Things to Know Before Getting a Newfoundland Dog

Newfoundlands live eight to 10 years.
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A Newfoundland is a good choice of dog if you’re looking for a friendly, energetic breed. The Newfoundland does have specific needs and characteristics because of its large size. Before you bring home a Newfoundland, make sure you have a realistic idea regarding what it will take to care for this affectionate, intelligent breed.

Room to Roam

Newfoundlands are a good choice of pet if you’ve got plenty of room in your home. Newfies stand between 26 to 28 inches tall and weigh between 120 and 150 pounds, which means they’re not the best choice if you have a small apartment or lots of fragile knick-knacks. Newfoundlands need plenty of outdoor space, too. If you don’t have a large yard, access to a park is a must. Although they might look like they’d like nothing better than to nap the day away, these dogs are actually energetic and need daily exercise to thrive. If you work long hours or don’t have the time to walk your dog or play with him, it might be a better idea to get a more sedentary breed.

Breeding Reigns Supreme

Newfoundlands were bred to help Canadian fisherman pull heavy fishing nets and to haul loads of wood. Newfies are strong swimmers; in fact, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for them, particularly for puppies. Playing on hard surfaces can damage growth plates, but swimming allows young dogs to work their muscles without stressing their joints. Because Newfoundlands were bred to live in a cold climate, they don’t tolerate heat and humidity well. During the summer, keep your Newfie’s coat clipped and limit the amount of time he spends outside on hot days. Although the Newfoundland enjoys exercising, he’ll be much happier in your air-conditioned home when temperatures rise.

Health Concerns

Large dogs, like Newfoundlands, are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia. Dysplasia occurs when these joints develop abnormally, which causes excessive wear on the joint, pain, lameness and eventually arthritis. Heart problems are another concern. Newfies are more likely than other breeds to develop sub-aortic stenosis, a condition that results in a narrower-than-usual connection between the aorta and left ventricle. Newfoundlands are also prone to such conditions as epilepsy, kidney or bladder stone formation, and ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments. Due to their large size and deep chests, Newfoundlands are at risk of developing gastric torsion, a condition that occurs when the stomach fills with gas or air and then twists. Gastric torsion is a potentially life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical attention.

Drool, Hair and Food

Newfoundlands drool, a fact of life that can turn off particularly fastidious pet parents. The Newfie’s long coat needs frequent grooming, either by you or a professional groomer. Grooming involves brushing your dog’s hair daily, bathing the Newfoundland regularly and clipping his hair. If you don’t keep your Newfoundland’s hair clipped and brushed, dirt, leaves and burrs tend to stick to his coat. Factor costs into your decision to adopt or buy a Newfoundland. In addition to grooming and veterinary costs, you’ll also need to consider the expense of keeping your large dog fed. He’ll need at least 4 or 5 cups of dry food daily.