In March 2005, a woman who thought
she wanted her next dog to be a Newfoundland posted a distraught
message to a popular Newfie forum:
"We were just SO sure we wanted a Newf .... until this past Saturday. Now I am soooooooooooooooo confused...
"Saturday, we went to the Detroit Dog Show. Well, I guess I was disillusioned. The size doesn't so
much bother me, it's, and I'm afraid to admit this, the drool!
My God, they had bibs on these dogs and they had to constantly,
and I mean constantly, keep wiping the dogs neck.
"I mean, I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sure I wanted a Newf. Now, I have to admit, I'm just not sure."
Okay, let's get this out of the way, ma'am: Newfies drool.
Newfies drool a lot.
If you go to a Newfoundland show, not only will you see humans wiping jowls and dogs wearing drool bibs, you're also likely to find vendors selling bumper stickers and coffee mugs that say, "Spit Happens," and "Slime Flies When You're Having Fun." Accepting the inevitable, Newfie people tend to joke about drool, and gleefully trade gross-out stories about their pets' latest salivary accomplishments. (You can read one of mine here.)
This is just an inescapable result of the way Newfies are built. Their "flews" - the pocket formed at the junction of upper and lower lips- are deep, and they collect saliva. Newfoundlands aren't the only dogs designed this way: St. Bernards, Mastiffs, and Boxers share the flew flaw, among others.
This accumulation of yuccch eventually has to go somewhere, and that's when it comes to human attention. Sometimes it cascades earthward, in long ropey strands- some of us remember a scene in the movie Turner & Hooch when Tom Hanks asks his French Mastiff buddy, "Did you just eat a shoelace?"
Or maybe the dog just gives his head a shake, launching a gob o'goo several feet across the room. Newfie people refer to these viscous missiles as "floogers," and making virtue out of necessity, tend to brag about how far their dogs can throw them. (My Nelson regularly hits the ceiling with his.)
Newfoundland drool combined with Newfoundland fur plus a shake of the head makes an interesting wall ornament.
Some breeders may tell you, "I breed my
dogs for a dry mouth." Most knowledgeable Newfoundland
fanciers consider this a bad sign about the breeder, for two reasons:
The less important reason is that, when you tinker with the dog's facial structure to reduce drooling, the dog looks less like "a real Newf." That deep, blocky muzzle is part of the breed standard.
The real important reason? Well, the more attention a breeder pays to breeding for dry mouth, the less attention he or she can pay to other hereditary factors. Good breeders are concentrating on more serious issues, such as health and hip soundness; by comparison, drool is a nothing more than a distraction.
So, if you end up sharing your home with a Newfie, you can expect to find little slug trails on the tablecloth, where the big sweetheart took a quick sniff to find out what the humans are having for supper. There will be a glistening patch of dried drool on your bedsheets, where he came over to say good morning and ask if you'd forgotten his breakfast.
And every time you walk out the door dressed in your Sunday best, an affectionate Newf will insist on giving you a warm sendoff, along with a little souvenir of his affection on your dress or trousers, to treasure until you're back home with him where you belong. (That's the way he will greet guests, too, by the way. How much do your friends like dogs?)
Hmmm.... looks like someone checked out my keyboard last night.
If you can't laugh off this sort of stuff, don't
get a Newfie.
Oh... and drool is not the only untidy part about owning a Newfoundland.
Continue: They're Messy