The Newfoundland (‘Newfie’) is a very large and heavy Mastiff type dog whose ancestors probably come from the polar regions. His sheer size means that he needs to live in a large house with a large garden and requires plenty of exercise. Many Newfies love water and are good swimmers. His coat is very thick and will need grooming daily. He is not usually aggressive but will warn if strangers approach the house. He has a shortened average lifespan of under 10 years.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 6.1% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS276.27
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- The overall shape of a Newfie is free from exaggerations but his sheer size and weightiness results in a much lower than average lifespan.
- Gastric bloat/torsion – stomach dilates with gas and can twist. Urgent vet attention required. Common in deep chested breeds.
- Medial canthal pocket syndrome (upper and lower lids inside the corner of the eye roll outwards creating a ‘pocket’ in which irritating substances such as dirt and dust can collect) Due to breed head shape.
- Hip dysplasia (abnormality of the hip joints causing pain and disability): breed mean score 15.9 (parents should be lower)
- Elbow dysplasia (abnormality of elbow joint causing pain and disability) score should be as low as possible (ideally 0:0)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) are now available for Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia:
DNA Tests Available
Parents should be tested for:
Cystinuria (CU) (urate stones form in the bladder).
Unofficial (Breed Club) Schemes
- Breed club Heart testing
- Bitches not to produce a litter under two years of age.
- Bitches over 7 years not to be bred
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Heart disease: Subaortic stenosis (fibrous ring develops below aortic valve – causes a heart murmur and may progress to heart failure; can also cause sudden death)
- Cranial cruciate ligament rupture (degeneration of ligament in knee joint)
- Heart disease: Dilated cardiomyopathy (disease of heart muscle leading to heart failure)
- Heart disease: Mitral stenosis (thickened leaves of the mitral valve)
- Cancer: osteosarcoma (cancer of the bone)
- Ciliary dyskinesia (causes dogs to have recurrent respiratory infections)
- Atopic dermatitis (hypersensitivity to some pollens and other protein particles causing intense itching)
- Polyarthritis/meningitis syndrome (autoimmune disease)
- Polymyositis (swallowing problems, exessive drooling, muscle wasting) (autoimmune disease)
- Pemphigous foliaceus (scaling and crusting of skin and loss of hair spreading from muzzle)
- Hypothyroidism (autoimmune disease of thyroid gland causing lethargy and weight gain)
- Panosteitis (bone inflammation)
- Shoulder osteochondrosis (abnormality of cartilege causing pain and lameness)
- Atopy (hypersensitivity to some pollens and other protein particles causing intense it itching)
- Eye problems: Entropion, Ectropion, , ‘Diamond eye’, ‘Cherry eye’ (prolapse of third eyelid gland)
- Myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular disease causing weakness) (autoimmune disease)
- Pemphigus foliaceus (skin lesions) (autoimmune disease)
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: