Most Newfoundland dog owners can relate to not being able to go out in public with their Newfoundlands without getting asked a bazillion questions by curious bystanders. I think it’s safe to say that if you’re looking to have a quiet outing and keep to yourself, you’re not going to get that with a Newfie by your side.
As a Newfie owner, it’s just something you have to get used to. I’ll admit that in the past I found this a little annoying. All I want to do is clear my mind and walk my dog. I don’t like people. But over the years I’ve started to embrace it. I love talking about my dogs. It’s what sparks me. I love spreading the Newfie love and watching my dogs bring a smile to other people’s faces. Having a Newfie has connected me with so many people over the years that I otherwise would never have met. You never know who you’re going to meet.
Here are some of the most popular questions that Newfoundland dog owners get asked when they are out with their dogs:
What kind of dog is that?!!!!!!
It’s a Newfoundland. A NewFOUNDlander? No, a Newfoundland. WOW! I’ve never seen a dog that big!!
Do they shed?
Absolutely. At least twice a year and every Sunday. They will shed a whole other dog and they need to be brushed regularly. They are a double coated breed and maintaining their coat is a lot of work
Do they drool?
This answer may vary by the dog but in short, yes. Some drool more than others. Some may drool only when they drink or are begging and others will drool more on a regular basis. It always makes me laugh when they ask this question and you say yes, but they still go right in for a pet under the chin and then they look at their hands and nonchalantly wipe it back on the dog. Hahahahaha. Good times.
Is that a bear?
It doesn’t matter what color Newfie you have this question will be asked of you at least 1,000 times. It’s one of those silly questions but one that comes from someone who has no idea what kind of breed it is so the first thing that comes to mind is a BIG mammal. Let’s face it, no matter how annoying we think this question is, it makes both parties giggle and is a good icebreaker. It sets us owners up for a great chance to educate about the Newfoundland breed.
How much do they weigh?
Of course, this answer will vary based on the dog but most people are surprised that the number is lower than they expected. This is what we want. We don’t want people thinking that Newfs are supposed to weigh 250 pounds. Some of us may also respond with, “How much do YOU weigh?”
How much do they eat?
Another question that will vary based on the dog and what type of the diet that they eat but most people will be very surprised that they eat way less than they thought. No, they don’t eat 10 cups of food a day.
Is that a St. Bernard?
While the resemblance can be understood coming from someone who is not familiar with either breed, this may be the most offensive question a Newfie owner can be asked. Nothing against a St. Bernard but no, no and no. It’s one of those questions you just have to laugh off and then explain. Believe me, the person that asked this question will leave KNOWING what a Newfoundland is so you’ve made one more person aware of the breed.
Do you live in a big house and have a big yard?
Again, another answer that can vary but I think several owners with Newfies live in average size houses with average size yards. Newfies are BIG but they don’t necessarily need a large space to live in because they want to be wherever their family is. Where you go, they go. It doesn’t matter if you live in a mansion or a granny pod, a Newf will be within 1 foot of you at all times.
How old is he?
How long do they live? One of my least favorite questions since my boys are seniors but I think most of us say 8-12 years. I wish the answer was FOREVER but I’ve got a 10 and almost 12-year-old Newf so I have to remind myself nearly every day that age is just a number
Do you have a saddle for him?
Do you ride him? One of those questions that hit right where it hurts for most Newfie owners but we have to consider the source and assume that this is the same person that asked if our dog was a bear and laugh it off. Unless, of course, it’s the guy who’s aunt had a Newf and when they were kids they use to ride him. He died when he was 5 because he had back issues. That person usually gets the evil eye.
I didn’t know they came in brown. What other colors are there?
I don’t know about people with black Newfies but this is a standard question that I get all the time. Of course, black is the most common color seen in Newfies and it’s great to be able to explain the other varieties that Newfies can come in. It’s also a good chance to dispel any mythical colors out there. No, Newfies do not come in blue, red or champagne.
Where does he sleep?
I get this one a lot and it usually makes people laugh when I say on the couch. And then I tell them that Sherman sleeps on the floor and you can tell they are kind of bored with that answer so they go back to asking how big our couch is.
Is he friendly?
I have to admit that this is probably not a breed specific question and it’s a good question for anyone to ask when they are approaching any dog but I find that most people ask this after they’re staring at the dogs for 20 minutes OR they ask as they are going in for a pet. One time I responded to a guy with, “God, I hope so.” while he was already sitting on the floor next to Leroy petting him.
Can I take a picture?
Do you ever wonder what happens to those pictures? Where do they go? Who sees them? I love that people want to take pictures of my dogs and send them to a family member. I remember one time a man asked me if he could take Sherman’s picture and send it to his mother who was sick in the hospital. He said it would make her smile because she loved dogs. That warmed my heart BUT if I charged a dollar for every picture that has been taken, I’d be one rich lady.
Who’s walking who?
This is one of my pet peeve questions and probably my least favorite. I don’t know about you but I’m a little person who walks a big dog. I’m sure it’s a sight to see BUT I’ve worked long and hard training my Newfoundlands to walk well and WITH me. Absolutely there are occasions when Leroy uses his size to his advantage and he has been known to drag me BUT that’s rare and usually when no one else is around. I would prefer, “Wow. That’s a big dog who is well trained.”
When you are blessed with a Newf in your life you have to keep in mind that when you are out in public with them, it’s all about the Newf and not about you. It’s their world, you just live in it.
So how about you? What questions do you get asked?