Newfoundlands, affectionately known as Newfies, are large, friendly, intelligent dogs that are easily adaptable to home life. This gentle breed usually lives for around eight to ten years and requires a decent amount of space for exercise.
One of the main considerations with Newfoundland grooming is the breed's size. Newfoundland dogs can weigh up to 150 lbs (this figure is usually around 120 lbs for bitches), so it's important to ensure that you have a stable and sturdy grooming table to support this weight before grooming them.
Newfoundlands have moderate grooming needs but are prone to shedding. Your professional groomer can advise you on an appropriate at-home grooming routine to keep your dog's coat healthy.
In this guide, we'll focus on bathing and grooming Newfoundlands and the best ways to reduce their coats to help them stay healthy and comfortable.
Although a Newfoundland should only need to be professionally groomed every six to eight weeks, they should be groomed at home weekly to prevent mats and tangles from forming and to keep their skin healthy and free from dirt, germs and bacteria.
Newfoundland's feet need to support a heavy load, so regular nail trimming is also essential to prevent splaying, pain and discomfort. Book regular nail appointments for your dog between grooming appointments to keep its nails from growing too long if you're not confident enough to trim them at home.
Shaving your Newfoundland’s coat isn’t recommended. Newfoundlands are double-coated, which naturally regulates their body temperature, trapping air close to the skin to keep them cool in the summer and insulating them in the winter. Shaving the coat interferes with this process and can cause your dog to overheat. Even though you may think that you’re helping to cool down your dog by shaving its thick coat, it would have the opposite effect.
Newfoundlands are year-round shedders but are known for blowing their coats twice a year in the autumn and spring, so their grooming needs will intensify during these periods. Because of this, they must have a good, solid, at-home grooming routine in place.
Invest in the following tools so you can keep on top of your Newfoundland's coat at home:
A grooming table (optional) that can support the weight of the Newfoundland. This is a great way to create a space that the dog can positively associate with grooming.
A large pin brush perfect for everyday grooming. The pins help to undo the tangles whilst the ends collect the dead hair.
An undercoat rake penetrates deep into the hair and helps remove mats and loose, dead hair.
A slicker brush to help remove dead hair from the undercoat.
A mat-splitter for removing difficult mats
A comb for line-combing and preventing mats and tangles.
You should groom a Newfoundland coat frequently to tackle shedding and remove its loose undercoat. Brushing daily with a large pin brush in short strokes in the direction of hair growth will control any shedding from the undercoat. Invest in a detangle spray to remove any stubborn tangles.
Start at the dog's head, work down the shoulders and along the back and sides, finishing with the tail and legs. You may want to finish off the groom by recombing under and behind the ears, then the forequarters and moving onto the head and neck.
Next, get your comb ready for some line-combing. To line comb correctly:
Lift the dog's hair with your non-grooming hand and part it so you can see a line of skin.
Take your comb and comb through this section of the undercoat to remove any loose or dead hair.
Not only does this help maintain the undercoat, but it also presents an opportunity for you to examine the dog's skin condition and check for parasites. Line-combing should be done weekly, but this may need to be increased when the dog blows its coat.
Once this step is complete, go over the hair with your large, slicker brush in slow, short strokes in the direction of hair growth. If there are any mats or tangles, try and free these with your detangle spray and a detangler comb. Use the mat-breaker to break through any mats that you can't clear.
The armpits, between the legs, under the ears, and the back end are the places that usually accumulate mats, so always check these areas. Avoid using scissors to break through the mats to prevent catching the dog's skin and causing injury. Instead, use a 10" inch clipper blade and clip away the mat from the area.
If mats accumulate in these areas, leave them for a professional groomer to remove or seek advice on correctly removing mats from these sensitive areas.
Although a Newfoundland puppy won't require much grooming, getting them used to the process is useful.
Introduce them to each of your tools, including the grooming table (if you have one), to get them used to the environment. Brush their hair with a slicker brush and reward them for their good behaviour with treats if they stay calm whilst being brushed.
Remember, when getting your puppy used to new experiences, do so in short bursts, so they don't become restless, and continue to reward them throughout. Even if you plan on taking your puppy to the groomer, you should continue to brush them at home, as this will be a large part of their grooming routine.
A Newfoundland will usually only need a bath every six to eight weeks.
When bathing a Newfoundland, one of the most difficult things to manage is its coat, which you should brush thoroughly before bathing to remove any mats and tangles that could worsen once wet.
A Newfoundland coat is naturally water-resistant, so you must soak it thoroughly. To bathe a Newfoundland successfully at home, follow these steps:
Fill the bath with about six to eight inches of lukewarm water and lure the dog into the bath with a treat.
Gently wet the coat by pouring water over it and massaging it into the fur. A shower head or pet sprayer could be useful here, helping you to penetrate the coat.
Invest in some breed-specific or gentle shampoo, and then use a bath mitt to lather the shampoo deep into the coat.
Rinse the shampoo thoroughly, rinsing deep into the coat to prevent the skin from drying and becoming irritated.
Dry the dog's coat with a large towel, working through it to remove the excess water. Drying after bathing is essential for Newfoundlands as it prevents hotspots from forming in their coat which can lead to dermatitis if left untreated. This can be painful and irritating for your dog and can cause them to bite and scratch the affected area, leading to more irritation. Prevention is better than cure with dermatitis, as it can be difficult to get under control, and it spreads quickly.
If investing in a dryer for the dog, choose a high-velocity one that has a lot of power but doesn't emit heat, as this will help prevent hot spots from forming.
Once completely dry, brush through the dog's coat thoroughly.
For more intricate work like cleaning your Newfoundland's ears, use a damp cotton ball to clean the skin around the ears, but never insert anything inside your dog's ear.
If you want to trim your dogs at home, your professional groomer will offer practical tips and tricks on managing your dog's coat. Here are our top recommendations:
Ears - trim the edges of the ears with scissors to remove long, loose hairs to prevent matting and improve airflow to the ear canal. Encourage your clients to check their dog's ears regularly to prevent inflammation.
Chest - if the chest hair becomes unruly, thin the fur with a grooming rake. Hold the rake at a 45-degree angle to the dog's body and move it through the coat toward the direction of the hair's growth. Remove any dead hair from the rake whilst grooming.
Feet - take care when trimming the hair around the feet, which are webbed for swimming. Although the hair needs to be trimmed to prevent bacterial infections, be careful when cutting the hair in case the skin between the toes gets nicked with the scissors.
To tidy up a Newfoundland to that perfectly groomed shape in the salon, you should follow the following steps:
Start by trimming the hair on the feet so all paws have hair of equal length. If done correctly, the paws should be rounded, and individual toes or nails shouldn't be easily noticeable.
To thin down the coat, use thinning scissors and cut the hair in the direction of the coat.
Trim the feathers on the forequarters where the edges look untidy. Start at the back of the leg and then move to the outside. Finally, trim the inside areas so all lines are left looking clean and even from every angle.
Use the same method on the hindquarters as the forequarters, paying attention to the hair on the hock and buttocks. You should trim the hair from the hocks downward at a 45-degree angle.
If the chest hairs have grown long, trim them down to create a soft and rounded curve to the chest.
To tidy the dog's underline, work from the back to the front, starting on the left flank. Make sure to hold the shears at a downward angle when grooming from the dog's hindquarters to the armpits. The hair shouldn't sit much lower than a few inches below the elbows.
To smooth out the lines, lift the left foreleg and carefully trim the hair under the armpit, so the line of the chest connects with the underline. Repeat this method under the right foreleg and trim behind both armpits. Step back and examine your Newfoundland from the rear; the underline should be nicely rounded to each flank.
A Newfoundland's tail and topline doesn't always need to be trimmed; the tail only requires trimming if it's bushy or dishevelled.
Your Newfoundland's head and ears require care and attention. Start with the ears, shaping them, so they look rounded, not pointy. The hair length on the ears shouldn't run further than the length of the ear. Remove stray hairs, then trim the hair behind the ears to blend it with the hair on the neck.
Finally, if the hair on the head looks overgrown, comb it upwards, then trim it into a rounded shape.