Newf Facts

General Breed Questions

Are Newfies good with children?

           The Newf is renowned for his gentleness, protectiveness and love for children. He is tolerant of behavior by children far beyond that which would make other breeds snap or walk away. Because of this he is ideally suited to being a child’s companion, but the adult must accept the duty to protect the Newfie from abuse by the child. It is no accident that the Nana in the original Peter Pan was a Newfoundland.

Do Newfies need excercise?

            The grown Newfoundland does not require a great deal of exercise. They can become couch potatoes quite easily, but are willing and able to accompany you in more strenuous pursuits.

Do they eat a lot?

           During their first year, Newfoundlands grow from about a pound to over a hundred pounds. They require plenty of food to support such rapid growth. Once they reach adulthood, however, they have a very low metabolism, and Newfie owners find that their dog food bills are lower than those of friends with Labs or Shepherds. Overfeeding a Newf puppy, in the hopes of growing a bigger dog, can cause serious orthopedic problems. Remember, a lean Newfoundland is a healthy Newfoundland.

Do they shed?

           Yes. The undercoat is shed at least once per year, known as “blowing coat.” Grooming is extremely important at this time, as the dead coat must be brushed out or mats will form. It is possible to brush out a pile of hair which seems to be equal to the size of the dog being groomed, but this is not an ongoing condition. About ten minutes per day of brushing (a little more during the few weeks of shedding per year) will keep the coat glossy & healthy. Nails should be kept to a short length to protect the feet from splaying. This is particularly important in a giant breed, as the feet support a significant load. Most Newfoundlands shed a LOT in the Spring, and then again in the Fall. The Fall shed is usually less severe then the Spring one.

Do they drool?

           Yes, on occasion. Most Newfies drool less than a St. Bernard, for example, but when excited, hot or when food is present they will drool. When resting and cool they will drool less. It is likely, however, that when a Newfie puts its head into your lap, you may be left with a damp lap.

How long do they live?

            Newfs are a short-lived breed, with 8-10 year survival about average.

How does the color inheritance work in the Newfoundland?

           The Solid Black is dominant, or BB. The Landseer is recessive to the solid black, or bb, and is the result of the piebald gene, which places the self-color on a white background. Solid Bronze is recessive to black, and the Solid Gray is a dilute of black. Care must be taken when matching dogs with recessive genes, as the piebald gene will result in a solid color and white dog. Where the solid color is black, the Landseer results, which is a color allowed by the standard. However, if dogs with Brown or Gray backgrounds are bred with a Landseer, the possible results are a Bronze and White or a Gray and White dog, both of which are explicitly disqualified in the standard. (Note that ‘solid’ color is considered by the standard to include some white.)

Should a Newf be trained?

           Yes, be sure to sign up for and participate in obedience classes. Your Newf would benefit from puppy kindergarten, too. Don’t expect him (her?) to have an attention span for the adult classes much before 6 months old. Definitely train him, however, well before a year. You need to know how to communicate your wishes to him and he is a WORKING DOG & will come alive when he is in a position to please you by behaving. It can be tough to get the highest marks in obedience trials, should you choose to go for the CD, CDX, etc., because the Newfies are not as ‘snappy’ on recall as the smaller dogs, but they do well and do really enjoy it.
Be sure to dabble in the other pursuits that Newfies are especially suited to & enjoy: Rig up a cart for him to pull the kids around in (be sure to have some rigid harnessing so that the cart can’t run up on his heels)– BIG hit with the kids. Have them rig up an Indian-style travois & ‘rescue’ their friends. Make him a back pack & include him on all your hikes (just don’t let him carry your sleeping bags, if you are hiking near water they WILL get wet.).
Water trials are great fun & show your Newf’s inherited lifeguard talents.

Can I roughhouse with a Newf pup?

           DO NOT PLAY ROUGHHOUSE with your pup. It is so tempting, they look so much like little teddy bears & they can ‘take it’ and really enjoy it. The BIG PROBLEM is that your Newfie has no concept of his size or of growing larger. While it is really cute to have your puppy wrestle with you, dash around & throw body blocks at 25-30 pounds, it is no fun for the next 10 years at 150 pounds! Treat a Newfie puppy like it is a rare piece of porcelain or crystal, they really are a much more precious treasure.

What You Should Ask the Breeder

  • May I see the puppies and their mother?

           You should always be able to see the mother, and you should be able to observe the puppies. Newfoundland puppies are curious and friendly, they should be coming to you.

  • May I see the AKC registration for the father and mother?
  • Have the mother, father and puppies been cleared by a cardiologist?
  • Has the mother or father produced “heart puppies” before? 

           Unfortunately heart problems exist in every Newfoundland line all over the world.

  • Have the mother and father been rated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)? What was the score (excellent, good, fair or not cleared)?

            checks for orthopedic problems.

  • Have the parents been screened for cystinuria? Have they been cleared?

            If both parents have been cleared your puppy will not be affected.

  • Have the mother or father any working titles?
  • Can I talk to your vet?
  • Are you a member in good standing of the Newfoundland Club of America?

            Members must sign and abide by an ethic guideline.

  • What other local dog organizations are you a member of?

            (Regional Newfoundland clubs, local all breed clubs, tracking, obedience)

Questions a Good Breeder Should Ask You

  • Where do you intend to keep the puppy?
  • How much time will the puppy stay home alone?
  • Can I talk to your vet?
  • Have you owned a giant breed dog before?
  • Are you aware of the problems the breed has?
  • Are you aware of the costs involved if your dog should develop medical problems?

            As a giant breed the costs for medicine can be substantially higher

Before you take your puppy home make sure:

  • All parties have signed a written contract.
  • The breeder has supplied an individual AKC registration application for the puppy. 

            Without it you will NOT be able to register your puppy in the US.

  • You have “puppy proofed” your home and yard.
  • You have care and feeding instructions.