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.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

So, you want to be a Newf breeder?

Newf Friend's objectives are to provide education and resources to encourage responsible pet ownership, eliminate back yard breeders and puppy mills and to help Newfoundland Dogs in need. The vast majority of dogs that enter our rescue come from Backyard Breeders (BYB) or on occasion from puppy mills. The greatest challenges we face as a rescue are stopping people from carelessly breeding Newfs, and educating the public to stop supporting BYB and puppymills.
A typical Backyard Breeder (BYB) is a pet owner who casually breeds their dog without regard for improving the breed, maintaining the breed standard, ensuring proper temperament or preventing genetic defects. BYB often breed unregistered dogs, mixed breed dogs, or breed their pet dog "because they like it" or "want her to have one litter". Sometimes their motive is greed and money, other times they simply lack the knowledge to recognize that what they are doing is not in the best interest of the breed. Some BYB may have more than one breeding female, sometimes even "registered" purebred dogs. Having a registered dog does not mean that someone is not a BYB.
BYB differ from Puppymills which are larger scale commercial operations who produce dogs with the intention of making a profit, often breed more than one breed or produce so called "designer breeds" like Newfy-Poos and other ridiculous mixes. They frequently supply dogs to pet stores or brokers. BYB and Puppymills are the primary reason rescues like Newf Friends need to exist -- they are the source of the problems we face.
This does not mean that as a rescue group we are against breeding dogs. On the contrary, we applaud and support reputable breeders who dedicate their lives to improving the breed -- and reputable breeders support our efforts too. Newfoundland dogs are our passion and we want to see the breed we love preserved.  To do that we need to support and work with reputable kennels to ensure that they are able to continue breeding high quality dogs with proper type, temperament, and health clearances. By helping educate the public on how to identify good breeders vs BYB we can help make a difference for the breed we love.
If you are interested in becoming a Newf breeder there are many things you can do to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to go about this in a responsible manner that will protect the breed and ensure that you don't become a dreaded BYB. For starters:
1. Join your local Newf Club if you are not already members. Participate in draft dog events, water rescue seminars, etc. Learn about the breed, volunteer to help out at events, and connect with some reputable breeders that are out working their dogs in these events.
2. Find a reputable breeder to act as your mentor - this is so very important, there is a lot to learn before you breed and whelp your first litter. At a minimum, reputable breeders will be:
  • registered with the CKC and adhere to all of it's bylaws (warning -- this on it's own does not guarantee that a breeder is reputable -- we frequently get dogs surrendered to us from a CKC kennel that is far from reputable!)
  • members of the NDCC and adhere to their code of ethics
  • should have very clear objectives for their kennel which should include producing healthy dogs, of correct type, and with excellent temperaments
  • Perform health clearances on his/her breeding stock prior to breeding - this should include at a minimum heart, hips, elbows, cystinuria - as outlined on the CHIC database
  • they should also have health clearances on the parents/grandparents, etc of their breeding stock.
  • use breeding stock that meet the breed standard for conformation - this means dogs that are true to "type" and preferably dogs that have completed their CH titles and/or have parents that did. Here is an excellent reference from the Newf Club of America to help judges assess a Newf's conformation.(Note, the acceptable colours listed are for the US. In Canada only black or black and white are acceptable.)
  • selecting their breeding stock based on an understanding of genetics and with very careful selection of breeding pairs to achieve desired traits with the long term goal of improving the breed
  • selecting breeding stock that can perform the tasks that Newfs were bred to perform - excellent swimmers, draft dogs, etc. Ideally breeding stock should have water rescue titles and/or draft dog titles, or at least come from lines of dogs that do
  • take responsibility for the dogs and their dogs' offspring for their entire lives
  • offer health guarantees, and temperament guarantees
  • require that adopters sign a contract
  • sell pups on limited registration
Breeders who do not meet the above criteria are either BYB or puppymills -- even if they tell you they aren't.
3. Register as a CKC kennel, and become a member of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada NDCC.
4. Once this is done you can work with your mentor to find an appropriate dog for breeding, based on the code of ethics of the NDCC. The dog should be assessed for all of the above listed criteria, and have all health clearances prior to being bred. Once you know you have an excellent dog to breed, then you can begin the process of carefully selecting a mate for that dog. It should only be bred with a mate that has also met all of the above criteria.
The process of starting up a proper Newfoundland Dog kennel is time consuming, expensive and takes a level of commitment that a lot of people are not willing to make. It takes up to 2 years (dogs under 2 yrs must not be bred as their hip status can not be rated accurately until that time.) This is not something to take casually.

The casual breeder who breeds their dog without regard for the above criteria is doing a great disservice to the breed. The majority of Newfs we see in rescue come from people who are not committed to taking the time to breed dogs properly - people who breed their dog because they "like" their dog and think they would like pups, because you think they can make money breeding Newfs (you can't), because they think it will be fun, etc. It is this type of breeder who contribute greatly to the massive number of abandoned, neglected and poorly bred dogs that find their way into rescues each year.
If you doubt the necessity for and benefits of all of the health clearances, and careful selection of breeding stock, we ask you to spend some time rehabilitating a dog who is poorly bred. It is heartbreaking to see a Newf who has heart disease and a life expectancy of 3 years, who has hip dysplasia and is crippled and in pain at the age of 6 months, who has elbow dysplasia and needs $5000 worth of surgery before it is 2 years old. These inherited conditions can be bred out of the breed, but only if breeders are responsible and take the time to select only the very best of the best as their breeding stock.
Reputable breeders breed Newfs out of a love for the breed. They dedicate their lives to improving the breed by carefully selecting stock that can purposefully be bred together to achieve very clear breeding objectives. To breed a dog with anything less than this level of care and expertise is to contribute to the problem of unwanted, unhealthy dogs and is a huge disservice to the breed.