Celebrating Longevity - The Grey Muzzle Award
How it all began.
At a meeting of the LHFI Board of Directors in 2006, a discussion about the short lifespan of large dogs led to an idea that long-lived Leos should be a cause for celebration. Someone remembered a delightful quote in an 1895 Leonberger newspaper that talked about Heinrich Essig in his 80s and his aging dogs. The local paper used the term of endearment, “Bemooste Häupter” or “already mossed heads” to describe the elderly Leos. “Mossy heads” seemed to lose some vital elements in translation, so the term,” grey muzzles” was chosen to honor long-lived Leonbergers.
Annual Grey Muzzle Awards.
The first awardees were identified in 2007 and received their awards at the 2008 LCA Club Show. Since that time the LHFI has presented Grey Muzzle Awards to both the breeders and owners of Leos that have reached the age of 12 years. These are the canine equivalents of Centenarians, those humans who reach the 100-year mark. For over a decade, recipients have been honored with customized certificates. Since the tradition began in the United States, the Leonberger Club of America has also presented a multi-media screening celebrating Leos from all over the world that have reached 12 years of age during the year. Photos and tributes of Grey Muzzle Awardees are also published quarterly in the LCA’s LeoLetter.
DNA for longevity studies.
The oldest of the old have been blessed with lives that are not only rich in history, but also in genetic information. The exciting 21st Century breakthroughs in genomics, molecular and population genetics have led some prominent researchers to turn their attention to the study of lifespan. As a result, the LHFI invites Grey Muzzle awardees to submit DNA samples to the Leonberger DNA Bank at the Universities of Minnesota and Bern to be made available to the international scientific community.