We’re Hoping for December Puppies!


In September, Legacy’s Lady Camilla–whom we call Millie–set off for an ambitious blind date. She flew from Detroit, Michigan, to Frankfurt, Germany, in order to compete in a three European shows, qualifying for the Ring of Honor in the French National Leonberger Show (Cluny, France); the German National Specialty (Leonberg, Germany); and the Bavarian Regional Specialty (Mühldorg, Bavaria). She was registered to compete in two other shows, but she sat them out, owing to the fact that she was bred, as planned with her Dutch boyfriend, Blekx-Farm Sebastien, who goes by the call name Son-son. Here he is with his owner.

Blekx-Farm Sebastien, aka Sonson

And here he is, greeting Millie as she arrives for the breeding:

Sonson and Millie

The breeding appears to have been successful, although we still are waiting for positive confirmation by ultrasound on November 8. Until then, we will be waiting, somewhat impatiently, as Millie is in this photo:

Millie headshot

Sonson’s and Millie’s puppies will have a COI of 26.62% (42 gen), be in the lower half of the Yellow Band for Mean Kinship, and be Heterozygous for the DLA test. These puppies should be strong, healthy, and beautiful.

We will keep everyone posted about Millie’s status, but until then, here are two more pictures, one of Millie and Sonson playing, and the other of Millie in a more stately pose.


Mating danceMillie in the Netherlands



2017 Spring Puppies Are Coming, Part 1

With the new year we are beginning the next generation of our Leonbergers. Legacy’s Aristocratic Lady “Lady” is pregnant and expecting puppies February 8th.








Our grand and majestic Grand Champion Lady is having puppies with the  magnificent French male, Lionstar’s Noble Royal “Zorn“. Zorn lives near Paris with the judge and breeder, Valerie Bontems, and her Leonbergers from the kennel Clos de la Wittmatt. His parents are the champions (FIN & EST) Namupalan Dream Lionstar and (RUS) Amicus Optimus Antonius. We will soon be looking for great homes to care for and love Lady and Zorn’s puppies. If you are interested, please contact us. We would love to talk about Leonbergers and would be happy to set up a visit to get to know you.











Look for Part 2 of our nursery plans very soon. Alfie and Maalo’s puppies are in the works!

A Busy Week for Alfie

The past seven days have been quite busy for Legacy’s Alphaba! On Friday, June 17, Alfie finished her AKC Championship, getting Best of Breed and and a three-point major at the Grand Traverse Kennel Club Show in Traverse City. It was nice to finish so close to home. An official picture will be posted soon!

On Saturday, she completed her TDI test to become a certified Therapy Dog, got to play with her sister Hope, visit a new Leo puppy Imre, and even learned how to do some carting in the evening. (Of course, she was a natural!)


After a few days of rest, she went downstate to make puppies. Here she is with an image of  her “husband-across-the-pond,” Maalo, Lyonechka of the Bernese Garden at Oldholbans.


Many thanks to Maalo and to his owner Sarah Sevastopulo for sending us the “good stuff” to make this breeding possible. We will know in about a month whether the procedure was successful.

If you are interested in a puppy from this litter, even if you have emailed us before, please contact us at legacyleos@gmail.com, with the subject as “C Litter.” It’s been quite busy here, and we may have misplaced your email.

Here’s hoping for a healthy and happy litter of puppies arriving in late August!

Exciting News: Puppies!

What could be better than playing with a litter of squirming Leonberger puppies on a late summer afternoon? We are happy to announce that our bitch Legacy’s Alphaba will be bred with Lyonechka of the Bernese Garden at Oldholbans (“Maalo) this summer! We are expecting puppies by early September.

Alfie - May 2014.JPG
Legacy’s Alphaba, aka “Alfie”

This is particularly exciting as Maalo is a beautiful male from across the pond: he lives in England, and is an exceptionally sweet-natured Leo who sires big-boned pups with excellent coats.

Lyonchka Maalo of the Bernese Garden at Oldholbans, aka “Maalo”


We are hoping for puppies by the end of the summer (2016). If you are interested in adding a Leonberger to your family, feel free to contact us! Judging by the parents, this should be a fine litter of sweet and ultimately lovable baby Bergers!

 Maalo head study.jpg

The Happy Couple!


My Philosophy on Breeding Leonberger Dogs


Michael, Suzanne, and Alfie in Litihost, Czech Republic. Photo by Luanne Moede
Michael, Suzanne, and Alfie in Litihost, Czech Republic. Photo by Luanne Moede

Most Leonberger breeders, when asked about their breeding philosophy, claim to breed for health, type and temperament. But this answer is too broad. It tells you nothing about how they prioritize these items and it assumes that there is one standard meaning for each of them. What you really want to know about a breeder’s philosophy is how he or she prioritizes these essential elements of breeding and what they believe is most important about each of them.

My answer to this question is based on the belief that the Leonberger is, foremost, a member of our family. It can be many other things as well, but most importantly, it must have the characteristics needed to be welcomed into our homes. So, in planning a mating, the first thing I look for is the temperament or character of the pair. Whenever possible, I observe potential sires in their home environments. I look for how they react to new people and dogs in their territory, searching for signs of curiosity and interest rather than protection and guarding.

Cleo and her puppies
Cleo and her puppies


When we bring a Leonberger puppy into our family, we are committing to a huge investment of time, emotion, and money. The return of love and companionship is well worth all of it, even when considering the shorter lifespans of our giant breed friends. The heartache of losing a Leo is inevitable, but we must do whatever we can to minimize the frequency of loss. Because of this, my second priority as a breeder is to work toward improving the health and longevity of the breed. Breeding choices are always a matter of compromise and balance, but wherever possible, I select mates to reduce or eliminate known health issues. I also believe that genetic diversity is essential for the health of the breed, and I work toward maintaining this by avoiding popular studs and by selecting mates to produce litters with below average in-breeding and familial relationship coefficients.

6 Weeks old - Wagon Puppies

Type, the third element most claim to breed for, refers to conformity to the ideal standard of the breed. This is the element that promises wins in AKC shows and invitations to Westminster. It is also the element that leads to the overuse of a few popular studs and the loss of genetic diversity within the breed. I still breed for type, but its importance to me is much less than that of temperament and health.

34 days old (2)

I believe that there should be room for significant variability within the breed in order for there to be adequate long-term genetic health. Variations in size, coat, color, ear set, tail length, head style and even gait are all subject to individual interpretation. I personally like large and strong Leos, full and slightly high masks, and heads that are clearly neither Pyrene nor St. Bernard/Neuf. Though I like coats that are multi-colored, this is not something that I think needs to be bred for. Other breeders will have other elements of type that are more important to them and very few will agree with each other on every point.

Cleo teaching her six-week-old pups to play tug of war
Cleo teaching her six-week-old pups to play tug of war

I do not expect my puppies to all look alike. Some are bigger, some have more black, and others may have lighter eye color. Given proper rearing and care, I do expect all my puppies to be friendly and welcoming of people. I expect them to be calm, but still want to play. And I expect them to know when to be gentle and loving. I will try to give them the potential for a long and healthy life. I do not expect them to have the ideal, perfect Leonberger type because I do not believe that there is any such thing.

And if there was such a universally recognized type, trying to breed to such a narrow definition would inevitably destroy the breed through loss of genetic diversity and health.

This summer, we are planning to breed our girl Alfie and put this philosophy into practice, producing our C litter. If you agree with the philosophy above and are searching for a Leonberger puppy, please send us an email or leave a comment below.

 Here is Lady nursing her puppies.
Here is Lady nursing her puppies.

Happy Birthday to Our “A” Litter

On February 27, our first litter turned four years old. Our foundation bitch, Bevard’s Cleopatra,was the sweetest dog ever whelped. Here she is in her prime:


We were fortunate to breed her to GCh Leodania’s Ma Reggio di Calabria, a lovely male from the western United States:


From these two fine dogs, we were blessed with four adorable puppies:

Puppies in wagon.JPG

each of whom grew up to be special in their own right. There’s  Sequoia (Legacy’s Afinis Sequoia) who lives in Steamboat Springs, Colorado:


and Hope (Legacy’s A New Beginning), who lives just down the road in Traverse City:



We kept the other two puppies for our own.  Alfie (Legacy’s Alphaba) is something of a world traveler, having attended four shows in Europe last fall. She’s going to Crufts this year, as well as another show in France. We hope to breed her this summer.



Last, but by no means least, we have Legacy’s Aristocratic Lady, an AKC Grand Champion. Lady is a big and beautiful bitch. She and her sister Alfie are the best of friends. Lady is, for now, the matriarch, since she has four puppies of her own, who just turned a year old in January. We look forward to more puppies, from both Alfie and Lady, in the next year!



Alfie’s Adventures in Europe

We took our Leonberger girl, Legacy’s Alphaba (we call her Alfie), to Europe for a whirlwind tour of of Germany, Beglium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the Czech Republic, stopping at Leonberger shows in most of those locales. Below is a picture of us all in Litohost, the Czech Republic, taken by our friend and fellow Leonberger enthusiast, Luanne Moede, who was also on the European Leonberger Tour.


It was a wonderful trip, and it turned out to be easier to take our dog with us than we thought it would be. More information and photos will be posted as soon as we can organize them!

A view of all of us in our camper--a little cozy, but very comfortable!
A view of all of us in our camper–a little cozy, but very comfortable!


Above is a shot of Alfie on the left, with her littermate Lady, taken back when they were puppies.

The puppies  are all grown up now, and Lady is a Grand Champion in her own right:



We look forward to breeding Lady (CH Legacy’s Aristocratic Lady) in late spring, with a litter of Leo pups just in time for mid-summer.