Similar Breeds to the Leonberger

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LeonbergerNot many mountain dog breeds are as majestic as the Leonberger, which has been used as a working dog for centuries. Most Leonberger dogs are used in mountainous regions to protect livestock, where their thick double coat helps to protect them from harsh conditions. But not everyone will have access to these gorgeous dogs, so we’ve put together this list of Leonberger similar breeds. 

What is the Leonberger? 

This giant dog breed was named after the German town of Leonberg and was first developed by Heinrich Essig, a councilman, during the 17th century. According to legends, these dogs got their lion-like appearance by crossing the Saint Bernard with Newfoundlands, and Great Pyrenees dogs. Thanks to their friendly temperaments and beautifully long coats, they quickly became popular with European royalty. 

While the breed almost became extinct during World War II, today these dogs are often used as rescue dogs as well as faithful companions in our homes. These pups can grow to a massive size, standing between 25 to 32 inches tall, and weighing around 170 pounds, with male Leonbergers growing bigger than females. Just keep in mind that their life span is shorter compared to other dogs at just 7 years due to their huge stature. 

Similar Breeds to the Leonberger

Below are just a few dog breeds that are most similar to the Leonberger. 

Bernese Mountain Dog

As one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, the Bernese Mountain dog is a big, tricolored pup with a thick coat that has a beautiful sheen that will require daily brushing. This is one of four Swiss mountain dog breeds that originate from the Swiss Alps. Just like every other mountain dog, they were first introduced to herd and protect livestock.  

Even with their natural desire to protect their loved ones, these canines are rarely aggressive. Their intelligence and calm temperament make it easy to train them, and with early socialization, they can become wonderful family pets. They will thrive with big families where they can bond with many family members and may suffer from separation anxiety if left on their own for too long but overall, these gentle giants are well-suited for families. 

St. Bernard

The Saint Bernard is among the most recognizable dogs in the world; these pups were originally bred to perform rescue work around the mountains of the Swiss Alps but many also enjoy being great family dogs. These wonderful dogs are affectionate, patient, and loving, which helps them do well around children. The love they have for their family is as big as they are, and much like other mountain dogs, they can be good watchdogs. 

These giant-breed dogs won’t need a lot of exercise but they’re by no means a low-maintenance pet. St. Bernards will shed a lot, so they will need plenty of grooming to maintain their thick undercoat. Moreover, they drool quite a bit, so be sure to have a towel with you at all times.   

Tibetan Mastiff

Originally from the Himalayas, the Tibetan Mastiff is known as the guardian of this mountain range. They’ve developed a reputation for being highly protective of their owners and territory, making them the ultimate guard dogs. However, their large size will often make them a tough choice for new owners.   

These working dogs will prefer to sleep during the day, choosing to stay active at night, when they keep intruders and predators away from livestock. They will need consistent training and plenty of room to move around, so they won’t do well inside a small apartment. Because of their massive bodies, they won’t be a good choice for families with younger children. 

Irish Wolfhound

Majestic and active, the Irish Wolfhound is officially the tallest breed registered by the American Kennel Club along with Great Danes, but was originally bred for hunting big game. With ancestors dating back to ancient times, these canines first became popular during the 15th century when they were used to help control Ireland’s wolf population. Today, these large dogs are known to be calm, friendly, and eye-catching, and will thrive with an experienced owner.  

Great Pyrenees

Also known as Pyrenean Mountain Dog, the Great Pyrenees works to guard livestock with their white and cream coats. These dogs were originally from France and were bred to keep flocks safe from predators. They have thick and weatherproof double coats that will shed heavily, so be sure to have their brush ready at all times. 

Estrela Mountain Dog

These dogs are named after Portugal’s Estrela Mountains, and are among the oldest breeds around this region. Not only is the Estrela Mountain Dog an excellent guardian for livestock, but they’re also very loving toward their family and young children. These dogs will benefit from the right training and early socialization, which will help suppress their dominance and curb any aggression. 

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

These dogs will look familiar because they’re closely related to Bernese Mountain dogs, which hail from Switzerland. They also come with a dense, tricolor double coat — Greater Swiss Mountain dogs come with a calm temperament and are open to both strangers and other dogs. This large breed will require moderate exercise, so give them a minimum of 30 minutes of walking every day; they will be happy with agility training and hikes. 

Anatolian Shepherd

These giant dogs are also called the Turkish Kangal Dog, and serve as Turkey’s traditional guard dog for livestock, which you won’t find easily in the United States. Because they’ve had this job for thousands of years, Anatolian Shepherds are the best in their field and have even helped African herders keep cheetahs away from their flocks. While they are experts at what they do, they are still independent and have a reserved nature, which can make it difficult to train them.    

Entlebucher Mountain Dog

One of the smallest mountain dogs, the Entlebucher Mountain Dog is also one of the four great mountain dogs, which include the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Bernese Mountain Dog, and Appenzeller Sennenhund. These pups are both adaptable and affectionate but they’re also high energy dogs that will require a lot of exercise. Just keep in mind that they’re also independent dogs that will thrive when they have a job to do. 

Appenzeller Sennenhund

As the 3rd largest of the Sennenhunds, Appenzeller Sennenhunds are working dogs that are used to protect property and to herd cattle. They can get along with other pets but will be cautious around strangers and will be vocal about it. These dogs can adapt well to all kinds of environments but can stay in good shape when given a large and fenced area to move around in. 

Dogue de Bordeaux

Also known as the Mastiff of Bordeaux, this dog is the oldest breed from France and was around even before France got its name. These muscular dogs are known to be famously loyal, highly courageous, protective, and affectionate; they’re also sweet and sensitive when raised properly. Owners also noticed that these dogs can be stubborn and may dominate people without a firm hand in training — if you’re looking for a fit dog, be sure to look for reputable dog breeders. 

Alaskan Malamute

This heavy-duty worker and impressively strong spitz-type dog are highly affectionate, playful, and loyal, easily recognizable through their bushy tail, beautiful coat, erect ears, and big-boned body. Everything about these dogs scream hard-working, and their weatherproof coats make them perfect sled dogs. However, you’ll need to start their training early to ensure that you get the most out of your Alaskan Malamute. 

English Mastiff

These colossal dogs belong to a clan that’s as ancient as our civilization; the English Mastiff is a huge, heavy-boned dog of prodigious strength and courage. They are dignified and docile but are also formidable protectors of their homes and families — these dogs come with a black mask that can startle anyone new to these dogs. English Mastiffs have broad and massive heads, along with wrinkled foreheads that highlight their kind, yet alert expressions. 

Chow Chow 

Chow Chows are China’s all-purpose dog, which presents a muscular, aloof, and serious-minded canine that’s a unique breed of its own. Compared to the other dogs on this list, they are compact and will only stand 20 inches tall at the shoulders. Their almond eyes, blue tongues, and fluffy coats are just a few things that set them apart from other dogs similar to the Leonberger. 


The large dog breeds discussed above are some of the most similar breeds to the Leonberger; these intelligent dogs also share the same lion-like looks. As pet parents, it’s up to us to keep our dogs happy and healthy, and the information above should give you an idea of the right pup for your home. Just be sure to look for responsible breeders who can help you source the right dog for your family.