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The Leonberger: Large Lion Dog
The Leonberger is a breed which comes from the city of Leonberg near the foothills of the Black Forest of Germany. The Mayor of Leonberg, Heir Heinrich Essig, developed this dog for one reason only, he wanted to breed a dog that would resemble the lion depicted on the crest of his town. He accomplished this by breeding a Saint Bernard to a Newfoundland, then breeding the offspring to a Pyrenean Mountain dog, in 1907. He thus produced what the rest of the dog world considered a "crossbreed". However, the good looks and personality of the dog won over the hearts of many and it soon became popular not only in Germany but throughout Europe. The dog has the web foot typical of the Newfoundland and the burly good humor of both the Newf and the Saint, while the Pyrenean Mountain dog contributed some herding and guarding instinct. The Leonberger very nearly became extinct during the World Wars. Great Britain and the United States imported dogs of the German strain and continued to breed this distinctly different dog. It has since become registered by all of the European Kennel clubs. Registry in the American Kennel Club has begun with the first step being recognition by the F.S.S. (Foundation Stud Service) of the A.K.C.
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