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Nothing is more controversial when talking about Newfs than what to feed them. Every breeder has a different idea of how they should be fed and consensus is unlikely in the foreseeable future. The range is from raw natural diets to conventional kibble and from beef based to fish based regimens and everything in between.

Now a landmark event has occurred – a book has just been published entitled The Best Diet For a Newfoundland. While there have been diets published for Newfs as part of a general text on the breed, to my knowledge this is the first such publication solely devoted to the feeding of the breed. The author is William D. Cusick who first came to my attention with his previous writings in which he claims that each breed of dog should be fed according to the diet that they would have eaten at the time and place of their origin. He has since developed diets for 152 breeds.

When I got my copy I was horrified by the illustration on the front cover. It did not look like any Newfoundland that I have ever seen and made me wonder if the author and the illustrator had ever seen a Newfoundland dog. However, remembering the old adage about not judging a book by its cover I continued on.

What I found was a completely theoretical work with all but chapters two and eleven seemingly a general text with the breed name inserted from time to time. In chapter two the author concludes that “Nutrients in the Newfoundland’s native environment consisted primarily of cold water white fish such as cod, halibut and herring. Any exposure to meat would have been from caribou (which has an amino acid profile similar to that of horse meat) and bear (which has an amino acid profile similar to that of pork).” From this he goes on to develop recipes that blend poultry, pork and fish. The fish chosen is interesting – canned chunk lite tuna which has been found to be mercury contaminated and not safe to be eaten regularly. The most theoretical part is the definition of a geriatric or older Newf – dogs over 14 years and bitches over 15 years – I wish!

The book can be ordered from Mr. Cusick’s website. Since I operate on the knowledge that in theory a bumble bee can’t fly, I can’t recommend this purely theoretical offering. If anyone does dare to try the recipes, I would appreciate feedback.

Peter Maniate has been writing columns for the Newf News, the magazine of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada, since 1979.  In 1996 he started writing a Newfoundland dog column in the Breedlines section of Dogs in Canada magazine on behalf of the Newfoundland Dog Club of Canada.  When Dogs in Canada ceased publication at the end of 2011 he continued the Breedlines column in the Newf Newfs.

Permission is granted for re-publication of the preceding article or excerpts from it as long as the author is credited and the name of the original publication and date of first publication is included.

Dogs in Canada

July 2005