A Name Rooted in History
The Newfoundland dog, known as a gentle giant, takes his name from his place of origin. This breed was a staple on the fishing boats off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. To this day, the “Newf” is a true working breed.
In the early days, the Newf was a valued member of any fishing crew. He could haul fishing nets out to sea and was adept as a lifesaving dog, rescuing crewmembers from icy waters.
In the modern era, the Newf is more known for his gentle, sweet nature. The breed has maintained its work ethic, evident in its desire to please its owner and protect its family.
Life with a Newfoundland
When you welcome a Newf puppy into your home, you might not suspect that the precious little pup before you will grow into a giant. On average, these dogs can grow up to 150 pounds, and they do most of their growing in the first year of life.
Newf owners appreciate the breed’s trainability and loyalty. Newfs are known to be great protectors. They often will physically place themselves between their family and someone or something they perceive as a threat. Despite this protective instinct, they are very good with all members of the family, including children, and will adapt well to family friends and other pets. The breed is so loyal to its family that it can sometimes be difficult to adopt out once it has formed a bond with one family.
One thing to consider when deciding to adopt this breed: Your Newf will drool. He is a big dog and will drool when he becomes hot or excited. His drooling, however, is moderate compared to breeds such as the St. Bernard.
While the breed is generally healthy, one should obtain a complete family history at the time of adoption.
Caring for Your Newf
There are important care considerations for a Newfoundland. Here are few things to be aware of:
- Training is key. These dogs are known for obedience, but they must be trained. Training should start around 6 months of age. Before that, the Newf won’t have much patience for it.
- Newfs shed. They get rid of their undercoat once or twice per year. Daily brushing is recommended.
- Newfs are big dogs, and they need exercise. The breed would be content to laze around the house without direction from owners. When you stimulate them, they greatly enjoy exercise, but they won’t do it on their own.
Fun Facts about Newfoundlands
- In 2003, two Newfs earned the coveted Versatile Companion Dog award from the American Kennel Club.
- The next year, a Newf named Josh won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show.
- Despite their size, Newfoundlands eat only about as much as a Labrador.
- Many mistake Newfs as a “black St. Bernard.” In fact, the Newf came first and was bred into the St. Bernard in the nineteenth century.
Newfoundland Health Issues
This dog breed is predisposed to the following medical conditions:
- Congenital subaortic stenosis: narrowing of the outflow tract of the left ventricle of the heart.
- Congenital mitral valve dysplasia: malformation of the heart valves.
- Congenital megaesophagus: inability of the esophagus to move food into the stomach efficiently.
- Congenital kidney disorders: malformation of the kidneys that can lead to renal failure.
- Cardiomyopathy: weak heart muscles that will lead to heart failure.
- Hypothyroidism: thyroid hormone deficiency that profoundly affects metabolism.
- Hip and elbow dysplasia: malformation of the hip or elbow joints that will cause arthritis.
While the breed is generally healthy, one should obtain a complete family history at the time of adoption. The family history needs to be reviewed by your veterinarian when your pet has his first physical examination.
A Loyal, Gentle Giant
This gentle, loyal breed with an eagerness to please is a trusted companion to countless families. He is a big dog that needs room to roam and plenty of attention, but the rewards of calling such a loyal breed part of your family are immeasurable.
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