About Newfoundlands

Finding A Puppy


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If you are interested in purchasing a Newfoundland puppy you are considering a lifelong commitment and taking the time to seek the right advice and a reputable breeder can potentially save major problems later. Beware of puppy farmers and advertisements in free newspapers. Do your research first, get advice from Breed Club members, and if you are not entirely satisfied with the breeder or puppy you are considering, walk away.

The Northern Newfoundland Club have appointed a Puppy Liaison Officer to assist you in the difficult task of choosing a suitable breeder. The Newfoundland Club and the Southern Newfoundland Club also have similar Puppy Liaison Officers. The Liaison Officer maintains a list of breeders who have puppies for sale or have a litter expected. In order to go on the list, breeders have to provide documentary evidence that the puppy's parents have passed the necessary Good Practice Guidelines for breeding. Although the Club cannot provide any guarantee for the future health of your puppy, contacting a breeder through our arrangements are far better than purchasing a puppy from an unknown source.

Choosing a Puppy

If you have decided a Newfoundland is the dog for you, here are some facts to help you choose the right one.

A Newfoundland puppy


The temperament of a Newfoundland is of such high importance that it is highlighted in the Breed Standard. The original 'Nana' from J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan stories was the nursery guardian of the Darling's children, so even as far back as 1903 the Newfoundland had a reputation of extreme gentleness with their young charges along with an instinct to protect them.

First and foremost temperament must be of the highest priority in choosing your puppy. Make sure you meet the puppy's mother and spend enough time with her to assess her temperament. If you can do the same with the puppy's father that is highly recommended too.


Most breeds have their own particular health problems. Newfoundlands can be affected by heart disease and defects and hip problems. These cannot be easily diagnosed at an early age so health checks of both parents for these problems are vitally important as genetic inheritance is significant. Puppy farmers and dealers DO NOT generally test their breeding stock and it is a matter of fact that many dogs and bitches are being used for breeding by non club members because they DO NOT obey the codes of ethics put in place by all three of the UKs Newfoundland Clubs. We strongly recommend you DO NOT buy a puppy from anyone who is not a reputable member of one of the Clubs you will find listed on our UK Breed Clubs page.

Hip Scoring - What is it?

A score is given to a dog’s hip by a panel of veterinary experts after studying an X-ray of its hips. The X-ray is usually taken under a general anaesthetic by the owner’s own vet and then sent to the British Veterinary Association (BVA) for scoring.

Each hip is given a score from 0-53; zero being the best, 53 the worst. So a dog could have a total score anywhere between 0-106. A dog could be given, for example, a score of 5/6 that would give it a total score of 11. The 5 is the score for the left hip and the 6 the score for the right hip. The lower the score the better, although anything above a total score of zero is still a degree of hip dysplacia.

A certificate is sent to the owner with the score of both hips recorded. You should ask to see the Certificate for the mother and a copy of the Certificate for the father, both of which the Breeder should be able to provide. The dogs scores under the BVA scheme are also sent to the Kennel Club and can be viewed online.

Heart Testing - What is it?

The main genetic heart conditions are Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis (SAS) and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). It is beyond the scope of this web site explain these heart problems but information on the conditions can be found on the Newfoundland Dog Health Info web site.

There are three ways of heart testing:

  1. A vet listens to the dogs heart using a stethoscope to detect any audible irregularities. This is called Ausculation.
  2. This is a Northern Newfoundland club mimimum recommendation for dogs and bitches used for breeding - The dog's heart is examined by ausculation by two veterinary surgeons on two separate occasions. Both veterinary surgeons must have either a Certificate in Veterinary Cardiology (Cert VC), a Certificate in Small Animal Cardiology (Cert SAC) or a Diploma in Veterinary Cardiology (DVC). A grade is given on each occasion of testing, only dogs awarded a grade of zero out of six on both should be used for breeding. Two certificates will be produced and the breeder should be happy to show them both to you.
  3. Colour Flow Echo-Doppler examination (echocardiography). This is the most reliable method of diagnosis for heart defects as the anatomy of the inside of the heart is visualised using an ultra-sound scanner and the efficiency of the heart valves and speed of the blood flow within the heart can be measured. The examination is done with the dog concious and resting quietly on its side on top of a special table. It is performed by a Veterinary Surgeon with a Diploma in Veterinary Cardiology (DVC).

    Providing the valve measurements and speed of blood flow lie within certain parameters and there are no defects apparent they are given a classification of 'Normal'. Again, a certificate of this examination is produced and the breeder should be happy to show you this.

Good breeders will have (or may have copies of) all the relevant certificates for the hips and hearts of the sire and dam of the litter and will be only too happy to show you them.

What are your plans for your Newfoundland?

Whether you want a dog or a bitch, plan to do working activities or show a Newfoundland, you will find useful information and advice on the Northern Newfoundland Club's "Choosing a Puppy" page.