Getting To Know The Newfoundland
By Dan Stevens
Getting to know your dog starts by getting to know its breed, and that includes getting a better idea about its appearance, personality, and health requirements. Here’s what you need to know about the Newfoundland:
This over-sized breed falls within the working class dog and while massive, it is actually a very sweet and well-behaved breed. The Newfoundland is an extremely devoted dog, which has been used over the years for water rescue due to its natural strength, endurance, and swimming abilities. Originally bred in Newfoundland, thus the name, this breed was taken along by fishermen as they traveled the banks.
Interestingly, there are two distinct varieties of the Newfoundland. Although most are black in color, one is a stockier and larger breed with a long coat while the other variety of the same breed has a smooth coat and is more active. Both varieties have been and can be used by helping fishermen pull in heavy nets and equipment needed to make a living on the banks of Canada.
Without doubt, the Newfoundland has a wonderful character and takes great pride in loving and protecting its family. Typically, you would look at this large breed, expecting to see something more clumsy and aloof but in actuality the Newfoundland is a strong but graceful animal. Its expression is sweet and gentle and its stature regal. Unfortunately, some people misunderstand this particular breed, expecting a dog that is high maintenance when nothing could be closer to the truth.
The Newfoundland is large and usually black in color. However, you will see some with a brown coat, along with gray, black with white markings, and a black head, white body, and black markings, which are far rarer. As with a Labrador Retriever, the feet of this breed are webbed and the coat water-resistant, making it an outstanding swimmer. The males of this breed can weigh anywhere from 130 to 150 pounds and the females just slightly smaller, around 100 to 120 pounds.
The one breed with the black head, white body, and black markings is known as a Landseer, which gets its name from the famous Sir Edwin Landseer, an incredibly talented artist. Additionally, the variety with a black coat and white markings is called the Irish Spotted Newfoundland. Depending on the kennel club where you want to show your dog, some will accept the Landseer although it could be deemed a breed other than the Newfoundland. However, the Irish Spotted variety is not allowed for show, being determined a “defective” or “invalid” color combination.
Temperament and Personality
Do not be fooled by the size of the Newfoundland. Though large, this breed is loving and gentle. In fact, some will go as far as saying its personality is placid. No matter what, the sweet disposition of this dog is unmistakable. If you have small children, the only concern would be size, possibly knocking a child down. However, absolutely cherishes small children.
For training, the Newfoundland is easy to work with in that it wants to please. Most of these dogs will go through life with a nice balance, meaning they are neither overly excited or laid back. In fact, while still a puppy, the Newfoundland is actually calm. You do want to make sure that your new dog receives proper training, setting you as the master from day one. With such a great size, having an obedient dog will make life much easier.
Typically, it takes two to three years for the Newfoundland to reach complete maturity, the perfect time for training. In addition to being great with kids, this breed is also very patient and loving to other animals. For instance, you could easily own a six-pound Chihuahua and a 150-pound Newfoundland only to find the two of them best friends. While the breed serves well as a watchdog, warning people with a deep, vicious-sounding bark, they are actually not very good guard dogs.
Because this breed of dog is so loyal to family, if its master should have to give the dog up for any reason, he or she could suffer from separation or grief anxiety. If you were to talk to Newfoundland owners, they would probably all tell you what an exceptional breed this is but remember this may not be the right breed for everyone. The Newfoundland needs a lot of space and exercise. Because puppies are growing so much, they need more rest than other breeds do.
One of the primary problems seen with large breed dogs is a hip disorder called Hip Dysplasia. In this case, the hip socket wears away, causing the joint to become loose. When this happens, the dog experiences pain and inflammation. The result is walking, or climbing stairs becomes difficult. With the Newfoundland being one of the larger known breeds, Hip Dysplasia along with Elbow Dysplasia are real concerns.
Other possible health considerations include Calculi Stones within the bladder resulting from a hereditary defect known as Cystinuria, as well as a heart condition called Sub-aortic Stenosis. If you were planning to show your Newfoundland or use it for rescue, we recommend you receive a heart and Cystinuria certificate first.
About the Author: Daniel Stevens is the renowned dog trainer and author of SitStayFetch, a leading dog training guide having sold over 21,000 copies. See http://www.kingdomofpets.com/dogobediencetraining/dogbreeds/newfoundland.php for more on dog breeds.