Breeding Guidelines

The Leonberger Club, NZ has put together this comprehensive list of standards’  for all  Club Affiliated Breeders to ensure good breeding practice is followed. Applying these measures will mean that every possible step has been taken to produce healthy, sound dogs that will be a credit to the breed.        

  Before breeding it must be ascertained that both sire and dam have acceptable and current heath test scores.

The genetic pool of Leonbergers here in NZ is limited and we should not be eliminating dogs from breeding that we do not really need to.

Health Tests and Measures for Breeding Stock:

  1. PennHIP (for hip-dysplasia) . . . . . . . . . . .  . The PennHIP test measures joint laxity and can be done at 6 months of age. There is no pass or fail however the results are fairly explanatory and come with a recommendation. The median will always move but we should aim at keeping in the higher percentile (i.e. above the median) and take heed of the recommendations given regards breeding.
  1. If using the AVA hip dysplasia scoring scheme the combined total score of both parents should not exceed 24. The score on any individual hip joint must not exceed 8.
  1. NZVA Elbow (for dysplasia)    This test can be done at 12 months of age. Under the NZVA elbow dysplasia scheme it is desirable to have an overall CLEAR score (this is equivalent to zero:zero in the old scoring system). We suggest a BL is satisfactory. Score 1 we suggest use with care. Score 2 or 3 are definitely NOT acceptable for breeding.
  1. Clear Eye Certification . . . . . . . . . . Both Sire and Dam should be tested.Consider this as part of a breeding warrant of fitness. The optimum result is ‘CLEAR’. Your Ophthalmologist will also indicate if breeding is recommended.Remember that entropion and ectropion whilst best avoided if possible are NOT life threatening.
  1.   Polyneuropathy in Leonbergers is a crippling and fatal disease and the ILU has urged us to make this test mandatory. Testing for this disease enables us to contribute positively to the future of this wonderful breed.     It is possible to completely eliminate LPN in the Leonberger population in a very short period of time if we all strive to use breeding stock with N/N results. To continue breeding with a LPN carrier (D/N) is not a choice we would recommend.

 LPN 1        N/N – N/N   Be aware there are still some ‘unknowns’ regards LPN1                                                                         D/N – use ONLY with N/N         Preferentially the N/N pups should be kept for future breeding. (note: university now suggests that it’s not necessary to limit this combination for 1 generation only.)                                    D/N – D/N     NEVER use.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              LPN2         N/N – N/N                                                                                                                                                                                   D/N – N/N    NEVER use                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             LEMP        N/N result is preferred                                                                                                                                                            D/N – use ONLY with N/N.    Preferentially N/N pups should be kept for future breeding.                                    D/N – D/N –  NEVER use.

6.      The inbreeding co-efficient (COI) should be considered when planning a litter.  It is not the only consideration of course but a low COI score is highly recommended. We therefore suggest you should aim for a 10 generation COI below 10% and be wary of choosing anything over 20%.  

  • Only dogs and bitches believed to be mentally stable should be bred from. Neither, timid, nervous or aggressiveness are considered acceptable traits for breeding stock.
  • Age must be considered when breeding. Due to skeletal growth and development we recommend Bitches not be mated until 24 months of age and not to be bred from more frequently than once a year. Bitches over the age of 7 years should not be bred from.
  • Males however can be used once all health tests are acceptable.
  • International dogs and bitches accepted for breeding in their own country are accepted for use in NZ, as long as their health tests are of an acceptable score (as above).
  • The colour of the dogs to be bred from must be accepted within the FCI Standards. Known carriers of colour-faults must not be combined.
  • Puppies should stay with the breeder until they are 8 weeks of age and will be wormed, vaccinated and health checked by a veterinarian according to normal practise before delivery to their new owners.
  • It is expected when puppies are sold (at 8 weeks) they are in good health and exhibit sound temperament. However, if there is any known or apparent health issue and/or defect, the breeder will inform the buyer of these concerns and discuss any forward care and treatment if necessary.
  • Microchipping is strongly advised.
  • It is the breeders’ responsibility to keep accurate record of all breeding, sales and registrations.
  • Stud fees are at the discretion of each breeder but the TLC suggests that a standard stud fee would be equal to the cost of one puppy or a puppy in lieu.
  • It is recommended that breeders develop a Sales Agreement pertinent to their own kennel and philosophies. It should be robust enough if occasion arises for a court of law to be involved.
  • Breeders should make an effort to sign all new owners up to the Club via the “1st year free” offer.
  • Breeders will accept the responsibility of re-homing any Leonberger bred by them, should the original owner be unable to keep the dog.
  • A breeder should use discrimination in the sale of his/her puppies and the type of home in which they are placed. We strongly suggest your support towards the puppy and its owners continues for the lifetime of said dog.

It is suggested that if you have any questions, issues or you need advice on a breeding decision then approach your mentor or another breeder of long standing and good repute. The committee is also at your disposal for discussion as well.

Of course, breeders shall also comply with TLC code of Ethics and in accordance with TLC Constitution  15 15.2.2  action may be taken if it is considered that any of these measures have been breached and/or deliberately flouted.