Well, it would appear that my resolve to post weekly has come to naught. My fingers are working well enough tonight though to allow for a post I've been thinking about for a while on a noble breed, the Leonberger.
It will not come as a surprise to anyone to read that the Leonberger originated in Leonberg (Germany). This giant breed was multipurpose: able to pull a cart, work on the farm, and live with the family.
There can be a real range in size among members of the breed: weight from a small of about 100 pounds (45 kg) to a large of 170+ (77kg); height ranges from about 25 - 36 inches (63.5 - 91.4 cm). Obviously, even a "small" Leonberger is a dog with stature and presence.
While their size may be intimidating, this is actually a friendly breed with moderate exercise needs. Very large dogs often do not require as much exercise as smaller, active breeds and while they like some room to stretch out, a Leon can adapt to a thorough walk a day; one doesn't need a farm to keep a Leon.
What they do need is human companionship. This is a breed that was developed to be around people and they prefer to be where their people are. It is this personality trait, as much as their size, which keeps them from being well suited to small spaces. It isn't easy having a 150 pound shadow in a cramped walk-up flat. Plus, there's a limit to how often that frame can go up and down stairs before damage to joints begins.
Joint problems and the strain that a massive body puts on organs limits the lifespan of giant breed dogs and the lovable Leons are no exception. A life of 8 - 10 years is common. The amount of affection and happiness they will squeeze into those years though, make them very worthy companions.