thanks to the soft contours and the light and wide-bending radius of the nape. The underthroat skin has neither wrinkles nor dewlap. The neck is strong, sinewy and rather short, that is as long as the head or just a little bit shorter; its section is approximately the same as a frustum of cone on an elliptical base. Edges of withers, shoulders and chest are shaded and harmoniously outlined; neck must duly stand on trunk in order to define the typical juncture which expresses a stern gait; only a well positioned shoulder and a wide breast and withers can offer an ideal joining point to the powerful balance of the whole body and thus allow the dog to completely express his elegance, particularly when moving. Stocky and tied necks, as well as too long and thin necks, are to be penalized. The harmonical composition of the neck and head with the trunk is completed, particularly in males, by abundant hair, which forms a mane.

Size: Giantism is one of the peculiarities of this breed. The standard of the breed exactly states the minimum and maximum height for males and females. The very perfect size is 76 cm (30 in.) for males and 70 cm (27.5 in.) for females, but the entire breed is progressively becoming shorter; higher subjects are thus to be preferred, under the same type and construction conditions. Dogs higher than 80 cm are tolerated, provided that other very important morphological features are also present, such as strength, harmonious shapes, strong framework, good muscular mass, right shortness of limbs, well laid-back and, above all, balance between the trunk side-surface and the area defined by thorax, limbs, and the ground. In fact, some of the typical faults are often found in subjects very high at withers, but too long on limbs, with too wide angulations of knee and hocks, which are consequently too light and not strong enough, with too long bony radii or even with a withdrawn belly (as in greyhound). In order to avoid the progressive reduction in weight of this breed (perhaps due to the continuous search for proper height at withers or, on the contrary, to the reduction of the powerful build and/or size), the Deutcher Club fuer Leonberger Hunde has recently indicated the minimum weight at an age of 15 months, namely 40 kg (88 lbs.) for females and 50 kg (110 lbs.) for males. This weight it is not reported into the official standard.


The Leonberger has got a vigorous trunk. Length is always bigger than height and trunk can consequently be inscribed in a rectangular. Ratio between these two sizes (measured from the ground to withers and from the top of buttock to the top of shoulder) is approximately 0.85/0.90. Height of thorax (often confused with the depth) is slightly greater than the distance between the sternum and the ground; the chest (with ovoid section) is well let down so as to give the right impression of strength and will be approximately equal to 50-55% of the animal's height; it is also very deep with duly bent ribs (but not barrel ribs), just a little bit flat-sided. The ratio between thorax diameter and height and withers is approximately 1.2. The topline starts from large and sinewy withers, just a bit lifted up on the backline, and continues in a straight line to the rump which is harmoniously inclined (25-30 degrees on horizontal line). A camel-back (convex) as well as hollow back (concave) are undesirable. Flank is well aligned, the same as the bottom line tends to be horizontal, even if it slightly goes up towards the belly (which will never be tucked up) joining the pelvic region with a well developed stifle. Loins are strong, compact, large and sinewy. The croup is wide, solid, sinewy and harmoniously completes the dogs' shape with no discontinuity effect.

Tail: A fairly strong tail is planted in a low position. It has a large root, thick hair (broom tail) and reaches to the hock. Tail stands upright and in a linear position. When dog is standing in station, it is let down or half-hanging. When moving, tail hangs down or is half-hanging, just swinging. It must never ought to stand over the backline, or, worse yet, be rolled or bent over it. An incorrect tail carriage, too gay, is unfortunately rather widespread, particularly in males; it is similar to the Nordic Hound's and ought to be retrenched. Diverted and ring-rolled tails are incorrect. A hook-standing tail is also unwelcome.

Limbs: The Leonberger stands in a relatively low position on limbs, which are strong, lean, sinewy and with a fairly developed bony frame. Bones are of medium length: arm and forearm (upper-arm and lower-arm) are slightly longer than shoulder (scapula). Pasterns and rear pasterns are also medium-short. Both forelegs and rearlegs must duly stand upright and must be regular. Shoulder stands on a rather narrow angulation (between 105 and 110 degrees) and elbow closes to the chest even in motion.
It is extremely important that muscles linking scapula to the trunk are very strong: slack shoulders are to be avoided. In rearlimbs, knee (stifle) must be clearly outlined and the lower-thigh (tibia)/rear pastern (cannon bone) angulation should range between 145 and 150 degrees. Narrower angulations are preferred as they allow a more flowing movement and a stronger thrust, although overly bent rearlimbs, as in some shepherd's dogs (namely the German shepherd) ought to be avoided.
One of the most frequent fault occurring in this breed is in fact represented by the overly wide opening of the pelvic leg angulation (pelvis-thigh/lower-thigh or coxo/femural and lower-thigh/pastern or tibia-metatarsus), determine the so-called upright hindquarters. Some other faults are those regarding the perpendicularity line, particularly those due to mancinism (east & west) and cowhocks, too narrow elbows or hocks. It also frequently occurs to have sick pasterns (metacarpii) along with the deviation of the relevant axes.

The importance of these limitations in build ought to be duly considered, given the heaviness of these dogs. Limbs muscles must be soundly developed, of medium length and rather compact. Loin thigh is wide and well laid down, never flat, the buttock is solid. Well outlined sinews prove the presence of lean and resistant limbs. Both fore and rear-feet are solid, closed and with strong and duly bent toes; they have thick interdigital hair and their projection is somewhat round Claws are very resistant, extremely strong, pigmented. The plantar pads must be regular and black: brown pads determine a disqualification. Toes are generally joined for 2/3 by means of a short of thick web that gives the dogs excellent swimming ability. Should dewclaws be present at birth, they must be removed during the first days of life.

Gait: The Leonberger is a trotter. He fluently, regularly and rhythmically moves when trotting. He has got a remarkable and elastic pace, neither too long (as in shepherds), not too short (as in other mountain dogs), this way the rear foot prints will exactly alight on the fore foot prints. The head stands slightly lifted up, the neck is in an oblique position, with a typical leonine aspect. The same attitude, even more marked, is also evident at a walk, with a calm and majestic gait, sometimes ambled. Considering the morphological structure, resistance to gallop is rather limited: it must anyway be elastic, powerful and never unnatural.

Colour and Coat: The Leonberger's coat is thick and abundant, consisting of a rich undercoat, shorter and woolly, and a covering coat longer and bristly. Actually, the coat consistency may frequently vary and it may be more or less rough or even soft and silky: a medium composition is to be preferred. Some oiliness of the hair (not so evident as occurs in some water breeds) and the abundant and thick framed undercoat, provides excellent protection from atmospheric agents and good waterproofing. Shapes, body and muscular structure are clearly outlined, notwithstanding the thick coat.

Hair is long and more abundant on the back, the neck and the trunk; it is well adherent and never shows stand-off or parting. It may be wavy but is never curly or kinky. Fringes on the hinder edge of forelegs as well as on thighs (trousers) and under the tail (broom), are highly appreciated. Thick and long hair around the neck and the throat, forming the typical mane or collar, is a much sought-after feature, particularly in males for which it represents a distinction trait. Both main and long hair unfortunately becoming rare: too short hair on coats are consequently to be penalized.

On the low part of limbs hair is shorter, fine and silky. The typical Leonberger's colour is leonine yellow (tawny), with a black mask. The shade may be affected by the consistency, the structure and the layering of the coat: the brighter and more coloured the hair, the duller, lighter and more even the undercoat which must never affect in any way the proper chromatic composition. The characteristic yellow and golden colour of the coat may shade from reddish-yellow to reddish-brown, with golden, cuprous and red nuances. It may either be solid or have lighter or darker gradations. The hair-top is very often black or dark, creating the typical coal-black nuances which can be more or less distributed, more or less evident or sometimes concentrated over the shoulder-blade, the neck, the chest, the back and the tail. Coal-black tawny is the most frequent colour. Coal-black spots are sometimes so dark and abundant as to give the impression of a mainly black coat, with a black or golden black saddle: these coats are not to be sought-out, ought to be severely rejected. A light tawny champagne colour with a lighter undercoat (sand colour) is allowed, although it is not the best-loved due to a lack of brightness and intensity. Subjects with a black, white, bronze, brown, black and tan, flame-black and white-spotted coat, are to be absolutely banned.

Wolf-gray and silver-Grey colours (mixed white and black hair, with coal-black spots, not to be confused with sand colour), are not allowed, notwithstanding some experts assert that such subjects are to be preserved as they represent just a small part of the whole population and are also to be recovered in consideration of their excellent mucous pigmentation. In my personal opinion, all colours that are not the typical yellow tawny coat with black mask (in case, only golden and cuprous, brown and red shaded, with coal-black spots which can also be dark, but well-distributed and mixed), is to be rejected. Limbs and the tail fringes are of the same basic coat colour and may thus appear lighter. The back of the tail may be badger coloured with more or less evident coal-black spots; this feature is typically more frequent in younger subjects.

Hair on the fringe is often lighter, but it must never be plain white. It is common to find very dark hair on the forechest and on the throat, with typical grayish-brown shades. Some white spots at the top of the toes are allowed (but a white foot is not allowed!) and a white star, smaller than the size of a hand, on the chest. Coat colour may continuously change during the dog's life: it may both become either darker or lighter making its chromatic composition more or less evident. It is not always easy to realize the definitive adult colour in a pup: it is very frequent that a plain reddish-brown pup might have more marked colours or coal-black spots at an older age. On the contrary, subjects showing coal spots at a young age, might become golden uniform coloured later on. Usually the basic coat colour becomes more marked at older ages.

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