- Breed group — Working group (American Kennel Club)
- Height — 25-28 inches
- Weight — 100-150 pounds
- Coat length & texture — Medium length double coat
- Coat color — Standard colors are brown, black, black and white (Landseer), and gray. Newfoundland coats usually stay the same from puppies to adulthood.
- Exercise needs — Moderate
- Intelligence — High
- Barking — When necessary
- Life span — 9-10 years
- Temperament — Sweet, gentle, and loyal
- Hypoallergenic — No
- Origin — Canada, England
Newfoundland fun facts
- In the original Peter Pan, the beloved Nana is a Newfoundland, thought to be modeled after author J.M. Barrie’s own dog.
- Poet Lord Byron loved his Newfoundland, Boatswain, so much that after he died, the dog was buried in an elaborate monument with a touching poem.
- Newfoundlands have extraordinary lung capacity, making them excellent water rescue dogs. Because of this and their strong water abilities, they can swim long distances and rescue drowning victims.
Newfoundland temperament and characteristics
Like some other giant breeds, despite their size, Newfies are known for their sweet temperaments and as patient dogs. They have been affectionately labeled “nanny dogs”, as they are a great, loving option for a household with children. While being sweet-tempered is a primary feature for the breed, Newfoundlands are great watchdogs and will let you know when someone’s at the door.
This working dog breed is trusting, very intelligent and trainable, and responds best to gentle guidance and positive reinforcement. Newfoundland dogs love the water and are built for it, with thick double coats and webbing in their paws to withstand cold water temperatures. These gentle giants make a loving companion and loyal guardian.
Common Newfoundland health problems
Like all large breed dogs, Newfoundlands are prone to certain health conditions. If you plan to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder, be sure your breeder can provide health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). These clearances look at risk of hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and von Willebrand disease .
- Hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a common concern for large breed dogs. It is a common and treatable condition where a dog’s hind leg doesn’t fit neatly into their hip joint.
- Addison’s disease. An extremely serious condition that’s caused by poor production of adrenal hormones. Symptoms of the disease include lethargy, poor appetite and vomiting.
- Gastric torsion. Also known as bloat or gastric dilatation, gastric torsion is a very dangerous condition that can be lethal. Small meals throughout the day, as well as elevated feeding bowls, can reduce the risk of bloat.
- Cystinuria. This disorder is an inherited condition that prevents the absorption of the amino acid cystine in the kidneys. Urinary tract inflammation, kidney and bladder stones can occur. While the disorder is deadly if untreated, treatment can help prevent this.
Cost of caring for a Newfoundland
Adding a Newfoundland to your home means adding a loving member to your family. But with every pet comes financial considerations. Hip dysplasia is a common problem for larger dogs, and if your Newfie develops it the costs can be great. Orthopedic surgery for hip dysplasia can total more than $4,000 per affected leg. Costs to test for Addison’s disease, another common disorder in Newfoundlands, can be around $1,500.
You can help to greatly offset medical expenses for your Newfoundland with pet insurance. Securing a pet insurance plan early ensures large dog owners get the most benefit from their pet insurance. No matter your financial needs, Newfoundland owners will want to make sure they budget well for pet costs through every stage of their dog’s life. Starting a pet savings account can also help in financial planning for your pup.
History of the Newfoundland
The Newfoundland dog originally comes from the Canadian province of the same name. The breed was originally known as a helper of fishermen along the coast of Newfoundland. Newfs were great at hauling a fishing net to shore or helping their humans cart their catches to market. The Newfie’s partially webbed feet and large, strong chest make them excellent swimmers, and their loyal and caring disposition make them great protectors who will bravely save drowning victims.
Before the modern Newfoundland was established in Canada, their original history is uncertain. It’s possible they may be a cross between Tibetan mastiffs and either Portuguese water dogs, Pyrenean sheepdogs, or American black wolves. Newfoundlands officially received their name in 1775 from George Cartwright. Newfoundlands almost went extinct from tariffs on dog ownership in Canada, but they didn’t stay down long. The paintings of Sir Edwin Landseer and the declaration by Newfoundland governor Harold MacPherson that Newfies were his breed of choice helped keep them in the public eye. The dog was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1879. Just four years later, the first Newfoundland champion was crowned in 1883.
Caring for your Newfoundland
Bringing your Newfoundland puppy home for the first time can be overwhelming, but adding these items to your checklist will help ease the stress. Be sure to puppy-proof your home before bringing your dog in the house, and get tools to help with your pup’s teething. Also, schedule your first trip to the vet for your puppy’s vaccinations. And while it’s no fun to think about losing a new dog, but FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag so you’re prepared just in case.
Despite being a large dog, a Newfoundland only requires moderate exercise. Expect at least half an hour of moderate activity through daily walks with your adult Newfoundland every day. Newfoundland dogs love to be with their families and will get lonely and possibly destructive if left for long periods alone. If you have a Newfoundland puppy, be sure they don’t play rough on hard surfaces like pavement or pull any heavy loads until they’re at least two years old. This will help their joints develop properly and may help prevent hip dysplasia. And if you have access to a lake or pool, your Newfie will love you for it! They may not be runners, but these dogs love to swim.
The beautiful heavy double coat of a Newfoundland requires a pet owner to be vigilant about brushing them at least once a week. Use a long toothed comb and a slicker brush while grooming them to keep their hair smooth and prevent mats from forming. The double coat of Newfoundlands will also need extra care during their two shedding seasons per year. Expect to brush them at least once a day during this time, and have a vacuum cleaner handy for all the excess floof. Just like people, dogs need to take care of their nails, teeth and ears too.
Overly long nails can be uncomfortable for dogs and could lead to problems with their feet or legs. Knowing how to trim your dog’s nails can help prevent these issues. Also, keeping your pup’s pearly whites shining helps both their oral and heart health and can improve their lifespan. Check out these tools for brushing your pup’s teeth at home.
Diet and nutrition
Newfoundlands tend to do well with either a commercial or home prepared high-quality dog food. Always be sure to work with your vet to discuss your Newfoundland dog’s nutritional needs and any dietary requirements your pup may have. Adult Newfoundlands on average should have 4-5 cups of high quality dry dog food per day. While high-quality dog treats are fine and can be a great training tool, be careful to watch your dog’s calorie consumption to avoid obesity. Because of their larger size, Newfies are prone to experiencing bloat, so a few small meals per day rather than one large meal is the safest option for this breed.
Training your Newfoundland
The day your Newfoundland puppy comes home, your pup’s training begins. Newfoundlands are very intelligent and love to please their humans, so training your pup is easier than other breeds. Be sure to start leash training early. Remember when your puppy becomes an adult dog, a Newfoundland can weigh more than 100 pounds.
Getting them comfortable on a leash early on is a must. Newfoundlands are also sensitive dogs, so training your Newfie with positive reinforcement and gentleness will yield the best results. Enrolling your Newfoundland puppy in a puppy kindergarten or obedience class to help get them put their best paw forward.
Breeds similar to the Newfoundland
Not quite sure that a Newfoundland is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:
- Tibetan mastiff. A loyal guard dog and very protective of their families, but can be more introverted and reserved than the Newfoundland.
- Caucasian shepherd. More independent than the Newfoundland, these dogs are great for a home without children.
- Portuguese water dog. Another big fan of the water, the PWD is less prone to shedding or drooling than a Newf. They are also much more active than the Newfoundland, requiring regular exercise.
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Frequently asked questions
Are Newfoundland dogs good with kids?
This breed is well-known for being a “nanny” dog who is great with small children. They can even be trained to pull very young children in carts.
Are Newfoundland dogs lazy?
Newfies are a working breed, though not as high energy as some others in this group. They need moderate exercise and stimulation to be physically and emotionally fulfilled.
What are the cons of owning a Newfoundland dog?
Newfs are known to be droolers, so if you’re a neat freak or prefer your home slobber-free, this may not be the right pup for you.
Are Newfoundland dogs a good choice for a first time pet owner?
Newfoundlands are sweet-tempered and gentle dogs with a great temperament for first-time pet owners.
Are Newfoundland dogs good city dogs?
Because Newfoundlands only need moderate exercise, they could do well in an urban setting. But they also love the water and being outside, so having outdoor options available will give them a happier life.