black, brown , gray and black and white (Landseer)
27-29 inches (69-74cm)
130-150 pounds (59-68 kg)
25-27 inches (63-69cm)
100-120 pounds (45-54kg)
Indoors or outdoors, prefer a small yard, does not tolerate heat well.
The Newfoundland is a large, solid looking dog that is both powerful and athletic at the same time. They have a large head and a very expressive face that seems to study everything and everyone before making a move or a decision. Despite their huge size this breed is a wonderful housedog and will quickly adjust to owner routines and smaller spaces. They are very careful in small spaces and are not known to be rambunctious or high-strung, rather they are very relaxed and calm dogs.
The head is very large and somewhat rounded in shape. The muzzle is square and proportional to the head with a definite stop between the muzzle and the eyes. They eyes are somewhat low on the face and are dark brown, with expressive and every mobile eyebrows that give a look of intelligence and sometimes sorrow to the breed. The ears are triangular in shape and hang down the sides of the head folded over forwards. The ears usually go no further down the side of the face than the cheeks.
The neck is short and sturdy, balancing the head on the massive and wide shoulders. The body is square and solid with a deep chest and ribcage that makes this dog an ideal swimmer and rescue dog. The legs are straight and muscular while not appearing too large or unbalanced. The feet of a Newfoundland are broad and webbed for both sure footing on land as well as an ability to easily move through water. The legs are positioned to the far corners of the body allowing for a very stable and square stance for the breed. The tail is long and hangs down to the hocks with a slight curl up at the end. The breed may carry the tail higher when in movement or when excited.
The Newfoundland has a level topline and the overall appearance of the breed should be solid, powerful and heavy boned with a look of dignity and balance. The head should always be carried high in the air and the dogs should be confident and not timid or shy or aggressive in appearance.
The double coat is very thick and medium in length with the outer coat being straight to somewhat wavy. It is never curly or kinky. The ruff, tail and legs and underbelly have longer hair than the rest of the body. The hair on the face and ears is short and very soft to the touch. The undercoat of the Newfoundland has a wooly texture and, like the outer coat, has natural protection from the water and dirt.
The Newfoundland breed was developed in Newfoundland, a province in Canada. They were likely developed from the Labrador dogs, also a Canadian breed, crossing with the large breeds brought by the British and French, such as the Great Pyrenees and Tibetan Mastiffs. This is logical as the breed is similar in appearance to the Great Pyrenees but more like the Labrador in both swimming ability and coloration.
Originally used as a fishing dog used to haul nets and lines into shore. In addition they were also used to retrieve things from the water that feel off the boats. Over time they developed into excellent water rescue dogs and are still used for this today. The webbed feet and the heavy coat and skeletal structure of the breed made it large enough and strong enough to tolerate the icy Atlantic waters off the coast of Newfoundland.
On land the dog was used to haul carts, protect the farmyard as well as provide companionship and as a pack dog on long treks. Since they are so devoted to their owners they rarely strayed away or left their owners side, making them ideal working dogs. As setters moved in and out of Newfoundland they took their dogs with them, and the breed is now relatively popular throughout Canada, the United States and most of Europe.
Currently the Newfoundland is used mostly as a companion breed although they are currently active in search and rescue operations as well as obedience, draft and water trial events.
The best way to describe the temperament of the Newfoundland is summed up in the word "outstanding". This breed is docile and calm, loving and patient yet also alert, intelligent and prepared to help the family in anyway, including placing itself between a potential danger and the people that the dog loves.
They are not a barking breed but their sheer size often is enough to warn people not to come too close. This dog will become completely devoted to the family and often will not accept leaving the family or moving to a new home. They have been noted to grieve a pet or family member that is no longer present. The breed does very well with other dogs, even smaller breeds, although males may be more aggressive when females are present. The Newfoundland requires little socialization to quickly adapt to all types of pets including cats. They are so calm that it is not uncommon for cats to snuggle up to these huge shaggy dogs and sleep on or beside them.
Newfoundlands are usually easy to train and will almost housetrain themselves even as very young puppies. Occasionally they can require somewhat repetitive training practices so each dog may need a slightly different program. They have a strong desire to keep owners happy and will often try to anticipate what is expected of them before owners even have to give a command. The sweet temperament of the Newfoundland makes it extremely sensitive to criticism or a harsh tone of voice and they should never be trained using any type of negative or harsh punishment. They are independent when needed and can tolerate some time alone provided they have regular contact with the family and lots of positive attention.
The Newfoundland is an excellent family dog that has no end of patience with children. They will seem almost saintly as they put up with even very young kids in a loving, calm and relaxed manner. The Newfoundland also likes to spend time playing with older kids and is a great exploring companion, ensuring the children are safe. Since they love to swim a Newfie will take every possible opportunity to jump into water and may need to be kept on a leash if you don't want to have to deal with a huge, wet dog. They love to travel and are always ready for a ride in the car, although they usually require a seat to themselves.
The Newfoundland breed has the same general Health Problems that other large to giant breeds have. Careful selection of Breeding stock can prevent problems with most of these conditions. SAS or sub Aortic Stenosis, is a serious genetic disorder that can occur in the breed. Test puppies at 12 weeks as well as dogs before Breeding. Canine hip dysplasia, Gastric torsion, elbow dysplasia and eye problems should also be carefully monitored. Occasionally Epilepsy (seizure disorder) and von Willebrands Disease, a bleeding disorder can be found in the Newfoundland breed. These conditions can be managed although Newfoundlands with these conditions should not be allowed to reproduce.
The Newfoundland is an average shedder throughout the year and does need regular grooming to keep the thick, dense double coat from hopelessly matting. Most breeders recommend at least four times per week that the dog be completely groomed with a stiff wire brush, grooming rake or long pin brush designed specifically for large size dogs. This regular grooming will keep debris and knots from becoming irritating or problematic.
In the spring and fall this breed will completely shed out their thick undercoat. Known as "blowing" the coat, this shed is truly amazing in its sheer volume. It is not uncommon to remove a garbage bag or more of the soft, downy undercoat. In some areas this "wool" is made into a natural fabric similar to preparation of sheep wool. It is interesting to note that Newfoundlands that are kept indoors in regulated climates will not develop a full inner coat, therefore cutting down on year round and seasonal shedding.
The Newfoundland has natural oil in the coat that keeps the inner and outer coat water resistant and somewhat dirt resistant. Avoid washing this dog whenever possible and use dry powder shampoo only when required. The more bathing that is done to the dog the more damage will occur to the hair and coat. Carefully check the ears for debris or waxy build up and carefully check the eyes for any sign of tearing that may indicate eye problems developing.
The Newfoundland is a very calm breed that is prone to turning into a non-exercising dog if allowed. They will happily go with owners on walks or outside to explore, but they are not good at self-exercising. If there are other dogs present they are more likely to complete a bit of exercise but otherwise they will usually just find a comfortable place to lie down out of the heat or weather. Newfoundlands are prone to weight gain and do need to be exercised on a regular basis to prevent obesity and health concerns related to increased weight.
Since they are a large and heavy dog fast runs and sprints are not as preferred as slower, longer jogs or brisk walks in cooler temperatures. They are not an extremely playful dog once they mature but some enjoy a short game of fetch. The Newfoundland does absolutely love to swim and will happily use any pond, pool or lake they can find to get out and go for a swim.
It is very important to watch for any signs of breathing problems of excessive drooling when exercising these dogs in warm weather. With their heavy, dense coats and massive size they are prone to heatstroke and need to be closely monitored. Provide lots of water and try to exercise lightly in the coolest possible times of the day during the summer months. Growing puppies should not be over-exercised as they may develop growth problems or OCD from too much strain on joints and cartilage during their developmental stages. A Newfoundland can take up to two years to fully mature so be cautious with their level of exercise at this time.
The Newfoundland does best with slow paced, repetitive training that focuses on positive achievement. While not a rapid learner they will make steady progress and once they have mastered a command they will rarely if ever forget it. The Newfoundland is very sensitive to the owner or handlers tone of voice and should never be yelled at or punished during training. A simple "no" or removing attention for a few minutes is all that is needed to correct the breed.
Since they are a very large dog, even as a puppy, it is important to provide them with the right type of area for training. They should be working on a floor that is carpeted or outside, never on highly slippery or polished surfaces. Remember that while puppies are growing they may be somewhat uncoordinated and clumsy and will need some additional time to get their bodies organized before they can sit, stand or lie down on command. Avoid rushing the puppy in commands or pushing or pulling on their legs or hips for any reason.
When training the Newfoundland it is always easier to start very young before the puppy gets to full size. It is also critical to keep in mind that these dogs need to be kept out of the intense heat so try to restrict training periods to short periods of time in the cool of the day. They seem to learn best with three or more short training periods per day rather than one long training time.
Always end training times with some positive interactions. This breed tends to bond very strongly with the whole family but typically learns best when taught the commands until they are mastered by one person rather than everyone in the family. Once trained this dog can easily be controlled by younger children once they have been taught how to work with the dog. Occasionally males can be somewhat aggressive to other males so early neutering is recommended for safety and temperament reasons.