Newfoundland Dog Grooming At Home – Caring For This Magnificent Beast.

newfoundland dog grooming

Suppose you already own a Newfie or are contemplating adopting one. You may already be aware that Newfoundland dog grooming is going to be one of the primary areas when it comes to their general care and maintenance, and let me tell you, it’s no mean feat. 

Newfoundlands are vivacious and lively canines who love nothing more than digging, rolling around in the mud, diving into rivers, and splashing in puddles when given the opportunity.

While this brings them a great deal of joy and is heart-warming for us to admire, how do you deal with this bear-like bow-wow when its long, thick coat is full of dirt and sopping wet?

The baseline is this dog cannot be left ungroomed. When not properly maintained, they can become matted, itchy, infected, and, not to mention, very smelly.

So, how do you keep on top of your Newfies mammoth-like coat at home?

Let’s find out. 

The Newfoundland Dogs Coat

Taking on a Newfoundland should not be taken lightly, especially when you consider the amount of time and work that goes into keeping their coats matt free, shiny, and clean. 

The coats of Newfoundland dogs are among the thickest and densest of any breed, and there’s a good explanation for this. 

Newfies were initially bred as working dogs to assist fishermen in one of the coldest parts of Canada. They would need to spend a lot of time around the water, and immensely cold territories, hence why they would need such a thick undercoat. 

This double coat can also mean they produce a lot of dander when they shed, meaning they’re not ideal for anyone with severe allergies to pet hair. 

What is an Undercoat?

An undercoat is a layer of fur underneath the fur you see on top. This is usually oily, which in the case of a Newfoundland, helps to repel water.

So, when their luscious locks get wet on the outside, their skin is protected against the icy elements by this dense waterproof layer. However, having an undercoat can make grooming a Newfoundland such a challenge. 

The undercoat is an entirely different texture to the top coat. While the top coat is long, coarse, and shiny, the underneath is dense, fluffy and incredibly soft. 

These undercoats can also become extremely matted when not adequately maintained. While you might think you’re doing a good job brushing their beautiful outer coat, underneath, there will likely be a mass of debris, tangles, and mats. 

Does the Newfoundland Dog Shed?

Though Newfoundlands aren’t consistent shedders all year around, their seasonal sheds can be pretty copious and exasperating to keep on top of. However, these only tend to happen twice yearly, in the spring and fall. 

You’ll need to brush your Newfie even more regularly during shedding times to prevent the dead hair from moulting all over your home. That said, the Newfie’s adult coat does not fully develop until they are around 3 years old. This means you have a few years of lower maintenance until shed hits the fan…

What Are The Tools of The Trade For Newfoundland Dog Grooming?  

If you’re considering grooming your Newfoundland at home rather than taking them to a professional, you’ll first need to ensure you’re fully equipped with the right tools.

However, firstly you want to ensure you have enough space to take on the task at hand. Grooming a Newfie is certainly no swift job. 

Ideally, you’ll want to be able to do as much of the groom as you can outdoors. This is mainly due to the amount of fur and dandy that will be shed. 

Next, if you’re planning to bathe them indoors, you need a safe method of lifting them into a bath, which is more often than not a two-person job. Another reason why some people opt for washing them in the backyard. 

Lastly, towels, You can not have enough towels to hand; remember the movie Beethoven when the St Bernard got drenched and covered in mud and shook all over the pristine bedroom? Imagine that, but worse! You’ll need to get as many towels down as possible and also use them to absorb any excess water before you begin drying. 

Here are some other tools you’ll need before you begin the groom:

Shampoo & Conditioner

Because of the density of the type of Newfoundland coat, high-quality shampoo is detrimental to the upkeep of their impressive fur. Do your research and ask breeders, groomers, and vets about the best shampoo for your dog’s coat and skin condition. 

You want to find a product that thoroughly cleans the dog’s fur without stripping it of natural oils. Try to look for shampoos made from natural products.


When I say you’ll need a dryer for your Newfie, the run-of-the-mill ones you can pick up on the high street for £20.00 will not cut the mustard, so don’t bother. 

We use something that is referred to as a blaster. They look kind of like a vacuum but instead blast out hot, warm, or cold air at an intense speed. Of course, the ones used in professional groomers cost hundreds, but there are some on the market for less than $100 that would suit better for home use. 

These specialised dryers get to the bottom of the coat to ensure the dog is dry to the skin, unlike everyday hair dryers, which could take hours to do this.

Undercoat Rake

An undercoat rake is another essential tool required for grooming a Newfoundland dog. These will get right to the core of the coat and rake out any dead hair, mats, and debris hiding underneath. 

They look a little daunting, as they have sharp blades/teeth, usually curved, to get right to the bottom of the fire; however, they’re entirely safe to use and don’t hurt the animal.

Pin Brush, Slicker Brush, and Combs

Pin brushes are excellent for everyday grooming and keeping up with Newfies’ general maintenance. They’re great for removing more minor, superficial knots and dead hair from the surface.

The same goes for slicker brushes. Using these daily can help to distribute the fur’s natural oils, keeping it looking healthy and glossy. 

Hair Clippers

It’s not advised to clip & shave a Newfound at all (unless for medical necessity). However, there may be times when a matt is so tight it will need something a bit tougher than a de-matter to get through it. 

Nail Clippers

Lastly, as nail clipping is a part of dog grooming and general care, you’ll need a good-quality, hard-wearing set of claw trimmers. Newfoundland’s nails are extremely thick, so a low-cost pair from the pet shop may not be up to par.

Be warned, trimming the claws of big dogs can be scary as many don’t like the process. Investing in a set of cutters that are efficient at getting the job done can sometimes help lower the friction.

Newfoundland dog grooming

Brushing, Combing, Shaving Your Newfie

Before you groom your Newfoundland, you’ll want to prepare as best possible. There’s nothing worse than bathing a dog with mats and then trying to get out damp dander. Plus, mattes will take an awfully long time to dry, so you’re saving yourself and your dog a lot of unnecessary stress by doing the preparation beforehand.

You’ll want to do this by using your dematter, and clipping away any stubborn mattes, before going over them one last time with a brush.

Concentrate on areas such as behind the ears, toes, and the inside of their legs and back end where mattes commonly accumulate.  

To avoid mattes becoming a problem in the first place, it’s best to give your Newfoundland a thorough brush every couple of days, even every day if you have the time.

Bathing a Newfoundland Dog

The first challenge you’ll find yourself confronted by when bathing a Newfoundland is how on earth you get this colossal creature into the tub. 

As I said earlier, this will likely be a two-person job when doing it at home, but if you are by yourself, try making some form of a ramp to walk them into the bath rather than trying to lift them. 

Or, you could wash them in the backyard using a tap/ shower attachment.

You want to make bathing a stress-free experience, not just for you but for your dog too. When a dog is uncomfortable, frightened, or anxious, the grooming process becomes much more challenging. 

Once you’ve dedicated a space for Newfie bathtime, you’ll need to soak them thoroughly down to the undercoat before applying shampoo. The shampoo should be lathered into the fur, avoiding the mouth and eyes. You’ll want to ensure you’re into every nook and cranny, including between their legs, toes, and under their chin and tail. 

Sound positive during the bathing process, offer them reassuring, and rewarding words in a calm tone of voice to assure them they’re a good dog and there’s nothing to worry about, especially when they’re younger. Bathing can be a daunting moment for a doggy.

Drying a Newfoundland

Ideally, if you can get your dryer outside, doing this outdoors will save you a lot of mess. You can expect a lot of hair flying through the air at this stage in the grooming process, so outdoors would be preferred unless you have a dedicated groom room or an easily wiped-down area.

Nail Trimming 

Many people are highly intimated by cutting a dog’s nails, and if you’re even slightly unsure or worried, it’s always best to seek the help of a professional. Dogs can pick up when you’re anxious, which can cause them stress, leading to biting, jumping, or trying to run away, all of which are dangerous to you and your dog. 

Like bathing, constantly reassure your dog throughout the process. Golf onto their paws gently yet firmly; try to have them in a sit position, as standing can cause them to fall off balance. Reward them each time you successfully trim a nail and be sure to give them plenty of fuss or a treat when you’ve finished. 

If, at any point, the situation becomes too stressful or dangerous. Stop. Trying to continue in this situation could injure you or your dog. 

You need to be wary of cutting the nail too short. If you do this, you risk cutting the nails quickly, which causes bleeding. While this does happen from time to time, it can be concerning if you’ve never experienced it before, and it should be avoided as this causes the dog discomfort. Just in case, have a tub of styptic powder or a quick stop to hand. 

Doggy Dentals

In the beginning, it’s a good idea to clean your dog’s teeth on a daily basis from them being a pup. While you might not like the thought of putting your hands near your dog’s fangs, as long as they’re used to this from a young age, they’ll be perfectly comfortable with the process. As they start to mature, you can reduce the frequency to once a week, but look to add in some beneficial tools such as dental chews.

Speak to them gently, start by only doing small amounts at a time, even just a few seconds, and be sure to reward them exaggeratingly for any calm, good behaviour. 

Again, be sure to stop if you feel they’re becoming agitated. Continuing will only emphasise their nerves and turn it into a stressful situation for both the dog and yourself. 

Everyday (ish) Face Cleaning and General Maintenance 

Newfies are known for their adorable teddy-like faces, but with this comes more maintenance. While this doesn’t need to be as regular a chore as brushing, it still needs to be kept on top to avoid gunk gathering in their eyes and ear infections. 

Because of the amount of drool Newfoundland produces, you’ll also find you need to constantly wipe, clean, and dry their jowls and fur around their mouths. 

You can purchase wipes to keep up with this daily cleaning. Be sure not to use anything perfumed or human products. Wipe gently, especially near the eyes, and try not to leave anything damp.

Alternatively, many owners choose to invest in “drool bibs” which do a fantastic job of mopping up excess drool and food from your Newfie’s front. They also look cool as!

Final thoughts on Newfoundland dog grooming

Newfoundland dog grooming is never going to be an easy task, and if you’re set on bringing a Newfie into your home, you’ll need to prepare for the high-maintenance grooming routine that’s required to keep them happy and healthy. 

Allowing your dog to become matted, or leaving them unbathed, can lead to skin infections, bacteria growth, and poor coat condition, amongst other common problems associated with Newfies such as sore eyes and chapped skin. 

Buying all the tools you need to keep on top of your Newfoundlands grooming routine can be expensive, however investing the money and time into learning to do this hefty job can be more worthwhile than spending money each month at the groomers, which can start anywhere from £100 for even the most minimalist grooms. 

Out of all the items you’ll need, I would highly suggest that a blaster and dematter are the first items on your list when it comes to grooming products; this way, you can ensure all mats are removed, and your dog will be dry right down to the skin. You never want to leave a Newfoundland dog with a damp or matted undercoat. 

No matter what breed of dog you have, proper coat and skin care management are essential for their well-being; however, when it comes to these beautiful beasts, it’s without a doubt vital that these things are kept on top of. 

Even if you do decide to groom your dog at home, it’s still recommended to get them occasionally groomed by a professional who can assess if your methods are working well for the dog and check on the dog’s coat condition. 

As much as these dogs are impeccable companions and loyal family dogs, their maintenance, expense, and upkeep are not something that should be taken lightly.

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