Take Your Time
The single most important piece of advice for someone looking for their first Newfoundland puppy: Take your time and do it right!
If all goes well, your new puppy will grow to be a friend, a companion, and a member of your family for the next ten years or more. Rushing things and cutting corners now may be cause for big regrets later.
So: expect the process to take some time.
How much time?
That's hard to say. Maybe several months, maybe a year or more.
"Oh, no!" you say, "That long?"
Yup, that long. Just remember: good things are worth waiting for.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin your search:
First, do plenty of homework:
Read every word on this web site, then go to all the other Newfie sites I've linked to and read everything there. Keep following links until you reach the end of the Internet. Do this before you begin visiting kennels; breeders prefer dealing with well-informed customers, and knowing your stuff will give you an advantage when it comes to getting a puppy.
See if there's a Newfoundland club in your area, and find out if they hold events you can attend. Not only will this give you the opportunity for a good look at a real live Newfie ("My goodness, they're not kidding about the drool!") but you're likely to meet people who can give you good information- not just now, as you're hunting for a dog, but later on, as you're dealing with the challenges of raising him.
If you can't find a Newfie club nearby, try going to a dog show. Chances are the folks with dogs entered will be way too busy and distracted to do much chatting, but at least you will see some dogs and gather more information about local breeders.
Focus your attention way down the road. Most good Newfoundland breeders will have a waiting list for their puppies, so don't expect to walk into their kennel, point to a bundle of fluff, and say, "I'll take that one, please." If you want the peace of mind that comes from dealing with a reliable breeder of high-quality dogs (and don't you?) then be prepared to work on their timetable.
Make sure you visit several breeders, and don't buy a dog at the first stop you make. Of course the little puppy you met there is adorable, and looks like he'd be perfect for you! Take my word: the puppies in the other kennels will look just as appealing. But remember: at this point, you're not shopping for a puppy, you're shopping for a breeder.
"Shopping for a breeder?"
A good breeder will do everything possible to make sure you get a sound and healthy dog, and will always be available to help you through the rough spots as you're raising the puppy to adulthood.
A bad breeder... well, we'll talk about bad breeders in a little while.
Don't pass up the opportunity to visit a breeder if she does not currently have any puppies available. Make an appointment to visit their kennel to introduce yourself and just talk about things. If you like what you see and hear, ask the breeder about her waiting list. If she decides she'd be comfortable sending one of her puppies to your home, you might end up in line for a pup from her next litter.
When you make these kennel visits, leave your checkbook home. This will help counter any temptation to make an impulse purchase. If the breeder says, "No problem, we take credit cards," jump in your car and drive away fast; that's a strong sign that you're dealing with a puppy farmer.
Finally, be considerate- dog breeders are busy people, and likely have only limited time to meet with you. However, if a breeder brushes you off and can't be bothered to meet with you beforehand, cross that outfit off your list. It's worth emphasizing: a good breeder wants to have all her puppies spoken-for before they are born. A breeder who only wants to talk to customers when there's merchandise to sell is running a puppy factory.
Next: Don't Rely On The Internet
The Proper Attitude
Take Your Time
Don't Rely On The Internet
Watch Out For Mini-Mills
Don't Check References
The Most Important Question
More Questions To Ask