Leonberger v. Bernsteinmeer
How It Began
The first leonberger I saw was in my youth at our local riding stable. I fell in love with this huge, furry dog which I learned later was a leo mix. It would be years before we would own our first leonberger. The reason it took so long was due to our small apartment and our full work schedules which would not accommodate a dog at that time.
A couple of years later my husband and I moved to the States. Finally, we had the time and the surroundings to make the dream of getting our own dog come true. The decision to take a leonberger as our first dog was based on the memories of the leo mix from the riding stable. We researched on the Internet for breeders close to us (not so easy in the USA) and decided to visit a breeder that was relatively close to our home (one state away).
After our visit to this leonberger breeder my husband and I were convinced that this was the right breed for us. The nearest breeder to us with a litter planned lived in Ohio, her name is Ann Rogers, Cherrywood Kennels. The kennel was a 10 hours drive from us. After many emails and even more telephone calls Ann promised us a female from her litter. Finally, half a year later we picked up Eyka from Cherrywood Kennel. Our first years with Eyka were wonderful but also very stressful. We didn’t have much experience in raising a leo and made many mistakes. She forgave us and turned into a wonderful family dog. Eyka is family orientated, calm and unshakable in her nature and friendly towards everyone.
Unfortunately, in the States Eyka could not receive much dog socialization, therefore, we decided to take a second leo. 1 ½ years later Eyka’s half sister, Georgia, joined our family. It was the best decision for Eyka we could have made. They became inseparable.
In the year 2000 we moved back to Germany. We joined the German leonberger club and began to regularly attend dog training given by the Landesgruppe Hessen in Wiesbaden. We began to attend leonberger shows but only as spectators. In the summer of 2004 we brought Emmy (Eileen Löwe v. Gut Eiferslohn) into our family. She made a trio out of our leo duo. With Emmy we started to think about raising a litter of our own.
We now live in Brachttal, Germany, which is part of the Vogelsberg mountain range. The land here is heavily forested with river valleys running through it. There are also many open fields, which allow our dogs plenty of room to run and play. We finally made our way through all the required paperwork to start our own kennel.
We have begun to attend dog shows in Germany with Emmy but all of our leos still remain regular family dogs.
We try to integrate our dogs into all of our daily events (shopping, restaurant, vacation, family reunions and visiting friends). We are attending dog schools, dog walking groups and try to vary our dog’s daily routine.