We saw our first Leonberger in 2002 on the web. Shortly thereafter, we were meeting with what would be the breeder of our first Leo, Home Sweet Home’s Aja Marie. We were introduced to Aja’s mom, Udda and the Stern’s other Leo, Emma. As they say in the Leo world, “You can’t have just one!” and so our second Leo, Acorn’s Eligible Bachelor (Eros), came into our lives less than two years later.
And now, after years of preparation and learnings, we have a puppy that we ourselves bred from our very special A litter in 2006: Good Life’s Abracadabra, Willow. We are tremendously proud that Willow has surpassed her mother’s very special achievement of #4 Leo in the U.S. in 2005 in the United Kennel Club (UKC). Willow was the #1 Leonberger for 2009 in the UKC. Rikka, Aja’s granddaughter is an AKC Bronze level Grand Champion, finishing number #11 in the country in 2012 under much stiffer competition. Our girls just continue to amaze us.
We cannot stress how very special this breed is in our lives. They have given us new friends, new sports, and most importantly many life lessons. My husband, Nick, has had many breeds of dogs in his lifetime — and he says he will always have a Leo in his life (probably more than one!). I am just the opposite — these Leos are the first dogs that I have ever had! We have been equally impressed with this breed’s intelligence, goofiness, and love of life.
If you are considering a Leo, consider first if you can give a dog the things which a dog needs most — food and shelter, of course, but equally important — discipline and love. Second, consider the needs of a large breed animal. If you can’t stand a speck of dog fur on your clothes – this is absolutely not the breed for you. Large breed dogs are strong physically and sometimes headstrong.
Are you really willing to get up early on Saturday for puppy class?
Specifically for Leonbergers – it is vitally important that your Leo is a part of your family. These dogs need to be with their humans, it is that simple. We believe it would be cruel to bring a Leonberger into your home to be simply an outdoor pet. These dogs accompany us everywhere that it is feasible, and some that it is not.
Are you willing make your Leo a family member?
Leos can change your life. We know they certainly changed ours. We wouldn’t be galavanting around the country waiting impatiently for the next National Specialty show if not for our Leos. We wouldn’t have discovered the importance of giving back to your community if not for our Leos (all are currently counting up visits at several of the local assisted living and nursing facilities in pursuit of Leo Therapy Award). We would like to believe that even if we had never met this breed we would remember to live each day to the fullest – but it is a human failing to think our time on this earth is limitless. However, reading stories daily on our LeoList reminds us how precious each day is, especially when you only have 8-12 years to live it.
Are you really ready for a Leonberger?
If you think you’re ready to welcome a Leo into your life, there are plenty of sites out there that will tell you all the info you could want on the history of the breed and all that jazz. You can find several links to some of the sites we trust on our links page.
If you are interested in learning more about getting on a waiting list for a Good Life Leo pup, please either email or call us. Also, check back to our Blog for the latest Good Life news regarding show wins, good news, and upcoming litters.