The All-Important Paperwork
There is one more piece of advice to offer, and it is absolutely critical:
Do not pay any breeder so much as a nickel until you've had a chance to look at the purchase contract and the health guarantee that they provide.
If the breeder does not want to show you the contract, hang up the phone, delete their email, walk out the door.
The contract is your most important protection against getting ripped off. You do not want to deal with a breeder who tries to sell you a dog without a written contract. Period, full stop.
How do I know? Read The Thanksgiving Puppies for an illustration of how important it is to get things in writing.
Okay, now that we've established that you need to see that contract, what should it contain? Besides the basic financial details, look for:
Ownership- will you be the full owner of the dog, or will the breeder have joint ownership? Some breeders insist on joint ownership so they can have a say in future breeding plans or other decisions that might impact the reputation of their kennel. Is this situation acceptable to you? Only you can decide.
Registration- what sort of registration will the breeder specify? Full? Limited? (Limited registration means that your dog will be registered but his/her offspring will not be eligible for registration.)
What organization registered the litter? The answer should be one of the old, established organizations, depending on your location: the American Kennel Club (AKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), or the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)
Be aware that there are other, lesser-known registries that exist to provide cover for puppy millers and other disreputable breeders. If the answer you get is some organization you've never heard of, that's a bad sign.
Spay/neuter agreement- will you be required to spay or neuter the dog? (And you should!)
"Take back policy" -if something happens and you cannot keep the dog, many reputable breeders will insist on taking the dog back themselves. They care about their puppies!
Finally, the guarantee.
All of us hope that we are getting a healthy pup and will never have to worry about a health guarantee. Most of us, after we take the puppy home, fall so far in love with the little rascal that we couldn't imagine sending the puppy back for a refund, no matter what problems come up.
But problems do happen, and sometimes people have to make difficult choices. You want to know that your breeder will take proper care of you in such a situation.
Perhaps even more importantly, the quality of the guarantee can tell you a lot about the quality of the breeder:
What does it say to you about the integrity of the breeder if their guarantee is full of loopholes that make it virtually impossible to receive compensation for a puppy who they sold with serious medical problems?
I've seen contracts from certain breeders who require that you give the puppy a particular brand of expensive vitamin tablet every day, or their guarantee is void. What they do not tell you is that the vitamin company gives them a cut of the sales revenue. Would you want to deal with a breeder who hides a questionable arrangement like this from their customers?
For an excellent lesson on how to analyze a puppy guarantee, take a look at How To Read A Puppy Warranty/Guarantee - Advice From A Lawyer, which dissects a very questionable guarantee line-by-line. It's a real eye-opener!
So there's my advice.
To recap- if you are thinking of getting yourself a Newfoundland puppy:
Take your time and do it right.
Work with a breeder who belongs to the Newfoundland Club of America if at all possible.
Don't be fooled by a puppy farmer with a pretty web page.
Ask breeders lots of questions.
Get everything in writing.
Now, take a look at the links page, and see what others say on the subject.
And good luck!