Newfoundland – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Here is what you should know about a large Newfoundland dog before you bring one home. Read on and discover if this breed is the best fit for you.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
2 feet, 1 inch to 2 feet, 5 inches tall at the shoulder
100 to 150 pounds
Life Span:
8 to 10 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Newfoundland is a true sweet giant among dogs.

This is a powerful breed of heavy bone and sweet temper. They are mostly known for being superb companions skills and for being great ‘nanny dogs’ for children.

They can weigh up to 150 pounds and can grow up to 28 inches at the shoulder.

Females are generally smaller in overall size, having 100 to 120 pounds.

They come in many colors, although the most prevalent colors are black, brown, and gray. They are often called Newfie, and their character is best expressed in their affinity for children.

Quick Facts

Real name: Newfoundland
Other names: Newfie
Origin: Island of Newfoundland, modern-day Canada
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 100 to 150 pounds
Height: 2 feet, 1 inch to 2 feet, 5 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 8 to 10 years
Litter Size: 4 – 12 puppies
Color: Black, white with black patches (“Landseer”), brown (not in Canadian standard), and grey (only in US standard, not recognized by other standards)
Coat: Thick and straight

Newfoundland History

From day one, Newfoundlands have been spending their time with Canadian fishermen, helping them with daily duties.

Over time, their love for water only grew their swimming skills lead them to become experts in water rescues.

These powerful dogs are natural swimmers, as their webbed feet only make their swimming easier and enjoyable.

They are so effective when it comes to swimming, that they can easily save a grown man from drowning. Their other duties included fishing nets to shore and carting the day’s catch to market.

Still, they are primarily considered to be the world’s top water-rescue dogs. Today, their primary role is when they are not spending their time enjoying life as companion dogs.

This is one of the world’s most beloved breeds. They are also a big part of American history. When Lewis and Clark began their 8,000-mile trek across the American continent, they were followed by a Newfoundland named Seaman.

His role was to hunt and guard, and according to various records, he did a great job. In England, Newfoundlands are among the favorites.

Newfoundland Physical Appearance

Newfoundland is definitely not a dog for first time dog owners.

This is a large dog that is extremely powerful. Just walking him on a leash is a challenging task, and definitely not for those who cannot physically restrain this breed.

Even Labrador Retriever can pull a grown man on a leash, and this breed is no exception.

This is highly gentle and sweet dogs who are still large and you should always have them in mind.

These sweet dogs are devoted and multipurpose dogs. Thanks to their size and agility they can easily adapt to various tasks and perform them easily.

Both in water and on the land, this dog will be fast to perform various tasks and deliver the best outcome. Being powerfully built helps with certain tasks and obligations.

This large dog is heavily coated and deep-bodied.

They are muscular, strong, and well-boned. They will always keep their head proud and high.

Females are slightly smaller than males, but overall this breed is slightly longer than taller. Their head is massive, the skull is broad, and their eyes are always dark brown.

Ears are relatively small, while the muzzle is clean-cut.

The neck and the back are strong and muscular. The tail is broad and strong as well.

Every part of this dog’s body is strong, including the forequarters. The coat is water-resistant and double.

The outer coat is moderately long and full and isn’t either straight or with a wave. The undercoat is soft and dense and often is less dense during the warmer months.

This is basically the case if you are based in warmer areas.

The tail should always be covered with, long dense hair. As for the color, the best Newfoundland color is black, although they come in brown, gray, and white, and black.

Newfoundland Personality

Newfoundland is a large dog. As such, this breed may seem extremely intimidating, but in reality, they are truly soft giants.

They are more than happy being around humans and spending time inside the house.

They do need a far yard space for exercise and daily run. This is why they should always have access to water both inside the house and outside.

Newfoundland is a trustworthy breed that is tolerant of the behavior of children. Rumor has it that ‘Nana’ large dog in Peter Pan was based on author J.M. Barrie Newfoundland.

Newfoundlands are highly protective dogs. They won’t think twice about standing physically between any stranger and their family members. They are eager and fast to protect.

As result, they won’t bark. Instead, they will act fast.

Since they are huge water lovers, Newfoundlands tend to be a great addition to families with children who live near water or spend time outdoor next to the pool.

They are natural lifesavers and can be good company when it comes to beach time. Still, you should never put this responsibility on a dog.

Children’s safety always comes to parents first. Having Newfie around is just a bonus. This is one of the many reasons, why Newfoundland is often used as a support dog for children with autism.

These fluffy giants will love spending time with children, and children with autism should love this breed’s fluffiness, long hair, and calmness that they transmit to people around them.

Like with any other breed, early socialization and proper training is a must. Only by taking the proper steps at an early age, you can be sure that you are getting a well-behaved dog.

Bear in mind that any dog, no matter how nice, can develop separation anxiety, or high levels of barking, digging, or any other undesirable behaviors if he is bored, unsupervised, or untrained.

At eight weeks old, dogs are capable of learning basic commands and simple tricks.

If you wait longer to start training your dog, you will have a more stubborn dog to deal with.

If possible, think about enrolling him into puppy classes by the time your Newfie is 10 to 12 weeks old, and do what you must, and that’s to socialize, socialize, and socialize some more.

Living With Newfoundland

Newfoundland is a perfect addition to families of any size. They are gentle, calm, and above all loyal and watchful dogs.

If you have water nearby your home they will adore you forever, and never leave yoru sight.

They are the ideal companions for one person or a family, but their size is something that should be taken into consideration.

Do you have enough space for this dog? Is your family fine with taking care of the bigger dog? Do you have a yard big enough? Can you provide enough time for your Newfoundland to swim?

Bear in mind that fully adult Newfoundland doesn’t require a great deal of exercise, unlike young Newfie, or puppies that are excited about life.

Anyway, Newfoundland can enjoy city life regardless of his size as long as you provide proper routine, regular walks, and a yard and swim to keep him fit.

Be careful about feeding and treats, because it’s easy to overfeed a massive dog. It’s important to be careful with treats as well.

Have a limit and stick to it, don’t use treats in an exchange for food. As with any large breed, Newfoundland requires a lot of food to run his first year of growth.

Just in the first 12 months, they gain 100 pounds. After that first year, their metabolism naturally slows down and they do not require as many calories as they do in their first year.

Overall, this is a happy breed that thrives when they are surrounded by their people.

Owning this breed does comes with few challenges, such as shedding and drooling. They do shed and are prone to drooling from time to time.

This isn’t a big deal if you are a lover of the breed, but can be a real mess if you don’t expect it at all. Grooming is important to keep this breed healthy and happy.

Newfoundland Grooming

Newfoundland has a thick and strong coat that will demand regular brushing. Their coat comes in black, brown or gray color. Make sure that you use a steel comb and wire slicker brush.

Having the right grooming tools on hand is a must if you’re serious about prover grooming time.

Plus, grooming time should be seen as a bonding experience and the right grooming tools will make it more enjoyable and stress/pain-free.

The rest is basic care. Make sure that you check gums, ears, and eyes weekly. Bath only when really needed.

Dogs have different skin than humans, and they dont need as much bathing as humans do.

If needed wipe your Newfoundland’s mouth, especially after he drinks or eats.

Clean paws after a walk and are careful during the wintertime, you want to avoid snow clinging to his paws. Make sure that you trim or grind his nails regularly. Too long nails can create strong discomfort in dogs.

Newfoundland Training

Newfoundland is easy to train. They are intelligent, a bit independent, and often too smart for their own good.

They need well-organized and structured training that will help them become good canine citizens.

Training doesn’t last only when your Newflounder is a puppy, it should continue in grown years as well. Since this is a curious breed they are easy to train.

Still, you will need to have organized and short training sessions, packed with treats. This isn’t an aggressive breed, and as such, they will thrive on positive reinforcement training methods.

Just like with any other breed, never apply any harsh training methods on your Newfie.

Early socialization and training are mandatory if you want your large dog to become a well-behaved companion. Newfoundland puppies should carefully be introduced to the water by the age of 4 months.

After all, this is a water dog and as such needs proper water introduction. These dogs are eager to please and overall easy to train.

They are highly trusting which makes them great to respond to gentle and direct guidance.

Again: they will never do well to harsh corrections or any aggressive training methods.

Newfoundland Exercise

As a rule of thumb, you should provide up to an hour of exercise every day to keep your Newfoundland happy.

Proper exercise, outdoor time, and regular swimming should be more than enough to help your Newfie remain helahty and active for years to come. They are built to swim, and swimming should always be included in their exercise routine.

With webbed feet and a waterproof coat they also have a great lung capacity that enables them to swim long distances.

Last but not least, don’t forget that extra weight can shorten the life span of your Newfoundland. Obesity in dogs is an alarming issue across the States and you dont want your dog to be part of these statistics.

Newfoundland Health

Newfoundlands are generally healthy dogs. As long as you provide proper care, the right nutrition, and regular veterinarian check-ups your Newfie should be able to live a healthy and long life.

However, just like any other dog, they still have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just like people do.

If you are getting a puppy, make sure that you are just dealing with responsible dog breeders.

This is your only way to be sure that you are getting a healthy puppy.

Responsible breeders will always present you with the medical documentation on the breed.

If you are not given one, and you are not allowed to visit the facilities or meet the bitch, know that you are standing in a puppy mill. This should be the moment when it’s more than ok for you to walk away.

Still, just like humans, this breed is prone to certain health problems. Newfies came in large sizes and as a large dog breed, they may suffer from joint issues and various structural problems.

This is why you should be careful when it comes to exercising young dogs or puppies, you don’t want to force them because you want them to hurt their joints.

Common issues in this breed are a condition named hip and elbow dysplasia.

Cystinuria is also often seen. Cystinuria is a genetic kidney defect that eventually can lead to the formation of bladder stones that are difficult to be managed.

This is why regular veterinarian check-ups are so important. If you have any doubts about your dog’s weight, health, or conditions, your veterinarian is the only person that can help you for sure.

The Bottom Line

Newfoundland is a breed that will demand your time, care, and love. Like with any other large dog breed, bigger the dog usually means more financial investment.

This is why the decision of getting a dog shouldn’t be taken lightly. It will affect your life in many differnet ways and you should be ready for it.

But… Is this breed what you need in your life? Is this the dog for you?

First, let’s see why this breed might not be for you. If you don’t want to deal with a large dog who takes a lot of space inside your home and car this isn’t the dog for you.

Moreover, if you don’t want to deal with a large dog jumping on you, and a long dog’s hair on the floor, then this isn’t the breed for you.

On the other hand, if you love large dog breeds and you are ok with occasional drooling this breed is for you. Plus, if you want a dog who is polite, gentle, but a great watchdog next to your children, this breed is for you.

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