Newfoundland Breed Profile: Gentle Giant, Water Rescue Dog and Family Pet

January 12, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

The Newfie is one of the sweetest and largest dog breeds in the world. Find out if a Newf is right for you and your home.


Nobody is sure of the Newfie’s exact origin, but the English first discovered this dog breed while exploring the Canadian island of Newfoundland in the 1700s. Some were brought to English estates to live as companion dogs, a natural role for such a noble-looking and loving animal. Other Newfs fit in just as well on the sea, where they proved their nobility of spirit by working as a water-rescue dog. These dogs gained a reputation for heroism after saving the lives of many sailors, in one instance including an entire ship’s crew.

Sir Edwin Landseer painted heroic portraits of Newfoundlands and favored the unusual black and white type. His famous paintings gave black and white Newfs the name “Landseers”.

Personality Traits

Newfies are sweet, loving “gentle giants”. Sometimes these dogs are so devoted to their masters that they can’t adapt to a new home and family. They range from mid-level energy to lethargic, and older Newfs may need encouragement to exercise. Newfoundlands are great with kids and strangers, and are generally friendly towards other dogs. However, if a Newf perceives danger, he or she will loyally defend its master.

When it comes to training, this breed responds best to kind guidance. Newfies are very sensitive and too much negativity can result in hurt feelings. They are extremely intelligent dogs, so a little praise and motivation can go a long way.


The standard Newfoundland is tall (26-28 inches) and has a solid build. Males are typically around 150 lbs, while females average around 120 lbs. Most often they are black, but may also have brown, grey, or black and white (landseer) coats. Their fur is water resistant and double-layered. This in combination with their webbed feet makes them excellent swimmers. Newfies’ heads are large and square, and they have floppy ears. Some have dry mouths, but most are prone to drool.

Health and Upkeep

Responsible breeding practices can help ensure Newfoundlands stay healthy. Hip Dysplasia is a common health concern, so owners should try to ensure their puppies stay at an appropriate weight. Additionally, having the puppies' hearts checked beforehand ensures that they are in good shape before they go to their new homes.
Providing a Newfoundland with appropriate care is essential to ensure they stay healthy and happy. Exercise is very important, particularly if they live indoors or in a small area. Additionally, it's ideal to have a shaded area for them to sleep, provide plenty of cool water, and access to air conditioning if you live in a hot climate.
Taking care of a Newfoundland’s double-layered coat can be an enjoyable experience. Frequent brushing for their coat is highly recommended, and a professional cut can improve its texture in warmer months (or year-round to make upkeep easier). This will help ensure your pup looks and feels great all the time!

Considering a Newfie

Adopting a Newfoundland into your family is an incredibly rewarding experience that brings many years of joy. Not only must you provide lots of love and care for your pup, but also be financially prepared for regular groceries, grooming appointments and medical fees. Ensure that you have the stability to provide a loving home to your new furry companion for the rest of its life (usually about 10 years), so that both of you can cherish these moments forever.

It is always best to visit a breeder and meet your potential pet before finalizing your decision. Make sure to play with some adult Newfs as well, to truly understand the size that your puppy will one day become.

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