Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Newfoundland
Average Cost to keep/care for a Newfoundland
The Newfoundland may be a very large dog, but they are gentle giants renowned for their docile and kind natures. Always eager and willing to please, these dogs are a great choice for people with families because the Newfoundland appears to have a real affinity with children liking nothing more than to play interactive games with them.
They boast wonderfully thick, dense coats which take a bit of work when it comes to keeping them looking good. They also boast having webbed feet and are powerful swimmers. Newfoundlands need a lot of space and are not the ideal choice for people who live in apartments, but they are a great choice for people who boast large and secure back gardens and who spend lots of time at home.
Legend has it that the Newfoundland is descended from the Black Bear which roams this region of Canada. However, it is now almost certain that these large and impressive dogs are not native to Newfoundland, but were developed over time by crossing many other large breeds including the St Bernard and English Mastiff with native Newfoundland breeds known as St John's Dogs. It is also thought the breed was developed by Portuguese fishermen during the 16th century.
Originally, there were two sizes namely the Greater Newfoundland and the Lesser Newfoundland which were also known as St John's Dogs and they were used to pull nets for local fishermen. The Greater Newfoundland being stronger and larger was also used to pull carts and other equipment.
As time passed a dog very similar to the Newfoundland we know today started appearing on the scene and by the 1800's the breed's fame for being able to pull heavy loads and work alongside fishermen reached many people living in European countries. The dogs were soon taken to Europe where breeders started to produce exceptionally good examples of the Newfoundland.
In 1886, The Newfoundland Club was established here in the UK and remains the oldest club in Britain. A breed standard was set soon after which has basically not be changed to this day. Today, the Newfoundland has become a popular choice with many people the world over whether as a companion dog or family pet thanks to their wonderfully kind natures and the fact they are real gentle giants around kids. However, anyone wishing to share their home with a Newfoundland needs to know that thanks to their large size, it costs quite a lot more to care and feed them than it does other breeds.
Height at the withers: Males 71 cm, Females 66 cm
Average weight: Males 68 kg, Females 54 kg
The Newfoundland is a well-balanced large dog that gives the impression of power and strength. They are proud and noble looking dogs that boast having a gentle expression about them especially in their eyes. Their heads are large and broad with a well-developed occipital bone, but no definite stop. Their muzzles are clean cut and short being rather square and well covered in fine, short hair.
Their eyes are quite small being dark brown in colour and set wide apart on a dog's face. Ears are set well back and small, lying close to a dog's head and covered with short hair. Their mouths are soft and dogs boast a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Necks are well set on the shoulders and strong with perfectly straight, well-muscled front legs.
A Newfoundland has a strong, nicely ribbed body with a broad and level topline and muscular, strong loins. Their chest is deep and quite wide and their hindquarters are very well developed and strong. Back legs are well muscled and powerful. Their feet are large and webbed which is a physical trait that makes the Newfoundland such a strong swimmer. Tails are moderately long and fairly thick being well covered in hair. When at rest their tail hangs down, but when a Newfoundland is on the move, they carry their tail slightly up or straight out with a hint of a curve right at the tip.
When it comes to their coat, the Newfoundland boasts having a double, flat coat that is dense and quite coarse to the touch. Their coat is also quite oily and therefore extremely water-resistant. When their coat is brushed the wrong way, the hair naturally falls back into place. Their front legs are nicely feathered whereas their back legs are also slightly feathered. Accepted colours for the breed include the following:
Newfoundlands are renowned for their kind and calm natures. However, they are not the best choice for first time owners because these dogs need to be handled and trained by someone who is familiar with the breed or this type of very large and intelligent dog.
Newfoundlands also have quite a unique and musky odour about them which some people might not be able to live with. They are known to dribble and slobber quite a lot too which is something else that owners might not be able to cope with. Their training and education has to start from a young age and puppies need to be well socialised which means introducing them to as many new situations, people, dogs and other animals as soon as they have been fully vaccinated for them to mature into well-rounded adult dogs.
They are known to be quite sensitive by nature and therefore care has to be taken when training a puppy or young dog because any heavy handed treatment would not achieve very good results. They thrive in a calm environment where they have lots of space to express themselves. With this in mind, a Newfoundland is the ideal choice of dog for people who are familiar with the breed and who boast large, secure back gardens for their pets to romp around in as often as possible.
Newfies are intelligent and as such in the right hands, they are easy to train. With this said, their training and education has to start as early as possible and it's crucial that puppies be well socialised from a young age for them to mature into well-rounded dogs. These large dogs do not respond well to any sort of harsh training or correction, they do answer well to positive reinforcement training methods that are always fair and given by people in a calm way.
Newfoundlands also need to be given lots of mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs because if left to their own devices such a large dog will start to find their own ways of entertaining themselves which includes being destructive around the home.
As previously mentioned, Newfies are real gentle giant and rarely would one of these dogs show any sort of aggressive behaviour. They thrive on being around people and in a family environment having a real affinity with children. However, their size alone can pose a bit of a problem to toddlers and younger children so it's important for any interaction between the two to be well supervised at all times.
Newfoundlands are usually good around other dogs, but unless a dog has grown up with a family cat in the home, but care needs to be taken when a Newfie meets or sees another cat. It's best to avoid any contact between smaller pets and a Newfoundland even if they have grown up together just in case even though they are known to be one of the friendliest breeds on the planet.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Newfoundland is between 8 and 10 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Newfie is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Newfies need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Newfoundlands are high maintenance when it comes to keeping their thick double coats in good condition. Their coats are naturally oily which means they are extremely water resistant as such they dry very quickly when a Newfie gets wet or has been swimming, which these large dogs love to do. Their coats need to be brushed every day to prevent any tangles or matts forming, paying particular attention to the feathers on a dog's legs.
It is also a good idea to have a Newfie professionally groomed twice a year which means they get a good bath in the process. Being such large dogs, it can be a real challenge to bath them at home. It's also important to check a dog's ears and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Newfoundlands need to be given a minimum of 60 minutes exercise a day and they need lots of space to move around. Ideally, a Newfie should be allowed to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam in a safe environment. With this said, the fencing in a garden has to be very secure to keep such a large dog in.
Because of their thick, oily double coats the Newfoundland suffers when the weather is warmer and therefore care has to be taken when they are exercised. It's best to walk a dog earlier in the morning and then later in the afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky and the temperature is cooler. Care also has to be taken when walking a Newfie anywhere near water because they love swimming and might just jump in no matter what the weather is doing or how safe it is for them to swim.
Young Newfie puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or down from the furniture or run up and down stairs because it puts too much pressure and strain on their growing joints and bones.
If you get a Newfoundland puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again remembering that puppies need to be given a very nutritious diet for their bones and joints to develop as they should.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Newfoundland, you would need to pay anything from £800 to over £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Newfie in northern England would be £54.23 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £103.06 a month (quote as of May 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £70 - £100 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Newfie and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £1600 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Newfoundland would be between £140 to £220 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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