Sweetbay’s Family Companions

A Sweetbay Newfoundland is the ultimate family companion. His gentle, sweet, willing nature makes him perfectly suited for this role, with an unsurpassed devotion to his family and the powerful instincts and intelligence necessary to fulfill his destiny as children’s companion and benevolent protector.

First and foremost, every Sweetbay dog is a family companion. They are carefully bred to genetically possess the traits that make a dog such a pleasure to live with. And then they are raised superbly and socialized to the max. When they go to their new homes, this care continues. High quality tech support is a given at Sweetbay. Got a question? We’re here. Want some advice? Happy to oblige. Interested in trying a particular form of training? We’re glad to help, and have the knowledge and experience to do so.

What makes a dog a good family dog? A superb dog is made up of many parts, all of which affect our lives in a positive, heartwarming way. But four words come to mind instantly. Comfort. Safety. Entertainment. Affection.

A great dog has an uncanny ability to read your moods and to know just what to do to help. He’s available to be hugged. He stays close when you're sick, and you can't help but feel better thanks to his calm presence. He’s quite good at showing concern when there’s emotional or physical hurt to overcome. He’ll listen for as long as necessary without showing the slightest trait of annoyance, and he never offers unwelcome advice. Most of all, he’s simply there. Come home after a bad day at work and life instantly seems brighter because your dog’s at the door, tail wagging. Get into a nasty argument with your in-laws, and even if you’re in the wrong, your dog will still think you’re the most wonderful person in the world. That’s comfort.

To a Newfoundland, job one is safety. And that means keeping his humans – all humans – safe from harm. The breed’s skills as lifesavers are legendary, whether it’s heroic water rescues in a tempestuous ocean or searching on land for lost children or avalanche victims. Anyone who has known Newfoundlands for even a short time will have rescue stories of his own. There’s a lovely example in this web site, called Lindsey’s Story.

Yet often it’s the quiet stories, the ones you never see in print, that are so emblematic of this breed. The toddler who is gently nudged back away from the basement stairwell. The teenager who changes his mind about swimming in the swift river because his dog makes it clear that that would be a mistake. The tired hiker who fumbles for her car keys in the parking lot – and her dog growls a warning so that a menacing stranger, approaching surreptitiously behind her, turns about and swiftly leaves.

And it isn’t just humans who benefit from this instinct for protection.

In Indiana, there’s a ranch that’s well known for its Morgan horses. It’s a high quality breeding operation, and each new foal is precious. A Sweetbay Newfoundland who lived next door sounded an alarm one day, barking ferociously and escorting the ranch’s owner into the paddock with utmost urgency. Just in time to save a newborn foal who had fallen into a stock tank and, muzzle underwater, was close to drowning.

In Edmonton, Alberta, a massive Newfoundland has rescued dozens of injured birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other creatures. He finds them in the wilds, carries them home gently cradled in his jaws, and then watches over them without cease until they are well again.

Comfort and safety. Yes, indeed. But entertainment?

We all have our favorite Sweetbay stories. These are dogs who want you to laugh with them. And they are endlessly inventive.

And affection? Newfoundlands are exactly the right size and shape. It’s hard to hug a Chihuahua satisfyingly without crushing ribs or endangering fragile bones. But a Newfoundland can – and delightedly will – accept a generous hug, and then ask for more. It’s hard to keep your hands off a Sweetbay dog. All that fur feels wonderful, and they are so eminently pettable. Yet they give back as much affection as they gather. Sometimes it’s quiet, just a soft chin on your lap and an adoring gaze. Other times, it’s a full-body press with every hairy pound pushed into action.

Think about what you want in a dog. Every breeder has his preferences, too, and those will affect the dogs from his kennel. Maybe you like a high energy dog. Or perhaps you prefer a very quiet, mellow dog. Research enough breeders and you can find a Newfoundland that's just what you want. Some Newfoundlands love to retrieve; others are disinclined. Some are superb swimmers. Some are uninterested. Or worse, they cannot swim; they sink like stones. Some Newfoundlands are eager to learn and catch on quickly. Others are extremely difficult to motivate and have no interest in your wishes. What is it you want in a dog? Figure that out, and you're halfway to finding the dog of your dreams.

At Sweetbay, we have always focused on those traits that we felt were essential to a companion animal. However, we know that what we prefer in a dog is not universal. That’s why it’s so important for those looking for a puppy to determine what they want in a dog. Then they can search for a kennel that reliably produces those traits.

However, some things are universal. Sweetness of temperament. Good health. A willing disposition. A cheerful nature. Empathy. And a social outgoing outlook.

“I’ve seen your web site and love your dogs. They look wonderful. But do you ever sell your puppies to families who just want a friend? We don’t intend to do any competing with our dog. We just want a wonderful companion.”

I have to admit, the first time I heard that question, it surprised me. Of course we place puppies in family homes. Competing with that dog is not only not required, but not expected.

And yet, reflecting, I realized that our web site might give a browser that idea, as it is packed with titled water dogs, obedience dogs, tracking dogs, draft dogs, agility dogs, and champions. But many of our dogs go to families that indeed do no competitive training or showing. And that’s wonderful.

After all, a “working” dog does not have to be a competition dog. Sweetbay dogs enrich their owners’ lives by faithfully getting the newspaper or the mail every day. Keeping watch over the little ones. Bringing back the tennis ball as you endlessly practice your serves. Keeping the kitchen floor spotless by slurping up errant crumbs. Making sure the cat doesn't get too big for his britches.

Every dog pictured in every section of the Sweetbay web site is a family companion dog. Their contributions to their families are as numerous as the dogs themselves. But we’d like to share a few more photos with you. Of Sweetbay dogs – just being dogs.

The Pacific Ocean is a huge draw to Newfoundlands and to children. There is no better playground on earth. Five year old Henry (the Newfoundland) allows his best buddy, five year old Dylan, to catch his breath after a major romping session on the sand.

Bella (in the stripe-sleeved shirt) will tell you that Aliza (in the black fur) is her best friend, an excellent pillow, and a ready volunteer whenever some cuddling is called for.

When the great outdoors beckons, there are no better companions than these Sweetbay Newfoundlands. New England is spectacular hiking country, and Jazz and Mocha love to accompany the Freimer family on their outings.

Doug Thor says Clancy is the unofficial mascot at work, and his fellow firefighters make a big fuss over her whenever she visits the station.

A grinning youngster is given a swift tow to shore by two year old Jazz.

Eighteen-month-old Gilly enthusiastically pulls his owner, Mary Yui, along behind as he practices his skijoring skills.

Two year old Rose listens patiently as Caitlin shares a confidence.

Give a Sweetbay Newf a toy and some ocean breakers and he’s in heaven. Six year old Sagan fetches endlessly, charging through the massive Pacific ocean waves to retrieve his sploosh toy.

A family dog has to be up for anything, even if that means serving as a model for the latest in headgear. Twelve week old Landseer Liam thinks his Spotted Pony hat eminently suits his yee-haw personality.

Eight year old Scout proudly pulls her cart during the Roanoke, Virginia, St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Scott Bruns finds the beach at Gearhart, on the Pacific ocean, a perfect spot for a quick nap, and Kirby and Rose discover he makes a marvelous pillow.

In Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie wrote of Nana, a devoted nursemaid and caretaker who watched over the three Darling children when the adults went out in the evenings. Nana, of course, was a Newfoundland. Her nursemaid role is one that generations of Newfoundlands have embraced. Andrea Avila has grown up with Nanny, her grey Newfoundland, and finds her the perfect companion for every activity.

Does one Sweetbay Newfoundland learn from another? Or are behaviors genetically programmed? Ten year old Noah and three year old Jefferson find their stuffed bears are irresistible.

Bears also make great pillows. Sadee adopted this special bear when she was but a tiny pup, and she has kept it safe - and near - ever since.

Working Newfoundlands are happiest when they have work to do. Big or small, a job brings contentment, and is always carried out with pride. Every day, Benson greets his owner Patti Pigeon as she returns from work. He knows his job is to get her purse safely into the house.

Newfoundlands are known for their devotion to children, and Nancy Nevin’s Newfoundland, Riot, is no exception. He keeps a gentle eye on his young friend, Nancy’s great-nephew, as they share a peaceful nap.