I have oft admired this wonderful majestic breed at various shows especially when I venture over to Crufts and other overseas shows where one gets the opportunity to see the Newfie in greater numbers. A devoted companion, he is a master in the water and a powerful draft working dog. The legends and stories of his prowess give him a fabulous mystique that stirs the hearts of all.
There are many queries about grooming this dog and where one should extend the extra hand to bridge the leap from his working role to the showring. When in doubt refer back to your standard which allows you to focus on the origin and purpose of the breed and then work within that framework to achieve the best outcome. Your standard calls for a water-resistant, double coat that has a somewhat coarse outer coat. Because he is a water dog, you don’t want a feathery, open finish to the coat though I don’t mind a bit of a push when it comes to lifting the undercoat up a bit to give him a fuller and sturdier silhouette.
Firstly decide what is the greatest need for the coat when choosing your shampoo. If shine is of the greatest importance, then use the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo at a ratio of 5:1 up to 10:1 (i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo). For toning unwanted warm tones, for instance, reducing yellowing on whites or reducing fading on a brown or black coat, use the Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo at the same ratio of dilution. This will not bleach or lighten but cleverly tone to minimise unwanted hues and imparts a pearly finish to whites. For out of coat situations, use the Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo at no more than 5:1 for maximum effect. Dilution allows greater and easier dispersal of the product throughout the coat without overly softening the texture. This is a big dog we are talking about!
To keep the water-resistant look to the coat, avoid using a conditioner. Conditioners flatten and soften and tend to make the coat fluffy. Oiling a Newfie coat is the secret to being able to regularly bath and still maintain the ideals of the purpose for which this coat was bred for. Oiling will not flatten and soften and Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil applied at a ratio of 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4lt water and sponged through thoroughly or 1 dspn to a hydrobath tankful and squished through, leaves the coat with that water resistant sheen as seen on ducks. Leave the Seabreeze Oil in the coat and do not rinse out. Using this once a week or whenever you bath, keeps the coat looking good. It is not greasy, nor oily feeling, yet gives the coat that correct feel that one expects in a water dog whilst maintaining the moisture and elasticity in the hair.
Now blow dry. I know it is a working dog but this is a dog show we are talking about and blow drying has more benefits than just supposed cosmetic tomfoolery for a show. Some prefer to crate dry but I prefer to section by section dry. Place the dog on a bench with a neck noose and a belly band and using a cool, turbo dryer, work against the growth of the coat with the opposite hand to the one holding the nozzle, parting the hair with the heel of the hand. This opens the coat to the skin allowing you to check for beasties and skin disturbances.It also allows the air to get right down to the skin, aerating the skin and ensuring there is never any undried damp coat lying around in heat and humidity to cause hot spots. We don’t all live in arctic climates so we cannot apply arctic logic to it. Don’t fret that you will overly lift and fluff the coat. Your big fellow will somehow manage overnight to flatten and naturalise most of the good works you have wrought overnight, giving you all the flat appearances required in the places required. He will just look ten times better.
Should your Newfie be light on for coat due to coat shedding, then use the Plush Puppy Volumising Cream diluted at a rate of 1 tbspn to one cup of water. Spray this whole mix thoroughly and evenly throughout the coat. It will coat those 3 remaining hairs and endeavour to make them look like 3,000. This is a nice light product that maximises the hair that is there without compromising the texture or feel. Use this prior to starting to blow dry. You can take an extra spray bottle of the mix to the show and if facilities allow, brush up against the growth of the hair with the blow dryer.
For extra push and shove to a really needy coat, use the Plush Puppy Puffy Dog which is a strong holding mousse type product that gives volume and lift and sometimes you need volume and lift. Make sure when applying the product that you work several dollops smeared onto your hands and worked into the roots and midlengths of the coat avoiding where possible the ends of the coat. Some judges don’t like feeling anything of a suspected foreign nature in the coats and though this product is not an obvious suspect, don’t glaringly provoke interest.
On show day, I like to brush up with an oval cushioned pin brush such as the Plush Puppy Pin Brush - never use one with knobs on the end. Brush against the growth of the coat and follow with a good comb through using a long metal wide toothed comb such as a Poodle comb I like to be able to line comb right though to the skin on any arctic coat. I hate that felted, matted feel that you sometimes see when the hard yard hasn’t been put into the coat. I am a stickler for this. I know that a well maintained coat will serve the dog well in the ring when it matters. Okay, I acknowledge this is a working dog but he is going to be up against the flashy breeds such as the Std. Poodles and the Afghans etc so just for one day a week, he can play showman too without losing his integrity.
For a light finish, add a spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb held at a distance of around 2 feet or 60 cms to allow the mist to fall onto the coat rather than blasted onto the coat. It gives the reinforcement to that low level sheen one expects to see on these types of water working dogs. Not to be outdone, I am prone to adding a light hint of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust. Tapped lightly onto the brush and applied against the growth of the coat, this method allows the white powder to sink down into the depths of the coat and leaves the shimmer behind on top. Use on the topline, chest and pants for maximum effect when doing the out and back. It just picks up glints of light to illustrate that healthy vigour and work you have put into this coat. A light hand will allow you to use this even on a black dog without turning him into a glitter fairy.
Now I do believe judges use all their senses when judging dogs and the olfactory senses are assisted with a light application of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher. The Odour Muncher is not only a lovely light fragrance, it is also a deodoriser - great for those dogs that miss when they pee. It really is all about those 100 little things that make the whole when you show a dog. Just as Olympic athletes use every edge they can find, so ought you the dedicated show person find all the hints and special techniques you can to make your dog stand out from the crowd.
Well, he is a hard dog to miss - he is bigger than most and the legendary air of his heroic history draw the eye to him every time. His soft expression, his large, well balanced body and now your dedication to his heavily coated silhouette touched with subtle nuances of light and low level shine and vigour, should swing the spotlight of fame, fair and square to where he stands. It would be a hard judge who could not give the nod to a well groomed and well put together Newfie. He can put his water wings on any time and come and rescue me!