Gentle Giants: A Guide to the Newfoundland Dog Breed

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newfie dog smiling from newfoundland dog breedersWait, did someone bring a bear to the dog park? Nope, just a Newfoundland dog! Newfoundlands are large, fluffy, and resemble bears, but are gentle giants that love children and make great therapy dogs.

The St. John’s Newfoundland dog was originally bred for water rescue in the icy waters of Scandinavia. Today, this large breed is a great choice for families looking for a patient, calm dog like Nana from Peterpan (she was a Newfie!).

A Brief History of the Newfoundland Dog Breed

The breed was used as water rescue dogs on Canadian fishing boats around the Isle of Newfoundland. These large breed dogs are strong and have webbed feet, making them great swimmers.

Newfs used to rescue crew members thrown overboard the ship. They are strong enough to save a grown man from drowning and to retrieve heavy fishing nets from the water. This working dog breed was also used on land for pulling heavy loads.

The Giant Newfoundland Dog: Bred to Hunt Bears!

In 2012, a picture of an extra large Newfoundland dog that was “bred to hunt bears” went viral.  Newfies are big dogs, and when photographed from the right angle, can seem even bigger.

Newfies are gentle giants and were not used for hunting. These dogs were primarily used as water dogs for rescue and pulling nets. On land, they were used for pulling wood or powering blacksmith’s bellows.

Landseer? Newfoundland? What’s the Difference?

In the US and the UK, Landseers are considered to be a black and white variety of the Newfoundland breed, but in some countries, they are considered an entirely different breed. Landseer’s are not recognized as a separate breed according to the American Kennel Club.

The Appearance of These Fluffy Giants!

Newfies are big dogs. They can weigh up to 150 pounds and are about 38 inches tall, according to AKC breed standards. Newfoundlands have large heads, sweet and often droopy eyes, and can be a little on the slobbery side.

They have a thick water-resistant double coat. The outer coat is coarse and medium-length. Newfies look like big, fluffy bears.

Coats and Colors Explained!

It is common for Newfies to have solid-colored coats with small patches of white on their chin, chest, toes, or tip of the tail. They can be black, brown, and grey.

Black and white Newfies are called Landseers and are a little less common. Their coat is white with black markings.

black and white newfounland dog in snow

White Newfoundland Dog 

The Landseer has a white base coat with black markings. The AKC does not recognize pure white Newfoundlands. They can be a lighter grey, but not white. Great Pyrenees are often mistaken as white Newfoundland dogs.

A Whole lot of Doggo: Average Newfoundland Size and Weight! 

Female Newfies are about 26 inches tall and weight between 100 to 120 pounds. Males are a little larger and are about 28 inches tall and weigh 130 to 150 pounds.

Temperament and Personality! 

Newfies are notoriously gentle despite their large size. When socialized early on, these dogs are great for families. They are eager to please and love children.

Newfoundland dogs are working dogs and enjoy being active and spending time outdoors. These dogs are also patient enough to let small children climb on them and enjoy being around their human family as much as possible.

Training and Early Socialization are a Must for These Dogs!

All dogs need socialization, to get used to new people, animals, and new sounds. Because these dogs are so large, it’s important that you train and socialize them as a puppy.

Adult dogs are strong and can be a handful if untrained. Newfs are not naturally aggressive dogs, but they still need to learn how to behave around strangers and animals. They can easily knock people over if they do not know any better.

A Working Newfie Dog is a Happy Newfie Dog!

Newfies are working dogs, even though today they are mainly bred as companion animals, they still have that working instinct. They were not bred to run (as they are prone to joint problems).

Newfs prefer daily walks. You can make the walk more challenging and fulfill their working needs by letting them wear weighted backpacks or pull something heavy. They can pull kids in sleds or wagons. Newfoundlands also love to swim and play in the snow whenever possible.

How Long do They Live? Newfoundland Dogs Lifespan!

Newfs have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 years, which is normal for dogs of their size.

black newfie dog standing by colorful trees

Giant Dog Breed List of Potential Health Issues

Giant dogs are prone to specific health issues due to their large sizes. Newfs are one of the largest dogs breeds in the world. Giant breeds are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, which is a genetic issue which can affect mobility.

Newfies are also prone to an aortic stenosis condition called subaortic stenosis (aka subvalvular aortic stenosis) which is a is a scary heart murmur condition that causes the left ventricle to enlarge. The condition can cause seemingly healthy, young adult Newfies to die suddenly.

4 Tips to Caring for Your Big Doggo!

  1. Feed your Newf dog food specifically for extra large breeds like Life’s Abundance. Large breed dog food often has more protein and extra joint support compared to regular dog food.
  2. Newfies are big droolers, they can’t help it! Keep a rag nearby their drinking bowl, so you can clean up any accidental drool.
  3. Newfies thrive in colder climates, be careful while exercising them or keeping your dog in the heat. They can overheat quickly. It is best to have a Newfie in colder areas with mild summers. They prefer snow over a hot day.
  4. Groom your Newf regularly and invest in a good vacuum cleaner to pick up the hair!

Newfoundland Dog for Sale!

You can find Newfies for sale by finding a breeder through the Newfoundland Club of America or the American Kennel Club.

Always make sure you have a reputable breeder with healthy Newfoundland puppies for sale. You can also find puppies through shelters or Newfie rescue groups.

Newfoundland Dog Puppies: Price 

You can expect to pay between $1,000 to $2,000 for a Newfoundland puppy from a reputable breeder. It is important to use a reputable breeder to avoid inhumane puppy mills and genetic health problems.

What to Look for in Newfoundland Dog Breeders! 

Responsible Newfoundland Dog Breeders will have at least one parent on site and will have information on the health and bloodline of the other.

The breeder should be extremely knowledgeable about the dog breed. If they are purebred, they should be registered with the AKC or the Newfs Club of America, like the Timberknoll Newfoundlands.

The Newfoundland puppies should also have health certificates from the veterinarian.

black newfoundland puppies sweet face

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Newfoundland Dog Rescues!

There are many Newfoundland puppies (and adults) in shelters looking for their forever homes.

You can find purebred Newfie or Newfie mixes through your local shelter, petfinder.com, or by contacting Newfoundland Dog Rescue Groups.

Common Questions on Newfoundland Dogs

Do Newfoundlands Shed?

Are Landseer’s and Newfies the same breed?

How big do Newfies get?

Are Newfoundland’s good with children?

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