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How To Properly Brush Newfoundlands

To properly brush Newfoundlands you need to not only brush their top coat but also their undercoat. 

Brushing a dog seems pretty self-explanatory. 

You grab a pin brush and brush your dog’s coat. 

Easy peasy. 

However, when you have a dog with a double coat like a Newfie, it’s a bit more involved than just running a brush over their top coat. 

One of the most common mistakes (and one that I made too) that I see new Newfoundland owners make over and over again is the way they brush their dogs. 

How To Properly Brush Newfoundlands

When I got my first Newfoundland, I made sure I had a pin brush so that I could do the “daily” brushing that I read Newfies needed. 

I brushed and I brushed and was shocked when I would still find mats on him. 

One day I mentioned my conundrum to a groomer friend of mine. 

It was at that moment that I was hit with the shocking news that all the brushing that I was doing was not doing much except making the top of the coat look nice. 

It all made perfect sense once I thought about it but it took me a while to break the habit of using my dog brush in the way that I was using it. 

I mean, I never took a class on it, I just brushed like I had always brushed a dog. 

There wasn’t much thought behind it, I just did it. 

And I’m sure that’s what many people do because brushing a dog isn’t complex. 

Or is it because we don’t have an ordinary dog breed, we have Newfoundlands?

brown Newfoundland dog sitting on grooming table

The obvious answer is, it’s kind of complex but not so complex that we can’t do it but more of in a way that we have to go a little deeper. 

In order to brush Newfoundlands effectively, you have to get through to the undercoat and down to the skin. 

Not doing so will result in mats because you’re not removing enough loose hair and dead undercoat to make way for new growth. 

To properly and effectively brush Newfoundlands, you should brush their hair in sections.

This is often referred to as line combing or line brushing and it’s a very important step in the grooming process that many people don’t do.

Superficial Brushing

If you sit down on the floor to brush your Newfoundland a few times a week but your Newfie is still getting mats, it’s because you’re doing superficial brushing. 

You’re just brushing the top surface of the coat.

brushing a Newfoundland dog

If you can’t see the skin, you’re not getting through the entire coat. 

Superficial brushing makes the top coat look great, but the undercoat is still there begging for some attention. 

For instance, I will often superficially brush Lou before I take a photo of him. 

This is just a quick smoothing of the coat or, realistically, I’m brushing off the crunchy drool that has dried on his neck and front legs. 

Sectional Brushing

Sectional brushing is the same thing as line brushing. 

You’re brushing the coat in small sections instead of brushing the entire top of the dog’s coat with one sweep. 

line brushing a Newfoundland dog

You can focus on one area at a time and it allows you to get to the skin. 

Brushing your dog in sections is good but in my experience and opinion, it’s still not enough for most Newfies sporting a full adult coat. 

Brushing Your Newfoundland Is Not Enough

As Newfie owners, we are told to brush, brush, brush but that is not enough to maintain your dog’s coat.

And that’s what I did for many years but then I learned that while a good dog brush is great, a good dog comb is even better. 

Out of all the grooming tools and pin brushes that I have today, a dog comb is now the first grooming tool I grab and it’s my most used tool. 

comb for Newfoundland dog

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It’s also one of my least expensive grooming tools!

The teeth on a comb are longer than most pins on a brush therefore it has a better chance to get both layers of a double coat.

Comb more, brush less!

Proper Grooming Tools Are a Must

Even if you take your Newfie to a professional dog groomer, they still need maintenace grooming in between appointments. 

So even if you don’t need a whole arsenal of grooming tools, you should have the basics. 

Every Newfoundland owner should have:

  • A good dog comb
  • A good pin brush
  • A good dog rake
  • Detangling spray

A lot of dog groomers also recommend a good slicker brush. 

I have a slicker brush but I’m not a fan of them so I very rarely use one. 

The dog combs I use the most are:

  • wide-tooth wooden handle poodle comb
  • combination comb
  • fine-toothed comb
  • Sullivan comb

If you’re on a budget, you don’t have to have all of these combs.

For under $8, you can get a great wooden handle dog comb and it will be the best money you’ve ever spent on a grooming product. 

A combination dog comb is another good option because it’s a wide-toothed comb and a fine-toothed comb in one and you can find them for under $20. 

Although you might see me using our Sullivan comb a lot, it is not my everyday comb. 

I use this most when the Newfies are blowing their coat in the spring and fall. 

How To Line Brush Your Newfoundland

Technically, when line combing or line brushing your Newfie, you should start at the dog’s head and work down the shoulders. 

Then you should work on the dog’s back and sides and finish with the rear legs and the tail. 

line brushing technique for double coats

To begin line combing:

  • With your non-grooming hand, lift the Newfoundland’s hair and part it so you can see a line of skin. (your thumb should be pointing down)
  • Grab your comb or brush and run it through that section
  • Repeat

line-combing technique for double coats

If your dog’s coat is hard to get a comb through, spritz the section with a detangling spray

Once you’re finished with the sections, go over the Newfie’s hair with a slicker brush or pin brush using short strokes in the direction that the coat naturally lays. 

Don’t forget to pay special attention to moving areas that mat easily on Newfoundlands such as behind the ears, in the groin, under the armpits and on the neck/chest. 

Don’t Ditch Your Dog Brush

Don’t worry, a good pin brush is still important so don’t toss yours in the trash!

You’re still going to use a pin brush a lot but it shouldn’t be your main tool. 

Instead of grabbing your brush for a short grooming session, grab your comb, pick a section and comb. 

You got this!

Grooming products seen in this post:

p.s. I’m getting a lot of questions how often this should be done and that depends on your dog’s coat. It also depends on how much coat they’re losing. You don’t have to do this all at once, do sections:) It’s super important that you and your Newfie don’t get overwhelmed!

I only endorse and recommend products that I personally use or products that are highly recommended by my peers. Please don’t spend money on any of these products unless you believe they are best for you and your Newfoundland. Read our full privacy policy here.

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