Drafting Cart

All activities require a lot of good solid background training, and you must always remember to love the dog first and the sport second!

In many cases, people with difficult dogs spend most of their time trying to get their dogs not to do something don’t jump, don’t bark. Performance sports give those dogs something easy and enjoyable to do, and do with enthusiasm! They learn quickly and love any exercise as long as it suits their body type.

Leonbergers are a versatile working breed.  The LCA honors this in their Working Dog Program.

From Leo owners:  Becker Interview      Jones Interview    West Interview

Below are examples of some performance venues for Leonbergers.  There are many more videos on our YouTube channel.  You may also enjoy the Mid Atlantic Club of Virginia’s Performance 101 videos.


No matter what the size, dogs love the competition and exercise afforded by dog agility training and events. It is the perfect way to bond with pets and get your daily dose of exercise.     Brandt Interview         A Handler’s View           AKC Getting Started in Agility

Big Dog Tip: Jumping can be hard on both young and old large breeds. Be very conscious of your dog’s joints and bones; always keeping them at a good weight and physically fit.


Barn Hunt is open to any dog of any breed or mix who wishes to play the rat searching game and can fit through an 18″ wide by bale-height tall tunnel. Barn Hunt has titles, levels of increasing difficulty, and championships. Barn Hunt is an independent sport, but titles are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Barn Hunt website                                 Don James overview


Dock Diving is a fun, exciting but easy to do sport with simple rules: You throw a toy into a pool while your dog runs down a dock about 40 feet long. He flings himself off the end of it, lands in the water and grabs the toy. The goal? To have the longest jump possible
Anne Marie Interview

Leo Tip: long hair on their floppy ears and thick coats can hold moisture in and do not have very good air circulation. Dry thoroughly to prevent ear infections and hot spots.


Coursing is originally a sport for sight hounds. In the last few years, it has expanded to include the Coursing Ability Tests which are suitable for a fit Leonberger.

Big Dog Tip: Large heavy coated dogs do not do well in extreme heat.  Always be aware of your Leos condition and comfort levels


Drafting is the activity of harnessing your dog to some type of vehicle and having them pull it. The vehicle can be a simple two-wheel cart, four-wheel wagon, or even a sled  It can be a very enjoyable and rewarding activity. The LCA has a Titling draft program

Leo Tip: You can start introductory steps on a young leo; it is not recommended to draft with a leo under two years old and without OFA x-rays for hip and elbow dysplasia. You need to know the health and condition of the hips and elbows, and the skeleton should be mature with growth plates closed (at least eighteen months).


Whether destined for the show ring, the obedience/rally ring, therapy work, or the couch, all Leonbergers benefit from a basic obedience class. Foundations started in Puppy K are expanded, and dogs begin to generalize commands beyond the training room. Basic obedience  includes hints for navigating the real world, from walking on leash to sit and stay amid distractions. Recall is an important aspect of a basic obedience class; it could save your dog’s life. There is less off leash play, but socialization continues. Many classes include the Canine Good Citizen programs


Rally is a game of numbered directional signs providing twists and turns taking teams through a variety of obedience exercises. Judges design courses from novice to master levels. The courses vary from show to show, making training and trialing competitive.  AKC Rally Resource Site

Big Dog Tip: Some of the turns can be quite tight for a Leonberger. Be sure to train short turns and pivots.


Dogs are born to use their noses! Scent games have low risk for injury, so they are great for puppies, seniors and recovering. Hide treats, toys and even yourself. Start simple and slowly make it more difficult. To compete, there are venues and instructors around the country. Competitions search for essential oils. Your job is to stay out of your dog’s way. Look for that moment when your Leo says “I found it. You didn’t know where it was but I found it.” This moment will change your relationship with your dog forever, for the better.
Getting Started in Scent Work                                            Kline Interview


Tracking events are the competition form of canine search and rescue. They provide training for dogs and handlers to find lost items, humans or other animals.It demonstrates the high level of scent capability that dogs possess.  Bonding, working as a team, and confidence building are a few good reasons to track. A skilled dog tracking team is wonderful to watch. And so much fun for both the dog and the handler!    Beginners Guide (AKC)
Big Dog Tip: At upper levels of tracking, you may need to navigate some fences and ditches.


Everyone likes to teach their dog tricks. From the simple “sit” to more complex “put your toys away”, each gives a feeling of accomplishment while having fun together. The AKC now awards titles for teams that can show their trick accomplishments.
AKC Trick Dog Information


With their webbed feet, Leos love the water. Preparing for water work involves intense training and dedication. The owner must ensure her dog is healthy and capable of the exercises. If you take the time to work with your Leo in the water, you will find a true bond and witness a very happy dog.       The LCA has a titling Water Work program

Alko Interview

Good Intro from LCNW


The Working Pack Dog program awards titles for participation in verifiable hiking trips as an active member of the hiking party. All hikes must be trails in the U.S. The Leonberger Club of America has a Working Pack Dog title program.