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HomeDog Breeds > Newfoundland
Date of Origin: 



livestock dog, sheepdog, mastiff

Primary Current Function: 

water rescue

Original Function: 

all-purpose water dog and fishing aid, draft

Place of Origin: 


Other Name: 



The Newfoundland is a native North American dog originating from Newfoundland Island in Canada. There is much speculation as to its heritage. A general consensus of historians agrees that the Tibetan mastiff played a large part, however no record exists linking the two.

Newfoundland Breed Health

Minor concerns: 

OCD, entropion, ectropion, vWD, cataract


Newfoundlands do not tolerate heat well; some are sensitive to anesthesia.

Avg Size of Male: 

Height: 28 inches, Weight: 130-150 pounds

Major concerns: 

SAS, pulmonic stenosis, elbow dysplasia, CHD, gastric torsion

Occasionally seen: 


Life span: 

8 – 10 years

Suggested tests: 

hip, elbow, cardiac, blood, (eye)

Avg Size of Female: 

Height: 26 inches, Weight: 100-120 pounds

Newfoundland Breed History

The Great Pyrenees probably played a part as well. There is speculation of a relation to the Labrador due to their similarities as well as the close proximity of Newfoundland’s coastline and Labrador. Regardless of its exact makeup, the resulting large dog is excellent in and around the water. It is a wonderful swimmer and has saved countless lives by rescuing drowning people. In 1919, a Newfoundland was recognized for pulling in a lifeboat carrying twenty people from a shipwreck. Some of the jobs that the Newfoundland has performed include hunting, guarding, sled pulling and hauling in fishing nets. The Newfoundland is adept at retrieving anything that might fall overboard from a boat. The breed adjusted well to the harsh Newfoundland climate and environment, developing an oily coat as well as webbed feet. Early on, residents of Newfoundland were restricted from owning more than one dog. This, coupled with numerous exports to Europe, led to a decline of the breed in its homeland. American breeders had to resort to securing new stock from Europe. Conversely, World War II brought about a decimation of the breed in Europe causing the Europeans to replenish from American stock. The breed is generally all black with the exception of the “Landseer” type (named after the artist who first portrayed them), which is black and white. Both dogs are among the more popular of the giant breeds.

Newfoundland Breed Appearance

The Newfoundland is a massive, slow-moving breed that is slightly longer than it is tall. It is heavy-boned and muscular, capable of rescuing drowning victims easily even in rough waters. Although it loves the water, it is just as comfortable on land and is useful as a draft animal. Its gait is powerful, yet elegant and effortless. The Newfoundland has a large, broad head with small triangular ears that hang by their cheeks. Their feet are webbed, and their coats are water-repellent to help with swimming. The breed’s long outer coat is flat, coarse and either straight or with a slight wave. The undercoat is soft and dense in outdoor breeds. Dogs kept indoors have a tendency to lose their undercoat. The coat is colored in black, brown, gray, and white and black. Please note that in some European countries the Landseer and the Newfoundland are separate breeds. The Landseer’s coat has white with black markings. It has longer legs and is less massive than the Newfoundland.

Newfoundland Breed Temperament

This sweet dog is calm and laid-back, generous and gentle. Lord Byron, English Romantic poet, wrote that the Newfoundland exhibits "... Courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of a man without his vices." The breed is extremely intelligent with humanlike emotions. It is extremely devoted to its family and makes a great watchdog. It is suspicious of strangers and seems to be able to sense if someone has evil intentions. The Newfoundland loves children and exhibits nothing but patience with them. It is also great with other pets, but males may be aggressive together. It makes an excellent watchdog, due to its

Newfoundland Breed Maintenance

The Newfoundland needs brushed about twice weekly with a hard brush to avoid matting. The undercoat sheds twice yearly, heaviest in the spring. Dry shampoo to avoid removing the coat’s natural oils, and bathe only when necessary. Newfoundlands can be messy drinkers and tend to drool. This breed enjoys lazy afternoons, but should be given proper exercise. Its moderate workout routine should include swimming as often as possible. It also enjoys pulling and does better in cold climates. In fact, the Newfoundland cannot tolerate heat. On warm days, it should be given plenty of fresh water and a shady resting place. Although relatively inactive inside, it still requires plenty of space to stretch making it an inappropriate choice for an apartment pet. It is a better choice for a family with a house and fenced yard. Training requires calm, even commands, since this sensitive breed responds to the tone of your voice.

Newfoundland Ratings & Reviews

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