As with any breed, there are certain health issues associated with the Newfoundland line.
Chief among them are crippling afflictions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia. Think about things for a minute: zoologists tell us that before humans started tinkering with the blueprints, your basic ancestral dog was probably in the neighborhood of 30 pounds or so. It's hardly surprising that this design begins to show some strain when you scale it up four-fold. Newfies' hearts have to work hard, and their joints are under a lot of stress.
The upshot can be work, expense, and heartbreak:
Caring for a crippled dog can be back-breaking in the literal sense. Are you up to lifting a 130-pound dog into the car for a trip to the vet? Carrying him outdoors to do his business?
Expense? Hip replacements and ligament surgery don't come cheap. Even pills can run a hundred bucks a month or more.
But the work and expense are nothing compared to the way you'll feel if some day you find yourself watching your beloved companion struggling to his feet, doing his best to walk beside you the way he loves to, with pain in his eyes but not a murmur of complaint.
It's beyond the scope of this web site to get into all the potential health problems Newfies face. Just be aware that big dogs are subject to big risks. If you want to learn more about common health problems afflicting Newfoundland dogs, the Newfoundland Club of Northern California has an excellent introduction on their web page. Read it and you'll learn all about "elbow anomaly," osteochondrosis, subaortic stenosis, cystinuria, and other scary conditions that you might end up dealing with.
And if you are determined to get a Newfie, what's the best way to minimize the risk of health problems? Get your dog from a reliable breeder.
We're going to talk about that part next.
Continue: You Really Do Want A Newfie?