ABOUT THE BREEDER
My Newfoundland addiction is all my parents’ fault! Back in the sixties, Mom and Dad were looking for the perfect dog to compliment their family of five children. It was a visit to a family friend who owned a Newfoundland dog which started the ball rolling. Mom was so impressed with how calm and friendly the dog was with all of us children that she knew she had found the perfect breed. It was not long after that Heart’s Ease of Harbourbeem, bred by Meghan Nutbeem in Newfoundland, came to be a part of our family. He lived over thirteen years and was the start of my life long obsession with the Newfoundland Dog.
After I married, Mom and Dad again played an integral role in my family’s purchase of our first Newfie many years ago. They happened upon a breeder while on a visit to my brother in Quebec and came back with a little black furry bundle, full of alligator teeth, named Romac’s Heart’s Ease. That was over fourteen Newfoundlands ago and what a journey it has been! Along the way, I have learned many things and have met so many wonderful and interesting people all due to the Newfies.
Some of the things I have learned over the years have been quite painful. As with any purebred dog, there are a number of inherited diseases that Newfoundlands can have. I learned first hand either through my dogs or through others about SAS, elbow and hip dysplasia, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, cancers, cruciate ligament repairs and skin problems. I learned the importance of not only the breeder’s responsibility, but also the owner’s responsibility in providing the best care possible to ensure the dog’s health. Diet and environment play equally as important a role as genetics. It is for this reason that I feed a natural diet based on The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog & Cat by Juliette de Baïracli Levy and ensure my growing Newfs are kept off slippery surfaces, prevented from jumping heights or going up or down excessive amounts of stairs. It is also very important to never let a Newfie become overweight and, to keep it in top physical condition at all times. I know of Newfies who have been diagnosed with dysplasia, including severe hip dysplasia that have gone on to live long productive lives because their owners kept them lean and well muscled.
My goal in breeding is to “Strive for the Best!” I usually only breed once a year for a dog that I would like to keep – a solid family dog with strong working desire, natural water instincts, and a gentle, loyal disposition that has the correct conformation to compete in the ring.
To ensure I produce as healthy a dog as possible, I test hips, elbows, and patellas through either OVC and/or OFA/OFA Prelims. I have hearts OFA Cardiology tested as puppies and again at over one year of age. I have eyes CERF examined at regular intervals. I also test the dogs for cystinuria or ensure that they are normal due to mode of inheritance. I spend countless hours researching pedigrees to learn what is behind the dog.
In order to further educate myself, I attend various seminars and maintain active memberships in the Canadian Kennel Club, Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada – BC Region, Newfoundland Club of America and the local Cowichan Dog Obedience Club. I participate in Boosters, Specialties, Nationals, and also Draft, Water and Obedience Trials. Owning a Newfoundland is a life long learning experience.
I like to work with my dogs and enjoy the challenge of obedience training. I like to see them using their natural instincts whether it is pulling a cart, tracking an item I have hidden, or towing someone to shore. They are meant to work and should be encouraged to do so.
I also love watching them compete in the show ring. There is nothing more exciting than seeing your dogs excel in conformation. My ultimate goal is to handle a Bred by Exhibitor dog to Best in Show!
My dogs are first and foremost family dogs. They are an integral part of everyday life: whether they are helping out in the garden, going for walks and canoe rides, traveling on vacation, or just being quiet companions ready to listen to the troubles of the day. They are my life and possibly they will become a part of yours!
Watch out! Newfies can be addictive and as the saying goes “Like potato chips, it is hard to just have one!”