The Leonberger, or the Leo for short, is a super-sized, affectionate breed that originates from Germany. During World War I and II, the breed nearly went extinct but has since made a comeback—although they remain rare in the United States. Despite the fact that Leos are seen infrequently in North America, they are certainly hard to miss. These giant fluff-balls can weigh more than 150 lb. and are covered in thick fur. To keep your Leo from turning into a furry disaster it is important to have a weekly grooming regimen and stick to it.
To tackle this sizable task you will need the following tools in your arsenal: slicker brush, undercoat rake, carding tool, medium-tooth comb, mat comb, thinning shears, clippers, #10 blade and a high-velocity dryer (optional).
There are two main things you will need to focus on when grooming the Leonberger: removing the excess undercoat and ridding the coat of any mats that may have formed.
Start by feeling your Leo’s body. Are there any large mats needing immediate attention? The places you will most likely find matting are behind the ears, in the chest area, the feathering around the legs and on the tail. Sizable mats should be removed humanely by trimming them out with thinning shears or, if the mats are very close to the skin, shaved out with a #10 blade. Small mats can be removed by breaking them down with the mat comb and brushing them out with the slicker brush.
Now that your Leo is mat free, it is time to tackle the undercoat. If you have a high-velocity dryer available to you, now is a great time to put it to use. Place the condenser cone on the nozzle, turn the dryer on, stand back and let it snow. A high-velocity dryer is an excellent tool for blowing out dead coat, but it can get messy. If you do not have a high-velocity dryer at your disposable, you will have to de-shed your Leo by hand.
Start with a good all-over brushing with the slicker brush. This will help pull out any small tangles. Then take your undercoat rake and go through some of the thicker areas where the hair is likely to bunch up, such as by the rump or chest. Once those areas are thinned out, take a carding tool to the body to remove undercoat buildup around the back, sides and outer thighs of your Leo. Now take your comb and go through the feathering to ensure there are no snags. Finally, one more brush through with the slicker brush and your weekly grooming session is done.
While grooming a Leonberger may seem an enormous task, your Leo will thank you and pay you back pound for pound with love and gratitude.