Choosing a Newfoundland

Choosing a Newfoundland

The Newfoundland has a long history of close companionship with people. A working dog, this breed is often used in water rescue operations. The Newfie is a big, sweet, lovable family protector, confidante and, sometimes, savior.

History and Origin

The exact origin of the Newfoundland is uncertain. Ancestors are thought to have arrived to the country of Newfoundland with fisherman from Europe. Over time, the original ancestors, who may have included Great Pyrenees, husky or French hound, were selectively bred until the Newfoundland breed was achieved.

The Newfoundland is a working dog and is comfortable on land and in the water. The breed is extensively used in water rescues and, less glamorously, to assist fishermen in dragging carts and carrying heavy packs. The American Kennel Club accepted the Newfoundland as a breed in 1979.

Appearance and Size

The Newfoundland has a moderately long, water-resistant double hair coat. The majority of Newfies are solid black, though some may be white and black, referred to as Landseer's. Other colors include bronze, blue and brown.

The Newfoundland has a massive head with a medium length muzzle. The ears are small and not erect. Because they appear regal and imposing, they are a favorite subject for many artists.

Adult male Newfoundlands average 28 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh 130 to 150 pounds. Adult female Newfoundlands average 26 inches in height at the shoulder and weigh 100 to 120 pounds.


Newfies are calm, even-tempered dogs and devoted companions. They are not known for excessive barking. Newfoundlands are protective but not aggressive watchdogs. They are considered very courageous dogs and their bravery is legendary.

Home and Family Relations

Newfies do very well with children and other pets due to their calm demeanor and intelligence. The breed requires a significant amount of space due to his large size and therefore may not be a good first pet for some people.


Newfoundlands are intelligent and eager to learn. They excel at water training, rescue and obedience. Because of their size and bulk, they do not do well in agility training. They are easy to train.

Special Concerns

Newfoundlands are known to drool a significant amount. This may cause a problem for some, although many Newfoundland owners consider drooling a small sacrifice in exchange for having such a sweet tempered, benevolent companion.

Daily grooming is needed to keep the long double coat mat free - about 15 minutes per day. Newfoundlands are moderate shedders and not known to activate human allergies.

Even though Newfoundlands love to be around humans, they can spend a significant amount of time outdoors if the weather is appropriate. With the long double hair coat, they do not do well in extreme heat or humidity and prefer cooler temperatures.

Common Diseases and Disorders

  • Gastric torsion (bloat) is a life-threatening sudden illness associated with the stomach filling with air and twisting.
  • Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint that results in pain, lameness and arthritis.
  • Aortic stenosis or subaortic stenosis - is a disease caused by an abnormal narrowing or stricture of the aortic valve that may cause symptoms such as weakness, collapse and sudden death.
  • Heat stroke is a serious illness caused by the body's inability to keep cool.
  • Hot spots are areas of itchy moist skin irritation.
  • Cataracts cause a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye. The problem can occur in one or both eyes and can lead to blindness.
  • Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland does not function adequately. Without enough thyroid hormone, illness can occur.
  • Entropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes inward rolling. Lashes on the edge of the eyelid irritate the surface of the eyeball and may lead to more serious problems.
  • Ectropion is a problem with the eyelid that causes eversion of the eyelid margin. It most commonly affects the lower central eyelid.

    In addition, the Newfoundland is prone to atopy, cystinuria and cardiomyopathy.

    Although these occur infrequently, the following disorders have also been reported:

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD) - is a congenital defect of the atrial septum of the heart
  • Patent ductus arteriosis (PDA) is a congenital birth defect caused by a blood vessel that normally closes after birth, but remains open resulting in the passage of extra volumes of blood into the lungs.
  • Ectopic ureter is an abnormality present at birth in which one or both of the ureters that bring urine from the kidneys to the bladder fail to open into the bladder in the normal way. The affected animal is born with this problem and the resulting urinary incontinence usually begins at birth.

    Life Span

    On average, Newfoundlands live for 7 to 10 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.