How to Care for Your Older Newfoundland Dog

The Newfoundland Club of America—responsible for the preservation, protection and welfare of the Newfoundland Dog in America since 1930.

Caring for Your Older Newfoundland

So, the inevitable has happened, a day you have dreaded for years. Your newfie has somehow become old! You may be wondering, what happens now? Does anything change? Should I take him or her to the vet more often? If you're anything like me, you have a lot of questions.

The average life span for a Newfoundland is eight to 10 years. But a whole lot of newfies are living into their teens, which is fantastic!

Most veterinarians consider a seven-year-old newfie a senior. They will want to do a routine check-up and blood work, often called a senior panel, to establish what the normal values are for your newf. Your dog has most likely already had blood work done by the age of seven, so it's just a matter of making sure everything remains normal. Some veterinarians will want to see your newfie every six months for a check-up; some will also want to do blood work every six months.

As your newfie ages, it's important for your veterinarian to see him or her more often. Dogs age much faster than humans and giant breeds age even faster than smaller breeds. Problems can arise quickly and if your vet sees your dog more often, he or she can hopefully treat a problem while it's still in the beginning stages instead of having to deliver a possible poor prognosis about your beloved newf.

Common Ailments

Let's discuss some common ailments that your older newfie may acquire.

Abnormal Lumps

Every week while grooming your newf you should be feeling for any abnormal lumps, bumps, skin changes, heat or swelling. I remember when I first felt a lump on my newfie, I panicked and got her into the vet right away. It was a lipoma, a simple non-cancerous fatty tumor.

A lot of dogs get these (skinny or overweight, happens to both). Your vet will use a needle to aspirate the lump and look at the cells under the microscope. Most lipomas are harmless and do not need to be removed unless they get large or interfere with movement. If your dog has a lipoma you do need to keep and eye on it for any changes and report them to the vet. Not every lump you may find is a lipoma, it could be something more serious like cancer. So of course if you find any abnormal lump you should always have the vet check it out.

Do you know how to tell if your newf is in pain? They can be a very stoic breed! One of the most common causes of pain in any dog is arthritis (joint inflammation) which can range from very mild to severe. Most newfies will develop some form of arthritis as they get older. Maybe your newf has difficulty getting up or laying down, is limping slightly or just slowing down. These are all signs of possible pain. When examining my newf for any physical changes I can tell when I get to a sore area, she will close her mouth slightly, or just look the other way. Very subtle signs!


Mild arthritis is easily treated. Your vet may suggest buffered aspirin, gentle massage, and a soft, padded bed. Talk to your vet about dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin that may help keep the joints lubricated. Keeping your newf at a healthy weight and exercising is important, walking can loosen up stiff joints and it keeps muscles in shape. Swimming is second nature to most newfies, it's a low impact, easy on the joints exercise. Older newfs can become tired more easily than their younger counterparts, so take it easy on your older friend!

A more severe form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. It is a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage in joints is gradually lost. Treatment can involve surgery or medicinal management of any pain. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, are often used to treat pain and inflammation in dogs. They can have side effects such as liver, kidney and gastrointestinal disease. Your vet will want to do blood tests every three to six months to make sure any NSAIDs being used are not causing problems. Your vet will tell you what kind of outward signs to look for such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and lethargy. Some commonly known NSAIDs are Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx and Etodolac. You and your vet will decide which medication will work best for your dog.


Injuries are common in older dogs. Maybe they ran too hard the day before or perhaps they simply turned wrong while laying down. Sometimes it doesn't take much to cause an injury in an older animal. A lot of injuries resolve on their own with restricted movement and rest. It's a good idea to see your vet if your newf seems to have an injury that isn't getting better in a day or two, or in the case of severe pain or injury, call your vet right away.

Tips for Caring for an Aging or Injured Newfoundland

Taking care of an older, injured or handicapped Newfoundland isn’t always easy, they are big and heavy and most of the time hard to move!

  • Large padded bed: This is a must for a newf that cannot get around on its own. You want to prevent bedsores so turning a dog is necessary if they cannot do it on their own. I have a four-inch-thick orthopedic foam bed that is 36"x54" for my newf. When it became worn out a bit, I bought a queen size foam mattress topper, cut it to size (two pieces) and put the pieces under the actual bed for more support. It is a nice thick comfortable bed that isn’t too soft or too firm.
  • For incontinent dogs: You can buy piddle pads to place under him or her, or a waterproof mattress pad. I have a waterproof mattress pad that goes around the actual foam bed, and under the bed cover. Any accidents are easily cleaned up by throwing the bed cover and mattress pad into the washer.
  • Bathing and grooming: This can be difficult, if not impossible. I have found that trimming the hair to a more manageable length helps immensely with clean-up, and also helps regulate body temperature as this is more difficult as they age. Baby wipes work well if you have a newf that leaks or dribbles urine on him or herself.
  • Transport sling: Moving a newf that needs help can be tricky. I have a canvas sling that is lined with fleece, it goes around the abdomen and has quick connect buckles attached with nylon and has two nylon handles. This sling has been a lifesaver for me! You can find slings in most pet supply catalogs. I use a collar or harness, and short leash to help my newf when she is wobbly on her front end.
  • Hydration: Make sure you offer water to your newf often if they cannot get to it on their own; they really do drink a lot!
  • Ramp: To reduce the chance of injury and strain on joints I suggest a ramp for getting in and out of vehicles. I have a ramp instead of stairs for going into the yard, as well. Rubber-backed rugs are essential on slick surfaces where your newf might lose its footing and fall.
  • For dogs with failing eyesight and hearing: Eyes can become cloudy with nuclear sclerosis, a harmless clouding of the lens. Some newfs develop cataracts which can be surgically removed. Hearing may start to fail as well. Make sure family and visitors know how to get his or her attention without startling them.

Warning Signs for Older Newfoundlands

Most of us know when something is wrong with our newfs. We have a feeling or an intuition that tells us to take a closer look. Sometimes it’s obvious that something is wrong and we need to consult the vet.

What are something you do to make your older newf happy and healthy? Share your hints and tips here.

© 2011 Newfoundland Club of America

Karen McLaughlin on January 12, 2019:

We have a beautiful 9 year old newfie, she is that livey to the point that no dog owner on the beach can believe she is not a pup. She is playful, runs, swims and loves dogs and children. The only thing we notice is her hearing has rapidly deteriorated in the past 3 months. Do we presume this is old age or do we take her to the vet to get checked?

Carol Ann Roberson on September 10, 2018:

We lost our wonderful girl two weeks ago at age 9 and 1/2. Ella suddenful was unable to walk and had lost the sparkle in her eyes. She refused her food and barked through the night. We took her to the vet who has worked with her for years and who couldn’t explain what had happed.

She was born in the country but after 8 weeks she came to live with us in NYC. She was loved by all of our family, friends and neighbors. My husband, Carl and I miss her terribly.

Karen on May 13, 2018:

I have 2 one is nearly 10 and one who has downs syndrome is nearly 9 all they seem to do is pant very heavy , in the summer l take them to a groomers who give them a very short cut , they will not lay on any bedding my eldest likes to lay on the cold path outside not on the grass he has trouble getting up ,

Karlene on January 11, 2018:

My boy is almost over ten now and was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, still going strong with raw food, medicinal mushroom and turkey tail , along with other holistic stuff! A few walks around my 5 acres a day and lots of full body massages covered in love!

Tracey on August 24, 2017:

We just lost our 14 year old. He was healthy up until the last 2 months. He was doing well but started to loose control of his back legs, was weak and became blind. We got him 7 years ago as a rescue and were so blessed to have him for as long as we did. RIP Superior Beaumont.

Denise on September 27, 2016:

We got an 11 year old Romanian rescue Newfie who had had numerous mammary tumours removed by Ro vets. Vets in UK gave her 2 months to live. That was 4 months ago and she is going from strength to strength. All raw barf diet in conjunction with oils and supplements have given her a new zest for life. Main tumour on her tail has halved in size, mammary tumours remain the same but no new ones and her energy levels are fantastic. She's enjoying what was supposed to be 'palliative care' for her last weeks.

Duncan A Wilson on April 29, 2016:

I Have a newfie called Bosun.He will be 11 in june.We have noticed he is slowing down a lot now breathing very heavy,terrible breath,but still a beautiful boy and a huge part of the family.

Jessica on February 03, 2016:

I just lost mine at 16, and she was still in fantastic health in general. She had two perfect senior blood panels this past year. I was overjoyed to find she had none of the functional decline of organs that we expect to see with seniors. Unfortunately she had an intestinal blockage that the vet missed, in spite of doing an abdominal X-ray, when I took her in for vomiting on January 3rd. She began to bloat on January 6th and I rushed her back in, but they advised strongly against the surgery at that point, to fix what they had missed. I am still deeply grieving--especially since this didn't have to happen. But I can say that her quality of life was extraordinary right up to the end. She had a little arthritis in her back knees, but that didn't impact mobility at all...just a little slow getting up. We helped that with cosequin. She always had a fantastic appetite, was always active and playful, loved to romp and run and never had a single illness. Interestingly, she INSISTED, all her life, on sleeping on cold hard surfaces. She had inside/outside access 100% of the time, and was allowed to be wherever she wanted, but she had no interest in padded dog beds or padding of any kind--I tried offering everything--eggshell foam, air mats, water mats, yoga mats, folded blankets, fleece mats. No interest. About five years ago, I ordered cool-a-roo cots for her and my other two dogs (huskies) thinking maybe padding just made them all too hot. She DID use that a good bit, though not all the time. They are nice because they allow air flow from underneath, but keep them off the cold hard ground, protecting their joints. Anyway, she knew what she wanted, no matter what I thought about it. I prepared all her meals at home, and in the last couple of years added probiotics. I don't know if it was her diet that kept her healthy, or if she had an amazing gene pool or if it was a combination of both, but she was such a joy to me and I am so grateful to have had her for so long.

Laurie on October 21, 2015:

My newf lived to 13. He never had a health problem but had cruciate surgery on both his knees when he was one. Acupunture for his osteoarthritis helped in the last three years of his life!

Wendy on October 12, 2015:

My 15 year old Newf was a rescue when she was 2 years old. She was in such terrible shape that the vet warned me that she would be lucky to reach age 4. Swimming every day and lots of love made the difference. Now she has lost most of her hair and sometimes does lays around all day. However, when she gets active, she chases the cat. I know the end is near but it is hard to tell when. Thank goodness for my awesome vet.

Samantha on August 28, 2015:

My family newf, Otis, just turned 11 years old and he is doing phenomenally well! The key is that he keeps moving (goes out 5-6 times daily) and has a healthy diet. He also gets glucosamine every day among a

Thyroid pill. If he's a little slow moving/achy, we give him a pain reliever and it helps. He also gets brushed out everyday and we keep the house cool for his comfort. He's a happy dog, super sweet, and we are so lucky to have him!

Cheryl Smith on June 05, 2015:

My female Newf, Mercy, will be 14 in 7 weeks! She has a liver disease and has lost weight, but is still active with a good appetite. She has developed the habit of eating everything she can get off the kitchen counters. How she was able to reach the pecan pie yesterday, we cannot imagine but she ate the entire thing.

Jeff & Mary Ann on May 12, 2015:

Bridget, a rescue newf we adopted when she was 10, turned 13 last month. About 8 months ago her deteriorating back end (osteoarthritis) had gotten so bad we were afraid we'd lose her. She was already taking Deramaxx, Tramadol and Glucosamine so our vet suggested Adequan injections at 2 per week for 4 weeks. In about a week Bridget was significantly improved. After that first month she's been getting one injection per week. She seems to have improved slowly over time so maybe Adequan's claims of promoting cartilage growth are true. More importantly, she's now more alert, involved and eating better. Adequan injections aren't cheap but for us they are, quite literally, a lifesaver.

jan on November 11, 2014:

my ten and a half newfie is always getting utis and my vet says a vulvoplasty would end all the infections. My fear is she gets so stressed out when she gets home from the vet, I am afraid of her having a heart attack from the stress of going through that at her age. I feel that keeping her clean and being on meds for what time she has left is the better. Has anyone been through this with a newf this age?

anonymous on February 01, 2013:

If you can't afford a special harness, I have used a regular old bed sheet for assistance and it works fine. We had such a tough time with our last Newf, because of stairs to go outside. Next time we will make or get a ramp, when our next one gets older.

anonymous on August 29, 2012:

I have dog beds covering my entire doorway of my arch, and my 11 year old bunches everything up to lay around them, but not on them, insists on the floor. Any ideas.

anonymous on July 29, 2012:

@anonymous: I have been trying to find directions for these.

anonymous on July 29, 2012:

I just replace my futon mattress with a regular mattress so the nice soft..very LARGE futon is now in the dog room for my old guy to lie down on

anonymous on January 29, 2012:

Thicker quality yoga mats helped my old newf recover from loss of muscle tone; we put them in all his favorite paths. they are colorful enough so elderly people can see them and they are inexpensive. Once my dog felt secure he was able to get around and build muscle tone.

anonymous on January 26, 2012:

Kathy suggested a harness that has worked well for our twelve and one-half year-old Newf.

It is called a Help'EmUp Harness. Their web site is

anonymous on September 01, 2011:

Thinning of the hair may also be an issue with an older dog. I found that my 12-year old was developing sores on her elbows, so in addition to a soft bed and more rubber backed rugs for her I made some elbow pads. She loves them and they have made a tremendous difference in her health and confidence.

anonymous on May 03, 2011:

My Newfie will be 9 years old next month. I feed him Iams premium food for senior dogs. He always has plenty of fresh water. Since I have never fed him any "people food", this has helped to keep him at a healthy weight throughout his life. He gets regular exercise, regular vet check ups, and regular groomings. He really hasn't lost much "pep in his step" and most times loves to play with me just like he did when he was a puppy! Above all else, I attribute tons of love to his well being. Daily "belly rubs" and "snuggling sessions" show him how much I love him and need him. We are best friends, and I will love him forever for all the great times we've shared and for all the great times we are still going to have!

anonymous on January 14, 2011:

I make sure to feed my 6-year-old spayed female Newf, Maeve Dog, a healthy commercial diet, in my case Taste of the Wild, but not too much as I don't want her getting obese. My veterinarian, himself a long-time German Shepherd owner, will do a senior panel next January, when she is seven. So far, aside from a bit of lameness, she's doing fine and loved Wednesday's New England blizzard.

Caring for Older Dogs

Older dogs can enjoy a comfortable life into their advanced years. Here's how to help.

Pad Your Dog's Comfort Zone Just like humans, older dogs aren't as sure-footed as they used to be and might become arthritic as they age. Adapt the indoors for their less agile senior feet.

  • Short nails improve your dog's grip on bare floors.
  • Nonskid pads under rugs will help prevent falls.
  • Steep stairs can lead to bone-breaking accidents. Block them off to canine traffic.
  • Elevated food and water bowls make it easier for your dog to eat.
  • An insulated, cushioned bed makes it more comfortable for your dog to sleep by pampering its stiff joints and hips.
  • A portable, adjustable dog ramp lets your dog climb on and off furniture with ease. The ramp also makes it easier for your dog to get in and out of a car or truck.

Editor's Tip : Getting older doesn't have to mean that your dog needs to slow down or avoid climbing stairs and going on walks. Sometimes the slowness is due to joint pain, which can be managed. Talk to your vet if you suspect canine arthritis.

Maintain a Regular Routine Mealtimes, rests, walks, and play at the usual times comfort your dog as it ages. But adjust these routines to suit your pooch.

  • Chances are your dog doesn't need as much food as when it was younger and more energetic. Overfeeding can shorten your dog's life by making it obese and causing related health problems. Extra weight also puts more stress on arthritic joints. Talk to your vet if you need guidance on how much to feed your pooch.
  • Give your older dog regular exercise, but possibly scale it back or choose a low-impact version to suit its abilities. Keep up the daily walks, for example, but make them shorter and/or slower.
  • Try to avoid disruptions in your dog's daily schedule. A strange environment might disorient your pooch and cause stress. So consider how travel impacts your senior dog before including it in your road trip plans.

Keep Your Canine Cool Senior dogs don't tolerate extreme temperatures very well. Here are some tips for keeping them comfy during hot weather.

  • Let your dog chill out indoors during heat waves.
  • Never leave your elderly dog outside unsupervised on hot days.
  • Provide plenty of water to keep your dog hydrated. A few ice cubes keep water colder longer.
  • When playing, coax your senior dog to take a cooldown break in a shady spot.
  • Schedule outdoor exercise and play for cooler hours of the day: before sunrise or after sunset.
  • Encourage big gulps of water and siestas after sun-drenched outings.
  • Increase the number of shady dog oases in your yard for warm-weather lounging.
  • If your dog's activity dwindles as summer heat builds, it will eat less than in colder seasons. Adjust kibble portions to suit its appetite.
  • If your dog loses weight or you notice other indications of illness, be sure to call your vet.

Editor's Tip: In cold weather, set up your dog's bed in toasty places away from drafts.

Keep Up Your Older Dog's Appearance A well-groomed dog is a happy dog, regardless of age.

  • Maintain your dog's good health and appearance with regular nail, dental, ear, and skin grooming.
  • Brush your dog frequently. Not only will it keep its coat in better shape, the brushing will be relaxing for both of you.
  • Continue to give your dog regular baths. Just be sure to dry your dog off thoroughly so it doesn't get chilled.
  • Keep your dog free from fleas and ticks by applying a topical flea-and-tick preventative every month and maintaining a clean environment.

See the Vet for Regular Exams Find a vet you trust, and then let this medical professional help preserve and even improve your dog's golden years with regular medical exams. The vet will check for vision and hearing loss, as well as heart disease, and take blood to monitor the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.

It's also important to take care of your dog's dental health. Many vets recommend that you brush your dog's teeth every day. Your vet will let you know if your dog needs to have its teeth professionally cleaned.

Editor's Tip: No one knows your dog better than you do. Educate yourself about health problems that affect senior canines. You might notice symptoms in between appointments that should be brought to your vet's attention.

Watch for Warning Signs Keep in mind that the health problems experienced by senior dogs will vary based on the breed, size, weight, activity level, and quality of care. Watch for these signs and symptoms while remembering that they don't always mean your dog has a serious condition. Let your dog be examined by a vet to get a professional diagnosis.

AKC Classification: Working
UKC Classification: Guardian Dog
Prevalence: Common

The Newfoundland is a large, heavy-coated dog.

The male is 28 inches tall and weighs from 130 to 150 pounds (59 to 68 kilograms). The female is slightly smaller at 26 inches tall and 100 to 120 pounds (45 to 54 kilograms). The outer coat is coarse and flat and has an oily, water-resistant quality that is perfectly suited to the dog's strong desire to be in the water. The undercoat is soft and dense and requires daily brushing they shed excess hair year round. Newfoundland colors are black, black with white, and brown with white splashes on the chest and tail tip.

Newfoundlands have a broad, massive head with small ears that lie close to the head. Their feet are wide with webbing between the toes for swimming.


Despite the size of the Newfoundland, this dog is rather docile and can happily adjust to living in the house. He does, however, need considerable yard space for exercise and ideally should have safe access to water. The breed is watchful and trustworthy, and tolerant of the behavior of children. It is said that author J.M. Barrie based the "Nana" in Peter Pan on his own Newfoundland.

Newfoundlands are protective, known to put themselves physically between their family and any stranger. They are not barkers but will show themselves to be watchful and willing to protect. An intelligent breed, the guardians of Newfoundlands often tell of their dogs alerting them to fire in the home as well as rescuing them from their own swimming pools.

Living With:

The Newfoundland has a sweet disposition and is at home on land or in the water. The dog is an ideal companion for one person or a family, but the size of the Newfoundland should be taken into consideration. The adult Newfoundland does not require a great deal of exercise but can easily become a couch potato. He should be allowed daily walks, a run in the yard or especially a swim to keep fit. Extra weight can shorten the already short life span of a Newfoundland, usually 8 to 10 years.

As with any large breed, a Newfoundland requires plenty of food during the first year of growth. They literally gain 100 pounds in the first year! After that, however, their metabolism slows down, and they do not require nearly so many daily calories. A lean Newfoundland is definitely healthier than one with extra weight.

Newfoundlands are friendly dogs who love to keep you company. However, they do shed and are prone to drool on occasion. Grooming is important for this breed, both for their comfort and health. The coat needs to be brushed regularly to remove dead hairs, and nails should be kept to a short length. Regular nail trims will help to keep the feet from splaying, since they do have to support a heavy load.


Developed on the island of Newfoundland, this breed is a remarkable swimmer with a history of performing incredible water rescues. The specific ancestors of this breed remain unknown, although it may be related to the Pyrenean mountain dogs that accompanied fisherman in the area. In the 18th century, the Newfoundland was sent into Britain and France and quickly became popular with the English sailors as a ship dog.

The breed became so renowned for its ability to perform water rescue that two Newfoundland dogs were a required part of the "equipment" on lifeguard stations along the coast of England.

As a ship dog, the Newfoundland's job was to swim ashore with the line from the ship, establishing a connection with the help on shore. The Newfoundland was such a powerful swimmer that he could also haul a small boat to land.

One Newfoundland ship dog is credited with diving off the deck of a boat in the dark and rescuing Napoleon Bonaparte after he had fallen into the water!

Excerpt: 'Good Old Dog'

Good Old Dog: Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy and ComfortableBy Nicholas DodmanHardcover, 288 pagesHoughton Mifflin HarcourtList Price: $26

The very idea of a dog's "old age" is relatively new. It wasn't too many generations ago that dogs were still viewed largely as utilitarian workers, nonsentient creatures bred to keep a flock of sheep in line or spot prey. The notion of a dog having a comfortable, happy old age would never even have been considered.

Now, dogs are full-fledged members of the household, with a strong reciprocity of feeling between pet and owner -- so much so that research has shown that having a dog in the home reduces blood pressure and, thereby, the risk for heart disease.

Dog owners even report improved psychological well-being, largely attributable to reduced feelings of loneliness and isolation, as well as a reduction in stress. We know most of us number among them.

Surely, many of those positive associations come from the relationships people develop with their pals as the years pass. There's something more serene, wiser, about an older dog, even one who still has plenty of energy. A dog you've had for more than just a handful of years can simply understand you better, accommodate your moods better.

Of course, too, there's extra closeness with a dog you've known for a long time. How could the bond not strengthen after one's four-legged friend has turned seven, ten, twelve years old? After all, the better part of a decade or more has been spent nurturing the relationship -- helping the dog grow from a "baby" who needed to be taught the rhythms of your home to a mature soul who can easily read your mood and provide comfort, protection, or simply good company whenever it is needed.

Perhaps you and your older dog have watched children go off to college together, grieved a loss, relocated, or dealt with a career change. Surely, you've taken walks by each other's side, watched favorite TV shows, greeted each other enthusiastically after a long day apart, and been a reassuring presence to each other at bedtime.

During checkups and other visits, we see the closeness in the way people interact with their more senior companions. There's a comfort level, a something that can be taken for granted, that isn't yet present between people and their younger dogs.

Bring into the mix that a pet is so innocent, so unquestionably devoted and accepting, and it's not at all surprising that even the toughest among us might blink back tears at the thought of a faithful companion getting on in years. Such emotion doesn't make us softies or weirdos it makes us human. It's simply an indication that we're able to respond to all the depth of feeling a companion dog is able to elicit.

No wonder it has become important for people to increase not only a dog's life span but also their pet's health span, changing what it means to be geriatric. By the numbers, "geriatric" signifies the point at which 75 percent of one's anticipated lifespan has gone by. The good news -- what this book is about -- is that passing that milestone no longer means "over the hill." Sophisticated advances in veterinary medical technology help dogs remain healthier for much longer even as they reach significantly older ages, thereby compressing the amount of time a dog will be infirm or uncomfortable before reaching the end of life. Thus, just as silver-haired men and women in their seventies and eighties now go traveling and white-water rafting and lead active, fulfilling lives -- something that was once largely unthinkable -- twelve-, fourteen-, and sixteen-year-old dogs can now continue to enjoy their usual romps and shenanigans with the help of modern veterinary medicine.

Excerpted from Good Old Dog: Expert Advice for Keeping Your Aging Dog Happy, Healthy, and Comfortable by Nicholas Dodman. Copyright 2010 by Nicholas Dodman. Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Newfoundlands: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Newfoundland temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

The AKC Standard says, "Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland."

Calm, dignified, and generally quiet, this big breed does best in a spacious home in the suburbs or country, preferably in a non-humid climate, ideally with access to a lake or pond. Newfoundlands love love love the water!

To stay fit, a Newf needs long daily walks. He loves to romp in the snow, and pulling a cart or carrying a backpack gives him a purpose in life. Did I mention that he loves to swim?

This kindly breed is good-natured with everyone, especially children, though they should be as well-behaved as he is. He is very sociable and needs more companionship than many other breeds. Newfoundlands don't do well when left alone for long periods.

Early socialization with lots of nice people and other dogs is critical in developing a stable temperament. Some male Newfoundlands are aggressive with other male dogs, and a very few may be dominant-aggressive toward people. Excessive shyness is also seen.

Though good-natured, the Newfoundland must learn his manners, but he is not a pushover to train. He has an independent streak. But he does respond well to patient obedience training. Motivate him with praise and food rewards rather than jerking on the leash, for this breed may have a giant body, but his mind and heart are sensitive. Harshness only makes him skittish and distrustful. Females are most willing to please, while males may be more hardheaded.

Newfoundlands pant a lot, drink a lot (sometimes dunking half of their head into their water bucket), and are champion droolers.

  • Is heavily-built and powerful, with a thick furry coat
  • Is usually polite with everyone
  • pulling carts and sleds, romping in cold weather, and swimming
  • Is responsive to training in a slow, good-natured way

A Newfoundland may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with.

  • A very bulky dog who takes up a lot of space in your house and car
  • A heavy dog who wants to sit on your feet, lie on your lap, and lean his weight against your leg
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping when young
  • "Separation anxiety" and destructiveness when left alone too much
  • Fearfulness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
  • Some stubbornness and/or dominance problems, especially in males
  • Heavy shedding
  • Slobbering and drooling

A Newfoundland may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

  • You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Newfoundlands have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
  • If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
  • Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Newfoundland to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

More traits and characteristics of the Newfoundland

If I was considering a Newfoundland, I would be most concerned about.

    Providing the proper balance of exercise. Young Newfoundlands need enough exercise to keep them lean and healthy, but not so much that their soft growing bones, joints, and ligaments become over-stressed and damaged. Adult Newfoundlands need more exercise to keep them in shape, but not in hot or humid weather for fear of overheating. The proper amount of exercise can be difficult to regulate in giant breeds.

Since you have to minimize their exercise, young Newfoundlands can be very rambunctious. They will romp with uncoordinated gawkiness all over your house. You need to substitute extra quantities of companionship and supervision. Otherwise, left alone, young Newfoundlands become bored and destructive, and their powerful jaws can literally destroy your living room.

  • Separation anxiety. More than most other breeds, Newfoundlands need a great deal of companionship and do not like being left alone for more than a few hours. They tend to express their unhappiness through destructive chewing.
  • Providing enough socialization. Young Newfoundlands need careful exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness or suspiciousness, which in such a huge dog can be very difficult to live with.
  • Strong temperament, especially in males. Newfoundlands are good-natured, yes. but they're not pushovers to raise and train. Some Newfoundlands, especially young males, are very willful and require a firmer hand than you might have hoped when you brought home that cuddly puppy! You must establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with a Newfoundland at a young age.

    To teach your Newfoundland to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. Read more about Newfoundland Training.

    Potential dog aggression, especially in males. Many Newfoundlands are perfectly peaceful with other dogs, but some are decidedly NOT peaceful. Adolescent and young adult males, especially, can be pushy or downright aggressive toward other male dogs.

  • Heavy shedding. Newfoundlands are one of the heaviest shedders of all breeds. You'll find hair and fur all over your clothing, upholstery, carpeting, under your furniture, even in your food. Frequent vacuuming will become a way of life. Make sure you're really up for this!
  • Slobbering. As with shedding, most people are not prepared for how much Newfoundlands slobber and drool, especially after eating or drinking. When they shake their heads, you will be toweling saliva off your furniture and walls. In fact, experienced Newf owners hang towels near their dog's food and water dishes.
  • Serious health problems. The lifespan of a Newfoundland is short, less than 10 years, and an alarming number are crippled by bone and joint diseases well before that time. Many wonderful Newfoundlands succumb to cancer in middle age. Read more about Newfoundland Health.
  • About the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

    To help you train and care for your dog

    Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

    The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

    Watch the video: Golden [email protected] Pet Needs and Grooming

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