The nineteenth century humorist Josh Billings summed things up this way:
Newfoundland dogs are good to save children from drowning, but you must have a pond of water handy and a child, or else there will be no profit in boarding a Newfoundland.
Yes, indeed... your Newfoundland dog will cost you a bundle. The purchase price- anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 from a decent breeder- is only the beginning. A good rule of thumb, in the year 2008, is that you'll be spending at least another thousand a year on dog-related expenses.
"Do they really eat that much?" you may ask. No, actually, if you're watching the dog's weight the way you should be, you won't be feeding your Newfie very much more than you'd feed an active, medium-sized dog.
(Though your breeder and your vet will undoubtedly recommend that you feed one of the expensive, premium-quality foods. Don't cheap out on your best friend by feeding him discount-store junk food.)
It's all the other expenses that drive the total up. Veterinary bills are a big item: your dog is going to need extra-large doses when it comes to shots, heartworm preventive, flea-and-tick repellents, and so on.
Oh... and God forbid you have an emergency; that's when the meter really starts running. A while back, our brain-damaged pup Marymanaged to get hold of a tube of skin cream that turned out to be toxic to dogs. We got her back, good as new, after several days in the animal hospital, on intravenous fluids.
Cost? Three thousand dollars.
Then there's grooming. If you don't have the time or inclination to groom the dog yourself, you're going to need to pay someone to do it at least a couple of times a year. Price? Anywhere from $75 up, depending on where you live.
Add in leashes and collars and toys and stuff, the cost of obedience class (a must!), kennel bills or dog-sitter payments if you travel... you get the picture.
Last but definitely not least, there's all the stuff they wreck.
When they're puppies, Newfoundlands chew things. Over the years, our dogs have munched at least a dozen books, a hassock, a couple of decorative pillows, four or five slippers, several nylon leashes, a pair of reading glasses, one dearly-loved hiking boot, two leather gloves, two or three tee-shirts, a bathrobe tie, many socks, one girdle, several pairs of underpants, a garden hose, about a square yard of wallboard, prodigious quantities of firewood, a top-of-the line set of iPod headphones, and the ear off a really nice stuffed tiger. (Steiff, for those who are into such things.) Plus plenty of other stuff I've forgotten.
When they get older, they're less likely to chew, but still manage to do their share of damage. One of our girls broke the side window out of a pickup topper when she spotted a strange dog in the the supermarket parking lot, while one of our males almost gnawed his way through a wooden exterior door, trying to get closer to a female who'd just gone into season.
A hundred bucks here, a hundred bucks there...
Ka-ching! Ka-ching! Ka-ching!
Continue: A Lot Of Work!