A Newfoundland dog named Boo was walking with his owner near a California river. Suddenly they saw a man struggling to stay afloat against the strong current in the river. Without thinking, Boo jumped into the river and rescued the man. The man happened to be deaf and Boo was not even formally trained in water rescue. He simply used his natural instincts to save a life. Later, the Newfoundland Club of America awarded Boo a medal for his heroism. These heroic water rescue dogs indeed deserve our praise and love. In this guide, we will study some cool facts, temperament, size, weight, and other important things to know about Newfoundland dogs (Newfs).
- The Newfoundland is known as the Gentle Giant of the Dog World. He is also known for his bravery and loyalty.
- Many people owe their lives to this breed. In 1919, a Newfoundland was given a gold medal for his bravery when he pulled a lifeboat to safety, saving some twenty shipwrecked people. For this reason, the Newfoundland is also called the St. Bernard of the water.
- Newfoundland dogs were mainly bred for water rescue; other dog breeds in this category are the Portuguese water dogs, Labrador retrievers, and Leonbergers.
- There are conflicting views about the origins of Newfoundland dogs. Some believe they may have come from the Nordic breeds. Many experts also state that they are a result of breeding between Tibetan Mastiffs and local dogs found on the island of Newfoundland.
- The Newfoundland and Labrador retriever are closely related breeds.
- Lord Byron had written a famous poem Epitaph to a Dog on his Newfoundland named Boatswain.
- The Newfoundland is a large, muscular, agile, hardy, and harmonious dog.
- Average height in males is 28 inches while that in bitches is about 26 inches. Many dogs are even larger. Newfoundland dogs weigh between 120 and 150 lb or 54 to 68 kg.
- They have a massive head with a short muzzle.
- Their coats are coarse to touch and a bit oily. This feature makes their coats waterproof. Since they were bred to spend a lot of time in the water, the oily coat protects it from fungal issues and also dries faster. Dogs that spend a lot of time indoors tend to lose their undercoats each year.
- They have webbed paws that help in swimming. Their strong tail acts as a rudder to change direction easily while swimming.
- Coat colors are black with blue highlights, black, or bronze.
Where to find a Newfoundland
Newfs are purebred dogs and breeders charge heavily for them. Expect to pay a price of about $1000 or more depending on the breeder, your puppy’s bloodline, coat color, and location. Newfs need plenty of room to run and play, so make sure you have a sizable yard before considering a Newf for a pet.
Once you have decided that a Newf is the best pet for your household, visit the official website of the Club of Newfoundland Dogs in America. Here you can find information about registered Newf breeders. Speak to several breeders and if possible, visit their facility before buying your Newfoundland puppy. When you go to visit breeders to observe their litter, choose a puppy that is alert, friendly, and curious. Avoid puppies that are timid, aggressive, or appear underfed or tired.
The Newfoundland breed is a massive dog but they are by no means aggressive. In fact; they are aptly known as the gentle giants of the dog kingdom. Newfs are adorable, loving, sweet, and generous. They are also calm and patient and do not get hyperactive when they meet new people. In the beginning, they may appear a bit wary of strangers but soon they will warm up to them. These loyal, trustworthy dogs are eager to please their masters and hence very obedient.
Although they are alert and protective, they do not bark too much. When the situation arises though, they can be very brave. Should an intruder enter your premises, your Newf would not hesitate to protect you with his life.
Newfoundland dogs get along well with kids and other family pets. However, you need to socialize them from an early age. Should there be any signs of aggression or timidity, these can be corrected through obedience training. Many Newfoundland dogs have been used as therapy dogs and they even make great nannies! Protecting young children comes as a natural instinct to these loving animals.
Newfs can get lonely if they are left by themselves for long periods of time. If you and your family members are busy all the time then perhaps you’d be better off getting a cat or a hamster.
The breed was bred for water rescues but now that communication has improved and there are fewer water disasters, Newfs do not have much work. Today, they are mainly kept as household pets and companion dogs. However, they still need plenty of exercise and play. Give your Newf a swimming pool and he would be a happy dog. Your Newf will also love outdoor playtime with the kids and other family pets. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh drinking water to your Newf. He will happily slurp water all day but he may also make a lot of mess while slurping. So be prepared to clean up often.
Newfs are extremely sensitive; so do not use a harsh tone of voice or punishment of any sort while training him. Use plenty of rewards, praise, and petting when he does a good job. Also, training should start the moment you bring your pet home. Start with crate training. Puppies love the crate as it gives them a secure feeling. Along with crate training, you can also start with house training. Show your Newf where it is okay to go potty. Many pet parents use newspapers to potty-train their dogs.
You may also want to invest in collars and leashes for training purpose. Keep the training sessions short and fun but be consistent and train every day. No puppy gets it right the first time, and there will be mistakes. But over time, you will have a better-trained dog, one that you and your family will enjoy for years to come.
Newfs need a lot of grooming. Since they are indoor dogs, their undercoat is shed completely each spring. So you must brush and comb your Newf regularly. Newfs drool a lot and when they shake their heads, the saliva and slobber fly everywhere. So keep a towel handy to wipe them down. Bathe your Newfoundland once a month. You must also trim his toenails and brush his teeth every day to prevent oral issues.
Health problems in Newfoundland dogs
Hip dysplasia and heart issues are very common in Newfs. So you must ensure that he does not gain too much weight. Do not overfeed your pet and make sure he gets plenty of exercise. Newfs love colder climates so if you live in a warm region, forget keeping your pet happy. Skin problems are rather common in this breed. The average life span of Newfoundland dogs is about 9-11 years.