Leonbergers were developed in small German village called Leonberg, in approximately 1840, by a dog breeder named Heinrich Essig. Being a town official, Heinrich Essig wanted to develop a breed that resembled a lion to go along with the town’s crest. Essig was able to accomplish this by breeding the Newfoundland with the Saint Bernard; which was then crossed with a Pyrenean Mountain Dog. This successful combination provided a large breed with a gentle temperament, that looked imposing. Because there are only 800 registered in the United States, this is considered a rare breed.