When Sherman the Newfoundland puppy came to live with Beverly and Elliott Richardson, he already weighed 150 pounds. Today, Beverley describes herself as "just a human dog cushion." Here's their unique story.
Many social media pets have become so famous that "pet influencers" are actually a thing now. Whether it's for their funny personalities or adorable looks, we always love when they show up on our feed.
Sherman is one of these social media stars. With a growing following on Instagram and hilarious posts that give us a peek into his daily life as a stay-at-home doggo, his fans (us included) are obsessed. So what exactly did this pupper's path to fame look like?
A Gentle Giant
Sherman is a Newfoundland - a breed known to be social, intelligent, and quite curious. They're one of those "gentle giant" breeds that have hearts as soft as their cuddly fur. Of course, there's one thing that instantly grabbed the Richardsons' attention the moment they laid eyes on Sherman...
He was huge. But that was normal for a Newfie, so Beverley and Elliott weren't too worried. They were sure once he settled into his new house, he'd fit right in. The couple knew what they were signing up for, and were totally prepared for it - or so they believed...
Joining the Family
In February 2022, Sherman officially became a member of the Richardson family, when his soon-to-be humans brought him over from Poland to the United Kingdom. As soon as the couple made a final decision, the Newfoundland came to live with them in their Simonside, South Shields home.
Young Sherman was only a year old when the couple decided to make him their own. He was already pretty large in size, but Beverley and Elliott figured the dog would only continue to grow for another year or so. Little did they know, they were quite mistaken…
An Expensive Breed
But never mind that for now. The important thing is that, although he cost them around £2,600 (about $3,300), the couple were overjoyed to have him as part of their family. According to experts, Newfoundlands are one the friendliest dog breeds, so Elliott and Beverley figured the price was worth it.
Newfoundlands are a pretty difficult breed to find for people looking to adopt, so the Richardsons knew they had to look elsewhere if they wanted a Newfie. And when they stumbled upon Sherman they knew they had to take him in - and it’s a good thing they did.
Making Himself at Home
The newcomer to the family quickly made himself at home at the Richardsons' - perhaps even a little too much. For example, while Elliott and Beverley each had their own favorite spot to relax in at home, such as the bed or sofa, Sherman had something else in mind...
His favorite place to stretch out was none other than his humans’ laps - despite it usually being somewhat of a challenge to squeeze himself in with them. TBH, we all love a grande-sized doggo who’s completely unaware of his own proportions. And that’s exactly what Sherman was.
A Big Personality
But this doggo’s large size wasn’t the only thing his parents loved about him - he had a huge heart to match! "He's big and friendly - probably a bit too friendly for his own good," Elliott shared with Kennedy News. "He likes to sit on you because he thinks he's a lap dog."
Well, whatever the mind can conceive and believe, right? Sherman seems determined, so we'll give it to him. "He doesn't realize his own size and he's just started getting really stubborn," Elliott continued. Definitely "pet influencer" material, if you ask us.
He Was a Heavy Baby
When Beverley and Elliot first decided to take Sherman in as their own, this not-so-little fur-kid weighed a whopping 11 stone (154 pounds)! Needless to say, they'd already known they were in for a wild ride, so they prepared themselves accordingly.
The new parents made sure they had enough space, time, and love to provide for Sherman as he settled into his new home. But there was one tiny possibility they'd forgotten to take into account - and that was that Sherman just might not be done growing.
Not Your Typical Newfie
Newfoundlands are known to be a massive breed - normal weights range from 100-150 pounds (45-68 kg), and they usually stand about 28 inches (0.7 m) tall. So when the Richardsons learned that Sherman weighed 150 pounds, they believed he couldn’t possibly get any bigger.
But boy were they wrong. It turns out Newfoundlands continue to grow until they reach three years of age - and that was their first sign that they'd better have enough space for him at home. Because whether they were ready or not, this kid was going to grow. In fact, he's expected to put on an additional 28 pounds!
A Third Roommate
And if you’re like us, you’re probably wondering how the couple manage sharing their home with such a large dog. But Elliott had his response ready: "People ask what it's like having Sherman in the house and I say it's just like having another person living with you."
Yeah, but let's be real - we'd take a dog over another human being any day. "He's 11 stone and has a mind of his own. It's not an aggression thing, but he'll do what he wants when he feels like it." So in other words: he runs the house, and they just live in it.
He Has a Big Appetite
We’re sensing a running theme here. A large form, an even bigger heart, and now - his appetite. Normally, it’s said that Newfoundlands are often overfed because owners overestimate the portions they need in order to grow healthy. But not in Sherman's case...
It turns out a large appetite is the least he expects from his humans. And not to mention, it’s quite an expensive diet as well. According to his owners, the huge hound chows down £120 ($150) worth of food every month - but apparently even that is not enough nutrition for him.
Cases of Food Theft
When asked about the dog's enormous appetite, Elliott laughed, explaining that other than his daily meals, Sherman keeps an eye out for treats on people's plates whenever he's out of the house. "I've got to be careful with him when I'm sitting with him at coffee shops and cafés because he loves food."
The dog dad even went on to share instances where Sherman took his love for food a little too far. "There's been a few times he's nearly had people's food off their plates." LOL. Oh, Sherman. But honestly, if it were up to us, we'd probably let him have whatever he had his sights set on.
Sloppy Eaters Wear Bibs
But perhaps even more adorable than this pupper’s sense of entitlement to other people’s food is the way he chows down his own. Because of his sloppy eating manners, Elliott has had no choice but to put a bib around Sherman's neck so he wouldn't spread his drool everywhere.
"Because he drools, he wears a bib. I've been sitting at coffee shops and Sherman's decided to shake his head and it flies everywhere," Elliott hilariously shared. He even joked that he "[doesn't] want to start having to pay for people's food." Fair enough.
His Best Friend, Kodi
But what else does Sherman like to do in his free time? Well, when he’s not trying to fit onto his humans’ laps at home, or eyeing up other people’s food at restaurants and cafes, the Newfie spends his time with his best friend, who’s also conveniently his neighbor.
"His best friend is the ginger tom cat that lives next door who’s called Kodi. He’s obsessed with him," Elliott explained. "He likes to walk across the fence and Sherman could sit and watch for hours." We can safely agree that time spent watching cats is never wasted.
But Sherman’s social life doesn’t end there. With his big heart and hilarious personality, he even bring smiles to people’s faces in his UK neighborhood in South Shields. According to Elliott, people constantly stop him to pet, play with, and ask questions about the black doggo.
"He gets stopped all the time, everybody knows him." We love a local celebrity floof! "When I walk past, people will be like, 'Good morning, Sherman', 'Hello Sherman, how are you doing?.'" Casually running into a black chonk with a wagging tail in the neighborhood? Consider us jealous.
Not only do grown-ups love to play with the huge dog, but so do children! Sherman's pawrents posted photos of him causally hanging out with a family member. "Sherman with his niece ….she loves him," read the caption under one of his Instagram pics. Awww.
Another photo was captioned, "Mini Hooman about to get covered in slobber." LOL. Judging by the way Sherman's niece is holding onto his shaggy fur, she doesn't seem to mind the drool too much. Newfoundlands are generally known to be very good with kids, which has earned them the nickname "nanny dog."
A Social Media Star
But the cuteness doesn't stop there. Elliott and Beverley immediately noticed how adorable and hilarious people find Sherman's size and personality, and decided to make him social media famous. So, they opened an Instagram page for the Newfoundland.
The account, called @sherman_the_newfoundland_, documents fun and special moments in the dog's life. It wasn't long before users took notice of his abnormally large size and unique shenanigans. Soon enough, he started gaining new followers on the social media platform.
Lots of Bibs
The first thing that we immediately notice about his account is that Elliott and Beverley never forget to showcase the collection of unique bibs Sherman has managed to collect over the years (courtesy of his pawrents). In many of the photos, a different bib with a witty quote can be seen hanging around his neck.
Whether it reads “I self-identify as a chihuahua” or “bacon disposal unit” with an arrow pointing towards his face, there always seems to be a hilarious line that fits perfectly with the sagging face and the tongue hanging out of the Newfoundland’s mouth.
Thankfully, Elliott and Beverley also don’t hold back when it comes to documenting and sharing everything Sherman does that makes them laugh. From the hilarious quotes on his bibs to the pink tongue constantly hanging out of his mouth, there’s much to see on his Instagram page.
For obvious reasons, we’ve already become instant fans of the big fur-ball. Not to mention the thousands of followers who can’t get enough of watching Sherman try to wiggle his way onto an already occupied couch (yes, there are quite a few of those too).
The 'Melon' in the Way
For example, one hilarious video shows Beverley curled up on the couch in the living room, clearly planning to relax in front of the TV. But despite the enormous screen nearly taking up the entire wall opposite the sofa, she still doesn’t seem to have a clear view…
Because guess who's decided to join her for some quality TV time? Lying next to his mom on the couch is 150-pound Sherman, who doesn’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with this seating arrangement. The text over the video reads, "Tv time…someone’s melon is in the way." LOL.
A Snooze in the Kitchen
In another clip, it looks like Sherman found just the right spot for a little afternoon snoozin' on the floor - right in front of the fridge. Meanwhile, his napping place turned out to be an inconvenience to Elliott, who seemed to be struggling to get the refrigerator door open with Sherman in the way.
And it was pretty clear that Sherman wasn’t going to budge. So Elliott did the only thing he knew he could do - he dragged Sherman away from the fridge. Once the cold bottle of beer was in his hand and the refrigerator door had been closed, Elliott courteously moved Sherman back to his original spot.
Helping With Chores
But say what you will about this XL doggo - he's about a lot more than just droolin' and snoozin'. One Instagram photo on his account suggests he even helps his humans with chores that need to get done around the house (sometimes). Have a look for yourself…
Sitting proudly - and nearly the same height as the water purifier on the counter above the dishwasher - is Sherman, ready to oversee all the dishwashing activities. “Supervising the loading of the dishwasher,” read the caption below the photo. We think he did a good job - and good boys do good jobs, so no surprise there.
But when he's not helping around the house, Sherman goes right back to getting in his pawrents' way (although we have a feeling they secretly enjoy it). For example, there's not a chance this giant doggo would let any plans in the kitchen get done without his supervision and approval.
Towering over his own mom to find out what smells so good on the kitchen counter, six-foot-tall Sherman looks ready to gobble down some food. The caption below the photo, which was uploaded to his Instagram account, confirms our suspicions: "Waiting for a slice of papa johns pizza." We had a feeling.
Parenting Is a Challenge
According to Elliott, Sherman brings tons of love, joy, and humor into their lives with his big heart and vibrant personality. Not to mention, people in the area who run into him on his daily walks are always happy to see him. But Elliott says it’s a lot more work than it looks....
"With giant breeds like Sherman, they come with certain rules about how often you can actually walk them because they stay as babies until they're three years old. Their bodies are still developing, such as their joints and bones, so you've got to really take your time with them," he shared.
A Little Stubborn
But it's not only the Newfoundland's physical traits that present a challenge to the Richardsons. Elliott explains that the breed can be difficult to look after, in general. "At this age they can become exceptionally stubborn. We've got videos of him refusing to go out for a wee."
And the bad news for Sherman's humans is that once his mind has been made up, it's apparently game over. "We try to move him but he won't budge," Elliot explained. "He just lies there and won't get up." Despite that, nothing has ever been more relatable, if we’re being honest.
An Expensive Breed
Not only that, but the two fur-parents also find themselves taking rather large sums out of their bank accounts to pay for all of Sherman's necessities. "His food bill's £120, then when you add on £120 insurance and £100 for a groom, every month you're looking at spending around £400 for maintenance."
Not ideal, we know, but - seeing how much happiness the bear-dog has brought into their lives, it seems they're willing to make all the sacrifices in the world for him. "Sherman costs a lot of money, all giant breeds do, but he's my best friend so he's worth every penny," Elliott insisted.
Not an Easy Task
In addition to the monthly budget the couple is used to setting aside for Sherman, Elliott mentioned he and Beverley recently had to shell out £250 ($318) for a new vacuum cleaner, after their old one "burst into flames," due to Sherman's hair getting stuck in it. Yikes.
The Richardsons make it pretty clear that raising a Newfoundland baby isn’t as simple as people usually make it seem. After all, these giant fur-balls are no Boston Terriers - in fact, Newfies are among the most high-maintenance dog-breeds out there!
Newfie Health Issues
But one of the most important things to keep in mind is the dog's health. According to The Spruce Pets, it's important for Newfies to maintain a healthy diet, and not be overfed - which is a common mistake owners make. They also shouldn't eat too quickly, which can cause complications.
Deep-chested dogs can become bloated if they eat too fast or engage in physical activity too soon after eating. According to Elliot, Sherman generally has to wait around an hour and a half before and after exercising to eat, or else he'll suffer from bloating.
A High-Maintenance Dog Breed
Since Newfies are large, energetic dogs, they require a lot of constant care and attention from their owners. They love to play and swim, (which can make keeping them clean difficult), and preventing Newfoundlands from releasing energy could result in them becoming overweight.
Not to mention, all the long fur from their thick coats has to go somewhere once it begins to shed. And unfortunately for Newfie parents, that place is usually all around the homes they try so hard to keep clean and tidy. But of course, there's an upside to having this breed around...
They Have Huge Hearts
As Sherman has proven to us, these enormous dogs have the biggest hearts! In fact, according to the American Kennel Club Standard, "Sweetness of temperament is the hallmark of the Newfoundland." Awww. All that high-maintenance talk: instantly forgotten.
Your Purebred Puppy's website explains that while this breed is generally social, friendly, and loves to play (especially with children), they will also alert their owners whenever they sense the presence of a stranger. But as long as their owners show signs of reassurance, they warm up to others pretty easily.
Sherman Always Comes First
But if you ask us, the perks far outweigh the challenges of having a giant bear dog around the house. Beverley even shared, "I often ask why it's always me that gets trampled on by Sherman, but there's no better stress relief than 11 stone of slobber and floof landing on you." And we believe her 100%.
So despite everything, the Richardsons insist that Sherman always comes first. And as the giant 18-month-old baby continues to grow, they're totally prepared for whatever comes next. For now, the Richardsons say that they're "just a human dog cushion." And they wouldn't have it any other way.