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Newfoundland the right breed for me?
Frequently asked questions
Even though Newfoundlands are often portrayed as lazy couch potatoes, this is not the case, especially when they are young. You need to be able to walk your Newfie for at least a few hours each day, provide varying activities and short outings in the backgarden. However, it is not enough for you to just open the door to the garden, as a Newfie will walk exactly as much as you and often lay down next to the door for a good long nap.
In any case, outings in the garden are not ideal forms of exercise for a Newfie. Longer walks in new places with new interesting smells are always good activity for any dog. In your garden, the smells stay the same and if the dog is only walked in the garden, it will grow frustrated.
If at all possible let your Newfie run off-leash and in the forest. The varying ground and new smells make the ‘walk’ much more interesting to the dog and to you. The soft ground is good for the joints and muscle development. Leash walks on hard asphalt around the same block are boring for both the dog and the owner. Of course good leash behavior is essential, and should be trained, especially with a puppy.
Newfies tend to run straight into all the mud puddles they see. Swimming is also a very good form of exercise, as it does not put pressure on the dog’s joints and the muscles develop while the dog is having fun splashing about. Swimming is especially good during the summer when it is too hot for longer walks. On hot days, it is a good idea to walk the dog in the mornings or evenings when it is cooler, as the midday heat is often very stifling because of the thick coat.
You have to take a Newfie out in every weather! Its fur will protect it from frost and rain, so any reluctance to go for a walk often comes from the owner, not the dog. You have to be prepared to buy proper thick winter jackets for cold frost days and waterproof clothing for wet and rainy days.
The Newfoundland has a thick double coat, which you need to be prepared to take care of regularly. Not having enough time is no excuse, as you yourself decided to get a breed with long fur. You have to have enough time to thoroughly brush and comb your Newfie at least once a week, and more often during the puppy-period and semi-annual shedding. The more time you spend on the weekly basic trimming, the easier your life will be. If you fail to keep the coat in good condition, you will very soon get horrible matted tangles in the armpits, ears and the back, which take a long time to open. This is not fun for the dog who can feel every tug or for you who has to untangle and open each mat.
You need to teach your Newfie to stay still during the trimming process, as otherwise the weekly brushings will take much longer. Realistically if you have kept the trimming sessions regular, they will take from half an hour to an hour. But this is only if your Newfie behaves during the combing and brushing. Of course you also need to have the right attitude and put some effort into learning the right techniques and which brushes and combs to use.
Newfoundlands are stubborn dogs, but thankfully very easy to train and obedient, but of course only when they want to. It is important to understand the Newfie mentality, and be logical and patient from the very beginning. Having a good sense of humour and good problem-solving skills are characteristics which you will find extremely useful. A Newfoundland is a very good working dog and very easy train, when you find the right motivational tools for your dog: be it a treat or toy.
Because Newfies are big dogs, it is not possible for you to control them by force, so basic obedience has to be taught. You need to put a lot of effort into puppy-training!
Money is spent:
Newfoundlands are big dogs, so having a Newfie is expensive. The proper food (about 60€/month), toys, leashes and collars and vet bills will cost more than for a smaller dog. You need to be prepared for big vet bills and living expenses. You also need to give the yearly vaccinations and semi-annual deworming medications.
For you to
be a proper Newfie person, you need to like being outside, be patient,
logical and have a sense of humour, and definitely not be too fussy about
keeping the house spotless.
Remember that a Newfie will drool, shed, and can sometimes be wet and dirty!