Research opportunities

Research Opportunities

The LCGB and its members have worked hard to establish a firm reputation as being proactive in health matters. But there is still more to do. Here is how you can help.


Osteosarcoma Research information-


The Leonberger Club of Great Britain has been invited to participate in an international research collaboration between the Animal Health Trust and the Broad Institute in Massachusetts. Through the use of simple cheek swabs, enough genetic material can be gathered to help this study to identify patterns of inheritance leading to a potential genetic marker test for predisposition to this awful illness. These kits are simple to use, with clear instructions and can be done at home.


The researchers are particularly keen to get samples from three types of Leos;

1- those who unfortunately may have already been diagnosed with this form of cancer;

2- those with close relatives who had the illness;

3- And finally, Leos over the age of 7 who are healthy and clear of any signs of cancer.


If your dog unfortunately has a suspected osteosarcoma please ask your vet to place a small piece (a 3-5mm cube) of the biopsy of the suspected tumour (normally removed for diagnostic histopathology) in a special preservative (‘RNAlater’) provided by the AHT upon request, (see contact details below).Osteosarcoma is probably the most common form of cancer our breed suffers from.


Please include a photocopy of your leonberger’s KC registration form and pedigree.

The cheek swab kits and full instructions, along with prepared envelopes for return of samples, can be obtained by contactingDr. Mike Starkey Tel: 01638 555603;E-mail: Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7UU, UK.


Goniodysgenesis and Glaucoma in Leonbergers-


Research informationOn the 23rd of April 2012, the BVA eye panel working group met to discuss emerging evidence of Goniodysgenesis (a form of malformation of the eyes) in Leonbergers. This malformation results in a narrowing of the naturally occurring drainage channels in the back of the eye. These channels are involved with regulating the fluid pressure within the eye capsule and narrowing of the channels has been shown to cause a susceptibility to the development of glaucoma, which is an extremely critical and painful condition.


There are two vital keys to successfully handling this. The first is to have as many Leos as possible undergo the simple, non-invasive gonioscopy test. Mr. Ian Mason, Chief Panellist of the BVA / KC Eye Scheme, estimates that 250 to 350 will be required in order to do the full pedigree analysis necessary to show clear patterns of inheritance.


The second and equally important key is to not panic and to not remove good dogs from breeding unless absolutely necessary. To do so only damages the genetic diversity of our breed. According to Ian Mason we should all take a lesson from the long standing and well established  BVA / KC hip scoring scheme. As any veterinary orthopaedics specialist will confirm, any hip score above 0:0 technically indicates some degree of dysplasia. We do not however throw out all breeding quality stock if they don’t have perfect hips. Instead, we have a sensible approach based on reducing the incidence of dysplasia gradually by using low scoring animals, and thus protecting the genetic diversity of our breed. Based on this model, breeding quality Leonbergers should only be excluded if they show a high degree of goniodysgenesis in the channels of their eyes, and should NOT be removed from breeding if they are shown to have only marginal or slight goniodysgenisis. Instead, they should be prudently matched to dogs or bitches that have themselves been shown to have normal or only slight narrowing of the channels.


Any leonberger owner can help this research by getting a simple gonioscopy examination done on their dog either by certified KC/BVA panellist or during one of the LCGB’s specific gonioscopy test events.


Anal Furunculosis -


Research Information Our research is focussed on identifying genes involved in susceptibility to canine anal furunculosis. We have already identified one set of genes (called the Major Histocompatibility Complex) that are associated with susceptibility, but it is clear that there are other genes involved too.


This information was based on German Shepherd dogs, and it would be really interesting to see if the same association is seen in Leonbergers too. We have also performed a genome wide association study, and identified several other regions of the genome that are associated with anal furunculosis in GSD.


We now need to confirm these regions, and it would make the study much more powerful if we can confirm them in a second breed. All we need is a small amount of blood to extract DNA from any Leonberger who has been diagnosed with anal furunculosis. We would like 1ml of blood collected in an EDTA tube. It can then be posted (at room temperature) direct to me at the address below. Please also enclose the signed consent form plus the filled in AF phenotype form. Initially we would like as many cases as possible, plus any very close relatives that are unaffected


.Please enclose a copy of your leonberger’s KC registration form and pedigree then send these samples to:Dr Lorna J Kennedy Senior Scientist University of Manchester Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research Stopford Building Oxford Road Manchester M13 9PTUKTel: (+44) 161 275 7316 Fax: (+44) 161 275 1617email:


International Leonberger Health Questionnaire


By completing this questionnaire you will help international research on the health of the Leonberger breed. Anyone with a Leonberger is invited to fill in the form. Please note that the data is collected for research only and your information will be treated confidentially within the involved research centers and scientific collaborators. The research is carried out by the University of Bern, Switzerland and Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Sweden. In Europe, we also collaborate with Catherine André in Rennes, France and Mike Starkey at the Animal Health Trust in the UK.


To go to the form, please use this link: