Newfoundlands are large dogs — males typically weigh over 130 pounds — but their large size should never come at the expense of their gait, comfort or health. Newfoundlands are dedicated water retrievers who devote themselves to their families and take responsibility for watching them.
Despite their large size, Newfoundlands make excellent family companions because they are tolerant and protective of children and fiercely devoted to their owners. They love to spend time relaxing with their families or working in the water. This is the perfect dog for a fun-loving, active family with some extra time to devote to the upkeep of an abundantly coated dog.
Newfoundlands carry themselves with dignity, but around their families, they become goofy playmates. They are gentle and docile, especially with their owners and with children. Newfoundlands are intelligent enough to act on their own impulses, and they have natural life-saving instincts, which make them devoted companions and protective family pets. They are incredibly sweet and thoughtful around those they love, which also means that they watch out for their people. They will respond if they believe one of their owners is in trouble — either on land or in the water.
Newfoundlands are particularly strong swimmers who work diligently on land and in the water. These large dogs need quite a bit of exercise to stay in shape, but their large size makes them susceptible to injuries and joint problems, so they are stronger swimmers than joggers. It takes some effort for them to move around quickly, so they will not mind a more relaxed, couch potato lifestyle.
They have webbed feet and a thick water-resistant double coat. It is slightly oily to the touch. The flat overcoat is either straight or slightly wavy. It is firm enough to bounce back in response to petting. The undercoat is soft and dense. It thins out naturally during the summer to help the Newfoundland cool himself. Their coat comes in a variety of rich colors, including gray, brown, black and Landseer, a mix of black and white.
Newfoundlands do the majority of their shedding in spring and fall. The coat needs to be brushed just about twice weekly with a large slicker brush and a de-matting comb to remove dead hairs and keep the coat smooth and manageable.
Newfoundlands are also intense droolers, so they might need some extra help staying neat and tidy. You can choose to bathe them as needed with a detangling shampoo, or wash specific areas of their large body as they become dirty.
Newfoundlands should maintain a natural appearance, and they need thick hair to protect them from the water and the cold, so their coat should stay a medium length. Trim them to remove excessively long hairs and wisps and prevent an unkempt appearance. Make sure the fur around their foot pads stays trimmed so they do not become uncomfortable.
Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience. As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.
Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.
It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Small dogs, like Pomeranians, and dogs with extremely profuse coats, like Newfoundlands, American Eskimo Dogs and Keeshonds, have ears that need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Small dogs like Pomeranians and Pekingese, and dogs with white coats like American Eskimo Dogs and Samoyeds, are prone to developing tear stains around their eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.
Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.
Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.