Neal Leas

Neal D. Leas, age 78, of Des Moines, world renowned all breed dog trainer/handler and German Shepherd breeder, died April 7, 2016. A Celebration of Life Service was held Wednesday, April 27 at the Windsor Heights Community Center in Colby Park in the Windsor Heights area of Des Moines. A graveside service will be held later in Neal's beloved northeast Iowa.

Neal was well known throughout Iowa, nationally and internationally for his expertise in dog training as well as his Guinness Book of World Record Champion German Shepherds.

Neal Dean Leas born April 3, 1938 in Waukon, the only child of Floyd Andrew Leas and Ireta Mabel Deal. Neal grew up in Rossville and graduated from Waukon High School in 1956. Neal was a proud 1961 graduate of Drake University, obtaining a double major in speech/drama and psychology; attended Drake Law School; and was a proud member of the Pi Kappa Delta National Honorary Debate Society - Diamond level.

Neal married Sharon Thompson from Afton in 1969. Together they raised two daughters, Elizabeth and Holly Leas.

Neal bought his first German Shepherd in 1957, beginning an unparalleled 59-year reign having the top German Shepherds in the world. He had a God-given talent as a dog trainer, helping thousands of dogs and their owners have better lives. He was never asked a question about dog training/behavior that he couldn't answer. Throughout his illustrious dog show career, Neal accomplished what no one else had yet dared to dream and put two German Shepherd dogs in the Guinness Book of World Records. Having the Greatest International Winning Dogs in the world was only the tip of the iceberg of outstanding accomplishments to his credit.

Neal was featured on many television shows, radio programs, Des Moines Register articles and in many books. To get a full picture of Neal's career go to His daughter, Holly, has followed in Neal's footsteps training and showing dogs all over the world. Neal would be very proud that Holly and Sharon will continue his legacy of training and breeding German Shepherd dogs at Lutzhaus Kennels.

Neal is survived by his wife, Sharon; two daughters, Elizabeth and Holly Leas; a grandson, Matthew; a host of dear friends; and his beloved cat, Oliver. He was preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws, Glendora and Eddie Thompson, whom he loved; and a plethora of beloved German Shepherds.

In lieu of flowers, send memorial contributions to the family at 104 SW 4th, Loft 310, Des Moines, IA 50309.

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