The temperament of these majestic dogs is to display friendliness, confidence, mild curiosity and playfulness. Playfulness is of course, dependent on the age and the character. However, there are many Leonbergers that keep that playful spark right into their last days and can be quite lively and excitable in nature.
In public, a mature Leonberger should be naturally well behaved and effortless to take along on a variety of outings. They should be easy going, greeting people with kindness, calm in traffic and crowds and patiently waiting if their owners want to stand and talk. The Leonberger is especially warm and attentive towards children often being termed the child-loving dog. This character trait is found throughout the Leo community, whether male or female, at any age and is the essence of the breed character and is highly regarded by conscientious breeders. Sharpness is never acceptable in the Leonberger breed and only dogs with friendly temperaments should ever be bred.
With other dogs, the Leonberger should be eager but again confident, showing the social graces that make them a joy to get a long with. They may be either playful or indifferent after a thorough greeting. All is acceptable but a Leonberger should never show hostility to others. Sometimes this may come up between two intact males but the mark of the best temperament is a steadfast approach in all situations.
In establishments that welcome therapy dogs, the Leonberger excels. There are many dogs involved in therapy work – bringing comfort, joy and tenderness to hundreds of patients throughout the world. Some are trained to be assistant dogs as well, their size and strength being a bonus. As a guardian the typical Leonberger takes on this job with quiet dignity, barking only when necessary. They are happy to lie in a strategic place where he can see everything coming and going, keeping an eye on the family and their possessions. The Leonberger is highly intelligent and takes considerable time to assess any situation but they are also powerful and brave and will protect their owners if called upon. When indoors, most of the time is spent lying on a mat or by the door on a cooler tiled area.
Though the Leonberger typically has a good temperament, with his size and structure early socialization and puppy training are a certain necessity. Puppy classes are highly recommended and are a great way to start off with proper socialization for your puppy. Young Leonbergers can often show great exuberance in their home when visitors come and consistent training to calmly greet visitors is helpful! Group obedience classes are very helpful in bringing up a well mannered Leonberger. Leonbergers are slow to mature, and slow to grow-up and typically do not lose their puppy behaviours until reaching two years of age! This makes for a very big puppy. Consistent training will help owners through the ‘teenage years’ between the ages of 12 and 18 months when young Leonbergers can be quite the handful. Professional certified trainers should be contacted if behavioural problems are encountered at the earliest stages. Certified trainers can help owners understand why their dogs might be behaving inappropriately and can often help solve the problem and enrich the relationship between the dog and its family.