I often receive emails from current Newfoundland owners that have questions regarding their dog. It can be in regards to a wide range of issues such as diet, behavior or health issues. While I’m always up for connecting with Newfoundland owners I do not consider myself an expert in the Newfoundland breed but I will always do my best to offer the best advice that I can. Sometimes this advice is taken well and sometimes it’s not which is why I always ask the person if they are able to contact their breeder before I say anything.
I’m saddened that the most often received response to this question is no.
I can’t imagine not being able to reach out to my breeder. We’ve been in contact ever since Sherman was 10 weeks old. I’ve probably asked her at least 500 questions over that time and cried to her at least a dozen times. Maybe more but who’s counting?
Besides a rescue situation, I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would want to get a dog from someone or someplace where they have no way of contacting them after the fact.
Even when you buy a new car you are able to contact the manufacturer, the car dealer or someone involved with that purchase. Why would you not want to be able to contact someone that you got your dog from?
Here’s the 2 most important reasons why you should have your breeder’s contact information.
To ask questions.
Every first-time Newfoundland owner is going to have questions because this is a breed like you’ve never had before. Even if you think that you’ve asked all the questions the day you picked up your fluffy bundle of joy, believe me, you haven’t. You’re going to get home and all of a sudden have at least 10 more questions that you forgot to ask or didn’t think to ask. It’s human nature.
This is a great opportunity for you to make a list, sleep on it, add to your list of questions again and then send your breeder an email. A good breeder is NOT going to mind answering questions for you. I’m sure most breeders would rather have you asking them these questions then asking on an online forum or group where you could possibly get the wrong information or too much information.
Maybe you’ll be lucky and you won’t have any questions until your 18 month old Newfie turns into a wrecking ball. Maybe you’ll be lucky and you won’t have any questions until your 3 year old Newfie tears a cruciate. Somewhere between those 3 years and after, you’re going to have a question. I guarantee it. Maybe you’ll go to your vet first and maybe you’ll get a good answer, maybe you won’t. Wouldn’t it be nice to have somewhere else to turn? Every Newfie owner should have that option available to them.
To report health issues.
A good breeder is going to want to know about potential health issues that might impact their future breeding programs so it’s extremely important for owners to report health issues back to their breeder as they arise. I’m not talking about kennel cough or a scratch, I’m talking about the big stuff like heart issues, cancer, bad hips, early joint issues, intestinal issues, eye issues, allergies and even aggression issues. A caring breeder HAS to have this information. With this information they can check to see if any other puppies in the litter are experiencing the same health issues and they can look at their breeding program and see if they can trace the issues back which can help determine if maybe the issue is genetic or environmental.
This is what good breeders do, they care about the health of all of their puppies. If you don’t have the contact information of your breeder to report back serious health issues all that’s going to do is continue the cycle to put sick puppies into unsuspecting homes. You are now becoming part of the cycle of keeping bad breeders in business.
What about those aggressive gentle giants? Have you reported that behavior to your breeder?
I have talked to my breeder about every single health issue that Sherman and Leroy have had. We still sometimes talk about them. I have even talked to her about potential health issues that I thought they may have. I’ve asked if other dogs from their litters have had any similar health issues. I remember one night, we talked about Sherman’s torn cruciate for hours on the phone. My breeder knows me well enough that she knows that I’m a little on the paranoid side and that I’m armed with just enough information to make my thoughts go wild. She brings me down a few notches.
I think it’s time for people to really start taking responsibility and stop pushing it off. You should have the ability to stay in contact with your breeder for the life of your dog. We all love the breed but we don’t all take responsibilty for it and that needs to change.
If a breeder does not want to give you their contact information, walk away. That’s a sign that they don’t ever want to talk to you again. They could care less about the health and welfare of the puppy they just handed you and they could care less about the breed.
On the other side, if you have your breeder’s contact information and you fail to use it responsibly, that’s on you. Again, I would have to guess that every first time Newf owner is going to need to contact their breeder at some point in time throughout their dog’s life. Whether it’s to ask for advice, report a health issue or just to check in, you should be doing that.
I’m reading more and more issues that are facing the Newfoundland breed on a daily basis and I really have to ask myself the question “Who’s to blame here? Who’s indirectly to blame here?”
Please don’t get me wrong. This post isn’t meant to make anyone who has a Newfoundland from a breeder that they have no contact with bad. I was in the same spot with my first Newfoundland. It is what is but you have to understand why it’s so important to be able to have contact information for your next Newfoundland. At some point in time we all have to take responsibility and stop this cycle from happening.
To end, if you do have your breeder’s contact information it should be used respectfully. Dog breeders have lives. Many of them have families, jobs, and dogs to take care of. Don’t be alarmed if your breeder doesn’t respond to you immediately and if you’re going to make a call make sure to do so at reasonable times. My breeder and I will usually get in contact with each over social media, text or email and set up a time that is good for both of us to talk.
Forms of contact that are often used between breeder and owner are email, phone, text and social media channels.