How Much Do You Know About Newfoundlands?
It’s not everyday you see a Newfoundland strolling around the city or a Cane Corso for that matter! Gimli and his mom, Melissa are currently in training working with Alyssa, our Lead Trainer. Alyssa has relayed what a pleasure it is working with them and how much she enjoys this breed. “You should’ve seen the looks we got strolling out and about! They’re not used to seeing a big, shaggy, handsome four-legged fella like Gimli in Atlanta. He was an absolute rockstar and everyone wanted to pet him”!
So let’s talk Newfoundlands shall we?
The Newfoundland is a large, strong breed from—wait for it—Newfoundland. Don’t you feel smart now? They were originally used as a working dog to pull nets for fishermen and haul wood from the forest. There’s not exactly a need for that on the Emerald Coast present day though.
They’re a capable and hardworking dog, well suited to work on land or water. They’re a strong swimmer and equally strong “pack horse.” Sweet-natured and responsive, they make a wonderful family companion as you see in the pictures.
Off to Never Never Land…
Surely you remember Nana, the fictional Newfoundland employed as a nanny by the Darling family in Peter Pan?
Sweet-natured Nana was first introduced to the public by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie in his 1904 play, Peter Pan, which later became the well-loved kids’ story we know today. Although that wasn’t the breed they used in the motion picture “Hook”.
It’s true that Barrie’s fictional account of Nana as a round-the-clock babysitter stretches reality a bit. However, there is truth in the author’s characterization of the dog.
The Newfoundland really is a sweet dog who loves children.
He’s naturally gentle and friendly with them, as well as protective. Fans of this breed say the Newfoundland really is a natural-born babysitter.
Originating in Newfoundland, Canada, located on the northeastern shore of that country, the Newfoundland, affectionately nicknamed “Newfie,” shares a birthplace with the popular Labrador Retriever. The breeds are similar in character, sharing a desire to please, intelligence, a strong work ethic, friendliness, adaptability and versatility.
The Newfoundland is a giant breed (about 100 pounds). Though relatively placid, he still needs daily exercise to keep fit.
Neat freaks need not consider the Newfoundland because his long, heavy coat is a mud-burr-dirt magnet. He is especially skilled at tracking dirt and debris throughout the house. You’ll need to keep up with quite a bit of grooming to minimize the damage. And he drools — a lot.
When it comes to training, the Newfoundland is an A student!
He learns quickly and there is little this dog can’t do. Training should begin early because the breed gets big quickly and it can be tough to haul a 100-pound pooch off the couch.
All dogs have the potential for heroism, but it seems to be a hardwired into this naturally strong swimmer. There are many accounts of Newfoundlands rescuing people from the cold waters of the Atlantic following a shipwreck or plucking children from icy deep water — just in time.
Regardless of the purpose of the Newfoundland in your life, be it worker or companion, he will no doubt capture your heart.
Check out these Highlights!
- The Newfoundland is a big dog when full grown. Though mellow, he’s not your basic one-bedroom apartment dog and would probably be happier in a more spacious setting.
- He has has a strong work ethic, needs exercise, and mental stimulation. Ongoing training are a perfect outlet for his working abilities.
- If you can’t stand dog slobber, the Newfoundland is not for you. This breed drools. A lot.
- To keep the Newfoundland’s thick coat looking great, he needs regular grooming. You can do it yourself, which is time consuming, or you can hire a professional groomer. We’ve got some great ones in Destin!
- The Newfoundland thrives in cool climates, though he can adapt to living in warmer climates or Destin as you can see. To protect him from heat stroke, keep him near air conditioning or fans when it’s really hot.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a shelter dog, a rescue group, or a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
Your Newfoundland History Lesson
The Newfoundland comes from the Canadian province of the same name and worked alongside the fishermen of the area. Although originating in Canada, the details are sketchy.
There are three theories of how the Newfoundland came to be, though as is the case with most breeds, it’s hard to validate. The first is that the Newfoundland is a cross between the Tibetan Mastiff and the now-extinct American Black Wolf. Through the pairings of those two animals, the Newfoundland eventually evolved.
Another school of thought is that Vikings left the dogs when they visited the New World in 1000 A.D. and these dogs interbred and were eventually bred with wolves native to Eastern Canada.
The third theory is that the Newfoundland is the result of many European breeds cross bred around the 15th and 16th centuries, among them the Pyrenean Sheep Dogs, Mastiffs, and Portuguese Water Dogs.
What is known is that sometime in the late 18th century, Sir Joseph Banks, an English botanist, acquired several Newfoundlands and in 1775 George Cartwright named them. In the late 1800s, another fan, Professor Albert Heim of Switzerland identified and described the breed.
But the existence of the Newfie, as the breed is sometimes called, was in jeopardy until then…
Some dogs are drawn to the taste and smell of antifreeze, but it’s quite deadly if ingested. Once again we are Floridians but better safety aware than sorry. Be on the lookout for possible antifreeze spillage on driveways and the streets when out with your dog. That also goes for the many spilled treats from holiday cheer that also mess up canine tummies.
I hope these tips help and that you and your stay safe this winter! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out!
In the 1780s, the breed was almost wiped out because of government-imposed restrictions mandating that Canadian families had to pay taxes on the one dog they were allowed to keep.
One person who contributed to the Newfoundland’s resurgence was Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873), who liked to include the Newfoundland in his paintings. The white and black variety of the Newfoundland was named Landseer in his honor.
But the future of the breed was truly solidified when the Honorable Harold MacPherson (1884-1963), governor of Newfoundland, made the dog his breed of choice.
In 1860, the first Newfoundland was shown in England. The breed was first registered with the American Kennel Club in 1879 and the first American Newfoundland champion was titled in 1883.
Males stand 28 inches tall and weigh 130 to 150 pounds. Females stand 26 inches tall and weigh 100 to 120 pounds.
The Newfoundland is known for his sweet disposition. He’s like a big, loveable Teddy Bear. He loves children, is intelligent, and aims to please. He’s happiest when he is with his family, and should not be left alone for long periods of time or be banished to the backyard or a kennel.
Like every dog, the Newfoundland needs early socialization — exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences when young. Socialization helps ensure that your Newfoundland puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
Newfoundlands are prone to certain health conditions. Not all Newfoundlands will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.
If you’re buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
In Newfoundlands, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
Though relatively mellow, this dog needs regular activity. He’s no long-distance runner, but he’s a great swimmer.
You’ll need to take special care if you’re raising a Newfoundland puppy. Like other giant breeds, the Newfoundland grows very rapidly between the age of four and seven months, making him susceptible to bone disorders. As a big dog, he ages more quickly than small dogs too.
Don’t let your Newfoundland puppy run and play on very hard surfaces such as pavement or pull a cart until he’s at least two years old and his joints are fully formed. Normal play on grass is fine, as is puppy agility, with its one-inch jumps.
Swimming is an ideal form of exercise for a Newfoundland puppy because he works his muscles without the danger of injuring his joints.
Training should begin the day you bring your Newfoundland puppy home. He is generally eager to please so training is fairly easy. Leash training is a must with the Newfoundland, especially because he’s going to weigh more than 100 pounds when he’s full grown.
Recommended daily amount: 4 to 5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Newfoundland puppies need slow, steady growth. Feed a good-quality diet with 22 to 24 percent protein, and 12 to 15 percent fat. Keep your Newfoundland in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time.
Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less you’ll need to shake into your dog’s bowl.
Keep your Newfoundland in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out all the time.
If you’re unsure whether he’s overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test.
First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can’t, he needs less food and more exercise.
For more on feeding your Newfoundland, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Newfoundland has a flat, water-resistant double coat. The outer coat is coarse and long, and the undercoat is soft and dense. Shedding is moderate, and the bulk of it occurs primarily in the spring and fall.
The Newfoundland coat comes in several colors, including solid black, brown, gray, or Landseer, a white coat with black markings.
His thick, handsome coat requires brushing two to three times a week. Bathe as needed, every one to two months.
Many owners opt to hire a professional groomer to groom their Newfoundland because it’s a daunting task. Regardless, you still need to brush regularly. Like all dogs with a fluffy coat, the Newfoundland gets dirty easily.
Expect muddy paws, leaves or burrs stuck in the coat, and feces on the hindquarters.
Brush your Newfoundland’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Trim his nails once every month or so if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding. If you’re not uncomfortable doing it yourself, ask a vet or groomer to do it for you.
His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. When you check your dog’s ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don’t insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.
Begin accustoming your Newfoundland to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy.
Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.