- Activity Level: moderate
- Grooming Level: moderate
- Trainability: high
- Adaptability: moderate
- Kid/Pet Friendly: often
- Average Size: Giant
- Average Lifespan: 8-10 years
- Prey Drive: low
- Watchdog: chill
- Registered?: aca, akc
Newfoundland Breed Profile
Did You Know?
The first thing that stands out about the Newfoundland is their sheer size. The next is their notably sweet temperament and nature. Affectionately called a Newfy, Newfie, or Newf, this dog breed is one of the world’s biggest dogs. They originated in Canada as a working dog for fisherman. Newfies have webbed feet, a large lung capacity, a water-resistant coat, and plenty of strength, which makes them a perfect fit for navigating work in the water.
They specialized in water rescues in the icy waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. They were also commonly used to pull carts to market or drag fishing nets to shore. Their seafaring days are not as common now, but they are still serving as water rescue dogs around the world. The American Kennel Club recognized the Newfoundland in 1886 as part of the Working Group.
Newfoundlands are known for being gentle giants and for their “nanny dog” nature. They are loving, gentle, and responsive. These dogs make great family companions as they are wonderful with children. Their protective nature makes them great watch and guard dogs while their docile, gentle, and sweet nature makes them a perfect fit for families with children. Whether on the farm, out on the water, or just being a family companion, the Newfoundland is right at home.
Due to their size, this dog is moderately adaptable. They can adapt to apartment living as long as they are given enough exercise and attention. But, their large size makes them better-suited for larger homes with enough room to handle them. They do well in just about any climate, but their thick coat tends to make them better-suited for moderate or cooler climates.
As with any dog breed, they are sensitive to heat. And, although they handle the cold better than many other dog breeds, they are still sensitive to the extremes. They are also in-tune with their families and protective, so they don’t like to be away from them for long periods of time.
In general, the Newfy is a relatively healthy dog breed. As a giant dog breed, they are prone to joint issues as they age and can be at risk for bloat in dogs. Other health concerns associated with the Newfoundland include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cardiac disease, and a condition called cysturnia. Cysturnia is a condition that causes stones to form in the urinary system.
Responsible breeders will screen their dogs to ensure the genetic propensity for these diseases is not passed along to the puppies. Asking the breeder about the genetic history of the parents and asking to see any health clearances or tests can help allay concerns you may have.
Although Newfies are huge dogs, they are also highly trainable. They are highly intelligent, eager to please, and sensitive, which makes them a good fit for owners of any experience level. Because they are sensitive souls and in-tune with their owners, it’s important for training to stay consistent, calm, and focused on positive rewards and praise.
The Newfy has a double coat. The undercoat is flat and water-resistant while the outer coat is coarse, full, and a moderate length. They will shed moderately year-round and more heavily twice a year as the seasons change. In general, a thorough weekly brushing is sufficient for your Newfoundland’s fluffy coat.
It may be a good idea to increase to daily brushings during the seasonal shedding sessions. Not only will this help keep your Newf comfortable, but it will also help contain the loose fur to a brush. These dogs only require an occasional bath or more often if they have been swimming or have gotten dirty.
In addition to coat care, you will also need to care for your Newfy’s nails, ears, and teeth. Nails that are too long can make movement uncomfortable or painful, so it’s important to trim them regularly. Monthly nail trimming is usually sufficient to keep your dog’s nails under control.
Because the Newfoundland’s ears flop over, they are more prone to trapping dirt, debris, and moisture, which can lead to ear infections. So, you’ll want to check their ears weekly to make sure they are dry, clean, and free of debris and carefully clean them as needed.
It’s also important to care for your dog’s teeth. Dental disease is one of the most common health issues in dogs, but it doesn’t have to be! Proper dental care for dogs, like brushing teeth or using an enzyme toothpaste every day, can help prevent painful dental diseases like gum disease and tooth decay. You can even supplement your efforts with vet-approved dental hygiene chews and a “dental care diet”.
Getting your Newfoundland puppy used to having their mouth, paws, and ears handled early on will make grooming a much easier experience as they grow. By keeping it a positive experience, regular grooming sessions may even become a bonding experience that both you and your dog look forward to!
The Newfoundland has a moderate energy level. Daily walks plus some playtime and extra activity is plenty for this dog breed. They’re known for being avid swimmers, so don’t be afraid of going swimming with your dog!
These dogs are sturdy and are at home on land as well as water, so they may also enjoy hiking with you in addition to visiting the dog park and training in dog sports. They tend to be a good fit for carting or drafting competitions, dock jumping, obedience, rally, agility, tracking, flyball, herding, and more. Newfs are truly multipurpose and will enjoy a wide variety of activities!
As a giant dog breed, it’s important to keep their activity low-impact until they are about 18-24 months old. Before the 1 ½ – 2-year mark, their bones are still growing and their joints are still developing. High-impact, strenuous exercise during this time can damage their still growing and developing joints.
A fully-grown Newfoundland usually stands 26-28 inches tall and weighs between 100-150 pounds.
A Newfoundland generally lives 8-10 years.
A Newfoundland named Seaman was part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1802. He served as a beloved companion, guard dog, and hunter.