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The question may arise – if people have carefully perfected purebred dogs, like German Shepherds and Newfoundlands, why do they need to mix these breeds now? The German Shepherd Newfoundland mix is not bred accidentally, of course. The answer is that the purpose was to receive the dogs with the best features inherited from the two breeds, such as a larger working potential and a calmer temperament. That is the answer to your question.
The new dog hybrid is also called a New Shep or the Newfie Shepherd, and it is a designer dog whose characteristics are more predictable than those of other mixes.
Let’s consider this amazing dog’s qualities and ways to treat it. After reading this article, you will be able to decide whether this dog is right for you.
Characteristics of the Crossbreed
If you are interested in a New Shep, learn what characteristic features it inherits from its predecessors – German Shepherds and Newfoundlands.
German Shepherds look intimidating and bark loudly. They are highly intelligent and become loyal companions to their beloved owners. They are also pretty trainable, eager to please the owner, and have a strong working drive. Shepherds are multipurpose workers suitable for doing jobs in the police, military, and guidance services. Guarding is also a good job for them because they are fierce and alert.
Newfoundlands are much bigger and stronger than Shepherds. Though, they are also much calmer. The abundance of fur and big bones make them look impressive. They are gentle and sweet, but they also make perfect working dogs to carry out emergency services and rescues, especially those that include swimming in icy water. Rescuing children and adults from drowning is the job they have become well-known for. Nowadays, Newfoundlands are kept as home pets.
The German Shepherd Newfoundland mix puppy is the offspring of crossbreeding that displays the best characteristics of German Shepherds and Newfoundland dogs. It is larger than a Shepherd but much calmer and more affectionate. It is more open and patient to the presence of strangers, and more welcoming to other animals. Nevertheless, the New Shep has an outstanding work drive and very strong protective instincts.
Like in other dog breeds, males and females differ in size. The male is usually 25-28 inches (63-71 cm) in height, and they weigh 120-150 pounds (54-68 kg). Females are usually smaller and lighter. They can grow as tall as 23-26 inches (58-66 cm), and their weight is as much as 80-120 pounds (36-54 kg). Some dogs can grow very big and weigh up to 200 pounds (91 kg).
The typical Newfoundland German Shepherd mix has medium-length hair, and the double coat is immensely thick. The colors of the coat may vary a lot. These hybrid dogs can be solid black, sable, or even liver, blue, and white. However, the most common color after the GSD is tan with a black saddle. Some crosses may also inherit the color from their Newfoundland parent, and their coat may be brown or gray.
The other characteristic features inherited from the two breeds depend on the gene mix. For example, 75% of puppies may have straight-standing ears, and 25% with floppy ears in one litter. The other features, such as massive and strong bones, a larger size, the webbed hind paws that account for the famous Newfoundland’s ability to swim, and the color of eyes (mostly yellow to brown) are also inherited in different proportions.
Character, Temperament, and Behavior
The German Shepherd and Newfoundland mix are very intelligent, loving, loyal, patient, and confident dogs. They can do well with children of all ages and people who are not a part of the family. These dogs are pretty approachable, though they may look intimidating because of their massiveness.
New Sheps are amazing family dogs without the aggressive tendencies German Shepherds are usually prone to. They are very careful and patient with young kids. If this dog is properly socialized, it can get along well with other household pets. However, it can be wary of other dogs, especially if they are of the same sex.
These dogs are very strong and fast, despite their big size. So, they can be excellent herders and work successfully in criminal apprehension for the police. They are also agile swimmers due to the feature inherited from their Newfoundland parents.
The mix of German Shepherds and Newfoundlands produces more admirable personalities. While German Shepherds are alert and courageous, though prone to fearfulness, aggression, and neurotic spans if bred and socialized improperly, Newfoundlands are more loyal and selfless, courageous, calm, and patient. The mix most often displays the sweet and docile nature of Newfoundland.
While being trained, New Sheps can be more stubborn and need more repetitions and consistency than their German Shepherd ancestor. This trait is also inherited from Newfoundlands and should be taken into account.
Health and Issues
The lifespan of the German Shepherd Newfoundland mix is about 10 years. It is longer than in purebred Newfoundlands but shorter than in German Shepherds. The reason is bigger because all large dog breeds tend to live shorter.
The puppies are mostly born healthy, and this mix generally is not prone to severe health issues if it is bred responsibly and then well-cared and fed.
The German Shepherd tends to get such minor issues as hot spots, allergies, perianal fistulas, and cataracts. The Newfoundland also tends to have cataracts as well as eye issues such as abnormal eyelid and lower eyelid droop. So, all these conditions can be inherited by your mix-bred puppy from its parents.
As for serious health problems, the German Shepherd can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia, bone inflammation, heart disease, fungal infections, and gastric torsion. The Newfoundland can also be prone to gastric torsion, like all large dog breeds can, as well as von Willebrand’s disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, heart disease, and deficient bone growth. You will need to have hip, elbow, and cardiac testing, DNA tests, and a complete physical examination for your puppy with your experienced vet to be sure about its health condition. Having the appropriate health test certificates from your reputable breeder is also great.
Feeding and Care
Since a Newfoundland German Shepherd mix is a very large dog breed, it requires a special, high-quality diet meant for big dogs. You should give it 3 cups of kibble at least twice per day. You need to talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about weight loss or gain. Your doggy may need nutritious supplements or more exercise.
You may also feed your hybrid puppy with a homemade raw diet, but it should be properly balanced and high-quality. Remember that human food is inappropriate for your dog, and human supplements do not suit it, either.
A good bowl of fresh water should always be at your dog’s access, though take away a feeding bowl as soon as your pup completes (or does not complete) the meal.
As for taking care of the New Shep, it needs a lot of grooming. The immensely thick coats require brushing on a daily basis. The undercoat is very dense, so if left without care, it can form tangles and get matted. Brushing is especially important in springs and early autumns, when shedding is excessive.
Do not bathe your dog too often. Bathing is necessary to remove heavy debris and dirt but not more often than once in two months. The special dog shampoo should be applied to avoid bad skin irritations.
The ears can be either erect or folded, depending on the gene inherited either from a German Shepherd or Newfoundland parent. However, you need to clean them carefully in both cases, especially when the ears are floppy. You should also trim its nails and brush its teeth regularly. Ask for expert advice from your veterinarian if you are unsure how to do it correctly.
Exercising and Training
Your German Shepherd Newfoundland mix puppy needs a lot of exercises, though some dogs may require moderate to low amounts of physical load. So, if you live in a small apartment, this dog is not appropriate for you.
You should at least walk with your doggy for about 60 minutes per day and play a lot with it. These dogs love being in the water, and that allows them to burn off their excess energy. So, swimming is an essential part of exercising.
30 minutes of any moderate-to-intense activity per day is a must for your pup. The doggy will enjoy hiking and biking with you, too. The dog also needs a lot of mental stimulation, including puzzle toys and enrichment games.
The trainability of the German Shepherd and Newfoundland mix is amazing. These dogs are incredibly affectionate with their owners and always ready to follow all the commands. They are playful and patient, with strong guarding instincts, alert to threats but open to the presence of strangers. However, they can be pretty obstinate sometimes. So, you need reward-based and persistent training sessions for your doggy from a very early age.
These dogs can become outstanding search and rescue helpers and are also great at obedience training and agility sessions. They are perfect at water sports and hauling (sleds and small carts will be appropriate for them). They also can become exceptional therapy dogs due to their patience and affectionate attitudes toward people.
As you can see, a German Shepherd Newfoundland mix can be a dream dog for any owner. It makes up a perfect family dog with strong guarding and protective skills. It is intelligent, patient, calm, and affectionate.
The dog can be a remarkable companion, rescuer, and hauler. However, be careful to socialize and train it properly. If you live in a small apartment and don’t have space for walks and exercising, this pup is not the best choice for you because it needs a lot of activity, like running, swimming, and playing.
If you have decided to adopt the New Shep, you will get the best friend and amazing companion if it is properly socialized.