Many breeds found favor among royalty, and the Leonberger was one of them. The Czar of Russia, King Umberto of Italy, Garibaldi, and the Prince of Wales all owned “Leos,” and the Empress Elisabeth of Austria had seven of them! Many of the dogs were donated by Heinrich Essig, creator of the breed, and a prominent citizen of Leonberg, Germany. Though there is no written documentation, it’s believed that Essig bred a Landseer Newfoundland bitch with a St. Bernard male and crossed them for four generations. Then he then outcrossed with a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, and back again with a St. Bernard. The Leonberger breed was born.
Leonberger by Justine Osborne