Welcome To My Newfoundland Page!

All Things Shenanigans!

Well, in case you didn't know what a Newfoundland is SHAME ON YOU. I'm only kidding heh heh heh. A Newfoundland is a breed of dog named after the Canadian province of Newfoundland where it was developed. We were bred to help Newfoundland fishermen to haul nets, pull loads on land and be a companion to family and whatever livestock were present. Our closest cousins are the Labrador Retrievers which are named after a region in Newfoundland. It's also speculated by some that Portuguese Water Dogs are pretty close cousins. Needless to say we're pretty good swimmers!

We're the largest of the Canadian breeds according to standard. On average the girls are about 120 pounds and us guys are about 150 pounds. We have massive heads, so we're prone to drooling. Just like most of our "giant breed" cousins. We have a thick long coat (Newfoundland is pretty cold you know!). We also have webbed feet, which most people find very fascinating. If I had a dime for every stranger who has tickled my toes!

We come in several colour varieties, some colours are not recognized depending on your kennel club and some colours are not recognized completely. In Canada, the colours recognized by the CKC and NDCC are Black and Landseer (White with black markings) In the country to the south of us, we're also recognized in Brown and Grey. Nevertheless, regardless of the colour, you can always tell a Newf by our world reknowned gentle dispositions.

Us Newfies are a pretty amiable group of dogs. Despite our large size, we are generally quite gentle with little people, even in our crazy puppy years (relatively!). We tend to be calmer than most breeds. We are a very people oriented breed, so it you can't stand a dog who's going to make a point of putting his head in your lap, don't get one of us! We are very powerful dogs, so we need proper training, guidance and control from an early age. Some of us have been reputed for being stubborn. Mom says I'm stubborn all the time! We like to look dignified, however I have yet to know a member of my clan who doesn't have a silly streak in them!

We're not a terribly active breed. If you're looking for someone to run miles with you, get a Dalmatian. We'll swim miles with you though. And pull your kayak in from the water. We're not the best dogs suited for heat, so make sure in the summer we're kept mighty cool. Some lemonade is nice too!

Despite that though, us Newfies can do lots of things. We're in the Working Group. We can pull heavy sleds, we can rescue people from the water, which is one of our most common applications. A lot of people tend to think that us giant breeds are kinda dumb, not so! We can compete in obedience trials, do tricks and even be in movies. We're very clever at getting food too!

Before you get any breed of dog, let alone us Newfs, you have to do your homework. Check with your local breed or kennel club, or even the national ones, to get a list of recommended breeders. Make sure that you know what makes a good breeder (See article on the Article's page!). Us big guys can have genetic defects such as Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, thyroid problems, heart problems, eye problems and even types of hemophilia! There are tests to clear breeding dogs from these diseases as much as we are capable of doing so far. Please check out the links page for further links to Newfoundland health issues. Breeders should compete with their dogs in some way shape or form and be involved in the community. They should be frank, open and willing to answer any questions. A good breeder is proud of their breeding stock. A good breeder will also ask you questions about yourself and family. Don't take this as an inquisition, a good breeder wants to make absolutely sure that their puppy is going to go to a good home, even if this means they have to keep the puppy with then until they do!

Please see the articles page for further information on where and how to select your dog, mom will write it because she knows a bit more about it. Meanwhile, enjoy Newfs galore! I hope to be putting pictures up of my family soon.

This is me after the FIRST time I went swimming! Yech! What a mess, imagine that wet stuff all over you. And this time it was not warm like my baths! Banzai says I'll get to like it as much as he does if not more. I dunno....Mom says it will soon be time for me to start swimming again, especially when they kayak around the shore. Banzai says I'll enjoy hauling in kayaks, I don't know why, he likes it, but why would I do such a weirdo thing?

The Newfoundland Appeal!

Not too many people are ready willing and able to into the ownership and care of a very large hairy, drooling breed. Admittedly while Newfoundlands are amiable characters, there is a lot of care and responsibility that goes into these large guys. Fortunately, their lack of "refinement" has helped in keeping the breed at relatively low popularity, which is the way, myself, breed fanciers, rescue folks and breeders like it.

That said, I was reading an article in Dogs in Canada written by an owner of two Jack Russell Terriers lamenting at the popularity television shows Frasier and Wishbone has bestowed upon his two dogs and many dogs like his. Well conversely in my not so expensive house, and with a breed who's popularity seems to involve a few movies and a couple of commercials, I too have this problem. Well I hesitate to call it a problem, since I love talking, I love talking about dogs, and I love talking about MY dogs. Like the breed I so admire, I consider myself pretty friendly and approachable, so stopping every five minutes is not a difficult task.

It's very odd that in this society where just about anyone without a dog seems terrified that they are going to be bitten, I have scores of people instantly recognizing Shenanigans as a Newfoundland and flocking to him. Granted I live in Canada, and the Newfoundland is considered a wonderful ambassador for our country. Canadians have seen just about every variety of Labrador Retriever there is. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is slowly making it's introduction to Canada, but is still widely unknown. The Canadian Eskimo Dog is not a common sight, and certainly not in suburbia. So that leaves the Newfoundland. The reputation of the breed and it's gentle and amiable qualities spreads the country coast to coast, but it's not every day the average Joe or even the average dog fancier gets to see a Newfoundland up close and personal. My mother lives in downtown Toronto, I often bring Shenanigans along for the visit. We usually head for the local dog park and for a walk around the neighbourhood. Fortunately, we're not asked if Shenanigans is just like some TV dog character. However I'm asked almost every time the typical questions/statements.

How much does he eat?
Do you know how big he's going to get!?! (Not so much a question as is a statement)
Do they drool?
Ewwwwww, I didn't know they drool!!!
Auuughhh, look at my pants!
They must shed a lot!
He must eat you out of house and home!
Do they really have webbed feet?
You must live on a farm!
You must have to exercise him a whole lot!

I must state now that I am not complaining or do not want to come across as such. I don't mind addressing the same questions again and again. I'm a dog trainer, that's part of the job description. It does sometimes get boring. What is interesting, is hearing stories that these dogs bring up. Since I have gotten Shenanigans I have met a lot of people from the east coast, who had to come up and visit the Newfoundland. They have told me wonderful stories of the breed from their childhood. This is a great perk of therapy work, you get to learn Canadian history in one of it's oldest forms of education!

I do get the other typical questions that I wish I sometimes didn't have to hear, but it's not a major complaint, just a pet peeve and I warn you, it's petty!

Is that a black Saint Bernard?
Is that a hairy Labrador Retriever?

There are times where I have to correct people of the identification of my breed. I haven't been with Newfs too long, so I'm sure I'll get some doozies as time goes on. I have gotten into discussions where people were more than certain that Shenanigans wasn't a Newfoundland, because he was too small. When I finally explained to them, that the dog they are referring to is only 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 months old, they usually reply with an Oh, so he will get to be about 200 pounds right? I explain to them, his parents size and chances are, he'll be closer to the average that the standard dictates, 150 pounds. They then proceed to tell me, that that is too small for a Newfoundland, and that I better check to see if his parentage is true. There are certainly larger dogs out there, and I'm sure they are lovely, however Shenanigans is in the standard, what's wrong with that! Coming from herding breeds, I haven't really been exposed terribly to the Bigger is Better train of thought. I'm getting my medicine's worth now however!

The Newfoundland's reputation has been passed down generations of people. They have been known as gentle guardians of children and wee things for hundreds of years. And they have been popular in older literature, such as Peter Pan, but, their current reputation in this day and age of mass media seems to have gotten around by word of mouth. This works to benefit the Newfoundland fanciers, in that the breed is not too popular, however, people aren't leaping for cover as they see these large dogs walking down the street. And those who aren't aware of the breed's reputation, are soon acquainted with it, as they peer into the gentle expression of a Newfoundland who is just sitting patiently, with a dignified air wait to be petted or hugged by children. At a recent event at the Royal Winter Fair, Shenanigans must have encountered thousands of people, many of them being children. While many people knew that Shenanigans was probably one of the safest dogs in the building to have their children pet, those who didn't were soon given a display on how a large awkward looking puppy suddenly turned very gentle and precise when a tot ambled over to him. They soon learned that Newfoundlands were one of the best breeds to have with children, and about a zillion of their breed's misgivings. (Gotta hoard the breed for myself still).

When all is said and done however, 99.9% of the people who approach me, are in love with the breed. They are upfront with the fact that they'll probably never own one, which is a relief to me (more for me!) but they certainly love to be around the dog as long as it's not their responsibility. *Grin* Which is perfect. The Newfoundland Dog is indeed a great breed of dog to have, chances are, you'll never find a dog as gentle or affection or in tune with your emotions. But they are a large breed of dog, with a lot of hair, and A LOT of various aspects to take into consideration.

This picture illustrates the differences between Newfoundlands and Labrador Retrievers. Pictured are two youngsters of each breed. The Newfoundland being 9 months at the time and the Labrador being 16 months. The Newfoundland is already much larger than the Lab, he is almost three times as heavy. Note the difference in head types, the Newfoundland having the much heavier head and different expression. As well the Newfoundland does not have the trademark Labrador Retriever tail. The Newfoundland has a lot more coat than the lab. Both breeds have webbing in their toes, and both breeds come in black. The Lab colours are Black, Yellow and Chocolate, while the Newfoundland's are Black, Landseer, Bronze and Grey. Both breeds do share ancestry, but have diverged into two separate breeds altogether. This is Shenanigans with his friend Tristan. Watch for Tristan in the obedience and agility rings as he matures!

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