About Newf Friends

Newf Friends Newfoundland Dog Rescue is a volunteer run, foster home based rescue group for Newfoundland Dogs in need in Ontario, Canada.
We place Newfs into carefully screened homes in Ontario and surrounding provinces and states.
Established in 2008.

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Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for general information about our program and our adoption policies and procedures.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Temperament issues in Newfs, a growing concern

"Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland"....unless you buy your Newf from a lousy breeder, then all bets are off.

The breed we love is in trouble and it's time to have an honest discussion about what has gone wrong and what can be done to stop it.  Here in Ontario we're seeing a very concerning trend:  more and more Newfs are showing dog aggression, severe prey drive and human aggression. It's heart breaking for our volunteers to see the increased numbers of dogs coming through our program who are so un-Newf like in temperament that they need to be muzzled, sequestered from other animals or euthanized for uncontrollable aggression toward humans.

Why is this happening?
Temperament is a heritable trait, meaning that it is passed along to dogs through their genes.  Historically, the Newfoundland Dog breed has been selectively bred to have a "sweet" temperament and dogs who do not possess this trait are not bred by reputable breeders.  However, today, there are breeders who are not considering temperament in their breeding programs.  When dogs who are genetically predisposed to having temperament issues are bred these genes are passed onto their offspring.  While environment certainly plays a very large part in shaping behaviour, genetics do play an important role in determining the temperament of a dog.   Certain poorly bred lines of Newfoundland Dogs are very well known to us as having incorrect temperament, and these temperament issues are being passed on generation after generation through the breeding of these dogs.   There are large scale (and small scale) puppy producers and BYB who are using this breeding stock, and as a result they are producing dogs with very serious temperament issues and selling them to unsuspecting buyers as pets.

To make matters worse, these lousy breeders are providing breeding stock to other lousy breeders, and sharing breeding stock back and forth, perpetuating the breeding of Newfs with incorrect temperament and form. One notorious large scale puppy producer here in Ontario who has been at the center of this poor temperament epidemic has been providing new breeding stock to other puppy producers throughout the province and also across Canada and the US, spreading the genetic mess they have created across the continent.  Not only do these lines have serious temperament issues, but they also have very serious health issues as well. 

Lousy breeders don't care enough about the dogs they are producing to perform proper health clearances, and they also don't care enough to breed selectively for correct temperament.  Sadly, for the most part they also don't properly socialize the pups or raise them in environments that nurture correct temperament.  The pups are typically sold before they are 10 weeks of age so they miss out on necessary socialization from their litter-mates which makes matters even worse.  These breeders are producing dogs who have serious health and temperament issues and they are saturating the market.

With lousy breeders producing a large volume of poor quality puppies the Newfoundland dog breed as a whole is suffering greatly.  We are seeing more and more "purebred" newfs who barely resemble the breed in appearance or behaviour.  The time to act is now.

What can you do?  
Help us educate the public. Help spread the word that not all breeders are created equal.  

Warn potential buyers about the risks of buying dogs from breeders who advertise on Kijiji, Craigslist or facebook sale groups.  Share our article on how to identify BYB http://newf-friends.blogspot.ca/p/identifying-byb.html and encourage people to do their homework when selecting a breeder. When in doubt, your local rescue group is a great resource to get information about the quality of local kennels.  Local rescues know the good, the bad and the ugly.  

Help us direct potential puppy buyers to good, reputable, conscientious breeders and away from the lousy puppy producers.  If you know of someone who is looking to purchase a puppy please direct them to our breeder referral page http://newf-friends.blogspot.ca/p/breeder-referral-program.html  

If you are a reputable breeder producing healthy, happy, friendly, correct Newfs - bravo!  Keep your membership with the National Club current so that potential buyers can find you, get involved with your Regional Club to meet future newf owners, volunteer with your local rescue to help clean up the mess the lousy kennels have made,  and keep breeding awesome dogs. We love properly bred Newfs and we need good breeders to keep producing them. 

Help shut down lousy breeders!  If you witness neglect, poor living conditions, questionable practices report them to the SPCA.  If you have concerns about dogs not being registered, dogs being registered incorrectly, a breeder selling dogs at different prices if they are registered, or other similar issues, report the breeder to the CKC.  If you have any questionable experiences with a Newf breeder let your local Newf rescue know about it and they can help direct you to the right resources.

Keep us informed. If you have information about a Newf breeder that you think we need to know about, or that the National club needs to know about, please contact us.  We can't help fix problems if we don't know about them.  If we are armed with good information we can work constructively to bring about change.  

Support your local rescue, your Regional Newf Club and the National club.  These are the people who are advocating for the breed, who are lobbying for changes to policy to help protect dogs and future puppy purchasers, who are preserving the history of the breed and striving to maintain the true qualities of the Newfoundland Dog breed.  Help us save the breed we all love.