The Working Leonberger
Since the early days of Leonbergers coming to the UK their working abilities have been realised. Leonbergers excel at water work, carting, obedience, working trials, agility and anything else that involves Leos using their brains or brawn! For a large dog they are very agile and active, many people are surprised how their dogs seem to leap into action when they get near a lake or put a harness on for carting. There have been many people in the clubs past who have worked very hard over the years setting up training sessions and tests, organising fun-days and just generally getting people to enjoy seeing their Leos get motivated and having fun. The working section and sub committee was first launched in October 1999 and is still very active today.
The main purpose of the working committee is to help and promote owners to work their Leos, whether it be organising fun-days and training days, water and carting tests, or holding seminars to help working judges and stewards. The working committee also keeps up to date judges lists for any person wishing to put on a test and keeps records of all Leo’s achievements. The committee also regulates any persons or group wishing to put on a certified test. It reviews and updates the regulations for certified tests.
Permission was requested and granted by both the Northern Newfoundland Club and The Newfoundland Club to use their Water Tests and Draught Test Regulations as the basis to our current Test Regulations. As Leos have webbed feet our breed excels at water training and the water tests are almost exactly the same as for the Newfoundland.
There are five levels in the water tests – A being the entry level and E being the highest.
To date we have two dogs that have passed the highest levels, the first being “Wilma”, owned by Sheena Stebbing, the second being “Tom” owned by Jill & Gordon Ashfield.
Leo’s can start water work from as early as 16 weeks of age with care. There is a booklet available free of charge from the working section which sets out some guide lines to help anyone wishing to set up a water training group.
Carting / Draught Work
The Working Section committee decided to use a combination of different carting and Draught Tests that were deemed to be more suitable for testing Leonbergers – the new Regulations came into effect in 2000.
There are five levels and the highest level reached to-date (25.07.12) are held by Leonbergers Bryson and Georgia jointly holding the honour of being the first and only Leonbergers to have passed Level 5, both dogs being owned and loved by Liz Guy-Halke.
Leo’s don’t start agility ‘proper’ until they have reached the age of 2 years but they can learn the basics while they wait to mature. There are currently two Leo specific groups run by experienced agility enthusiasts – despite their size Leo’s do very well at this activity.