Draft-n-Go coming soon

Want some draft practice on a course?  We have a draft-n-go coming up, March 25th.  It will be held at the site of our draft test, giving you a preview of the area.  Note, again, we moved our draft test to the Fireman’s Pavilion at Lake Lou Yeager in Litchfield, IL.  More details in the flyer below..

Update: The general meeting was also moved to this day.  It was originally scheduled for the 24th.  The meeting will take place at approx. 1pm.

Flyer and Entry Form

Cougar and Cash

Meet Cougar & Cash

These 2 wonderful dogs are currently in rescue.  Both of these dog have come into rescue recently.  They are currently both in foster homes. (with some of our wonderful members)  We will be looking for their forever home once they complete their veterinary care.

Cougar is a 5 + year old male.  He has a super sweet temperament.  He enjoys going on leash walks and playing
He will do best in a single pet home.
  Cash just came into us in late January.

He also is being fostered by one of our members.  He is also a very nice dog and is getting along well with other dogs.  He will be getting groomed next week.

Update(2/3/2018):  Cash hasn’t had veterinary care for several years and Cougar was not current on anything.  If anyone is interested in making donations to help offset their rather expensive care, contact Debbie Fitton.  An email was also sent out to the membership.

Thank you to all the members who donate their time and effort to help out these wonderful pups.


In order to adopt a Newfoundland from the River King Newfoundland Club you’ll first need to submit our Adoption Application Form — but if you’re looking for your first Newfoundland, please read the rest of this page before filling out the form.

Newfoundlands become available from a variety of sources including current owners, breeders, humane shelters, animal control agencies, etc. All Newfs placed by RKNC Rescue are evaluated for

another RKNC rescue girl
Duchess, an RKNC rescue girl adopted at the age of seven,
enjoying her “forever” family in Michigan




temperament, vet checked, and altered prior to being placed. Adoptions are made on a “best match” basis: the background and needs of the Newfoundland must match those of the prospective owners.

Adopting a Newfoundland

If you are new to the breed and are interested in acquiring a Newfoundland from RKNC Rescue, here are some things you will need to consider:

Do you know what you want in a Newfoundland? Newfoundlands make great pets, companions, and family members, usually getting along well with other pets and with little children. Further, all healthy Newfs should be capable of water work, draft work, obedience/rally, tracking, and even agility. However, since all dogs obtained from RKNC Rescue will be spayed/neutered, breeding them or showing them in the conformation ring will not be options.

Do Newfoundlands make good house dogs? Yes, even good apartment dogs, as their exercise needs are relatively low once they’ve reached adulthood. However, Newfoundlands do shed and drool, sometimes copiously — Newfie owners regularly find themselves cleaning their walls, and occasionally their ceilings, and many of us rarely take our dogs out in public without a drool towel — and Newfs can be messy drinkers and eaters. (It’s not uncommon for them to leave a trail of water drops that begins at the bowl and ends — where else? — in your lap!)

Nala, a recent RKNC rescue dog,
relaxing at her new “forever” home in Illinois

Do you know how much do they eat? A growing puppy will eat about 5 – 6 cups of high-quality dog food a day (around 50 pounds of food every 3-4 weeks); adults will eat about 4 cups a day, depending on activity level. (That’s about as much as an active retriever-sized dog, so the food bill isn’t as high as some might expect given the size of Newfoundlands.)

Do you know how much they can weigh? Adult females can range between 90 – 120lbs and adult males can range from 120 – 150lbs. You must not let your Newf become overweight as this can cause lifelong orthopedic problems. Their size also raises practical issues. Many Newf owners find themselves buying vehicles with their dogs as much as their family in mind — some of us have been know to car-shop with tape measure in hand — and then there’s the fact that veterinary and grooming expenses are higher for larger dogs. And since Newfs like to be with their people, be prepared to have them near at hand, and occasionally underfoot, when cooking dinner and watching TV, regardless of the size of your house.

Are Newfs good with children? Absolutely. Remember Peter Pan? In the original early-20th-century stories by J. M. Barrie, the family nanny was a Newfoundland!   Newfs are usually wonderful with children, but from the beginning both the dog and the child should be taught to respect each other’s rights and to interact properly. Very young children should always be supervised with any breed of dog.

Do you know how much Newfs shed? Profusely, at times: twice a year they “blow coat,” and that means lots of hair to deal with. They are regarded as “high-grooming-needs” dogs; Newfs require frequent brushing to remove loose hair, prevent matting, and help maintain healthy skin. (Consider this tidbit: one of the most frequently recurring topics of inquiry on the popular Newf-L email discussion list is vacuum cleaners!) All this grooming requires a commitment of time and energy on the owner’s part, or else the regular assistance of a professional groomer and the expense that involves. Some Newf owners will undertake bathing and grooming their dogs themselves — it’s a great way to bond with your dog and to keep a close eye on skin and coat condition — but the thick double coat characteristic of the breed means it generally takes a good two hours or more to bathe and dry a Newf, and that’s with a good-quality dog dryer. (Never use a human hair dryer on a dog unless it has a “no-heat” setting, as the heat is bad for both skin and coat; human hair dryers also lack the volume to dry large, heavy-coated dogs in a reasonable amount of time).

A Newf is a very large commitment and will be part of your family for the next 10 years or so. Therefore, it is very important that you understand exactly what owning and caring for one means. Newfs are sweet, wonderful dogs but they do require a lot of time, dedication, money, and Lots of Love.


Bella, an RKNC recscue whose previous owners wanted her put down,
enjoying some Wisconsin snow with her new owner

You may also wish to consider taking a look at one or, ideally, all of the following documents, each of which provides a “real-world” perspective on owning a Newfoundland. (Please understand that no one is trying to discourage you from obtaining a Newfoundland, but those of us who love the breed want prospective first-time Newf owners to understand exactly what they’re getting into. The fewer Newfs that are given up to rescue or to shelters, the better.)

The Newfoundland and You

This pamphlet, produced by the Newfoundland Club of America, provides an excellent introduction to the Newfoundland in general. Although some of the information here is specifically geared toward prospective puppy buyers, this document has valuable information on the breed’s history, characteristics, health, and training.

“Don’t Buy a Newfoundland!”

Adapted from an article originally written for potential first-time owners of Bouviers des Flandres (another large, black breed), this helpful document has been widely circulated on the internet and via email. It remains excellent reading for the prospective Newfoundland owner.

“So You Think You Want a Newfoundland? A Guide for Prospective Owners”

From the Newfoundland Club of the United Kingdom — worth looking at for the humorous illustrations alone!

Scooter, another alumnus of the RKNC recscue program, with his new family in Chicago

If you are interested in adopting a rescued Newfoundland dog, please fill out the Adoption Application Form and submit it to the addres at the bottom of the form.

Adoption fees (which do not cover all of the costs involved in operating our rescue service) are charged by the RKNC Rescue Committee as follows: Adult: $200.00 plus any spaying or neutering cost RKNC has incurred; under 1 year of age: $300.00 plus any spaying or neutering cost RKNC has incurred. (On the rare occasions of very young puppies being available, the fee is $450.00 with the new owners agreeing to have the puppy spayed or neutered at the proper age.)

The adoption fee is considered a donation to the RKNC Rescue fund and is used to help defray expenses incurred for medical care, transportation, grooming, boarding, etc… Fees will not be refunded should the Newfoundland be returned to the RKNC Rescue Committee.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or know of a Newfoundland in need of rescue, please contact one of the following:

Debbie Fitton, RKNC Rescue Committee Chair   3455 Casner Road, Oakley, IL 62501; 217-864-3587 (H), 217-454-7782 (C); fittonnewf@gmail.com
Marilee Henja
Sue Zientara


Digs relaxes at home, very adorably


RKNC Committees

Awards: Gene Manley
Conformation: Sue Zientara, Rita Jacobs
Draft Test: Cassie Iken, Sue Zientara & Sylvia Steiling
Education: RKNC Board
Fundraising: Jennifer Jones, Carin Hicks
Historian: Pat Owens
Membership: Mark Iken
Newsletter: Gene Manley, Chris Jones
Nominating Committee: Chris Jones, Carin Hicks, Vince Molinarolo
Obedience: Mark Iken, Sue Zientara, Sylvia Steiling, Pat Owens & Cassie Iken
Parades: Chris Jones
Regional: Sue Zientara, Rita Jacobs, Mark & Kim Wankel, Tom Brandt, Lonnie Specht, Jean & Andy Zinsmeyer, Sue Zientara
Rescue: Debbie Fitton, Lisa Noel, Deb Berg, Marilee Hejna, Mark Wankel
Sunshine: Cassie Iken
Water Test: Mark Iken, Sue Zientara, Tom Brandt
Website: Chris Jones, Cassie Iken

Sponsorship and Find Sponsors

So you’re interested in joining the River King Newfoundland Club but don’t know any members, and you’re wondering how you find someone to sponsor you as an applicant.

It’s not hard, really, though you may have to put a few miles on your car. (Of course, in the dog fancy, driving is just part of the deal; a drive of less than an hour qualifies as “in your own backyard,” and a drive of five hours is generally described as “oh, not too long at all.”)

The best thing to do is to attend a few RKNC meetings and events, which you’ll find listed in the online calendar. All general meetings and events are open to prospective members, and you can simply show up unannounced if you wish (though contacting the club president probably wouldn’t be a bad idea) and you are encouraged to attend one or more of these. (Hey, we’re all dog people, so expect a warm welcome.) This is probably the best way to begin meeting other club members and finding a sponsor.

But what if the next club meeting or event is several months away and you don’t want to wait that long? Well, there’s a way to deal with that. While some members of the club have Newfs simply as pets, there are also many club members active in conformation (“showing”), obedience, and other dog-related activities. Consider attending a dog show or obedience competition (the latter are often referred to as “trials” in the dog world) and look for the Newfs; if the event is being held in the River King region, chances are very good there will be RKNC members there. (Of course, RKNC members regularly travel to events outside the club region as well.)

So how do you found out about such events? Not hard at all. Just do the following:

  • Go to the “Event and Awards” page at the AKC’s website. This page should come up with “Conformation” already selected; if you’d rather search for an obedience or rally trial, just click on the the “Obedience/Agility/AKC Rally” tab. Conformation is by far your best bet; at a conformation dog show, you’ll be able to know exactly when Newfoundlands will be in the ring, and you’ll even be able to know how many are entered.
  • On this page will be a clickable map of the U. S. which will allow you to select the states to which you want to limit your search. The River King area covers only parts of Missouri and Illinois, of course, though depending on where you live you may wish to select other states. (You can also, if you wish, use the “Select Breed” dropdown menu to choose Newfoundlands, though that’s not necessary; that will simply bring up the number of Newfs that attended any given show the previous year.) Once you’ve selected your state(s), click “Search” to get a list of all dog shows scheduled for the next 8 – 12 months or so. The first column will provide location; the second column gives the date of the shows. Scroll down to find one that you’re willing to drive to.
  • Now that you’ve found a show you’d like to attend, what next? Don’t just show up at the show site and expect to see Newfs; it may be that none are actually entered, or it may be that you’ve arrived at 9.00am and Newfs don’t show until 2.00. What you want to do at this point is to mark your calendar — not just for the date of the show you want to attend, but also for several days before the show. Also make a note of the superintendent of the show (listed in the “Superintendent/Secretary” column on the AKC web page). Why several days advance notice? That’s when you want to go online and check the judging program. That program will tell you how many Newfs are entered in that show and what time Newfs will be in the ring.
  • Several days (perhaps even a week) before the show you want to attend, go to the superintendent’s website. In the River King area, conformation shows always have one of three superintendents:
  • From the home page of any of these superintendents’ websites, you’ll be able to get to the Judging Program.
    On Onofrio’s site, select the “Show Information” tab then “Closed Shows,” then scroll down to find the show you plan to attend. Click on the highlighted name of the kennel club sponsoring the show, then scroll down a bit to see if the judging program is available.
    On Foy Trent’s site, mouseover the “Show Information” tab then select “Closed Shows”; scroll down to the show you’re interested in, and if the judging program is available, there will be an active link to it.
    On Roy Jones’ site, scroll down the home page to “Judging Programs/Breakdowns” and you’ll find out if the judging program for your show is available yet. (If not, you can check “Breakdowns” to see how many Newfs are entered, but it won’t provide ring times.)
  • To the right is a partial page image of a typical judging program (this one from Jack Onofrio Dog Shows):
    page image

    This tells you Newfs will be shown in Ring #1, in a group that begins showing at 10.20am. (Those start times will never be moved earlier once the program is published, but they can be pushed back if a ring is running slowly or there’s a problem.) Note that Newfs are listed fourth in that group, behind 11 Saint Bernards, 2 Akitas, and 2 Great Pyrenees. That’s a total of 15 dogs before the Newfs begin to show; the general rule of thumb is that showing takes about two minutes per dog, so if every dog shows up and the judge is running on time, Newfs will begin showing about 10.50am. Note that the judging program also tells you how many dogs of each breed are being shown: in this case, 23 Newfs, which is more than you will typically find at a regular dog show; the numbers after the breed — in this case, 9-9-4-1 — break down that total number even further: 9 class males (“class” means those dogs which have not yet earned their championship title), 9 class females, 4 male champions (commonly referred to as “specials”), and 1 female champion, or “special.”

  • But don’t get to the show at the last minute: some dogs are absent, some judges are fast, things happen and that 10.50 start time for Newfs could suddenly be 10:33. Ideally, get to the show an hour or so before the Newfs are scheduled to show, then walk through the grooming area; since it generally takes an hour or more to show groom a coated breed like Newfs, you’ll surely see Newfs up on grooming tables.
  • This is the time to introduce yourself and explain your interest in Newfs and the RKNC, but keep in mind that most folks will need to concentrate on getting their dogs and themselves ring-ready, so introduce yourself and ask if you can chat after Newfs have shown. Everyone’s more relaxed then and most people will be more than happy to “talk dog” with you.
  • Keep in mind that some of the Newfs you see will be with professional handlers, and the owners of those dogs might be at the show, or might be hundreds or even thousands of miles away; in other cases, the Newfs will belong to people who are not RKNC members. A few quick questions will let you know.
  • If you want to attend an Obedience or Rally trial (very few Newfs do agility, so your chance of running into one at an agility trial is small), follow the first couple of steps above but click on “Obedience/Agility/AKC Rally.” Select your states and the events you want to search for (again, you can probably skip agility), then click “Search” and you’ll get a list of obedience/rally trials.
  • Finding Newfs at obedience and rally trials is harder than finding them at dog shows. Trials are often run by dog training or kennel clubs directly — that is, without the use of a professional superintendent — so they may not publish their judging programs online, although some do. If the obedience/rally trial is held in conjunction with a conformation dog show (a not uncommon occurrence), then a superintendent will be involved, and the judging program, which can be found as described above, will include the schedule for the obedience and rally rings. Yet even if the judging program is available online, that won’t help you know when Newfs are showing since obedience and rally are organized by class (that is, the “level” at which dogs compete), not by breed. And unless you know what class a particular Newf is competing in and what that owner’s armband number is — and if you know that, you don’t need this webpage — there’s no way to know ahead of time when a Newf will be in the ring, or even if there are any at that particular trial.
  • If there are Newfs at the trial — and River King has some members who are very active in obedience/rally — you should be in luck, as many owners of obedience dogs will hang out at these events both before and after their dogs have competed, and in some cases (dogs competing in multiple classes) dogs will be at the show site for hours (though they can be harder to spot when crated, which most are when they’re not competing or about to compete. Look for the big crates!). A good rule of thumb, if you want to attend an obedience/rally trial and take a chance there’s a Newf there, is to get to the site by 9.00am.
  • If you’re near the St. Louis area, which is pretty much at the center of the River King region, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a few Newfs at any given obedience / rally trial, many of which (though by no means all) are now held at the Purina Event Center at Purina Farms in Gray Summit, MO.

Thanks for your interest in River King Newfoundland Club — hope to see you soon!