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History of the Newfoundland Dog
When talking about the wonderful Newfypoo, the first thing that should be considered is where this wonderful breed originated from. Most of us are familiar with one of the breeds that makes up the Newfypoo, the wonderful Poodle (usually the Standard Poodle is used to breed Newfypoo’s but not always, we will come to this later). You can read all about the Poodle in our Poodle guide.
Perhaps not as many people are as familiar with the Newfoundland. The Newfoundland parent is where the size and temperament that makes the Newfypoo such a desirable companion comes from, so we are going to first take a look at this gentle giant.
The Newfoundland dog was first developed, as his name suggests, in the Newfoundland and Labrador region of Canada – a cold and windswept region. The precise origins of the breed no one really knows but the Newfoundland or Newfy as he is affectionately known is acknowledged as being one of the oldest breeds still around today.
It is believed that the Newfoundland was first domesticated by the native American Sioux Indians. Evidence of a large dog was discovered by archaeologists on the great plains. Legend also has it that Leif Erikson, a Viking, had with him a large black dog when he first landed on the coast of Newfoundland over 1,000 years ago. Another theory is that European fishermen may have bred their dogs with the dogs native to the island which were perhaps crossed with Great Pyrenees.
One thing we do know for sure is that it was George Cartwright who first named the Newfoundland back in 1775 when he referred to his own dog as a Newfoundland.
Prior to the 19th century, the breed was called the ‘Greater Newfoundland’ as a way of distinguishing him from his cousin the Lesser Newfoundland, or St Johns’s Dog (now known as the Labrador Retriever). Newfoundlands were bred originally to help the fisherman by hauling heavy nets out of the ocean and pulling wood in specially made carts up and down the steep streets in the port region.
They were also used as water rescue dogs and the Newfoundland was often seen onboard sailing vessels in the Atlantic. There are many stories of heroic water rescues involving these wonderful giant dogs. Indeed a Newfy is said to have rescued Napoleon Bonaparte during his voyage back from the island of Elba where he was exiled. Another famous rescue took place in Nova Scotia when a dog known as Tang carried a line from the wreck of the Ethie back to shore helping to save all the passengers and the crew.
Because of the size, strength, and natural aptitude for helping humans these dogs were selectively bred to produce the Newfoundland that we know and love today. His huge size, thick water repellent coat, and webbed feet make him unrivaled as a water dog and there are many events still held today by Newfoundland breed clubs where you can see these dogs taking part in water rescues just as their forefathers did. They can even be seen jumping out of helicopters into the water to save people! For any dog, this surely takes incredible courage.
The Newfoundland is often referred to as the ‘Nana’ dog after the dog in Peter Pan, who whilst often portrayed as a St Bernard was actually modeled on the author’s own pet Newfoundland.
Most people when they decide they want a Newfypoo want the Newfoundland size and temperament without the drool and shedding. However, there is more to the Newfypoo than this. The Newfoundland himself has a calm, kindly nature and is generally a quiet, laid back dog but has a HUGE stubborn streak and is not a pushover to train. He responds to kindness. Although a giant, the Newfy is a sensitive dog and can shut down if shouted at by an overzealous trainer. While not known as a guard dog as such, the Newfy is usually protective of his own family, especially children.
The Poodle on the other hand is a high energy breed – alert, intelligent, active, and very trainable. However, they can be almost ‘too clever’ which can lead to them getting into mischief and perhaps being too much for some owners. Poodles are also known to be sensitive, highly strung and a touch on the vocal side so by crossing them with the placid giant Newfoundland to create the Newfypoo truly brings the best of both breeds together.
The Newfypoo is usually a very placid dog who loves to run and play like his Poodle parent but not for too long! He is half Newfoundland of course so, after a run, he likes nothing better than to come home and take a long nap, often snoring loudly. Newfypoos are very sociable and, if introduced properly and from an early age, gets along well with humans of all ages as well as other animals. If you have other pets, including cats, small children, and/or elderly relatives, the Newfypoo may be a great choice for you.
It is important to teach him not to jump up or greet people too enthusiastically from a young age as due to his enormous size he could easily cause injury without meaning to and being a sensitive soul, he will not understand why he is in trouble when all he wanted to do was give your visitors a bear hug.
Newfypoos are not known as excessive barkers although they will alert you to strangers approaching you or your property. My own girl is quite protective on walks and will put herself in front of me and sound deep warning barks when she sees a stranger approaching but only until I say hello when she ambles over for a head scratch. At home, if she barks, I go to see why as Newfypoos do not usually bark excessively without reason.
Newfypoos have a special affinity with youngsters and will often instinctively stick close to children and watch them at all times without prompting to make sure their young friends are safe. Some Newfypoos can be a little dominant when it comes to other dogs, so this is something to keep an eye out for although they are rarely troublemakers.
Most of the time at home you will find your Newfypoo sleeping in a cool spot. Due to their heavy coats and the fact that they ‘run hot’, they are constantly seeking out the coolest spot in the house or garden in which to relax. Newfypoos are very stubborn, even more so in their teenage phase, and no amount of yelling will get you a response. You will be met with a blank stare that seems to say ’make me’.
The good news is though that they are extremely motivated by food as a rule. Rather than shouting at your stubborn friend who really doesn’t see why he should come in from the yard just because it’s raining or you want to go to bed, you might be better saving your breath and going to get his favorite treats. Trust me, when he hears the kitchen cupboard opening and the rustle of a wrapper, sees a bag of sprats, or similar high-value goodies, he will be through the back door as though it was exactly what he planned to do all along!
Newfypoos do like to be around their humans as much as possible and he will thrive in a home where someone is home most of the day. If you are out at work for long periods daily, this is not the breed for you.
We can’t talk about Newfypoos without talking about water, so here goes! The Newfypoo, like both of his parent breeds, loves water… So much so that it can be difficult to keep a water bowl inside the house unless you don’t mind your house being turned into a water park! Newfypoos don’t just drink from the water bowl, they like to dunk in their whole head and both front paws too! He’ll then saunter back indoors doing the characteristic Newfypoo shuffle (you’ll actually hear his paws shuffling on the floor before you see him), dripping water from his great shaggy beard and dragging his paws like wet mops as he goes.
You will never change this, nor is it fair to do so. Embrace it, laugh at him (after all, who could be mad at that big smooshy face), and keep large towels just inside the door to dry his face and huge paws as he comes in.
The Newfypoo is also a natural clown (he gets this from his Poodle parent) and will never fail to make you laugh. Newfypoos are known to be ‘counter surfers’ something that is extremely easy when your head is kitchen counter height so this needs to be discouraged or you will soon learn not to leave food on the counters, or it might just disappear!
With a mixed-breed dog, it is much harder to predict size than with a pure breed. However, it’s safe to say that when bringing home a Newfypoo you will end up with a large to giant sized companion. The Newfoundland weighs between 130-150lbs for a male and 100-120lbs for a female on average. Some individuals can be much larger. They usually stand 27-29 inches tall for a male and 26-28 inches tall for a female.
The Standard Poodle (which is the Poodle size most commonly used when breeding Newfypoos) usually weighs between 45 and 70lbs for a male and 45-60lbs for a female. They stand anywhere between 22 and 29 inches tall. So while not exactly a giant in terms of weight, the Standard Poodle is also a large dog.
Many Newfypoos actually grow taller than purebred Newfoundlands due to the ‘legginess’ of their Poodle parent. Most Newfypoos grow to between 70 and 110lbs but some do grow much larger. My own girl weighs roughly 120lbs and is not finished growing yet. The smallest size a standard-sized F1 Newfypoo will be around 65lbs with most being much larger.
With purebred dogs, it is the males that are the largest. However, with a mixed breed, this is not necessarily the case as it will depend on which parent the dog takes after. For example, you could meet a huge female that takes after her Newfoundland parent or a lighter framed male that takes after his Poodle parent. That’s all part of the appeal, you never know quite which way the cookie will crumble.
With an F1b Newfypoo, it becomes a little different again. An F1b is a Newfypoo crossed back to one of the parent breeds, usually but not always, a Poodle. This makes the coat easier to predict as the F1b crossed back to a poodle is 75% Poodle and 25% Newfoundland. This means that in theory (again not always) the dog will be tall but lighter framed than an F1, with a curly non-shedding coat. This makes the F1b a good choice for families with allergies or simply people that really want to avoid shedding.
The ‘reverse’ F1b is a Newfypoo crossed back to a Newfoudland. This usually creates a very large Newfy looking dog with less drooling and shedding (again not always), slightly more energy, and (we hope) fewer health issues and a longer life span than a purebred Newfoundland.
To complicate things even further you do also get Mini Newfypoos! The mini is usually a cross between a Newfoundland and a Miniature Poodle. There can also be an F1b Mini Newfypoo which is a cross between a Mini Newfypoo and a Miniature Poodle. This is usually achieved using artificial insemination and the mother must be the larger of the two parents.
A Mini F1 Newfypoo will usually be between 30-65lbs and reach a height of around 21 inches. This can’t be guaranteed though as your Mini might take after his Newfoundland parent and grow to be a giant, despite his father being a Miniature Poodle.
With an F1b this is slightly more predictable if the Mini Newfypoo has been bred back to a Miniature Poodle resulting in a pup that is 75% Miniature Poodle and 25% Newfoundland. Mini F1b’s generally grow to between 25-50lbs and reach between 16 and 20 inches in height.
First, let’s look at the health problems often seen in the parent breeds. The Newfoundland, being a giant breed sadly has a short life span of between 8 and 10 years on average. There are also a number of health issues that are common in the breed such as gastric torsion which is often referred to as bloat. This is common in large, deep-chested breeds (including Standard Poodles) and is a horrible illness where the stomach fills with gas and fluid and can twist on itself or flip over.
The twisting means that gas and fluid can not be released from the stomach causing the stomach to dilate as the food digests. The blood supply to the intestines can also be cut off causing part of the gut to die. Bloat is a medical emergency as without urgent treatment, usually surgery, the dog will die very quickly after the onset of symptoms. Ensuring you do not feed your Newfypoo for at least an hour either side of exercise can help to minimize the risk, as can free-feeding so that your dog does not gorge or bolt his food in one go.
We also can’t discuss possible health issues without talking about hip and elbow dysplasia, a problem in all large dog breeds. Hip/elbow dysplasia is a congenital disease that causes the hip/elbow joints to grow abnormally, triggering pain, and lameness. It is important that both parents are hip and elbow scored (x-rays are taken to evaluate hips) prior to breeding although hip dysplasia is believed to be only 20% inherited and 80% environmental.
This means it important to take care not to over-exercise your Newfypoo puppy until his joints are fully formed. This includes no walking up and down stairs, jumping on and off of furniture or into cars, and no running on slippery surfaces.
Heart problems such as dilated cardiomyopathy are also common in Newfoundlands so heart screening is important for any dog considered as a breeding dog. Cystinuria is another hereditary disorder common in Newfoundlands. This is caused by a defect in the transport of cystine, an amino acid, in the kidney’s tubules. This can cause crystals to form in the bladder and kidneys so again it is important that any Newfoundland being used for breeding are tested for CU.
The Standard Poodle, whilst being a longer lived breed (generally around 12 years) also brings his own health problems to the table. A very common concern is Addison’s Disease which means the adrenal gland does not produce enough cortisol. This is life-threatening and it is very important that Standard Poodles considered for breeding are tested for this.
Poodles are also at risk from hereditary skin disorders such as Sebaceous Adenitis which means that the sebaceous glands become inflamed and in some cases, can be destroyed. There isn’t a cure for this disease so testing is very important.
Epilepsy, hypothyroidism, PRA, and Von Willebrand’s disease (a disease where the blood doesn’t clot) are also commonly seen, so full genetic health testing is vital. We talk a lot about hybrid vigor when discussing cross-bred dogs and thankfully in most cases this is true. Crossbred dogs are often healthier than their purebred parents but, and it’s a big but, they can also suffer from all the disorders that either parent breed can have. This means health testing all potential Newfypoo parents is absolutely vital.
Coat Colours and Types
The Newfypoo comes in many colors, all are beautiful of course. They can be solid-colored, usually black or brown but occasionally grey or cream depending on the generation ( F1, F1b, etc). They can be particolored, usually black and white or brown and white but again can be grey and white, apricot and white or even merle or merle and white. It all depends on the colors of the parents. Parti colored Poodles, as well as Landseer (piebald Newfoundlands) are often used to breed Newfypoos meaning there is a wonderful range of colors and patterns to choose from.
The most commonly seen however are black and brown. Another factor in Newfypoo color is the Poodle fading gene. If the Poodle parent carries this gene, your black Newfypoo puppy could turn silver as he grows up, and similarly, your brown Newfypoo puppy could turn that wonderful silver beige color we often see in Poodles.
As well as the color we must discuss coat types. As with any Doodle, these coat types can vary from tight poodle curls to long straight heavily shedding coats like a Newfoundland. The in-between, and very desirable coat type commonly seen in F1 Newfypoo’s is long and wavy or loosely curled with minimal shedding. Many Newfypoos do have the Newfoundland undercoat that means during grooming (especially with an undercoat rake) you will get handfuls of hair out every day. However, you will very rarely find it on your clothes, floor, or furniture.
What Newfypoos Eat and How Much to Feed Them
The Newfypoo usually enjoys his food, although not quite as much as the Newfoundland, and high-quality food is essential for a giant dog. There is a huge variety of food to choose from and it is largely a matter of personal choice.
Raw food is great for our Newfypoos so long as you feed a complete and balanced diet. Ratios of bone, muscle meat, and organ are important but choosing to buy complete raw meals ready prepared to defrost and feed make this easy. If raw is not for you, a specially formulated kibble or wet dog food specifically designed to meet the needs of giant dogs is another great option.
A healthy adult Newfypoo needs roughly 4% of his body weight per day with puppies needing much more, often double, to enable them to grow to their adult size and at a frightening speed. It is a good idea to split even adult Newfypoos daily quota of food into several smaller meals to help to prevent bloat.
Newfypoo Exercise Needs
Lastly, let’s talk about exercise. Walking your dog is a huge part of being a dog owner. It is a common misconception that larger dogs need more exercise than their smaller cousins. This is not true! Being half Newfoundland, your Newfypoo (in most cases), is a somewhat lazy dog. However, he does require about an hour’s walk per but is quite happy to be a couch potato most of the time.
One long walk, preferably with the opportunity to be off lead and a shorter amble on his lead and opportunity to play or sniff around in your garden or back yard is sufficient. Particular care must be taken not to over-exercise puppies, sticking strictly to the 5 mins per month of age per day rule, is essential.
Also, take care not to over-exercise your Newfypoo in hot weather. Generally, a play in the garden, preferably with a paddling pool to splash in is enough on hot days with a short walk either in the early morning or late evening.