I have many enquiries about leo puppies and I thought I would put together some information on here for potential puppy owners of things to consider and what to look for when buying a pup.
When I plan a litter of pups I do so very carefully and do alot of research into the pedigree and lines of the dog I want to use as I strive to breed for health and temperament above all else. I am always aware that breeding a litter does not just consist of having the litter, selling the pups and banking the money, if I did I would not be breeding. People seem to be under the illusion that you can make money from breeding, if you are having 2 or 3 litters a year maybe you can but I beg to differ, I do not breed for the money, I breed a litter to strive to improve on my lines and to keep girls for my future in the breed. When I plan a litter I like to have at least 5 - 6 people on my reservation list before I am willing to go ahead with the mating and the litter. I like to get to know my future puppy owners and build up a good relationship with them and all owners are strictly vetted. On enquiring about one of my pups I will send out an Owners Questionnaire for the family to complete and to return to me, once I receive this I will then invite the family to come and visit me and the gang to see how they interact with my dogs and to discuss the breed further and to ascertain if this is the right breed for the family. No owner is guaranteed a pup until I have met them in person and they have met me.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN LEO'S
Many people call Leonbergers - The Gentle Giant, which in some ways is true but do not be sidelined into thinking all Leo's turn out this way. The Leo is very much a family dog that likes nothing more than being with their family, but as with any dog they need plenty of training and socialising. A fully grown Leo can weigh anything up to 70kgs and is very strong and powerful, if left to grow up without any training they can be very hard to control and become unruly. You have to be prepared to put the time in with your new puppy, and be prepared for chewed furniture, holes in your beautifully manicured lawn, water in your lap when they have a drink, hair everywhere when they moult, but this is all part of the puppy growing up. Having highlighted some of the pitfalls, these are always as with any breed things to consider.
If you are still interested in a pup, then do your research, read as many books as you can and try and visit breeders to see their dogs in their own environment, there are plenty of shows where you can go and see both dogs and bitches of all ages and chat to breeders there too. A good show to attend is the LCGB Champ Show in October each year where you will get to see loads of Leos of all ages and chat to people there. Diary dates are always placed on the LCGB Website so you can see when the shows are on and where. There are plenty of breeders and owners who would be more than happy to welcome you into their homes and let you meet their Leo's and to answer your questions. If you find a breeder that you trust and feel comfortable with, enquire about any litter plans they have and try and visit them to see the bitch too. Ask to see any Health Certificates - Eye Test, Hip Scores, Elbow Scores, and LPN1 Blood test, and a pedigree, and some Leo's are now being Temperament Assessed also. If you are not comfortable with the breeder do not feel bad just walking away and continuing your search.
Some ideas of questions to ask:
1. Ask about any health issues in the line
2. Where will the litter be raised i.e. in the house, or out in garage etc
3. Will they be Microchipped/Tatooed
4. Are vaccinations included in price
5. What will they be weaned onto
6 Will there be any restrictions placed on the KC Registrations
7. Puppy contract - ask for a copy in advance and read it thoroughly, including any small print, if not sure about anything clarify with the breeder.
Most breeders will provide you with all the information you need, and I always tell my potential owners to go away and have a serious think about it all, and if they are still happy then I place them on the Reservation List. I always place people on my list in order of when they contact me and I DO NOT move people about in preference to Show Homes. My puppys are sold purely as family pets and I do not guarantee them as show potential, a Leo can take up to 3 years to fully mature and go through so many changes it would be very hard to guarantee this. A good home for the pup is far more important to me where it will be well cared for and loved for its whole life.
All my puppies are sold with a Contract between myself as a breeder and the new owners. The contract is put in place to protect both parties, and this contract is available to any of my puppy owners to see before hand so they can read before signing. I like to do this so they can take time to read it and if they have any questions they can ask me beforehand. I have heard of too many buyers signing contracts without reading them and getting caught out in the future whether it is health issues, rehoming issues or breeding issues. My contract states exactly why I have put Endorsements on the pups, and what I expect to be done before I will lift them. If any of the tests are not within the requirements or any health issues in the line become apparent then Endorsements would not be lifted. So for anyone that is going to be signing a Puppy Contract do your homework and DO NOT SIGN the contract if you are at all unsure about any of it.
I always provide puppy packs for the new owners and these include:
1. KC Registration Documents
2. 5 Generation Pedigree
3. Picture of Dam and Sire
4. Microchip forms
5. Puppy Sheet/Diet Sheet
6. Copies of all Health Certificates
7. Puppy Contract
8. How to settle puppy in when you get home sheet
9. Sheet on Poisonous Plants and household items
10. Breeder pack of Puppy Food
A good breeder should always be there for the new owner and puppy throughout its whole life, no matter what for and this is something I always consider when planning a litter, as sometimes things can happen through no ones fault and the the pup could end up coming back for rehoming, and I am responsible for the pup no matter what. A responsible breeder should be accessible to their puppy owners for help and advice whether it is for training advice, health matters or just to let the breeder know how the pup is getting on.
I hope that this will be some help to people considering buying a Leo, what to consider, what to ask and as stated before this is purely my observations and how I would go about vetting my puppy owners and what they can ask of me. There is plenty of good informaiton on the LCGBs own website about health issues and puppy info that will also help.
Good luck for the future xxxxx