About Us and our life with our beloved Pets
We are Alan and Dianne and we share our home and our lives with our beautiful Leonbergers, our little Coton De Tulear and our four cats who all live together in harmony.
We live in Great Britain on the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire border, surrounded by lovely countryside, the perfect place for Leonbergers.
Princess Leia 25.01.17
Bengal Chinchilla cross
Our one and only homebred kitten
Angel 22.11.11 Chico 09.08.15 Yoda 09.08.09 Kit 29.04.15
Coton de Tulear Chinchilla Cat Ragdoll Bengal
& Fifi 29.04.2019
Norwegian Forest Kitten
We were first introduced to the Leonberger breed in 2006 and fell in love with them almost immediately. We have had dogs all of our lives, different breeds and for 25 years we had Cavalier King Charles Spaniels along with other breeds. We had always admired Giant breed dogs from afar, but never ventured in to this new world to which we would become totally and utterly absorbed.
Over the years, our dogs have become much more than just a big part of our lives, 13 years on, they are our lives. They have taken over our home, our vehicles, our sofa, bed etc, and in doing so, they have enriched our lives to the point that we can never imagine life without them in it. Each and every one of them brings something special to us that makes us love them more and more as time goes on. As you read further, you will find that we much prefer our dogs to most people! they are loyal & true, their love is unconditional and there is no ulterior motive other than to give them love and care in return.
We describe ourselves as a hobby kennel, in that our dogs are our beloved pets, they live with us in our home and not outside in kennels and they stay with us for life.
We began with just four Leonbergers, our 3rd and foundation bitch Siska, was on breeding terms and she cost us £4000 in 2010 when she had her first litter. With the exception of our imported dogs, all our breeding goes back to our late Siska, who was well bred and the most amazing girl to own throughout her life, a credit to the breed.
The difference between a hobby breeder and a commercial one, is that the latter don't keep any dogs who can not earn money or gain them popularity in the show ring, and certainly not dogs who may require money spent on them as they get older. Dogs no longer in breeding are usually sent to a new home to retire as are new youngsters who don't meet the grade get re-homed. No matter how many years left we have in breeding, we will never become this breeder!
Our purpose for breeding is to improve on what we already have, along with expanding the narrow breeding gene pool here in the UK. We ONLY breed Leonbergers, although we do have other pets.
We don't breed to fund a lavish lifestyle, or expensive hobbies and we don't have our fingers in other pies, (so to speak) We have no dogs in co-own homes for breeding purposes, so all breeding dogs live here with us. We have given away male puppies in the past, in the hope that we may be able to use them in the future, but sadly, this hasn't been a success.
We purchased our first four dogs for £7000 but the two boys, Ozzy & Balou were never used in breeding, only the two girls, Elsa & Siska. Since we first began to breed in 2010, we incurred huge costs in travelling abroad for our Sire's and our male import from Slovakia and two girls from Poland in 2018. It was 2017 and seven years later that our dogs became self sufficient. We now have to breed to be able to keep 12 Leonbergers, most of whom are not in breeding, and to pay vet bills for our older dogs.
So far, all of our litters have been KC registered, but we may offer to sell some puppies from future KC litters, without KC papers and at a reduced price to pet homes.
We strive to keep the Leonberger as it was originally intended, a beautiful, elegant, majestic and a harmonious Giant of a dog.
It will always be our priority to breed healthy, happy and well socialised puppies, who are confident and ready to meet the world. Puppies are born and reared in our home around our family and other pets. We give them the utmost of love and care to ensure a comfortable, safe and stable beginning for them.
We research the background and pedigree of our chosen stud dogs to the best of our ability to ensure good health, temperament and longevity. We are health conscious but not health perfect!
In 2016, we had our first litter from our own import boy Darco Leon Kral'ovce of Pagency (Neo) COI 3.12%
Over the last 13 years and 18 Leonbergers, we have had very little health problems in our dogs, so far, none in dogs that have been in breeding. Starting early 2017 with Neva, followed by Julz losing an ear, and then Balou losing his left eye, we had our first serious vet bills. As our dogs get older of course, vet bills will increase.
We cannot complain; in most breeds, cancer can be a problem and more recently, osteosarcoma, which has not yet arrived at our doorstep. It may only be time before we are also affected; who knows? We can only be vigilant and do our best to avoid lines in the future where it seems to be more prominent, in the hope that we won't become another casualty.
We do not breed from any dogs unless we feel that they have something positive to bring to the breed, even when they conform to the breed standard. Julz, Neva, Summer & Dora were never bred from and Kiki only had one litter. Summer, from our Siska-Sweedy litter, came back to us at a young age but although she was clear for lpn1, we didn't feel that she was suitable to be bred from. We are fortunate that we have enough girls to choose only the best for our breeding programme. So far in 2019, we have had 13 litters out of a possible 32, had we have had 3 litters with all our girls.
The Leonberger breed are well known for their friendliness towards people and is why they make such great family companions. One area that gets overlooked in breeding, is their behaviour towards other dogs, some can be quite unsociable, even aggressive. It has been difficult to understand over the years why such behaviour is acceptable when temperament assessments are done. Many years ago, we had a male who was quite dominant and unpredictable with other dogs, his Dam had been the same so this is obviously a hereditary issue. There was never any question about his ability to behave with people, he was a friendly, well trained and well mannered boy. We once took him to a temperament assessment day and had he have been old enough, he would have had a certificate to say he was sound in temperament. In our opinion, he was not.
We believe that they are not sound in temperament if they display any kind of aggression towards other dogs without reason. This is a flaw in their character and they should really not be bred from.
We have had only one dog who displayed a dominant character although she was always friendly and lovable with people, this was Kiki who we sadly lost in 2018 at 8 years old. In 2013, she had one litter and produced some dominant offspring. Dora was one of those pups and based on our observations and experience, we decided that Kiki would have no further litters. She produced some lovely puppies and it was a very hard decision to make.
Due the amount of choice we have had with our girls, we have been able to make careful selections over the years and breed only from what we believe to be the very best in phenotype and genotype, we hope to avoid breeding any puppies down the line with temperament issues.
Our own import boy Neo is aloof in temperament, as many Leonbergers can be. He is never the first one to say hello to visitors; preferring to watch from the sidelines and weigh up the situation before he is ready to join in and make friends. This is perfectly normal for the breed, some are exuberant in character, others quiet and need longer to trust people. A little shyness is better than aggression.
Our dogs are first and foremost our beloved pets, our older dogs, and dogs not in breeding are not re-homed. They stay with us as firm members of our family for the rest of their lives. In 13 years we have had just one very sad exception: Pagency Kimarl Genovesa- Dora
We do not line breed our dogs for type and have always out-crossed to a a sire who has either none or very few common ancestral links. The higher number of unique ancestors, the better and we provide the inbreeding COI for our breeding's. Bearing in mind that the Leonberger originally came from just a few breeding dogs following two world wars where the breed was almost decimated.
We also want to contribute to the gene pool here in the UK by bringing in new blood lines from Europe. Since we first began to breed in 2010, we have travelled to Paris; Belgium; Hungary; Poland; Holland; Italy and Slovakia in our quest to improve on quality and health in our lines. The genetic diversity of the breed is important to us for the future of the breed and it is hoped that our efforts will compliment the hard work done by others before us.
See future litters page for more information of our breeding plans.
We are UK Kennel Club Assured Breeders and have been assessed and approved in March 2014 and again in 2017. The Assessor kindly wrote in her report that we go above and beyond what is required of us.
When the KC first began their attempts to reduce puppy farming and promote responsible breeding, they introduced the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder scheme. We joined as members in 2010, as it seemed at that time that the focus was to change public perception of breeders and improve the general standard of breeding in the UK. The cost was £10 to join and we did so with great pride, we wanted to provide the highest possible standards within our breeding.
In 2014 when the KC changed to the Assured Breeder Scheme, it became more expensive to remain as members, increasing rapidly to £30, then to £60 and in 2018 to £80.00.
With new laws coming in to force with council breeding licences in October 2018, it would seem that most breeders will now require a council licence to breed, there seems to be no distinction between hobby and professional breeders. It has now been reported that KC Assured breeders who have had a thorough inspection and UKAS validation of good breeding practices, will be classed as low risk, although councils will still do their own inspections. Current laws state that breeders can have up to 2 litters without a licence and we doubt that we will ever have more than that, or make profit.
There is now a petition aimed to improve breeding practices and outlaw 3rd party puppy sales. It's currently going through parliament, May 2018, and if passed, it will make a huge difference to the breeding and welfare of puppies. We are in favour of more stringent laws where breeding is concerned and it should be breeders only who are allowed to sell puppies. Please sign the petition here for Lucy's Law https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/213451
As stated above, we don't have breeding dogs in co-own homes and would advise against purchasing a puppy from such a breeder.
For the first nine years of being in the breed, we had been members of The Leonberger Club of Great Britain, supporting fun days and shows. We were very proud to breed to their code of ethics which is more strict than the Kennel Club. Unfortunately, this relationship was soured when old friends suddenly became committee members in 2013, having not even been club members. We have written about this in more detail here.
We believe that our own standards are indeed higher than is required within the club code of ethics and this will be maintained outside their remit. Most importantly, our dog's remain with us for life and are not re-homed to make way for more breeding dogs, which is sadly accepted by most clubs, including this one. As of January 2019, we have more dogs here not in breeding, but our beloved pets will never leave us until it is their time to leave this earth.
In our puppy contract and as responsible breeders, we have a clause that states that our puppies must come back to us at any point should the need arise. We ask no questions and make no judgment should any puppy owner of ours be in this unfortunate position. While we would be sympathetic, our priority would be for the puppy that we have bred, so there should be no reason for anyone to not want us to know.
We emphasise that under no condition must any puppy bred by us, be involved in any way with the Leonberger welfare/rescue organisations.
This would be a breach of contract of which we take very seriously.
As responsible pet owners, we cannot emphasise enough how important it is to have a well trained, calm and obedient dog, especially as the Leonberger is very big and powerful.
We have trained most of our dogs under the Kennel Club Good Citizen Scheme and we make training our first priority. Every one of our gang has at least the Bronze Award, a few have done up to silver but we only managed to get two to Gold level. Training begins at just 12 weeks old. We also train our pups for the show ring and usually only show dogs until they have had their first litter.
A well trained dog is a happy dog as he will slowly learn that his good manners are rewarded with love and affection and of course, the occasional treat. It helps to form a special bond between owner and dog and it is also very enjoyable for all. It takes time, money and commitment to see the training through the Award process, but having a very well behaved and happy dog who is able to socialise with and respect other people and animals is worth all the hard work in the end.
Our aim was to have all our dogs trained to the Gold level but keeping so many puppies, it was difficult with so many dogs in training. We would highly recommend that our prospective puppy owners would at least train their dogs to bronze level standard. While many people have the ability to train at home, it's not quite the same as in puppy school where they will learn basic manners and socialise with other dogs at the same time. We ask in our puppy enquiry form if people are prepared to go through the training process and all reply yes! so it's disappointing when they don't make the effort and have to resort to head collars and harness's as they don't have full control of their dog. Seeing through the full training course from as early as 12 weeks old, will reduce many behavioral issues later on and the dog will be much happier.
When people visit us, our dogs are well behaved due to the work put in to them, they don't jump up and become out of control, and once the initial excitement is over, they return to calm and gentle Leonbergers taking life at their own pace and ready to make friends.
Good dog training classes don't need to advertise, many work on recommendations, check them out thoroughly before spending money with them, even when they have qualifications. We had a bad experience with a trainer in S-O-T, before we finally found an excellent dog trainer in our area.
Below is a link to a new website created in 2015 and contains information relevant to us as breeders warts and all.
We have no secret websites with hidden history and we want our visitors and prospective puppy owners to be able to make an informed decision before making contact with us.
Very sadly, there are always people in breeding who relish in causing great unpleasantness for others and it is for this reason that prompted the necessity to divulge otherwise very personal and private material. In doing this, we are able to give the truthful version as opposed to poisonous gossip from some who have little or no room to criticise others. 10 years on, those people now have others doing their dirty work for them. When we do hear of a name, we look up who bred their dogs and yes, it's the same old, same old 😉