Newfoundland Dog – Everything You Need To Know

The Newfoundland dog is a large, giant-sized purebred dog from Newfoundland. The fishermen use these strong working dogs to pull nets and drag wood from the forest. They are hardworking and can be used to work on land and water. Interestingly, they are compared to a “pack of horses” in their strength. Also called Newfie, they are sweet-natured, easy to train, and can be a great family companion. Newfoundlands are known for their heroic gestures, and there are known incidents of Newfoundland dogs rescuing drowning people from the Atlantic waters during shipwrecks. 

Newfoundland Pros and Cons

Friendly and devotedGiant-sized
Muscular and strongHealth problems
Easy to trainSuffer from separation anxiety

Newfoundland Basic Information

  • Name: Newfoundland
  • Origin: Newfoundland, Canada
  • Group: Working Group
  • Size: Giant
  • Height: 26-28 inches                    
  • Weight: 100-150 pounds
  • Coat: Thick and straight
  • Color: Black, white with black patches (“Landseer”), brown (not in Canadian standard), and gray (only in US standard, not recognized by other standards)
  • Energy: High
  • Activities: Weight pulling, dog agility, canine games
  • Barking Level: High
  • Shedding Level: High
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Litter Size: 8-10 puppies
  • Other Names: Newfie, Newfy, Nanny dog, Newf
  • Original Passtime: Pulling weight
  • Life Span: 8-10 years
  • Breed Recognition: American Kennel Club (AKC)

History of Newfoundland 

The Newfoundland dogs originated in the Canadian province of Newfoundland. They were bred and used as working dogs by the fishermen of Newfoundland. According to the Genome data, they are related to three different dog breeds, Irish water spaniel, Labrador Retriever, and curly-Coated Retriever. The Irish and English explorers and fishermen traveled to the banks of Newfoundland and found two types of working dogs. One is heavily built, larger in size, and called Greater Newfoundland or Newfoundland. The other was medium-sized, active, smooth-coated, and was named the Lesser Newfoundland or St. John’s Water dog. Both types were used to pull fish nets and wood from the forests. 

Other theories may give more insight into their origin but are hard to validate. One is that the dog is a cross between the Tibetan Mastiff and the American Black Wolf (now extinct). The second exciting theory is that the Vikings left the dogs during 1000 AD. These dogs interbred themselves and later with the native Canadian wolves, eventually creating the Newfoundland Dog. According to the third theory, these dogs are cross-breeding of European breeds such as Pyrenean SheepDogs, Mastiffs, and Portuguese Water Dogs during the 15th and 16th centuries. However, George Cartwright finally identified and named the breed in 1775. 

Like other purebreds, Newfoundland saw its low and was almost wiped out due to the tax restrictions in the 1780s. After that, the first Newfoundland made its appearance in England in 1860. The AKC recognized and registered the breed in 1879.

Newfoundland Highlights 

  • Newfoundlands are giant dogs needing bigger spaces that don’t suit apartment living.
  • They are working dogs and need ample exercise along with mental stimulation. Canine sports are a great way to get out their energy.
  • Newfoundland dogs drool a lot.
  • They have thick coats and need regular grooming. 
  • These dogs are best suited for cold temperatures. In hotter weather conditions, they need air-conditioned rooms to avoid heat strokes.

Newfoundland Personality

Newfoundland is a giant dog that grows up to two feet and weighs about 100-150 pounds. Newfies have thick coats and are not hypoallergenic. Their outer skin is coarse and flat that is water-resistant. The undercoat is soft and dense and is prone to shedding around the year. The coat colors include black, black with white, and brown with splashes of white on the chest and tip of the tail. The head is large and massive, with small ears that lie close to the head. The feet are broad and webbed, which makes swimming easier. They look like big cuddly bears best suited to cuddle and guard you.

Friendliness Overview

Affection levelHigh

Adaptability Overview

Good for apartment livingLow
Good for new ownersMedium
Sensitivity levelHigh
Tolerates being aloneLow 
Cold toleranceHigh
Heat toleranceLow

Newfoundland Physical Features

  • Head: The head is enormous with a broad skull. The cheeks are well developed, the eyes are dark brown, small, deep-set, and placed wide apart, the forehead and face are wrinkle-free and smooth, and the ears are small and rectangular with round tips. The muzzle is deep and broad. The expression reflects intelligence and dignity. 
  • Neck: The neck is strong and well set on the shoulders. 
  • Topline: The back is strong, broad, and muscular. 
  • Body:  The body is vast, with a well-developed chest. The loin is well muscled.
  • Tail: The tail is broad and strong.
  • Forequarters: The shoulders are muscular and laid back. The forelegs are strong and muscled, heavily boned, straight, and parallel. The feet are tight, proportionate to the body, and webbed.
  • Hindquarters: The rear legs are powerful, strong, and heavily boned. The legs are straight and parallel, the thighs are broad and long, and dewclaws can be removed.
  • Coat: The coat is double-coated, thick, flat, and water-resistant. The outer coat is coarse and long, while the undercoat is smooth, soft, and dense. The hair on the face and muzzle is short, the back of the legs is heavily feathered, and the tail is long with thick hair.  
  • Color:  Black, white with black patches (“Landseer”), brown (not in Canadian standard), and gray (only in US standard, not recognized by other standards). 
  • Gait: Gait is steady, smooth, rhythmic, agile, and powerful.  Well-balanced with good reach and strong drive.

Newfoundland  Temperament

Newfoundlands are known for their sweetness, which is the breed’s essential characteristic. They are intelligent, hardworking, and always eager to please. Newfies are affectionate and love the most to be with their families. They are great with kids and get along well with other household pets. Newfoundlands are reliable and respond well to love and gentleness. These biggies are one of the world’s giant dogs and have their challenges. Their overall temperament includes:

  • Patient
  • Sweet
  • Devoted
  • Loyal
  • Affectionate
  • Hard-working
  • Intelligent
  • Outgoing

Newfoundland Training

Newfoundlands are intelligent and respond well to training. Like any other dog, they need early socialization and puppy training classes. Training requires patience and consistency during the period. They are sensitive to any adverse reactions and need positive reinforcement while training. They love being around people, and treats and cuddling do wonders while training. They are active and look forward to the training sessions, playing fetch, which helps in training regarding behavioral corrections. They do not respond to harsh commands, and lots of praises, cuddles, and treats work wonders during the training. Obedience training and socialization help behavioral correction and bring out the best in any dog. Their activity can include:

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Trainability Overview

Easy to trainHigh
Prey driveHigh to medium
Mouthiness tendenciesMedium
Barking and Howling tendenciesHigh
Wanderlust tendenciesMedium 

Newfoundland Exercise

Newfoundlands are great both on land and water. They are naturally hardworking and have life-saving abilities. A daily walk of 15-30 minutes will be ideal. Yet, Newfoundlands live a healthy and long life with the right amount of exercise and activity. Above all this, they are happiest when around their human friends. They enjoy swimming, walking, hiking, pulling carts, and canine agility games. They excel in agility, dock jumping, flyball, herding, obedience, rally, and tracking. They do not tolerate exercising in hot and humid climates. Newfoundlands are the healthiest, with 3-4 times daily walks, enhancing the canine-human bond. A proper exercise routine helps the dog with the following benefits.

  • Social interaction
  • Weight control
  • Stress relief
  • Behavioral corrections like excessive chewing, persistent barking
  • Brain stimulation
  • Strengthening muscles
  • Routine toileting
  • Mental health and happiness

Exercise Needs Overview

Energy levelHigh
Exercise needsHigh

Newfoundland Grooming

Newfoundlands are double-coated and shed heavily. The coats are dense and have high grooming needs. Their coat needs regular brushing, 3-4 times per week. Trim the hair at his paws to avoid the floor getting dirty. They are not easy to groom, and you can brush the coat more than once a week to prevent shedding. Wipe the wrinkles and folds on the skin with a clean cloth to remove dirt. They may need extra brushing during their shedding season. Brushing helps remove matted hair and pull out the loose fur during shedding. One of the essential parts of grooming is bathing which keeps the dog clean. However, frequent bathing causes dry skin and itches. Bath your dog using pH-balanced shampoos. Pet wipes keep your dog’s coat fresh, clean, and shiny. You can also bathe them once a week. However, daily brushing helps to keep the fur from knots and tangles. 

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Newfoundland dogs are prone to collect ear wax quickly. Hence, ears should be cleaned and regularly checked as they are prone to ear problems. Brush their teeth daily to prevent plaque and other dental problems. Never brush their teeth with a stiff brush, as it will harm the gums and teeth. Also, make sure to use dog-friendly toothpaste.  

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Also, clean their eyes and trim their nails as a part of everyday grooming needs. Check their toenails weekly, as long nails may harm and injure the dog. You can cut the toenails with a commercial dog nail trimmer or with the help of a vet or professional groomer.

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Grooming Overview

Easy to groomLow
Drooling tendenciesHigh 
Amount of sheddingHigh

Newfoundland Health

Newfoundlands are generally healthy dogs. Still, like any other dog breed, they are also prone to specific health conditions.

Health Overview

General healthLow 
Weight gain tendenciesHigh 

Cataract: As in humans, canine cataracts are characterized by cloudy spots on the eye lens that can grow gradually. Cataracts may develop at any age and often don’t damage vision, although in some cases cause vision loss. A board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist certifies the breeding dogs after testing them free of hereditary eye disease before breeding. Usually, you can remove cataracts surgically with good results.  

Addison’s Disease: This highly severe disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism, is caused by the adrenal gland’s inadequate synthesis of adrenal hormones. Most dogs with Addison’s illness vomit, have a low appetite, and are sluggish. As these symptoms are nonspecific and can be confused for other diseases, it’s easy to overlook this condition. More severe symptoms appear when a dog is agitated or when potassium level increases to the point where they interfere with cardiac function, resulting in severe shock and death. If Addison’s disease is suspected, your veterinarian may run a battery of tests to make a diagnosis.

Cherry eyes: This condition causes the dog’s third eyelid gland to bulge. It looks reddish in the inner corner of the eye. You can treat cherry eyes in dogs surgically.

Epilepsy: Idiopathic epilepsy is a common hereditary disorder. It frequently causes seizures, ranging from mild to severe. In addition, unusual behaviors may indicate a stroke, such as frantically fleeing as threatened, stumbling, or hiding.  Seizures frighten, but dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have a relatively good long-term outlook. Other than unexplained epilepsy, seizures can be induced by metabolic disorders, respiratory illnesses of the brain, malignancies, toxin poisoning, and severe traumatic injury.

Ear Infections: This is most common in dogs with floppy ears. Fungi and bacteria can cause ear infections to thrive in the warmth and darkness provided.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which a dog’s metabolism is slowed, due to the lack of thyroid hormone production. Among the signs and symptoms are: 

  • Lethargy 
  • Gaining weight 
  • Reluctance to work out 
  • Hair Loss 

Cancer: Cancer can be cured by surgical removal of tumors and chemotherapy. However, it is essential not to ignore the symptoms and diagnose them earlier. VArious cancer types affecting your pet are:  

  • Lymphoma: A severe illness that affects lymphocyte cells. 
  • Hemangiosarcoma: This is a hazardous form of cancer that originates in the lining of blood vessels and the spleen. It most commonly happens in middle-aged and elderly dogs.   
  • Osteosarcoma: Osteosarcoma is a malignant bone cancer common in large and giant breeds.  

Cystinuria is a genetic disorder where the dogs lose their ability to reabsorb the amino acid cystine in the kidneys. This malfunction forms kidney or bladder stones, causing blockage and urinary tract inflammation. Medicines and treatments that prevent stone formation can save your pet. Unfortunately, without treatment and proper diagnosis, he may die. So take DNA tests before you buy or adopt a Newfy.

Obesity: Obesity is a common health disease in giant dogs. Excess weight can result in back pain, digestive disorders, joint problems, and heart diseases. The ideal way to control this disorder is by maintaining a healthy diet and routine exercise. 

Bloat: Newfy suffers from bloat. Bloat is a condition where the stomach is filled with air and twists. The gas in the gut leads to bloat. This can be life-threatening and need immediate vet care. 

Sub valvular aortic stenosis causes narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart. As your pet does not show any signs, you must regularly get your Newfy checked out. Subvalvular aortic stenosis is common in many large breeds, including Boxer dog, Dogue de Bordeaux, Golden Retriever, Newfoundland, and Rottweiler. The vet usually diagnoses this hereditary disorder when the dog is between 6 and 12 months old. 

Dilated Cardiomyopathy: Degeneration of the heart muscle is referred to as cardiomyopathy. The muscle, especially the thick muscular membrane of the left ventricle, becomes thin. These thin membranes expand because of the blood pressure inside the heart, which leads to a much bigger heart. Dilated cardiomyopathy is the medical term for this ailment (DCM). 

Hip Dysplasia is outwardly a painful disease that occurs when the bones of the back legs do not fit properly in the joints. While some dogs will exhibit symptoms, the majority of canines will not. Hip dysplasia is primarily genetic, although other causes such as accidents, excessive weight gain, and inappropriate training can also cause it. Even though this disease is fatal, therapies range from medicine to hip replacement surgery. Unfortunately, this condition causes defects or damage to the hip bones and joints and worsens without treatment. To avoid this problem, avoid breeding dogs with hip dysplasia parentage and get annual examinations.

Other Causes of Hip Dysplasia: 

  • Injuries 
  • Excessive weight gain 
  • Wrong exercises 

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs include:

  • Reduced activity and movements
  • Reluctance to rise, jump, run or climb
  • Lameness in the hind limbs
  • Reducing thigh muscle mass
  • Swaying, “bunny hopping” gait
  • Grating in the joint during movement
  • Enlarging shoulders
  • Pain
  • Stiffness

Recommended Tests for Newfoundland

  • X-Rays 
  • CT Scan 
  • Eye Examination 
  • Physical Examination 
  • Blood Work
  • Vet-certified proof of genetic testing

Newfoundland Diet and Nutrition

Newfoundlands need a large quantity of high-quality food, and they should eat 4 to 5 cups of meals every day. Each puppy is distinctive, and the correct amount and quality of food depend on age, weight, activity level, health, and more. You can split the meals into two 2 cups daily. However, they are prone to obesity, so overfeeding must be avoided. 

Newfie pups can be given dry and wet food. Give him a balanced diet that contains omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, chondroitin, and glucosamine. You can also feed them fruits and vegetables that give carbohydrates and energy. Never hesitate to consult a vet to meet your pup’s dietary requirements to keep them happy and healthy.

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Newfoundland Living Condition

Newfoundland dogs love to be around their humans and are friendly and affectionate. However, they are not apartment-friendly and need sufficient space or homes with bigger yards. They love outdoor activities like swimming, walking, running, playing, hunting, and visiting dog parks. However, they have high chasing instincts and wanderlust tendencies and always be leashed or put in a crate. When allowed in a backyard, the place should be adequately fenced. 

Newfoundlands are patient with kids but should never be left alone with children without supervision. They love the attention of their owners and develop strong bonds. They have a high prey drive but will get along with smaller animals and cats with early socialization and training. They are susceptible to anxiety when left alone for long hours. They can tolerate cold weather conditions and have a low tolerance to hot temperatures. They thrive on companionship, playtime, training, praise, and cuddles.

Adding Newfoundlands to Your Family

Things to remember before adding Newfoundland to your family

Getting a Newfoundland from a reputable breeder is best to prevent unavoidable circumstances like health disorders and provide you with vaccination certificates. It is best to check with the puppy’s parents to ensure his health and happiness. Always remember the following red flags to avoid backyard breeders and puppy mills.

  • Puppies are available around the year.
  • We recommend you visit the puppy and his parents and get health clearance and vaccination certificates, to avoid purchasing a weaker puppy.

Rescue Groups

Cost of a Newfoundland Puppy

A Newfoundland’s price ranges from $1200 to $2000.

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