Critter Culture
Learning About the Newfoundland Dog Breed

Learning About the Newfoundland Dog Breed

Critter Culture Staff



The Newfoundland is a devoted and mild-mannered dog. Family-oriented, this breed is suited for many types of owners.

With an interesting history and loveable temperament, the Newfoundland may just tug at your heartstrings. If you have the time and space this giant furball needs, then maybe this is the pup for you.


Newfoundland history

newfoundland dog

Newfoundlands, or Newfies, are a bit of a mystery. It's not certain where they originated from or how they came about. Some say they were bred by the Sioux and Algonquin tribes of North America. Others feel that European fishermen created them and brought them to the area of their namesake in Canada.

In the late 1700s, they were officially documented and named. They served quite a few purposes at harbors and on the seas. They pulled carts, hauled fishing nets, and were used as water rescue dogs. Newfoundlands were dockside companions to fishermen, those in commerce, and even lifeguards.


Newfie appearance

newfoundland dog standing on grass slowmotiongli / Getty Images

Newfies are big dogs. They can range from 100-150 pounds, and some will reach the 200-pound mark. Muscular and big-boned, they typically stand over two feet tall at the shoulders. Due to their aquatic history, their toes have webbing.

Usually, a Newfoundland has dark brown eyes, which droop but gaze deeply. They're often hidden behind long, thick fur that's commonly black, brown, or gray.


Fur and grooming

Brown Newfoundland lying on a wooden floor Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

Newfoundland owners devote more time to fur care than anything else: this breed requires constant maintenance. Frequent baths are a must any time the dog starts to smell.

These pups have a double-coat, so a full brushing session should happen at least three times a week and daily during the shedding seasons. They'll constantly end up with debris tangled in their fur, so having a selection of detangling brushes and combs is a smart idea.


Other hygiene and maintenance

Newfoundland dog outdoors MartinFredy / Getty Images

Brushing your Newfie's teeth daily is an important habit to keep up. Ear cleaning will help maintain good hygiene. Clipping the dog's nails whenever you hear them tapping on the floor will keep your pooch happy. Because of the animal's size, if you're unable to trim the nails on your own, groomers are equipped to handle this sort of thing.


The breed's overall health

Small Newfoundland Puppy enjoying the rest in the shade on cool grass in summer LaurieSH / Getty Images

The Newfoundland has an average lifespan of 8-10 years, which is typical for a large dog. Because of their size, these pets are susceptible to a number of physical problems, including joint and bone diseases. Cardiac issues are another common Newfie disorder. But as long as you stay on top of vet visits and monitor the dog's overall condition, your pup will live a happy and fulfilling life.


Typical Newfoundland Temperament

Young girl with huge dog breed Newfoundland

Their size is no doubt formidable, but the Newfoundland is usually a big baby. Easy-going, loyal, and tender, this sweet pooch is all about love. Newfies are equally content living with adults, children, and other pets. They'll happily nap as life goes on around them. Even persistent animals and enthusiastic kids don't usually bother these pups. They like to observe from the sidelines, though they also believe they're lapdogs.

Rarely do Newfies bark unless they're in protector-mode. These furballs are wonderful guard dogs and feel it's their duty to watch over home and family. They aren't lazy by any means, even though they love lying around. But they're naturally inclined to follow orders, so they just need to be told what to do.


Socialization and training

Newfoundland dog plays with man in the park

Socialize a Newfoundland early and often. This will get your furry friend on track for a lifetime of positive interaction with people and other animals.

Because of the Newfie's size, obedience training is also a great idea. It's not that the breed is bad; it's just that these pups don't necessarily know their own size. Plus, they have an extended adolescence period that can last around two years, so providing behavioral guidance is important.


The Newfoundland's activity level

Two Newfoundland dogs enjoying a swim in the river JudiLen / Getty Images

Despite the intimidating size, Newfies are quite calm and relaxed. You don't need to go crazy with exercises and playtime: up to 30 minutes per day is enough. Due to the dog's joint and bone issues, go with less stressful activities such as walking and leisurely hikes on simple trails.

Swimming comes naturally to Newfoundlands: they actually do a breaststroke instead of a doggy paddle. This exercise is easy on their joints and will help them maintain the proper weight. But swimming isn't necessary for them, so it's perfectly okay if you don't have a pool or pond.


Ideal living situations

Newfoundland dog at home is laid out on the sofa. rzoze19 / Getty Images

Newfies don't do well in apartments, thanks to their size and curiosity. They're gentle giants who want to casually explore their territory, so a large space works best.

This pooch is perfectly suited for a slow pace but also enjoys playing with children. Newfoundlands are ideal pets for first-time dog owners, too. However, it's important to never crate these animals or leave them alone for an extended time, as they could end up feeling distressed.


Newfie nutrition

Newfoundland dog Capuski / Getty Images

Feeding a Newfoundland depends on their age. Once the puppy is weaned off their mother's milk, they should be fed small amounts of food four times per day. You can take it down to three times as they get a little older. As an adult, two or three feedings each day is standard. Ask your vet for recommendations on serving sizes.

Newfoundlands need a high-protein diet. Skip the cheap food and go with quality over quantity. Yet no matter what you choose, you should supplement the diet with vitamins to strengthen their joints. This will help curtail some of the dog's potential health problems.


What Is Cushing's Disease in Dogs?

What Is Cushing's Disease in Dogs?

Get your paws on the latest animal news and information