We love Newfoundlands, and think they're the best dogs on the face of the earth! However, Newfoundlands aren't for everyone. We haven't shared this information to scare you, but it's important to research the breed througly prior to adding one of these gorgeous creatures to your home.
NEWFOUNDLANDS ARE NOT THE PERFECT BREED FOR EVERYONE. As a breed, they have a few characteristics that some people find charming, but that some people find mildly unpleasant, and some people find downright intolerable.
DON'T BUY A NEWFOUNDLAND IF YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO THE BREED "CHIEFLY" BY ITS APPEARANCE. The appearance of the Newfoundlands you have seen in the show ring is the product of many hours of bathing and grooming. The natural look of the Newfie is that of a large, shaggy farm dog, usually with some dirt and weeds clinging to his tousled coat. The true beauty of the Newf lies in his character, not in his appearance.
DON'T BUY A NEWF IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO SHARE YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR LIFE WITH YOUR DOG. Newfies were bred to share in the work of the family and to spend most of their waking hours working with the family. They thrive on companionship and they want to be wherever you are. They are happiest living with you in your house and going with you when you go out. A puppy exiled from the house is likely to grow up to be unsociable, unruly, and unhappy.
DON'T BUY A NEWFOUNDLAND IF YOU DON'T INTEND TO EDUCATE (TRAIN) YOUR DOG. Basic obedience and household rules training is NOT optional for the Newf. You must commit yourself to attending an 8 to 10 week series of weekly lessons at a local obedience club or with a professional trainer, and to doing one or two short (5 to 20 minutes) homework sessions per day. Your cute, sweet little Newf puppy will grow up to be a large, powerful dog. If he has grown up respecting you and your rules, then all his physical and mental strength will work for you.
DON'T BUY A NEWFOUNDLAND IF YOU LACK LEADERSHIP (SELF-ASSERTIVE) PERSONALITY. Dogs do not believe in social equality. They live in a social hierarchy led by a pack-leader (Alpha). Like the untrained dog, the pack-leader dog makes his own rules and enforces them against other members of the household by means of a dominant physical posture and a hard-eyed stare, followed by a snarl, then a knockdown blow or a bite. Leadership and training are inextricably intertwined: leadership personality enables you to train your dog, and being trained by you reinforces your dog's perception of you as the alpha.
DON'T BUY A NEWFIE IF YOU DON'T VALUE LAID-BACK COMPANIONSHIP AND CALM AFFECTION. A Newf becomes deeply attached and devoted to his own family, but he doesn't "wear his heart on his sleeve." Some are noticeably reserved, others are more outgoing, but few adults are usually exuberantly demonstrative in their affections. As puppies, of course, they will be more dependent, more playful, and more demonstrative. In summary, Newfs tend to be sober and thoughtful, rather than giddy clowns or sycophants.
DON'T BUY A NEWFIE IF YOU ARE FASTIDIOUS ABOUT YOUR HOME. The Newfoundland's thick shaggy coat and his love of playing in water and mud combine to make him a highly efficient transporter of dirt into your home, depositing the same on your floors and rugs and possibly also on your furniture and clothes. Newfoundlands are seasonal shedders, and in spring can easily fill a trash bag with balls of hair from a grooming session.
DON'T BUY A NEWFOUNDLAND IF YOU FIND DROOL TOTALLY REPELLANT. Most Newfie owners begin with some degree of distaste for drool, but as this is an integral part of the Newf, this dislike usually progresses to some level of nonchalance. Newfie's drool because of their jaw and mouth structure, which allows them to breath while performing water rescue. This is a quality inherent in the breed.
DON'T BUY A NEWFIE IF YOU DISLIKE DOING REGULAR GROOMING. The thick shaggy Newfoundland coat demands regular grooming, not merely to look tolerably nice, but also to preserve the health of skin underneath. For "pet" grooming, you should expect to spend 10-15 minutes a day
DON'T BUY A NEWFIE IF YOU DISLIKE DAILY EXERCISE. Newfs need exercise to maintain the health of heart and lungs, and to maintain muscle tone. Because of his mellow, laid-back, disposition, your Newfie will not give himself enough exercise unless you accompany him or play with him.
DON'T BUY A NEWFIE IF YOU BELIEVE THAT DOGS SHOULD RUN "FREE." Whether you live in town or country, no dog can safely be left to run "free" outside your fenced property and without your direct supervision and control. The price of such "freedom" is inevitably injury or death: from dogfights, from automobiles, from the Pound or from justifiably irate neighbors.
DON'T BUY A NEWFOUNDLAND IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY, FEED, AND PROVIDE HEALTHCARE FOR ONE. Newfoundlands are not a cheap breed to buy, as running a careful breeding program with due regard for temperament, trainability, and physical soundness (hips especially) cannot be done cheaply. Whatever the initial cost of your Newfoundland, the upkeep will not be cheap. Being large dogs, Newfs eat relatively large meals. Large dogs tend to have larger veterinary bills, as the amount of anesthesia and of most medications is proportional to body weight.
DON'T BUY A NEWFIE IF YOU WANT THE "LATEST, GREATEST FEROCIOUS KILLER ATTACK DOG." The Newfoundland's famous disposition as the "Gentle Giant" is not a fable. A Newf with the typical disposition of the breed would prefer to slobber a criminal than attack one.
DON'T BUY A NEWFOUNDLAND IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO COMMIT YOURSELF FOR THE DOG'S ENTIRE LIFETIME. No dog deserves to be cast out because his owners want to move to a no-pet apartment, or because he is no longer a cute puppy. The life span of a Newfoundland is about 10 years. If that seems too long a time for you to give unequivocal loyalty to your Newfoundland, then please do not get one.
IN CONCLUSION: If all the preceding "bad news" about Newfies hasn't turned you away from the breed, then by all means DO GET A NEWF! They are every bit as wonderful as you have heard! If buying a puppy, be sure to shop carefully for a *responsible* and *knowledgeable* breeder who places high priority on breeding for sound temperament and trainability, and good health in all matings. Such a breeder will interrogate and educate potential buyers carefully. Such a breeder will continue to be available for advice and consultation for the rest of the dog's life and will insist on receiving the dog back if ever you are unable to keep it. You will find that most Newfoundland breeders are small kennels. Most produce 1-2 litters a year, and often have awaiting list of puppy buyers.