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The Newfoundland is a large dog under the working dog category. Also known as Newf or Newfie, the breed originated in Canada and was bred to work for fishers in the Dominion of Newfoundland, a region in Canada.
The Newfoundland is well known for its huge size, strength, loyalty, intelligence, and quiet disposition. This working breed is known to be good with children, which makes it a natural babysitter.
Are you planning to welcome home a Newfoundland puppy? Read on to find more about this gentle giant of a breed.
The Newfoundland breed originated in the coast of Newfoundland in Canada. Basque fishermen were believed to be the ones who introduced Newfies to the country. Although the reason why they opted to bring a flock-guarding dog is vague, they gradually developed the Newf as a working dog, both on land and water.
Newfoundland evolved with water-resistant double coats and webbed feet. These traits made them highly adaptable to working in various jobs. The Newfie's build made it capable of hauling fishing nets and pulling carts filled with fish to the market.
The breed's most important job involves water rescues. These water dogs swam lifelines to victims of shipwrecks. They also pull out drowning children from the water. The Newf's skills in swimming became a very crucial part in saving people from the Titanic.
Rigel, a Newfoundland dog, swam to a lifeboat for three hours. The dog didn't mind the freezing waters as it was searching for its lost owner. Unbeknownst to the Newfie, its master has already drowned together with the ship.
The lifeboat would have been rammed by the steamship Carpathia if it weren't for Rigel. The Newfie kept barking and caught the attention of the ship's crew. The passengers of the lifeboat and Rigel were welcomed aboard the Carpathia.
Many many experts believe that the Newfoundland dog breed descended from the Tibetan Mastiffs and the now-extinct American Black Wolf. Another theory suggests that the breed came from Portuguese Mastiffs brought by Portuguese fishermen in the 16th century.
Newfoundlands were also believed to have descended from the Great Pyrenees dogs and black retrievers. Others claim that the Newfoundland shares many physical traits with the St. Bernard and the English Mastiff with its stout legs, large heads, bull necks, and broad snouts.
Breed enthusiast George Cartwright bestowed the name Newfoundland in 1775. Another fancier of the breed was the English botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, who adopted several Newfies.
In the 1780s, the Newfoundland almost went extinct due to the government-imposed restrictions. It forced Canadian families to pay taxes for keeping a dog in the 18th century.
It survived extinction when Sir Edwin Landseer included the breed in many of his paintings from 1802 to 1873. His apparent favour of the breed contributed to its popularity. The "Landseer" Newfoundland (black and white variety) was given its name to pay homage to him.
The first time the Newfoundland was shown in England was in 1860, whilst the first breed was registered in 1879 by the American Kennel Club. In 1886, the Newfoundland Club was created in the UK and is now the oldest stud club in Britain.
The numbers of Newfoundland dogs in the UK and Europe dwindled after the world wars. Fortunately, the breed survived, and its population grew in the 1950s. As time passed, the Newfie became a popular dog breed around the globe and made its mark in history.
In Newstead Abbey, England, a monument for the beloved Newfoundland dog of Lord Byron named Boatswain has become a popular tourist attraction. As a tribute to his dog, the great poet made a eulogy as a tribute, describing Botwain as: "one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices."
Another Newf named Seaman was a part of the historic 8,000-mile journey across America with its owners, Lewis and Clark. Serving as a hunting dog and guard dog, Seaman was able to fend off a stray buffalo that came charging into the camp.
The fictional Nana, the Newfoundland nurse in Peter Pan, became a well-loved character as she embodies the Newfoundland breed's fondness for children and life-saving instincts.
The Newfoundland is truly a gigantic dog in many respects. Standing at an average of 69 - 74 cm in height for males, and 63 – 69 cm for female, weighing 59 - 68 kg for males, and 45 – 54 kg for females, it is a powerful and heavy-boned dog breed. Its massive head sits atop a thick bull neck and a broad body.
This dog has a muscular body that is longer than it is tall. Despite its bulky form, its gait is effortlessly covering much ground.
A Newfoundland dog puppy will have to wait for two years before its body becomes fully matured. At 5 to 6 months of age, its growth is gradual and steady, after which, it will experience a growth spurt.
A small hint that a Newfoundland puppy is quickly growing is its increasing need to eat. That's because its body is working hard to become fully developed.
Newfoundland dogs do shed throughout the entire year. During regular days, they lose a fair amount of hair. However, when shedding season comes around, which occurs in spring and fall, the Newfie goes through heavy shedding. This is called "coat blowing", and it happens twice a year for the Newfoundland dog breed.
In spring, the heaviest shedding takes place as Newfies are getting rid of their thick winter coat in preparation for the summer heat. During winter, they will lose large chunks of fur for three to four weeks.
Note that a Newfoundland puppy does not shed as much as a fully matured Newf. The growth of the adult dog coat will begin when the pup is about 6 to 18 months old. It is quite common for many puppies to have their full coat when they reach the age of 3.
Since the Newfoundland dog breed sheds whole-year-round and sometimes in large amounts, it is not suitable for dog lovers with allergies. Its coat easily picks up dander and may trigger allergic reactions.
Newfoundland breed standard wears a black, brown, or grey coat with white markings. Its coat is comprised of a thick, soft undercoat and a slightly long water-resistant topcoat that is either straight or wavy and harsh to touch.
Since the Newfie has a thick coat, it will require frequent brushing, at least two to three times a week. Use a slicker brush and follow it up with a long-toothed comb. These will remove dead hair and prevent mats from forming. When shedding season starts, brushing should be done daily to keep loose hairs from clumping together.
Bathing every two months is recommended. Its handsome coat will often need some professional grooming since keeping its fluffy coat neat may be a daunting task for owners.
Don't forget to brush the Newfie's teeth at least twice a week to prevent gum disease and bad breath. It is also important to clean the ears thoroughly with a vet-approved solution to avoid bacterial growth and potential infection.
The nails should be trimmed when they get too long or when you start hearing clicking sounds. Long nails tend to catch on things that may be painful to the Newfoundland.
If you are meticulous in keeping your home clean, know that Newfies are droolers. Their slobber needs to be wiped off by a clean cloth regularly. Tying a handkerchief or towel around their neck also helps in keeping drool off the floor.
The Newfoundland is well known for its intelligent, loyal, and affectionate nature. Undoubtedly a magnificent guard dog, the Newfie also has a gentle and calm disposition that makes it a popular family pet.
Since it is a natural swimmer, being a working water dog, this massive breed is recognised as being a good assistant for families with a swimming pool or who enjoy going to the lake or ocean. However, it will be foolish to have the Newfie solely responsible for anyone's safety in the waters.
Because the Newfoundland dog is intelligent, it is easy to train. With this said, it is important that training and socialisation start at a young age to make sure Newfies grow into mature and well-adjusted dogs.
They do not like to be left alone and will require plenty of physical and mental stimulation, as well as human contact. When left to their own devices, these dogs will likely adopt bad habits to entertain themselves.
Newfoundlands are not called natural babysitters for no reason. These dogs are gentle giants, rarely showing any aggressive behaviour. Newfies thrive in a loving environment.
With that said, the Newfoundland dog's massive size is something to consider when they are around toddlers or small children. Thus, it is a must that interaction is supervised to keep playtime safe.
Other dogs do not pose a problem with the Newfie since this breed is generally friendly. However, care should be taken when new cats or small pets are introduced, just to be on the safe side.
An adult Newfoundland is advised to eat 4 to 5 cups of quality dog food. Meals should be spread equally over two portions – morning and afternoon.
There are many factors to consider when calculating how much food your Newfie can eat. These include age, gender, size, activity level, health, and metabolism. When in doubt, don't hesitate to seek advice from a veterinarian.
Below is a typical calorie needs per day of an adult Newfoundland weighing 54 kg:
The Newfie should be given a diet with balanced nutrients. Choose to buy commercial dog food specifically made for large breeds. Newfoundland dogs are prone to suffer from bloat, and as such, they must never be free-fed.
The Newfoundland has a lifespan of 9 to 12 years. However, Newfies can also suffer from inherited health conditions and other diseases, including:
Newfoundland dogs commonly develop this disease due to their large size. Genetics also plays a significant role in the formation of dysplasia.
Affected dogs experience pain and mobility difficulties due to the incorrect growth of the hip joints and/or elbow joints. Arthritis may occur in Newfoundland puppies with dysplasia.
Newfoundland dogs with mild cases of this condition often do not require heavy treatment. Joint supplements and anti-inflammatory drugs are enough to stop its progression. Surgery and total hip replacement are recommended for severe cases of hip dysplasia.
Aortic and Subaortic Stenosis
Newfoundlands can develop cardiovascular disorders that disrupt the normal blood flow in the heart. According to studies, the development of this disease in Newfies are linked to genetics.
Aortic and Subaortic Stenosis causes chest pains, lethargy, muscle weakness, and breathing difficulties. Serious cases of the condition can result in early death in Newfoundland dogs.
Careful monitoring is usually the only thing needed for mild cases. Sometimes the vet will prescribe beta-blockers. Moderate to severe cases need long term medication and surgery. A cardiac examination is the most effective way to prevent dogs from passing these diseases to their offspring. Afflicted Newfoundland dogs shouldn't be used as breeding stocks.
Entropion and Ectropion
These are two eyelid problems that often plague the Newfoundland dog. Entropion happens when the dog's eyelids turn inwards. Although it isn't life-threatening, it can cause extreme discomfort to Newfies. Entropion can irritate their eyes and in severe cases, impair their vision.
Ectropion simply means droopy eyelids. Similar to entropion, it can result in inflammation in the eyes. Newfoundlands with mild entropion or ectropion can live a normal life without many problems.
However, the vet will regularly monitor their condition to ensure that it doesn't worsen. Corrective surgery is necessary if these eye disorders continue to progress.
Newfoundland dogs will require daily exercise that lasts for at least 60 minutes. Since they are large dogs, they will also need lots of space to move around. Make sure they are placed within a safe environment like a securely fenced yard or back garden to avoid health problems.
The Newfoundland's thick and oily double coat cannot withstand warm weather so care should be taken during exercise. It is best to take it for a walk early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the temperature is cooler.
If you are keen on caring for a Newfoundland, be ready to pay £2,500-£3,500 for a well-bred pedigree Newfoundland puppy.
High-quality dog food and treats can cost you £70-£100 a month. You would also need to spend on dog accessories such as leads, collar, food bowls, crate, bed, and toys. The combined initial cost for these things is estimated at £200.
Expenses for vet care, including veterinary consultations, initial vaccinations, and castration can total £1600 for the first year. Opting for pet insurance will require you to spend £60 a month for a time-limited cover or £107 a month for a lifetime one. These prices may change depending on where you live.
Newfoundland care can cost £140-£220 per month depending on your pet insurance premium. This estimate does not include the rates for other services such as grooming and pet sitting.
Are you sure the Newfoundland is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Do you think you can handle the responsibility of a big dog like the Newfoundland? If you have second thoughts, try checking out other suitable breeds using our Pet Finder.